Anything would’ve been hard to compare to last year’s haul of Big West postseason awards for Hawaii. But taken on their own merits, UH’s 2016-17 all-BWC selections are quite respectable.
Noah Allen was named to the conference’s first team on Monday, while Gibson Johnson and Jack Purchase were honorable mentions.
The two other awards UH was thought to be in contention for — Allen for Newcomer of the Year and Eran Ganot for Coach of the Year — went to UC Davis’ Chima Moneke and UC Irvine’s Russell Turner, respectively. Irvine guard Luke Nelson was the Big West Player of the Year despite playing in only 14 games all season with hamstring issues (however, he was spectacular at times in playing nearly all of the Big West schedule).
Allen endured an epic slump of confidence and production to post one of the most explosive extended scoring tears in recent UH memory. Nine of his 12 20-point games came in conference play, and he still led BWC players in conference scoring despite totaling all of two points in UH’s first two BWC games.
Johnson was UH’s most consistent player and the emotional pulse of the team from the middle. At 6-8, he often was an undersized center against opposing bigs that often topped 7 feet. He’ll have a huge role in all aspects in his senior season (when he turns 26). For now, he will have a large say in how the Rainbow Warriors do in this Big West tournament.
Purchase, UH’s sophomore stretch 4 from Auburn, is the unique threat in their offense. He’s a nightmare for other coaches to scout for; he must always be accounted for for his 3-point marksmanship, especially near the top of the arc where he can pick apart defenses with his overhead passes into the post or to cutters. UH is dearly hoping he’ll be back for this BWT.
Allen is the fifth different UH player to make a Big West first team and sixth including repeats. They are:
>> Christian Standhardinger (2012-13, 2013-14)
>> Isaac Fotu (2013-14)
>> Stefan Jankovic (2015-16, POY)
>> Roderick Bobbitt (2015-16)
>> Noah Allen (2016-17)
Correction: Apologies to Isaac Fotu, who was initially omitted from that list. He suffered from my short memory and having a short (and more easily missable) name in the media guide.