Thames, Fisher Named MW Player, Coach of the Year
March 10, 2014
LAS VEGAS - San Diego State's Xavier Thames and Steve Fisher were named the 2014 Mountain West Player and Coach of the Year, respectively, on Monday. Thames is the third Aztec to win the MW award and it marks the third time Fisher has been named the league's top coach.
In addition to being the player of the year, Thames was named to the all-MW first team and the all-defensive team, along with Skylar Spencer. Senior Josh Davis, who was the preseason newcomer of the year, picked up the postseason version and also landed on the all-Mountain West third team. JJ O'Brien and Winston Shepard were honorable mention all-MW performers, while Dwayne Polee II was tabbed the Sixth Man of the Year.
Thames, who helped the Aztecs win their second outright MW regular-season title, is the eighth player in school history to be named conference player of the year and the fifth to be named to the all-defensive team. He is, however, the first Aztec in program history to pick up both awards in the same season. The guard from Sacramento, who is the first Aztec since Jamaal Franklin in 2012 to be named the MW's top player, led SDSU in scoring (17.8), assists (58), steals (31), three-pointers (23), three-point field-goal percentage (.319), free throws (115) and free-throw percentage (.846), while ranking fifth on the team in rebounding (3.6). Thames scored in double figures 15 times and reached the 20-point scoring plateau seven times, including a career-high 31-point outburst at Utah State. He also had multiple assists in the final 17 conference games of the year and committed just 22 turnovers in 18 league outings.
Davis is the first Aztec to be named Mountain West postseason newcomer of the year, although Randy Holcomb landed on the MW newcomer team in 2001. A graduate transfer from Tulane, Davis led San Diego State in rebounding, collecting 9.1 boards per game, and scored 7.4 points a contest. The Raleigh, N.C., product had double-figure rebounding totals eight times and seven or more rebounds 13 times. He also scored in double-digits six times and had three double-doubles.
As honorable mention picks, Shepard and O'Brien ranked second and third, respectively, in scoring, rebounding and assists during the conference campaign. Shepard averaged 12.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists, while O'Brien turned in averages of 7.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists. Shepard reached the double-digit scoring plateau 14 times and had at least six rebounds 10 times. As one of the team's primary ball-handlers, Shepard also dished multiple assists 11 times. As for O'Brien, he had three double-figure scoring games and 12 with at least seven points. On the glass, the junior had more offensive rebounds (42) than defensive (40) and had two games with 10 or more rebounds, including an 18-point, 11-rebound effort at Air Force.
Polee II is the first Aztec to win the sixth-man-of-the-year award in school history. The junior from Los Angeles scored at least seven points off the bench nine times, grabbed multiple rebounds 13 times, including the final eight games where he averaged 4.1, and had multiple steals on seven different occasions. For the MW season, Polee II averaged 6.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals, while knocking down 13 three-pointers.
Spencer is the sixth Aztec to be voted to the Mountain West all-defensive team. A threat around the rim, the sophomore blocked 2.4 shots per game, while pulling down 4.0 rebounds. The Inglewood, Calif., native also had 12 steals, which was the sixth-highest total on the team. Spencer blocked a shot in 16 of 18 games and had multiple blocks 13 times. Offensively, Spencer averaged 5.2 points on 56.9 percent shooting.
Fisher captures his third MW Coach-of-the-Year Award in the last four seasons. The 15th-year head coach led SDSU to its highest conference win total in school history (16) and helped the school win its league-leading eighth league title. Fisher accomplished all of this while losing 62.0 percent of its scoring from a year ago, 51.8 percent of its rebounding and 54.1 percent of its assists, and being picked fourth in this season's MW preseason poll.
The top-seeded Aztecs return to action on Thursday at noon PT, when they face either Colorado State or Utah State in the quarterfinal round of the Reese's MW Championship. The game will air nationally on CBS Sports Network.