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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Mountain West Conference announced its 2006-07 men's basketball awards today. The league's nine men's head coaches along with selected media picked the all-conference teams, as well as the coach, player, freshman and defensive awards.
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose captured Coach of the Year honors for the second straight season, while Cougar teammates Keena Young and Jonathan Tavernari were selected as the Player and Freshman of the Year, respectively. UNLV's Joel Anthony was named Defensive Player of the Year.
Regular-season champion BYU and runner-up UNLV led the league with three all-conference selections apiece, highlighted by unanimous first-team honoree Young for the Cougars. Air Force, San Diego State and Wyoming also had multiple players chosen with two each, while Colorado State, New Mexico and Utah each had one.
Seven players were repeat all-conference selections. Brandon Heath of San Diego State is a third-time honoree, collecting first-team accolades for the second straight year after earning second-team kudos in 2004-05. Jason Smith earned his second consecutive first-team nod, while Young makes the leap to the first team after receiving third-team honors last season. Air Force's Jacob Burtschi, BYU's Trent Plaisted and San Diego State's Mohamed Abukar were second-team selections for the second straight year. Wyoming's Brandon Ewing was a second-team member this year after earning third-team accolades in 2005-06.
Rose led BYU to its second straight 20-win campaign (23-7) and first outright conference title since 1988. The Cougars set league records for most points scored (1,263), most field-goals made (459) and best three-point field-goal percentage (.457) against Mountain West opponents while posting a 13-3 record in conference play. In addition, BYU currently boasts the nation's longest active home win streak at 31 games after going 17-0 in the Marriott Center this season. Young, a 6-6, 215-pound senior forward from Beaumont, Texas, led the Cougars to their third MWC regular-season title and first top 25 ranking since 1993. He has scored in double figures in 26 of 30 games this season to rank fourth in the league with 17.1 points per game. A first-team NABC All-District 13 selection, Young has registered five double-doubles on the year and is seventh among MWC rebounders with a 6.2 average on the glass.
Anthony, a 6-9, 260-pound senior center from Montreal, Canada, leads the league with 94 blocked shots, including 58 rejections against Mountain West opponents, while helping the Runnin' Rebels to a second-place finish in the conference. Ranked 12th nationally in blocks, he set the MWC single-game record with 13 blocks vs. TCU on Feb. 6, also pulling down 11 rebounds in the contest to notch his first career double-double.
Tavernari, a 6-6, 220-pound forward from Sao Bernardo, Brazil, led all freshmen in scoring (7.2 points per game) and rebounding (2.8 per game) while aiding the Cougars' title run. He set an MWC freshman record for three-point percentage with a 6-for-7 effort (.857) against TCU on Jan. 10.