Big West Men's Basketball All-Conference Team Revealed
2018 Men's Basketball All-Conference Team
Big West regular season champion UC Davis captured three of the four primary awards to highlight the announcement of the 2017-18 men’s basketball all-conference team, voted on by the nine head coaches. TJ Shorts is the first individual in Big West history to earn both the Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year award in the same season. Jim Les, the architect of the UC Davis championship season, claimed Coach of the Year accolades. Meanwhile, CSUN local product Terrell Gomez notched the Freshman of the Year award.
Shorts II secured the second Player of the Year award in UC Davis lore behind Corey Hawkins in 2014-15. He also became the third Aggie – Hawkins (2013) and Chima Moneke (2017) – to receive Newcomer of the Year recognition in the eight-year history of the award.
The 5-foot-10 junior guard was a catalyst in the regular season championship for the Aggie program. In overall games, Shorts II ranked seventh among conference players in scoring (15.2 ppg), fifth in field goal percentage (.538), second in assists (4.3 apg) and first in steals (2.0 spg). He also placed third in assist-to-turnover ratio at +1.8. Shorts II stepped up his performances towards the latter part of the season to help the Aggies finish 12-4 in Big West play. Over the final eight games, Shorts II averaged 21.0 points on 56.6% (56-of-99) shooting and hit two game-winning shots – a running three-pointer that downed Long Beach State on Feb. 3 and a coast-to-coast layup that nipped UC Riverside at the end on Feb. 24.
A native of Tustin, Calif., Shorts II recorded first UC Davis triple-double in nearly a decade with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a victory at Cal Poly on Feb. 15. The Saddleback College transfer poured in 10 20-point games, including a career-high 31 points in the triple overtime, 105-104 win at LBSU. He had six 20-point efforts in the last eight games as the Aggies made their run to the title.
Les became the 12th individual in Big West history to earn multiple Coach of the Year plaques. He claimed his first honor in 2014-15 when the Aggies notched a school-record 25 wins and won their first Big West title. With just one returning starter from last year’s NCAA Tournament squad, the 2017-18 Aggie edition went 21-9 overall under Les. In his seventh season at the helm of the Aggies, Les led them to 20-plus wins for the third time in four seasons. The Aggies owned one of the nation’s longest home court win streaks – 19 games – after starting out 8-0 this season on Hamilton Court. Over the last eight contests, in which UC Davis posted a 6-2 record, three of those wins came in incredible fashion as the Aggies defeated Long Beach State in double overtime, Cal Poly in triple overtime and UC Irvine in double overtime. The 90-84 win over UCI in the regular season finale – in a winner-take-all atmosphere – came in front of a Bren Events Center sellout crowd of 5,000. Les has now coached two Big West Players of the Year and three Big West Newcomers of the Year.
Gomez, a 5-foot-8 guard, became the third CSUN representative of Freshman of the Year accolades, following Ian Boylan (2002) and Stephan Hicks (2012). He is the leading freshman scorer in the conference at 11.7 points per game. Gomez posted 18 double-digit scoring games, including three of 20 points or more. The Los Angeles, Calif. native hit at least one three-pointer in 29 of 30 games, and his 65 threes on the year ranked No. 2 in the Big West. Gomez also knocked down the long range shot with efficiency, ranking No. 1 in the Big West three-point field goal percentage (.461). He sported his first career double-double against Big West champion UC Davis with 10 points and 10 assists.
The All-Big West First Team features six new faces – Shorts II, UC Santa Barbara teammates Max Heidegger and Leland King II, Cal State Fullerton junior Kyle Allman, Jr., Long Beach State senior Gabe Levin and UC Irvine sophomore Tommy Rutherford. Four of the six first-team performers are eligible to return next season.
The complete 2017-18 Big West men’s basketball all-conference team can be accessed at the link above.