Smith honored by the MWC

Mar 072005
Authors: Paul Baker

The Mountain West Conference announced the men's and women's basketball 2004-05 awards Monday, and five Rams garnered awards.

Freshman Jason Smith, a 7-foot forward from Kersey, Colo., earned Freshman of the Year, while seniors Matt Nelson and Matt Williams earned second-team and honorable mention, respectively.

"It was very surprising. Coming from a small school and town to CSU is a big difference, but it feels good," Smith said.

Smith led all the conference's freshmen, averaging 10.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game on the year while ranking second in blocked shots on the team with 32.

Smith is third in the CSU freshman record books in scoring average and second in rebounds. He had a career-high 24 points against San Diego State and 14 rebounds against Air Force.

"Receiving this award is great. Next year I will have to work that much harder; I can't slack off," Smith said.

This is the first time that a CSU player has received the Freshman of the Year Award.

Nelson averaged 15.9 points per game this season, good for seventh in the conference. He is in third place in MWC career scoring (1,623), second in career rebounds (587) and field goals made (588). Williams averaged 11.9 points per game this season in limited action because of injuries.

On the women's side, juniors Melissa Dennett and Lindsay Thomas both were honored. Dennett made the second-team all MWC, while Thomas was named to the third team.

Dennett led the Rams in points per game (14.4) as well as rebounds, grabbing an average of eight per game. She recorded seven double-doubles this season and was twice named MWC player of the week.

Thomas was second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.6 points per game. She led the team with 10 double-doubles and had 22 double-digit scoring games this year.

On the men's side, Player of the Year honors went to sophomore Andrew Bogut of Utah. The Defensive Player of the Year went to Justin Williams of Wyoming, and the Coach of the Year went to Utah head coach Ray Giacoletti.

Women's co-Player of the Year honors were given to Kim Smith and Shona Thornburn, both from Utah. New Mexico head coach Don Flanagan was named Coach of the Year for leading the Lobos to the regular season conference title. New Mexico's Dionne Marsh was named Newcomer of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year honors went to Utah's Lana Sitterud.

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