Anthony named MWC's top defensive player

Joel Anthony doesn't even start for UNLV's 25th-ranked basketball team. But that didn't stop the 6-foot-9 senior center, who blocked a conference record 13 shots in one game against TCU and had eight more Saturday against Colorado State, from garnering Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors on Monday night.

Anthony was one of four Rebels honored on a day that saw UNLV ranked No. 25 in both polls.

Forward Wendell White, despite being slowed by a broken jaw the final three weeks of the season, still earned first team all-MWC honors while guard Wink Adams was picked to the second team and point guard Kevin Kruger, who earlier in the day was named conference player of the week, was a third team choice.

The league's nine men's head coaches along with selected media picked the all-conference teams, as well as the coach, player, freshman and defensive awards.

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose captured Coach of the Year honors for the second straight season, while Cougar teammates Keena Young and Jonathan Tavernari were selected as the Player and Freshman of the Year, respectively.

Regular-season champion BYU and runner-up UNLV led the league with three all-conference selections apiece, highlighted by unanimous first-team honoree Young for the Cougars. Air Force, San Diego State and Wyoming also had multiple players chosen with two each, while Colorado State, New Mexico and Utah each had one. Young, a 6-6, 215-pound senior forward from Beaumont, Texas, led the Cougars to their third MWC regular-season title and first top 25 ranking since 1993. He has scored in double figures in 26 of 30 games this season to rank fourth in the league with 17.1 points per game. A first-team NABC All-District 13 selection, Young has registered five double-doubles on the year and is seventh among MWC rebounders with a 6.2 average on the glass.

Anthony leads the league with 94 blocked shots, including 58 rejections against Mountain West opponents, while helping the Runnin' Rebels to a second-place finish in the conference. Ranked 12th nationally in blocks, he set the MWC single-game record with 13 blocks vs. TCU on Feb. 6, also pulling down 11 rebounds in the contest to notch his first career double-double.

Tavernari, a 6-6, 220-pound forward from Sao Bernardo, Brazil, who starred for Bishop Gorman High as a senior, led all freshmen in scoring (7.2 points per game) and rebounding (2.8 per game) while aiding the Cougars' title run. He set an MWC freshman record for three-point percentage with a 6-for-7 effort (.857) against TCU on Jan. 10.

2006-07 All-Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Team

(Selected by media and head coaches)

First-Team All-Mountain West

Keena Young, Sr., F, BYU ; Brandon Heath, Sr., G, San Diego State; Jason Smith, Jr., F, Colorado State; Dan Nwaelele, Sr., F, Air Force; Wendell White, Sr., G, UNLV.

Second-Team All-Mountain West

Brandon Ewing, So., G, Wyoming; Jacob Burtschi, Sr., F, Air Force; Mohamed Abukar, Sr., F, San Diego State; Trent Plaisted, So., C, BYU; Wink Adams, So., G, UNLV.

Third-Team All-Mountain West

Kevin Kruger, Sr., G, UNLV; Luke Nevill, So., C, Utah; Brad Jones, Jr., G, Wyoming; Lee Cummard, So., G, BYU; Tony Danridge, Jr., G, New Mexico.

Honorable Mention

Tim Anderson, Jr., G, Air Force; Matt McCraw, Sr., G, Air Force; Austin Ainge, Sr., G, BYU; Cory Lewis, Sr., G, Colorado State; Darren Prentice, Jr., G, New Mexico; J.R. Giddens, Jr, G, New Mexico; Jerome Habel, Jr., F, San Diego State; Lorrenzo Wade, So., F, San Diego State; Brent Hackett, Jr, G, TCU; Kevin Langford, So., F, TCU; Johnnie Bryant, Jr., G, Utah.

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