Player of the Year
WAC Player of the Year candidate Alessandro Lever defends teammate Asbjørn Midtgaard in a recent GCU practice. Courtesy GCU Athletics.

WAC Player of the Year Candidate – Alessandro Lever, Grand Canyon

On Tuesday, coaches and media in the WAC tabbed New Mexico State guard Jabari Rice as the preseason Player of the Year. That should come as no surprise. But, as we draw closer to the Nov. 25 tip date, we will continue to look at other potential candidates for the award.

Grand Canyon big man Alessandro Lever is another Player of the Year candidate. Lever has been a mainstay in the Lopes starting lineup since stepping foot on campus prior to the 2017-18 season. As a freshman, Lever earned WAC Freshman of the Year honors and first team All-WAC honors.

Prior to his sophomore season, Lever was chosen as the preseason Player of the Year by both the media and coaches. However, despite averaging 12.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, Lever was not selected for any postseason awards

However, Lever took a big leap during his junior season. The 6-10 center from Italy averaged career highs in points, rebounds and field goal percentage. Lever led GCU with 15.7 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting 54.5 percent from the floor. In 2019-20, Lever also became the third member of GCU’s 1,000-point club. Lever scored 14 points against Liberty on Dec. 8 to join Dewayne Russell and Joshua Braun in the 1,000-point club.

Bryce Drew Inherits a Talented Big Man

GCU has a new head coach and Bryce Drew is excited to coach Alessandro Lever. In the recent WAC basketball media days, Drew was asked about his senior center. 

“The first thing I’ve been impressed with is his work ethic,” Drew said. “He just loves playing basketball and he loves competing. He’s in the gym getting shots up all the time. Our staff just loves how much eh loves the game.”

Drew also notices that Lever has a lot of versatility in his game.

“He brings such a different dimension to the court with his size but yet his ability to shoot the ball and his skill. So, it makes it easy for a coach because you can use him in so many positions.”

Lever is a 2020-21 preseason first team All-WAC selection by both the coaches and the media. And perhaps what will make Lever a little better in his senior season is having another big guy in practice to compete with. Drew brought in Wichita State 7-footer Asbjørn Midtgaard who gives Lever a challenge day in and day out.

“It’s been great so far,” Lever said. “We’re making each other better in practice because I got a guy inside who’s really big and has to guard me outside. It’s complimenting each other on the court and we’re making each other better every practice.”

For his career, Lever has 1,310 points while shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc and nearly 48 percent from the field. And since stepping foot on campus, Lever has started 90 of a possible 98 games, averaging 26.2 minutes per game. 

About the author

Kyle McDonald

Love everything about WAC Hoops so decided I wanted to write more about it and cover this amazing conference that just keeps getting better. Follow us on Twitter @wachoopsdigest for information, game analysis and much more.

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