Big West Announces Men's Basketball All-Conference Team
2016 Big West Men's Basketball All-Conference Release
After capturing a share of the regular season title, Hawai‘i collected two of the premier individual awards to highlight the announcement of the 2015-16 Big West men’s basketball all-conference team. Junior Stefan Jankovic earned Big West Player of the Year honors with Eran Ganot notching Coach of the Year accolades. Nick Faust of Long Beach State collected the Newcomer of the Year award while Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad garnered Freshman of the Year recognition, as voted on by the nine head coaches.
Jankovic is the first Rainbow Warrior student-athlete named as Player of the Year. The 6-11 forward averaged 15.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots per game. He ranked third in the conference in field goal percentage (.559). Jankovic, a two-time winner of Big West Player of the Week honors, topped the 20-point mark eight times and scored a career-high 34 points on Feb. 18 at CSUN. Jankovic accumulated a league-high tying five double-doubles. In conference play, Jankovic’s numbers climbed to 16.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, ranking him No. 2 in both categories.
Ganot becomes just the fourth head coach to earn Big West Coach of the Year honors in his rookie season, joining UC Santa Barbara’s Bob Williams (1998-99), San Jose State’s Bill Berry (1979-80) and Fresno State’s Boyd Grant (1977-78) on that list. He guided the Rainbow Warriors to a 24-5 overall record and a first-place tie for the Big West title at 13-3, the program’s first league crown since winning the WAC in 2001-02. Ganot’s 24 wins are tied for the most by a first-year Big West head coach, alongside coaching legends Jerry Tarkanian and Lute Olson from Long Beach State.
Faust, a transfer from Maryland, is the first student-athlete from the Beach to be honored as Newcomer of the Year. The 6-6 guard averaged 18.4 points to lead all scorers during conference play, and was second in overall games (17.1 ppg). Faust posted nine games of 20 points or more, including a career-high 34 points versus UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 28 and 30 against Cal State Fullerton on Mar. 2 Faust also ranks among the conference leaders in steals (No. 3 - 1.5 spg) and three-point field goals made (No. 4 - 2.4 3pg). The native of Baltimore, Md. secured Big West Player of the Week honors on two occasions.
Ahmad is the third Cal State Fullerton student-athlete, and first since Bobby Brown in 2003-04, to be bestowed with the Freshman of the Year honor. The 6-4 guard broke Brown’s single-season freshman scoring record of 369, and has scored 424 points for the Titans. Ahmad ranks No. 7 in Big West scoring at 14.6 points per game. The Corona, Calif. native has scored in double figures in 22 of 29 games, including six contests of 20 or more as the conference’s top scoring freshman.
The All-Big West First Team features one multiple selection – UC Santa Barbara senior Michael Bryson makes his second straight appearance. The remaining five members make their initial appearances – UC Irvine junior teammates Luke Nelson and Mamadou Ndiaye, Hawai‘i mates Jankovic and senior Roderick Bobbitt, and Faust from Long Beach State.
Of the 20 players who received first team, second team or honorable mention recognition, 13 have at least one year of eligibility remaining.
Eight Big West Conference teams head to Anaheim to compete for the 2016 Big West Basketball Tournament championship and the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The action begins on Thursday, March 10 at Honda Center.
The complete 2015-16 Big West men’s basketball all-conference team is at the above link.