With the regular season wrapped up as of Friday night, it is time to get to the postseason awards. With the league a lot deeper in 2022-23, putting together the postseason awards was actually quite challenging.
For the sake of these postseason awards, I will make a few disclaimers.
First, the Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Newcomer of the Year and Coach of the Year were based off results in conference play.
Second, winning matters. So, take that with a grain of salt.
Third, this list is not representative of the official All-WAC teams, which the coaches vote on.
Fourth, players on the first and second All-WAC teams will not appear in the All-Newcomer Team.
So, let’s get to the WAC Hoops postseason awards.
Coach of the Year
Mark Madsen – Utah Valley
People will say I am biased. Others might give me grief. Mark Madsen will tell you that there are other coaches more deserving. It’s just part of the process. However, Madsen has led his team to back-to-back 20-win seasons. What makes it more impressive is Madsen lost All-WAC center Fardaws Aimaq in the offseason. You remember Big Maple, right? Yeah, all Aimaq did at Utah Valley was set rebounding records, average a double-double and win Defensive Player of the Year twice.
2022-23 is the second time the Wolverines have won a regular season title. Madsen led Utah Valley to a share of the title in 2020-21 with GCU. The Wolverines went 15-3 in WAC play, are the outright regular season champs, and won at GCU Arena. Along those lines, Utah Valley has won eight of its last 10 games. The Wolverines also finished 8-1 at home in WAC play. Just for good measure, Utah Valley was picked to finish 7th in most preseason polls.
Honorable Mention: Jason Hooten, Sam Houston
Player of the Year
Ray Harrison, Grand Canyon
This was a tough pick because there has been some really good basketball played during WAC play. Coming into the regular season finale, Harrison was averaging almost 21 points per game in WAC play. In GCU’s win over Utah Tech to end the regular season, Harrison went off for 25 points in the Lopes’ 10-point win. It was just another ho hum night for the Presbyterian transfer. Along with the points, Harrison is shooting close to 47 percent from the field in WAC play. With Jovan Blacksher going down for the season early in WAC play, Harrison had to take on a larger load. Along with that, Harrison has been the focal point of every defensive game plan. Thus, it makes what he has done in WAC play even more impressive. Coaches will probably vote differently because of where GCU finished in the standings. However, it’s hard to deny Ray Harrison is worthy of this award.
Honorable mentions: Le’Tre Darthard, Utah Valley; Tevian Jones, Southern Utah; Qua Grant, Sam Houston
Freshman of the Year
Chendall Weaver – UT Arlington
Plain and simple, Weaver has been consistent all season for the Mavericks. Weaver has played in all 31 games, starting 24 of those. The true freshman from Mansfield, Texas is averaging 9.5 points and 4.5 rebounds on the season. In WAC play, Weaver is averaging just over 11 points per game. Weaver’s best game came in a win over Sam Houston on Feb. 4 at College Park Center. Weaver went for 21 points and was a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line. One last thing about the Freshman of the Year. Chendall Weaver leads UT Arlington in minutes played at 29.3. Weaver is also tied for second on the team in rebounds with 138.
Honorable Mention: Adante’ Holiman, UTRGV; Kobe Knox, GCU
Defensive Player of the Year
Aziz Bandaogo – Utah Valley
Yes, the WAC Hoops postseason awards aren’t the official awards the WAC will put out. But, it’s hard to argue that Bandaogo should not get this award. The 7-foot transfer from Akron is averaging 3.0 blocks per game in WAC play. Bandaogo has 54 blocks in WAC play and causes a lot of disruption in the paint with his length and athleticism. Along with the blocks, Bandaogo is also averaging 10.7 rebounds in WAC play. In 12 of Utah Valley’s 18 league games, Bandaogo has pulled down 10-plus rebounds. Here is something to consider…last year’s WAC Defensive Player of the Year had 40 blocks the entire season. Bandaogo has 54 blocked shots in league play alone.
Honorable Mention: Damien Daniels, ACU; Donte Powers, Sam Houston; Harrison Butler, Southern Utah
|Le'Tre Darthard - UVU|
|Ray Harrison - GCU|
|Tevian Jones - SUU|
|Justin Johnson - UTRGV|
|Aziz Bandaogo - UVU|
|All-WAC 2nd Team|
|Cam Gooden - Utah Tech|
|Maizen Fausett - SUU|
|Cam Tyson - Seattle U|
|Qua Grant - Sam Houston|
|Gabe McGlothan - GCU|
|Alex Schumacher - Seattle U|
|Jakorie Smith - Tarleton|
|Cam Huefner - Sam Houston|
|AJ Cajuste - SFA|
|Will Johnston - UTRGV|
|Chendall Weaver - UTA|
|Adante' Holiman - UTRGV|
|Kobe Knox - GCU|
|Scotty Washington - CBU|
|Parsa Fallah - SUU|