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Men's Basketball

Long Beach State's Nixon Named Big West Men's Basketball Player of the Year

Files associated with this release:
Men's Basketball All-Conference Team


Long Beach State senior Aaron Nixon became the seventh men's basketball player in school history to earn top individual accolades when he was named the Big West Conference's Player of the Year today in a vote of the league's eight head coaches. He is the first 49er since the 1999-2000 season and only the second in the last 30 years to garner the conference's top distinction.

Larry Reynolds, in his fifth year at Long Beach State, garnered Big West Coach of the Year honors after leading the 49ers to their first regular season title since 1996. UC Riverside's Henrik Thomsen also won a major award with his naming as the Big West Freshman of the Year.

Nixon ranks third in the Big West in scoring (18.4 ppg), steals (1.45 spg) and three-point field goals made (2.5 pg). He also posted 3.1 assists per game to rank 10th and averaged the fourth-most minutes played (33.1 mpg). In conference action, Nixon placed in the Top 10 in eight statistical categories, including No. 1 in threes made (3.43 pg) and minutes per game (35.5). He was one of three players in the league to average over 20 points per game, ranking third (20.4 ppg). The Cleveland, Ohio native also ranked second with 1.8 steals per contest. Nixon carries an 18-game double-digit scoring streak into the Big West Tournament and has nine games with 20-plus points. He topped the 30-point mark twice, including a career-high 35-point effort against UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 4. The 6-2 guard also has shown a flair for the dramatic as he hit game-winning last second shots at Loyola Marymount (Dec. 22) and at UC Santa Barbara (Feb. 10).

Reynolds guided Long Beach State to a final regular season record of 22-7 and first place in the Big West with a 12-2 mark. His 49ers were crowned conference champions for just the second time since 1977. After his teams struggled in his first three seasons at the helm, Reynolds turned the program around. He has compiled a 40-19 record over the last two campaigns. LBSU began this season 2-4, but reeled off nine straight wins and won 20 of its next 23 games. This is the first time in the 38 seasons of Big West men's basketball that a Long Beach State representative was bestowed the top coaching honor. Reynolds has the 49ers as the No. 1 seed in the Big West Tournament and on the brink of notching the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance in a dozen years.

Thomsen is the second Highlander, and the first since 2003, to be named Freshman of the Year. A native of Gundsømagle, Denmark, Thomsen becomes the first foreign player to earn the distinction dating back to when the Big West first established the award in 1981. He leads all Big West freshmen in scoring with 10.7 points per game, which also ranks second on the team. A 6-8 forward, Thomsen has reached double figures in scoring 16 times and has compiled three 20-point games. He poured in career highs of 28 points and six three-pointers against Pacific on Feb. 10.

Senior teammate Kejuan Johnson joined Nixon as the two 49ers on the all-conference first team. Seniors Bobby Brown of Cal State Fullerton and Derek Stockalper of Cal Poly were repeat first team selections. Brown became Cal State Fullerton's all-time leading scorer on Feb. 22 and his 1,920 points rank ninth on the Big West career chart. Brown also is seven three-pointers shy of breaking the conference's career record of 311. Stockalper is the first player in Mustang history to be named twice to the first team.

UC Santa Barbara junior Alex Harris and Cal State Fullerton junior Scott Cutley round out the All-Big West First Team. Harris leads the conference in scoring (21.0 ppg), an incredible jump from his sophomore season when he averaged 8.3 points.



Player School Ht. Year Pos. Hometown
+Bobby Brown Cal State Fullerton 6-2 Sr. G Los Angeles, Calif.
Scott Cutley Cal State Fullerton 6-5 Jr. F Torrance, Calif.
Alex Harris UC Santa Barbara 6-6 Jr. G Alameda, Calif.
Kejuan Johnson Long Beach State 6-4 Sr. G Long Beach, Calif.
Aaron Nixon Long Beach State 6-2 Sr. G Cleveland, Ohio
+Derek Stockalper Cal Poly 6-5 Sr. G/F Carlsbad, Calif.
Player School Ht. Year Pos. Hometown
Anthony Brown Pacific 6-7 So. F Sacramento, Calif.
Cecil Brown UC Santa Barbara 6-4 Sr. G Canoga Park, Calif.
Chris Devine UC Santa Barbara 6-8 Jr. F Eagle River, Alaska
Kevin Houston Long Beach State 5-10 Sr. G Highland, Calif.
Dawin Whiten Cal Poly 6-3 Jr. G North Hills, Calif.
Player School Ht. Year Pos. Hometown
Sterling Byrd Long Beach State 6-6 Sr. F Compton, Calif.
Trae Clark Cal Poly 5-11 So. G Fremont, Calif.
Larry Cunningham UC Riverside 6-2 Jr. G Downey, Calif.
Darren Fells UC Irvine 6-7 Jr. F/C Fullerton, Calif.
Jonathan Heard Cal State Northridge 6-6 Jr. G/F Inglewood, Calif.
Tyler McGinn Cal Poly 6-6 Sr. F Gilbert, Ariz.
Frank Robinson Cal State Fullerton 6-4 Jr. G Los Angeles, Calif.
Patrick Sanders UC Irvine 6-6 Jr. F Corona, Calif.
Reggie Vezia Pacific 6-2 Sr. G Vacaville, Calif.
Player School Ht. Pos. Hometown  
Chad DeCasas UC Irvine 6-5 G Mission Viejo, Calif.
Michael Hunter UC Irvine 5-10 G Aurora, Colo.
Justin Joyner UC Santa Barbara 6-0 G Antioch, Calif.
James Powell UC Santa Barbara 6-2 G Glendora, Calif.
Henrik Thomsen UC Riverside 6-8 G/F Gundsømagle, Denmark
+Two-time All-Big West First Team


Aaron Nixon, Long Beach State

Henrik Thomsen, UC Riverside

Larry Reynolds, Long Beach State