March 1, 2011
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - The West Coast Conference has announced its All-WCC teams and individual award winners for the 2011 season as voted on by the league's eight head coaches. Saint Mary's and Gonzaga shared the West Coast Conference regular season crown, and the two teams combined to earn three of four major conference awards. Saint Mary's senior guard Mickey McConnell was named the WCC Player of the Year, Gonzaga junior transfer Marquise Carter was named the WCC Newcomer of the Year, and Santa Clara senior Troy Payne was recognized as the West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year. In addition, Gaels' coach Randy Bennett earns WCC Coach of the Year honors for the second time.
McConnell is the first Gael to earn the league's top honor since Eric Schraeder in 1999. A finalist for the Bob Cousy Award given annually to the nation's top point guard, McConnell leads the West Coast Conference in assists per game with 6.1, assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.6, and three-point field goal percentage at 47.5%. McConnell is third in the conference in scoring at 16.8 points per game, while anchoring a Saint Mary's offense that leads the West Coast Conference in eight statistical categories.
Carter captures the Newcomer of the Year award after coming on strong in the latter half of WCC play. Carter started two of Gonzaga's first 23 games but started the final eight for the Bulldogs. The transfer from Three Rivers Community College ranked among the West Coast Conference leaders in steals during WCC play. Carter shot 63% over Gonzaga's final four conference games - all victories - as the Bulldogs came back from three games in the standings to earn a share of their 11th consecutive West Coast Conference regular season championship. Carter is the third Gonzaga player to earn Newcomer of the Year honors, joining Elias Harris (2010) and J.P. Batista (2005).
Payne is the first Santa Clara player to be recognized as the WCC Defensive Player of the Year since the award was introduced in 1999. When conference play began, Payne emerged as an integral cog in the Broncos' defense. The Los Angeles native averaged eight rebounds per game during conference play - second overall, while ranking among the WCC leaders in steals. Thanks in large part to Payne's efforts, Santa Clara leads the West Coast Conference in steals.
Bennett earns his second WCC Coach of the Year award, after sharing the honor with Gonzaga's Mark Few in 2008. Under Bennett's guidance, the 2011 Gaels won a share of their first conference regular season title for the first time since 1997, while securing the WCC tournament's top seed. Saint Mary's won 17 of its first 19 games this season and led the WCC standings from start to finish. In addition, Bennett's squad posted its fourth consecutive season with more than 20 victories.
2011 ALL-WEST COAST CONFERENCE TEAM
Matthew DellavedovaSaint Mary'sSo. G
Kevin FosterSanta ClaraSo.G
Steven GrayGonzagaSr. G
Rashad GreenSan FranciscoJr.G
Rob JonesSaint Mary'sJr.F
Mickey McConnellSaint Mary'sSr.G
Luke SikmaPortlandSr. F
Michael WilliamsSan FranciscoSo.G
Honorable mention: Perris Blackwell, USF; Elias Harris, GON; Lorne Jackson, PEP; Jared Stohl, POR; Vernon Teel, LMU; Mychel Thompson, PEP; Drew Viney, LMU
2011 ALL-WEST COAST CONFERENCE FRESHMAN TEAM
Cody DoolinSan FranciscoG
Stephen HoltSaint Mary'sG
Anthony IrelandLoyola MarymountG
Evan RoquemoreSanta ClaraG
Player of the Year
Mickey McConnell, Saint Mary's
Defensive Player of the Year
Troy Payne, Santa Clara
Newcomer of the Year
Marquise Carter, Gonzaga
Coach of the Year
Randy Bennett, Saint Mary's