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WAC Notebook

March 10, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

WAC Notebook

by Phil Dailey

The Western Athletic Conference season has come and gone and with no teams
this season having any hopes of an at-large bid for the NCAA tourney, this
weekend’s WAC championship will place its winner in the field of 65.

Since Fresno State imposed its own penalty for the Tarkanian-induced violations two years ago and forgoing any possibility of the post season, the WAC decided to not allow them to participate in the WAC tournament this week as part of the punishment. A decision that is fair considering the Bulldogs could have been the only team in the conference with a shot at an at-large bid if they were unable to win it all.

With this years field slimmed to nine, only one play-in game is necessary and then the real fun starts. With any team realistically having a shot at winning the conference tourney this week, it should be widely entertaining, however, the real favorite with or without Fresno State’s presence would still have to be Tulsa, since the tourney take place on their home court.

So with the regular season over its time to pass out the some awards:

First Team All-WAC

(all stats are conference games only)

Quintin Ross – Southern Methodist

This season Ross led all scorers in with over 20 points per game in conference action. Along with Ross’s individual success, it’s his team leadership that propelled SMU to the No. 2 seed in this week in the WAC tourney. With the unexpected finish of the Mustangs, Ross is the winner of the WAC’s Player of the Year honor.

Carl English – Hawai’i

English was this year’s preseason player of the year, but with the sub-par performance in the WAC this season, English loses out to Ross. Hawai’i should have contended for the regular season title, but even falling short of their goal, English was still the man as he averaged 19 points per game.

Antonio Meeking – Louisiana Tech

Last season in the WAC it was Fresno State Marvin Ely who dominated the paint, this season’s version was Antonio Meeking. Meeking led the Bulldogs to a .500 conference record and was hands-down the best big man in the league averaging over 18 points and nearly seven boards per game.

Kevin Johnson – Tulsa

Though the Golden Hurricane might not have won the regular season title, they did beat the conference champs in the last game of the year. The success at Tulsa this season was due in large part to Johnson and his 14 points and seven rebounds per game.

Kirk Snyder – Nevada

All season long the Wolf Pack were right there in the hunt for the conference title. Without the play of super-sophomore Snyder, Nevada wouldn’t be nearly as good finishing tied for third. The sky’s the limit next year for Snyder, as he averaged 16 points and nine rebounds per game this season.

All-WAC Second Team

Omar-Seli Mance – Rice 14.3 points per game
Aaron Haynes – Boise State – 16.9 ppg and 6.7 rpg
Damon Jackson – Fresno State – 14.2 ppg
Dante Swanson – Tulsa – 5.4 ppg, 2.9 assist per game
Hiram Fuller – Fresno State – 11 ppg and 8.2 rpg

WAC Transfer of the Year

Renaldo Major – 10 ppg and 4.6 rpg

WAC Freshman of the Year

Bryan Hopkins – SMU – 14.6 ppg and 4.6 apg

WAC Coach of the Year

Ray Lopes, Fresno State

Despite not being eligible for post-season play, Lopes and his first-year Bulldogs shocked the WAC, winning the regular season title.


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