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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / BIG WEST MEN'S TOURNAMENT | NOTEBOOK

Utah State's Daniels Tops Specialty Awards

March 08, 2001|LON EUBANKS and PAUL McLEOD

The Big West Conference announced the winners of its new specialty awards, which were voted on by conference players.

Utah State's Shawn Daniels, who led the conference in blocked shots with an average of 1.69 per game, was selected as the men's defensive player of the year, Idaho's Jerald Jenkins was chosen as the top sixth man, and Long Beach State's Ron Johnson earned honors for exhibiting the most hustle.

Among the women, Long Beach State had two winners, with Ekuah Ramsey getting the defense award and Crystal Givens the sixth-player award. The hustle award went to Odessa Jenkins of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

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Perhaps the best Big West tournament matchup today is the men's game between Long Beach State and Boise State. But it's being played at noon, when most fans can't get away to see it.

Long Beach has one of the better followings in the Big West and a later starting time figured to draw extra spectators to the Convention Center.

"We're disappointed by it," Long Beach State Athletic Director Bill Shumard said.

But Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell said the reason Long Beach and Boise State open so early is that the conference wants to give winners at least 24 hours to rest before playing in the semifinals.

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Idaho men's Coach David Farrar, whose team finished ninth in the Big West and did not qualify for the eight-team postseason tournament, said that he thinks that man for man, Utah State has the best team in the conference.

But when it came to voting for the league's most valuable player, Farrar went for Irvine's Jerry Green, who won the award.

"Jerry Green is the player of the year," Farrar said. "I think he is having a great season and that is why Irvine has had such a good season."

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