Most of the Big West Conference postseason awards announced today made sense.
In this writer’s opinion, there was one clear exception to that. Big West freshman of the year, Terrell Gomez. Gomez received the award (which would’ve been UH’s second in that category, after Isaac Fotu co-won it in 2012-13) based on voting from the league’s nine head coaches.
In my mind — and maybe I’m a little biased, but I don’t think I’m off base here — it clearly should’ve gone to Hawaii’s Drew Buggs. Gomez led the conference in 3-point percentage (46.1) and outdid Buggs in scoring (11.7 to 8.1). Their assist and turnover numbers were nearly identical. Buggs had a clear edge as a defensive player, though, with 42 steals to Gomez’s 19. AND — the most important point — team success should be heavily weighted when you’re talking about a point guard-on-point guard comparison. UH, at 8-8, was worlds better than CSUN’s 3-13, the loss to the Matadors at the Stan Sheriff Center notwithstanding.
Or, as newly minted BWC Sixth Man Jack Purchase said after Monday’s practice at Titan Gym, “I thought (Drew) should’ve won it. I don’t know why they gave it to the CSUN kid. I felt Buggsy’s had a great season as well. He was really deserving of that award and got robbed.”
You could’ve also made the argument for Mike Thomas getting All-BWC second team instead of honorable mention, but you can make the argument of each person on the five-player second squad being deserving.
On the other hand, it was pretty cool for Sheriff Drammeh and Purchase to get two specialty awards no previous ‘Bows have taken, hustle player and the aforementioned sixth man.
You can read full player reactions to Monday’s awards in Tuesday’s print edition of the Star-Advertiser. To further tease it, there’s some pretty good quotes in there.
Here was today’s quick summary of the awards.
The Big West women’s basketball awards were also announced today, with senior Sarah Toeaina getting a repeat first-team nod. You can read about that here.
It was a deserved award for Toeaina, who’s shouldered an enormous workload for the Wahine this season. She’s in very rare company for multiple first-team award winners at UH (only the fourth player to do so).
Sophomore guard Leland Green remained out of action at Monday’s practice at Titan Gym from the shoulder injury he suffered at Fullerton in the regular-season finale Saturday. For the Wahine, wing Leah Salanoa remained out and is day to day with an unspecified injury going into Tuesday’s first-round game against Cal State Northridge.
For both the UH men’s and women’s practices at Titan Gym on Monday, the emergency ceiling rims were in use. It appears they will be the rims that teams will still use in the women’s tournament first and second rounds Tuesday and Wednesday, before that tournament shifts to the Honda Center.
That was necessitated by one of the regular stanchions breaking during Hawaii’s regular-season finale at CSUF on Saturday. There was an hour delay at halftime when it was noticed a backboard metal welding/bolting broke loose, leaving the rim shaking after any contact. As a contingency, the arena’s very old ceiling rims, that hadn’t been used in an official capacity in ages, were lowered, measured and cleaned, and used to finish out the game. Both sides were lowered, instead of just the side with the broken stanchion, in the interest of fairness. Shot clocks were deployed at ground level.
Amusing side note: It was confirmed by CSUF equipment personnel that the piece broke on Thomas’ running thunder dunk in the first half. The broken backboard in question was half-disassembled Monday and appears to be in no shape for use in the next two days.