LAS VEGAS — A day after media members voted Justin James as a first-team all-Mountain West performer, Wyoming’s senior guard received more recognition from the league’s coaches.
James was named to the all-MW second team Tuesday. The teams and season superlatives were voted on by all 11 coaches.
James, a first-team selection last season, leads the MW in scoring (21.8 points per game) and is also on pace for career highs in rebounding (8.6) and assists (4.4). He was second in scoring in conference games to Utah State’s Sam Merrill, who was voted Player of the Year after averaging 22 points in league play.
Merrill also garnered the same honor from the media while the rest of the coaches’ awards also matched the way the media voted. Utah State center Neemais Queta was named Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year after averaging 11.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks. Craig Smith, who led Utah State to a share of the MW regular-season title in his first season at the helm, was named Coach of the Year.
Fresno State guard and New Mexico State transfer Braxton Huggins (19.3 points per game) was named Newcomer of the Year. Nevada’s Jazz Johnson was voted Sixth Man of the Year after averaging 11 points and shooting a team-best 44 percent from 3-point range.
James was the only player on the media’s first team that wasn’t voted first team by the coaches. Fresno State guard Deshon Taylor (18.4 points, 4.8 assists) earned the nod from coaches, joining Merrill, Colorado State’s Nico Carvacho and Nevada’s Caleb Martin and Jordan Caroline on the first team.
James was joined on the second team by Queta, Huggins, and San Diego State teammates Jalen McDaniels and Devin Watson. Air Force’s Lavelle Scottie, Boise State’s Justinian Jessup, Nevada’s Cody Martin, New Mexico’s Anthony Mathis and UNLV’s Kris Clyburn were named to the third team.
Queta, Clyburn, Carvacho, Taylor, Caroline, Cody Martin, Caleb Martin, Colorado State’s J.D. Paige and San Diego State’s Jeremy Hemsley made up the coaches’ all-defensive team.