Runnin’ Utes earn conference awards

By Marco Villano, Staff Writer

When a team has a season like Utah’s, raking in a slew of awards shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Senior center Luke Nevill swept the “big” Mountain West Conference season awards in 2009 after having his best season in a Utah uniform by winning Mountain West Conference Player of the Year and with Defensive Player of the Year.

Nevill is the first player in MWC history to win both awards in the same season.

He was also named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association District VIII Player of the Year.

Nevill beat out Wyoming’s Brandon Ewing and BYU’s Lee Cummard for MWC Player of the Year honors.

“It’s great, you know, but you don’t get those awards unless you win and unless you have a great team,” Nevill said.

The 7-foot-2 inch, 265-lb. center from Perth, Australia averaged 16.7 points per game in conference play and was the league’s leading rebounder and shot blocker, averaging 9.7 boards and 3.1 blocks per game. He recorded 50 blocks during conference play, which ranks as the third-highest total for a single season.

With these two awards, Nevill was a lock for first-team All-MWC honors and the inaugural All-MWC Defensive team.

Nevill hasn’t been the only Ute associated with winning awards this season.

Lawrence Borha, known for his defense, was named to the All-MWC defensive team along with Nevill, and was also a third-team All-MWC selection. Borha had a career year for the Utes, averaging 11.9 points per game, and was the league’s best 3-point shooter from beyond the arc, averaging 48 percent.

Shaun Green was another member of Utah’s MWC championship team to earn an award. Green was selected as the MWC Sixth Man of the Year.

“We had a very successful season as a team which has resulted in our individuals winning postseason awards,” said head coach Jim Boylen. “I am very proud of all these guys. I’m proud of Luke’s commitment to winning basketball, of Lawrence’s development as a player and a winner and Shaun’s willingness to sacrifice and come off the bench in order to help us win. They all created a great example for everyone of how to play as a team and play for each other.”

Green averaged 10.6 points and 5.3 rebounds off the bench for the Utes, was sixth in the conference in 3-point percentage at .416 and was seventh in the league with 2.33 3-point field goals made per game. He also became one of the league’s best defenders, most notably in shot-blocking, ranking sixth in the MWC in blocks.

Along with Green, three other Utes were named MWC Honorable Mention selections. The guard trio of Tyler Kepkay, Luka Drca and Carlon Brown were honored.

Kepkay was also in consideration for the Sixth Man Award. The Vancouver, British Columbia native came off the bench to score more than 20 points in four different games and scored a career high of 27 against Colorado State on Feb. 18.

Brown and Drca ranked sixth and eighth in the MWC in assists with 102 and 90, respectively.

Brown was Utah’s fifth leading scorer with 9.6 points per game, but made national headlines for his stellar dunking ability. He made the “SportsCenter” Top 10 Plays three times this season, and was No. 1 on Feb. 4 after his slam over TCU’s Kevin Langford.

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