IRVINE, Calif. - Senior guard Brynton Lemar earned All-Big West first team honors, junior forward Chima Moneke was named Newcomer of the Year and joined Lemar on the league’s first team, sophomore guard Siler Schneider, in addition to his Honorable Mention selection, is the conference’s Best Sixth Player and senior guard Darius Graham won the Hustle Player of the Year award for the second year in a row when Big West officials revealed their list of award recipients during the conference’s annual pre-tournament call.
Monday’s announcement marked the first time that conference coaches bestowed end-of-season honors to Lemar, Moneke and Schneider.
In addition to leading all Aggies in points (488), points per game (15.7) and three-point field goals made per game (2.3), Lemar ended the 2016-17 regular season with top-three rankings among all Big West players in four categories: points (1st), points per game (3rd), free throws (116, 3rd) and three-point field goals made (70, 3rd).
The San Diego native’s stellar play on both ends of the court is the reason why he is the league’s lone three-time Player of the Week recipient this season; Lemar collected his most recent POW award after becoming the 22nd player in school history to score 1,000 career points. Needing just five to hit the mark, Lemar exploded for a game-high 28 against CSUN — recording 17 of those points in the first half — helping the Aggies set a Division I program record for most points scored in any half with 56.
Entering Thursday’s 12 p.m. Big West Tournament quarterfinal vs. Cal Poly, Lemar has scored 20 or more points in eight games this season.
No Big West player has made an immediate impact for his team like Moneke, which is why the Canberra, Australia earned Newcomer of the Year and first team accolades.
For the last 15 straight weeks, Moneke led all league players in rebounding — one of seven league-high figures currently held by the junior forward. In addition to his 9.7 per game average, nearly two full rebounds more than the conference’s second-ranked player, Moneke is ranked No. 1 in double-doubles (11), total rebounds (281), defensive rebounds (209), field goals made (166), blocks (41) and blocks per game.
Led by his season-high 17-rebound effort vs. Long Beach State, in ESPNU’s national broadcast from the Pavilion on Feb. 25, no Big West player recorded more double-digit rebound games than Moneke (14). In his first season competing for UC Davis, Moneke holds single-season Division I-era records in five major rebound categories.
Moneke, the second UC Davis student-athlete to receive Newcomer of the Year honors after conference coaches selected Corey Hawkins in 2012-13, will enter his first playoff game as an Aggie ranked No. 6 among all league players in scoring with his 14.5 per game average, the highest among all first-year players.
Highlighted by his recent three-week performance where he averaged 17.7 points per game — led by his season-high 23 points vs. CSUN, the sophomore guard scored double figures six times in a row — shot .500 overall and .433 from three, Schneider earned Honorable Mention and is now the second player in program history to receive the league’s Best Sixth Player award.
No Big West reserve scored more points this season (344) than Schneider; the Aggies’ sharpshooter also recorded the 10th-highest three-point field goal percentage (.374) and three-point field goals made per game average (1.5) among all league players.
Starters and top players from other Big West programs dominated both lists.
The Lansing, Kansas, native also shot .419 overall, recorded 114 field goals, 46 three-pointers and hit 70 shots at the free throw line — all league-high figures among all non-starters. As the Aggies’ sixth man, Schneider recorded single-season career-high totals in nearly every major category, a testament to his skill set and ability to impact games for UC Davis all season long.
Schneider is the second Aggie Sixth Player honoree in the last three seasons; Josh Fox won this award in 2014-15.
For the second season in a row, Graham is the Big West Conference’s Hustle Player of the Year. As any UC Davis basketball fan can attest, rarely is there a game where the Sacramento native isn’t diving after a loose ball, taking a charge, or crashing the glass. By doing so, the senior guard created additional possessions for his team thanks to these momentum-changing plays.
Graham is the first UC Davis repeat Hustle Player of the Year since Joe Harden was honored in 2010 and 2011.
Whether is it on or off the court, Graham has displayed his leadership skills throughout his five years at UC Davis, and is a key reason why the program has enjoyed a high level of success throughout his tenure.
Graham is one of three student-athletes in the program’s 103-year history to collect 400 career assists; the senior guard enters Thursday’s tournament game ranked No. 3 in the league with his assist-to-turnover ratio, No. 5 in assists (3.4 per game) and three-point percentage (.387). Off the court, Graham, like his teammates, makes frequent visits to local elementary schools as part of the team’s Reading Program, and participates in numerous community service projects.
UC Davis will face Cal Poly in the Big West Tournament’s opening game at the Honda Center, action from Anaheim will kick-off Thursday afternoon at 12 p.m. In addition a live stream on FOXSportsGo.com and the FOXSportsGo app, FOX College Sports Pacific (Northern and Central California) and FOX Sports West (Southern California) will televise the Aggies’ quarterfinal game.
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