Mullings, Siakam, Menzies lead All-WAC Honors

Courtesy of NMSU

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Western Athletic Conference regular season champion New Mexico State collected a lion’s share of the postseason honors as the WAC recognized its outstanding players on Tuesday.

NM State Coach Marvin Menzies was named the WAC’s Don Haskins Coach of the Year, while redshirt freshman Pascal Siakam was chosen Freshman of the Year and senior Daniel Mullings joined Siakam as a member of the All-WAC first team.

Seniors Tshilidzi Nephawe and Remi Barry were selected to the All-WAC second team.

Courtesy of NMSU

The balloting was done by the head coaches of the conference, who could not vote for their own players.

“This shows the depth and the talent of our team to be able to have four players chosen to the all-conference team,” said Menzies. “This really is a reflection of the team.”

The coaches also selected Mullings and Siakam to the WAC All-Defensive Team, while Siakam also earned a spot on the WAC All-Newcomer squad.

In leading NM State to winning the WAC regular season title by a whopping five games with a 13-1 record, 21-10 overall, Menzies coached the Aggies to the best conference record in school history.

The eighth-year Aggie bench boss directed his team to a 92.9 winning percentage, bettering the 90.0 percent (9-1) of coach Presley Askew’s 1960-61 Border Conference co-champions and the 88.9 percent (16-2) of coach Neil McCarthy’s Big West Conference co-champions.

It’s the first time Menzies has been chosen by his peers as the WAC’s Don Haskins Coach of the Year, and just the second time he has been honored as a coach of the year. Menzies was also honored as the Western States Conference Coach of the Year at Santa Monica College.

“This is a nice honor and I’m very appreciative that my peers voted me as Coach of the Year,” a humbled Menzies explained. “But it’s hard for any one person to be singled out. I have to give my staff and my players the credit for their hard work that allowed me to receive this prestigious award.”

Menzies is the first NM State coach to be selected as a conference coach of the year since Neil McCarthy was named the Big West Conference Coach of the Year in 1990.

Siakam, the 6-9 redshirt freshman forward from Douala, Cameroon, established himself as one of the top big men in the WAC and in the country with his powerful play.

Siakam leads the WAC and is 18th nationally with his 58.0 field goal percentage (156-of-269). He’s also leads the league and is 63rd nationally with 1.8 blocked shots a contest, and is second in the WAC in rebounding at 7.7 boards an outing.

Siakam also leads the Aggies in scoring with 13.2 points a game, ranking seventh in the league. His 55 total blocked shots is the fourth most in a season at NM State.

“Pascal is a great addition to the Aggie family,” said Menzies. “He has played so well within the team concept and doing what we’ve asked and needed him to do. The play of his team helped him, and put him in position to receive these honors.”

Mullings, who will go down as one of the all-time great Aggie players when his career comes to a close, had to overcome a broken finger on his shooting hand that cost him 12 games this season including three WAC contests.

The 6-2 senior guard from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, answered the bell ahead of schedule following his surgery to lead the Aggies to a string of 11 straight victories, currently tied with Duke for the third longest active winning streak in Division I.

Mullings ranks second in the conference in steals with 1.8 per game, and 10th in assists with 2.6 per contest. He’s ninth in the WAC in scoring at 12.8 points per game and 11th in rebounds at 5.4 an outing.

It’s his second first team All-WAC selection and his fourth straight selection as a WAC postseason awardee. He was a second team choice as a sophomore in 2013 and the league’s Freshman of the Year in 2012.  He’s also been on the All-Defensive Team for three consecutive seasons.

“Daniel is a very special player and a very special leader,” said Menzies. “Once he returned from missing those 12 games, we’ve been undefeated. His energy, enthusiasm and talent raised the level of the team. It’s a tribute to him to earn first team honors in consecutive seasons.”

Mullings holds the NM State record with 236 steals and ranks sixth on the Aggie all-time scoring list with 1,648 and could jump to fourth with 12 more points.

Nephawe picked up second team All-WAC honors for the second straight season. “Chili” also missed a dozen games with a foot injury this season before coming back in the second WAC game of the year.

The 6-10 senior center from Johannesburg, South Africa, returned to his spot as one of the top inside players in the region. He is fourth in the WAC in rebounding, averaging 7.1 points a game to go with 9.5 points a contest 20th in the league.

Chili has four double-doubles this season and has posted six double-digit rebound games – all of them after he returned from his injury. In fact, since his return, Nephawe has averaged 11.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and shot 56.2 percent from the floor.

Barry made the most of the starting assignment awarded him his senior season, earning second team all-conference.

The only Aggie to start all 31 games, Barry is second on the team in scoring by one point, averaging 13.2 points to rank eighth in the WAC. He’s second in 3-point field goal percentage in the league, connecting on 44.4 percent from behind the arc (36-of-81).

The 6-7 senior forward from Paris, France has a pair of 20-plus games this season, including a 20-point outing at Bakersfield in January to go with his career-high 23-point outing against UC Irvine on Jan. 3.

“Having two more seniors receive second team all-conference honors just affirms the depth and overall talent of the team,” said Menzies. “I’m so happy Chili and Remi made the All-WAC team. This has been a very special team.”

It’s the first time New Mexico State has had four players honored on the All-WAC teams. The last time NM State had four players mentioned on an all-conference team was in 1998, when Louis Richardson was named first team All-Big West, with Dominic Ellison, Charles Goza and Denmark Reid were honorable mentions.

Joining Menzies and Siakam as a special award recipient is Missouri-Kansas City sophomore Martez Harrison as WAC Player of the Year. Harrison leads the WAC with 17.8 points per game and led UMKC to the number two seed in the WAC Tournament.

Other members of the All-WAC first team include Harrison, Bakersfield junior center Aly Ahmed, and Seattle U senior guard Isiah Umipig.

In addition to Nephawe and Barry, the All-WAC second team has senior guard Jarell Flora of Seattle U, sophomore forward Janari Joesaar of Texas-Pan American, and junior guard DeWayne Russell of Grand Canyon.

 

2015 ALL-WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Player of the Year: Martez Harrison, Missouri-Kansas City

Freshman of the Year: Pascal Siakam, New Mexico State

Don Haskins Coach of the Year: Marvin Menzies, New Mexico State

First Team All-WAC

Aly Ahmed                      Bakersfield                         Jr.          C        6-9        Alexandria, Egypt (Midland College)

Martez Harrison            Missouri-Kansas City       So.         G       5-11      Kansas City, Mo. (Brewster Academy)

Daniel Mullings             New Mexico State              Sr.         G       6-2        Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Laurier)

Pascal Siakam                New Mexico State              Fr.         F        6-9        Douala, Cameroon (God’s Academy)

Isiah Umipig                   Seattle U                              Sr.         G       6-0        Federal Way, Wash. (Cal State Fullerton)

Second Team All-WAC

Remi Barry                     New Mexico State              Sr.         F        6-8        Paris, France (Del Oro)

Jarell Flora                      Seattle U                              Sr.         G       6-3        Bremerton, Wash. (Bremerton)

Janari Joesaar                 Texas-Pan American         So.         F        6-6        Tartu, Estonia (Ole Miss)

Tshilidzi Nephawe       New Mexico State              Sr.         C        6-10      Johannesburg, South Africa (Stoneridge Prep)

DeWayne Russell          Grand Canyon                    Jr.          G       5-11      Peoria, Ariz. (Northern Arizona)

All-Defensive Team

Jerome Garrison            Grand Canyon                    Sr.         G       6-3        Phoenix, Ariz. (Mountain Pointe)

Dan Kimasa                    Texas-Pan American         Fr.         F        6-9        Kigali City, Rwanda (Tampa Bay Christian Academy)

Kevin Mays                    Bakersfield                         Jr.          F        6-4        Queens, N.Y. (Odessa College)

Daniel Mullings             New Mexico State              Sr.         G       6-2        Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Laurier)

Pascal Siakam                New Mexico State              Fr.         F        6-9        Douala, Cameroon (God’s Academy)

All-Newcomer Team

Josh Braun                      Grand Canyon                    Fr.         G       6-4        Anthem, Ariz. (Westwind Prep Academy)

Reese Holliday              Missouri-Kansas City       Sr.         F        6-4        Kansas City, Kan. (Toledo)

Janari Joesaar                 Texas-Pan American         So.         F        6-6        Tartu, Estonia (Ole Miss)

DeWayne Russell          Grand Canyon                    Jr.          G       5-11      Peoria, Ariz. (Northern Arizona)

Pascal Siakam                New Mexico State              Fr.         F        6-9        Douala, Cameroon (God’s Academy)

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