Big West Announces Men's Basketball All-Specialty Awards
2016 Big West Men's Basketball All-Specialty Awards
Three juniors were represented on the 2016 Big West Men’s Basketball All-Specialty award announcement. Long Beach State guard/forward Travis Hammonds notched Best Sixth Player accolades, UC Irvine center Mamadou Ndiaye claimed the Best Defensive Player award, and UC Davis guard Darius Graham earned the honor of Best Hustle Player.
The conference’s nine head coaches voted on the awards for the 16th straight season.
Hammonds is the first student-athlete from Long Beach State to secure the Best Sixth Player honor. Hailing from Columbia, S.C., Hammonds is the squad’s fourth-leading scorer (9.8 ppg) and third-best rebounder (4.9 rpg). He is tied for second among Beach players with 46 three-point baskets, and ranks No. 10 in the Big West in threes made per game (1.6). Hammonds erupted for a single-game school record-tying eight three-pointers, finishing with a career-high 27 points against Oregon on Dec. 18. Appearing in 28 games, he hit two or more threes in 14 contests, and scored in double-digits in six of his final nine conference outings.
For the second time in his three-year UC Irvine career, Mamadou Ndiaye earned the Best Defensive Player tag. He also claimed the honor as a freshman in 2014. It is the third time in the last four years that an Anteater student-athlete has received the award. Ndiaye, a 7-6 center, led the Big West in total blocked shots (78) and blocked shots per game (2.4). He became the fourth player in Big West history to collect 200 career blocks, and surpassed former teammate Will Davis II for the all-time school mark with his 209th rejection against UC Riverside on Mar. 5. A native of Dakar, Senegal, Ndiaye recorded at least one swat in 30 of 32 contests, including a season-high eight at Cal Poly on Feb. 3.
Graham became the second UC Davis student-athlete to earn the Best Hustle Award, and the first since Joe Harden captured the hardware back-to-back in 2010 and 2011. The team’s floor leader as the starting point guard, Graham was the only Aggie to start all 29 regular season games. He is tied for second in scoring (10.0 ppg), and leads in assists (79), three-pointers made (47) and minutes played (972). In his last outing, an 87-83 triple overtime victory at CSUN, Graham played 47 minutes and contributed 18 points, four assists and three steals. A Sacramento, Calif. native, Graham’s 47 threes eclipses the 32 he combined for in the previous two seasons.
2015-16 BIG WEST BEST SIXTH PLAYER
Travis Hammonds, Long Beach State
2015-16 BIG WEST BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER
Mamadou Ndiaye, UC Irvine
2015-16 BIG WEST BEST HUSTLE PLAYER
Darius Graham, UC Davis