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UNLV BASKETBALL:

Tre’Von Willis ‘shocked’ by second team All-Mountain West Conference nod

Juniors Oscar Bellfield, Chace Stanback earn third team mention; Sophomore Anthony Marshall snubbed

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV guards Tre’Von Willis and Anthony Marshall smile on the bench late in the game as the Runnin’ Rebels cruised past Utah 78-58 during their Mountain West Conference season finale Saturday, March 5, 2011 at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.

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When UNLV coach Lon Kruger huddled his team up following Monday's practice, he announced that Tre'Von Willis, Chace Stanback and Oscar Bellfield were earlier in the day named All-Mountain West Conference performers, Willis had a blank stare on his face.

A recent surge towards the end of the season made up for Willis's tough start in conference play, and he was given second team All-MWC honors.

"I was shocked — I wasn't expecting to get anything," said Willis, who averaged 14.5 points and 3.8 assists per game in conference play. "That just shows you I'm getting a little healthier. This is the healthiest I've been all season long. Hopefully I keep progressing towards 100 percent."

Willis was a first team All-MWC honoree a year ago, and was picked to earn a similar title before his senior season. However, he was slow to heal from knee surgery he underwent back in August and struggled to look like the Willis of old.

That is until about two weeks ago.

After coming and going in terms of both health and production for much of the season, the Fresno, Calif., native has saved his best for the stretch run. Since bailing the Rebels out late in an ugly 49-42 victory over Air Force on Feb. 15, he's re-assumed the role of the team's alpha dog.

In the team's four games to close out the regular season, he averaged 15.3 points off of 50 percent shooting, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per outing.

"His finish has been really similar, production-wise, to what he was doing last year," Kruger said. "And it's much-needed."

Both Bellfield and Stanback landed on the five-member third team. Stanback was on the third team a year ago, while Bellfield was honorable mention.

The Rebels' lone snub for any of the postseason awards or honors was rising sophomore guard Anthony Marshall, who many would say was UNLV's most consistent player in the conference season.

In 16 games, Marshall averaged 9.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals. He was a legitimate candidate for either third team or honorable mention praise, or a spot on the league's All-Defensive team.

"A little bit surprised," Kruger said. "Anthony had a good year. Again, obviously a lot of good players in the league, and we're biased, but we would have liked to have seen that for sure."

Added Willis: "He was real important, and it's a shame. Maybe they felt like he didn't deserve it because we finished third."

The votes for the awards were cast by the league's media members, and all winners are listed below.

UNLV's season continues on Thursday at 8:30 p.m., when the Rebels (23-7 overall, 11-5 Mountain West) take on Air Force (15-14, 6-10) in the MWC tournament quarterfinals at the Thomas & Mack Center. The winner will take on whoever emerges from a match-up between San Diego State (29-2, 14-2) and Utah (13-17, 6-10) on Friday night at 8:30.

First Team All-MWC: Jimmer Fredette, senior guard, BYU; Andy Ogide, senior forward, Colorado State; Dairese Gary, senior guard, New Mexico; D.J. Gay, senior guard, San Diego State; Kawhi Leonard, sophomore forward, San Diego State.

Second Team All-MWC: Jackson Emery, senior guard, BYU; Drew Gordon, junior forward, New Mexico; Malcolm Thomas, senior forward, San Diego State; Tre'Von Willis, senior guard, UNLV; Will Clyburn, junior forward, Utah.

Third Team All-MWC: Michael Lyons, sophomore guard, Air Force; Brandon Davies, sophomore forward, BYU; Hank Thorns, junior guard, TCU; Oscar Bellfield, junior guard, UNLV; Chace Stanback, junior forward, UNLV.

Honorable Mention All-MWC: Tom Fow, senior forward, Air Force; Evan Washington, senior guard, Air Force; Noah Hartsock, junior forward, BYU; Travis Franklin, senior forward, Colorado State; Kendall Williams, freshman guard, New Mexico; Billy White, senior forward, San Diego State; Josh Watkins, junior guard, Utah; Desmar Jackson, sophomore guard, Wyoming; Amath M'Baye, sophomore forward, Wyoming.

All-Defensive Team: Jackson Emery, senior guard, BYU; Dairese Gary, senior guard, New Mexico; Kawhi Leonard, sophomore forward, San Diego State; David Foster, junior center, Utah.

Player of the Year: Jimmer Fredette, senior guard, BYU.

Defensive Player of the Year: Jackson Emery, senior guard, BYU.

Newcomer of the Year: Drew Gordon, junior forward, New Mexico.

Freshman of the Year: Kendall Williams, freshman guard, New Mexico.

Sixth Man of the Year: Pierece Hornung, sophomore forward, Colorado State.

Co-Coaches of the Year: Dave Rose, BYU; Steve Fisher, San Diego State.

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Previous Discussion: 28 comments so far…

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  1. I think it should go like this. First team all mountain west: unlv's staring five
    Second team. Fredette, Lenard, ,Ogide, d.j. Gay, and of course Lopez.
    Third team jhalk, gordon, Hank thorns, M. thomas, then let's just give it to shabazz or something (how ever we can just keep him in nv).

    Wouldn't it be nice.

  2. Djk, yes, it would be nice! I don't think it's too far fetched to say those will be the honorees for the MWC tournament. We are on a nice little streak and ending the year much better than we were doing several weeks ago. I think that makes us the most dangerous team in the tournament. Of course, I know I'm being optimistic. The Cougars and Aztecs are awesome and have done a great job of bringing respect to our conference this year. But I would love it if an underdog won the MWC tournament!

  3. Well Marshall gets to show them what's up in a few days. BOO-YA!

    GO REBELS!!

  4. I am a big Anthony Marshall fan. I do wish he was honored on the 3rd team All-MWC. However, I don't think he was "snubbed." I say that just because our conference is packed with players who are performing at a fairly high level. Right under the "superstars" of our conference is a large group of above average players. In the same way, I thought Stanback was a 2nd team performer, but when I look at the list, I couldn't disagree. I agree, they will show just how great they are in the coming weeks.

    I am glad Tre'Von was surprised and showed some humility. Hopefully, this last year was full of life lessons for him and he turns out to be a better, stronger person (who will also lead us to the conference championship).

    Go Rebs!

  5. teach ... I'd say snub is a fair term, considering that WIll Clyburn made the second team while Evan Washington and Josh Watkins was honorable mention. Just my opinion.

  6. Ryan, what do you have against Clyburn? He's got considerable numbers.

  7. Congrats to Tre for never giving up and working hard to finish the regular season strong.

    As for Marshall, he had 15 games with double figure points and 15 with single figure points. Five of those single pointers were for 5 or fewer points. That inconsistency cost him votes.

    The good news is that another year should tilt the balance towards more consistent good games. Marshall was up in FG/FT/3PT percentages from last year, as well as in all categories except for turnovers, which stayed consistent and steals which declined a bit. Maintaining his upward progress trajectory will get Marshall on all conference teams, and help the Rebels contend for the conference title next year.

  8. It's a little weird that the team with the lowest FG% allowed (or is AFA lower than us?) has zero players on the all-defensive team. Actually, there's only 4 players on the list... must be so good on "D" they can take on the rest of the conference a man short, haha.

    Props to Tre, Chase, and Oscar, they deserve it. Marshall will get his turn.

  9. Marshall not on the list is a travesty. At minimum would put him on the Defensive team. And Jackson Emery defensive player of the year? Hawkins has similar numbers except he plays half as many minutes. In any case, good to have some players voted and get recognized. Now the real challenge begins though. Go Rebs!

  10. If Hawkins can improve a little more on offense, I can see him becoming another Gary Graham. Graham as a freshman and sophomore was a defensive stud- as he matured he became a pretty good shooter by his senior year.

  11. I'm sorry, but I don't really care what this moron and criminal thinks. When asked about Jimmer Fredette being a unanimous selection for MWC Player of the Year, Tre took yet another opportunity to insult Fredette by saying, "My vote would have been for Kawhi Leonard or maybe D.J. Gay, all-around players who can play defense." Tre never passes up on the opportunity to say something derogatory about Fredette, which just shows how little class he has. I had hoped that Kruger's example of class would have influenced Tre by now, but it looks like it's just not going to happen.

  12. Gavin, if you don't care what this "moron" and "criminal" thinks, why did you click on this link, whose headline blatantly gives away that it is talking about his opinion? Maybe you shouldve skipped over this article and not have harrassed us with your idiotic hatred.

  13. Kawhi > Jimmer

    Have you played against both players Gavin? I think I'll take the word of someone who has competed against them all.

  14. Gavin, I think jumping to the conclusion that Tre'Von's statement is an insult to Fredette, derogatory, and classless is quite a jump.

    Ryan, just wondering how many of the MWC honorees were consistent starters. Anyone on that list come off the bench as much as Marshall?

  15. @ youngrebelfan and Sofakingbored

    I'm a native Las Vegan and was a Rebel fan before Jerry Tarkanian moved to Vegas. As a UNLV alum, I am tired of my school being tarnished by guys like Tre'von. I could support him, even after the criminal assault issues, if he would show some class. However, he has been dissing Fredette all season, and shows no signs of having learned anything.

    Before the UNLV-BYU in January, Tre said, "They've got a preseason All-American and supposedly the best player in the conference on the other team, so that's gonna be nothing but fun." Fredette went out and dropped 39 points on the Rebs at the T&M.

    Tre'von talked more trash about Fredette before the game in Provo. Fredette dropped 29 on UNLV in an easy BYU win.

    Two games, 68 points, two easy BYU wins, but Tre still talks trash. He couldn't bring himself to just say nothing bad about the MWC unanimous POY. Instead, he had to get in a dig about Fredette. It is clear that he doesn't learn. Thus, he is a moron.

    I love Coach Kruger -- I think that he is one of the best things to ever happen to Rebel basketball. However, I'm ready for Tre to move on and not bring further embarrassment to UNLV like he has done with his legal troubles and trash talking.

  16. If the league, and nation for that matter, didn't have such a man-crush on Fredette, the Refs might be able to call a good game. Everyone can admit the guy can hit from long range, has a great crossover, and is consistent from the free throw line, but half the time when he's driving to the basket he either travels or it should be called as an offensive foul. He doesn't play defense. I'd take Leonard and Gay over Jimmer and anyone from BYU anyday of the week.

  17. I agree that Tre's trash talking has been out of place, but I will never slander one of our players for his off the court comments/issues, especially a minor battery charge.

    If youve been a fan for that long, I have no doubt you've seen your share of "criminals" that have gone through UNLV (most notably the NCAA).

    And I agree JerryWayne. I've always said its Mountain West policy to give Jimmer 4 steps and a foul every time he goes to the rim.

  18. I like it... Show some swag...

    Plus Tre has not been 100% at all this season... He does know how to defend Jimmer though... The first game I saw a stat that Jimmer was like 1-11 when Tre was on him... He went off when guys were switching... And one thing Tre does better then anyone in the league is play Jimmer to his left... Jimmer is not as good of a shooter to that side... If you watch Jimmer he steps right into his shots that he drains from distance... Tre takes him out of his comfort zone...

    Up at BYU he went to the line 16 times... And here Jimmer had a hell of a game, I wouldn't take that away from him... It will be interesting to see what may happen if these 2 meet... If you noticed Tre did not have the wraps on his legs... I think he is getting healthier now at the end of the season... So at least our next potential run in may be a bit more competitive...

    But first things first a huge hurdle in the Aztecs...

  19. It sounds like someone's been taking those MWC Conference commericials on sportsmanship a little too seriously... You know, the one where the players on the opposing team say "good luck" to each other before shooting a free throw.

    Let's be realistic people. Talking trash is a part of the game. We watch professional players talk trash in the NBA and every other sport, yet you expect Tre (and everyone else) to be above it all in college? Please.

    Now, do I wish he would back up that trash talking with some serious game? Yea. Do I think it's come back to bite him and the team in the butt? A little, yea. Am I hoping he shuts his trap and lets his game speak for itself as we beat BYU in the MWC Finals? Most definitely.

    And oh yea...

    Kawhi > Jimmer

    Jimmer's good, but Kawhi is only a sophomore and he's going to be an absolute beast in the NBA.

  20. Tre has every right to talk, what did jimmer do before this year? Nothing. Give me a healthy willis, and I think we would get the same old results from Jimmer.
    Its actually refreshing to hear a genuine opinion from a player, then some politically correct, 'he is a great player, we hope we can keep him contained' crap.

  21. Who cares if he didn't make all 1st team MWC. Big deal. Tre and rest need to step up big time during NCAA tourney and hopefully roll to final 8 or better! I am a longtime Rebel fan going back like Gavin. Go Rebels!!!

  22. Gavin I think you are totally overacting to Tre's opinion. First of all if someone disagrees with you they're a moron? Second I have never heard Tre say anything negative about Fredette. The so called trash talk was Tre excited to play the guy, but in your opinion he should have got down on his knees. Thirdly I totally agree with Tre. Over the past 10 games Fredette has shot 35-36% from the field. If our team shot that bad the fans would be pissed. He also averaged 4-+5 turnovers per game in that stretch. Another Jimmer fact. Dave Ros eleaves him in against the bad teams in the conference even when the games are blowouts. It's called padding the stats. Rose has done that for 2 years, especially if Jimmer struggles against the opposing team. he leaves him in so he can hget his numbers. Kwahi Leonard has what 20 double-doubles, and is a great defender. Jimmer cannot and does not play D. They hide him in a zone most of the time. The history of MVP's has always been scorers, when there is so much more to the game. BYU without Fredette would be a fomidable team, without Davies they might be an early out. They will be rooting for CSU to beat New Mexico. It's my opinion and I don't care what you say everyone is entitled to their opinion.

  23. MTDice I completely agree with you that trash talking is acceptable. What I don't like though is when someone continues to talk trash when they can't back it up anymore. Willis had two shots at BYU and Fredette, and he got blown out both times. He should give respect when respect is due.

  24. Your right go_rebels, all you hear out of Provo is hope for a CSU win and crying about the tournament being in Las Vegas.

  25. toonkee: The reason I didn't vote for Clyburn is because I take team success into account somewhat. Clyburn had the stats, yes. But they didn't translate into team success as much as Marshall's numbers, which were lower, did, for example. Nothing against him or his talents. He's a nice player. I would have given him honorable mention, though.

    As to the question about consistent starters, everyone who made the first 3 teams was a consistent starter, I believe. Marshall I considered one, too, because, remember, his stay on the bench was pretty short-lived when it was realized that they needed him out there to start games. He only was a reserve for 6 of the 30 regular season games. I'm still wondering how he didn't get least get thrown honorable mention. I know of at least two other media members outside of myself who voted for AM. Oh well.

  26. The reason I haven't watched an NBA game for over 20 years is that it has turned into thugball. Trashtalking by a bunch of illiterates who have NO respect for the history of the game.
    I love the college game because it doesn't have nearly the same amount of crud going on. Willis needs to shut up and put up.

  27. GO REBELS

    this is some of the most extreme homerish garbage ive ever seen written... and because it is well written i was scared some might actually buy into it.... so i had no choice but to expose it for what it is... FICTION... Did you really say that BYU without fredette would still be a formidable team... but without davies they would be a second round out... are u even pretending to be serious with this junk..... have you ever watched byu play when fredette goes out... they look like anything but a formidable team.... they look terrible and lost... meanwhile his numbers are down a little lately; yet u fail to mention that byu continued to steam roll their opponents during all this jimmer down time...(with the exception of a one game fluke against NM when the team was struggling with adjusting to losing their homie) you see when you constantly quadruple team a player, he's numbers will likely drop.... but what u fail to realize is how much of a win it is for a team the min a player reaches such a status of respect as to every coach selling out their defensive gameplans just to try and not let him beat you.... thats when the team gets to easily step up and beat u with wide open shots... u see its important to look at the other players production during this end of the year span.... abuoa, hartsock, emory, have all received amazing looks due 2 the attention dedicated to fredette.. and the crap post about jimmer playing NO DEFENSE is bull ish... its something the haters have come up with in hopes it will stick.. is he a all defensive first teamer? no. but u do not become #5 all time in byu history in steals by playing NO DEFENSE..... if you think byu plays zone to hide fredette you are so confused... they play zone because their smart enough to play it well, and because they as a whole, are not as athletic as most teams.... thus a zone allows them to aim their defense in a "help each other out" type mentality.... you seem to be eaten up with jimmer envy just like TREBONE (head) WILLIS. you can say u think that gay or leonard deserves poy all you want; but i dont believe you... what happened when they ran up on jimmer? that right, the same thing that happened against trebone and the rebs; double digit beat downs... with a special little signature 40 point drain fest against the rebs and likewise another 40 point (43 actually) drain fest against the aztects as well.... oh yea by the way, the second aztect game, davies (who you claim is the real reason byu is a beast LOL) was a non factor and on the pine all game with foul trouble

  28. It sounds like someone's been taking those MWC Conference commericials on sportsmanship a little too seriously... You know, the one where the players on the opposing team say "good luck" to each other before shooting a free throw.

    Let's be realistic people. Talking trash is a part of the game. We watch professional players talk trash in the NBA and every other sport, yet you expect Tre (and everyone else) to be above it all in college? Please.

    Now, do I wish he would back up that trash talking with some serious game? Yea. Do I think it's come back to bite him and the team in the butt? A little, yea. Am I hoping he shuts his trap and lets his game speak for itself as we beat BYU in the MWC Finals? Most definitely.

    And oh yea...

    Kawhi > Jimmer

    Jimmer's good, but Kawhi is only a sophomore and he's going to be an absolute beast in the NBA.

    another dandy.....
    you see mtdice, where im from, theirs rules to talking smack!!!!!!! before a matchup if you want to yap; fine yap.... If you win the matchup, and u want to continue to yap; fine... you won talk all you want.. but if you run that fat mouth, and you get torched to the tune of 40 big ones, and your team gets popped by double digits in the process; at your place not to mention.... by the rules of talking trash, you officially have to shut the heck up. until you do something about it... so this takes us to the second meeting.. trebone head willis again runs that mouth, again gets torched for 30, loses by double digits again, and for the icing on the cake lets fredette stamp his ace at the end of the game with that sweet take to the basket with a min left. so now trebone, who already broke the rules of talking trash, surely realizes after being made fredettes little lady, TWICE, he now has to shut up right? wrong.. he CHOKES (pun definately intended) in both opportunities against fredette, yet he still runs his fat hater lips.. he gets no respect... to me he's scum... somebody said earlier, he liked what trebone said, that he's showing some swag.... homie please... showing some swag would be taking at least one of the two chances he had on the court vs fredette and producing a big game with a W.. But to keep talking after getting abused; thats the epitome of SWAGLESS!!!

    THERES RULES TO TALKING SMACK... YOUR GET THAT ACE WAXED AND SWEPT, AND FREDETTE AVE 35 ON YOU; YOU SHUT UR FREEKIN MOUTH CHOKE ARTIST X'S TWO LOL) INSTEAD THIS JEALOUS FELON IS AT IT AGAIN... PS TO THE GUY WHO SAID JIMMER WENT 1-11 IN THE FIRST MEETING WHENEVER TREBONE WAS GUARDING HIM... THATS NOT TRUE... HE MISSED 12 SHOTS ALL GAME.. I REMEMBER HIM HITTING THREE BUCKETS ON WILLIS OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD... SO GO SOMEWHERE WITH TRE GUARDS JIMMER WELL... IF HE DID, JIMMER WOULDNT AVERAGE 35 VS THE MIGHTY REBS THIS YEAR