ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – San Diego State guard Xavier Thames is the Mountain West Player of the Year, edging out University of New Mexico forward Cameron Bairstow.
Bairstow won the league scoring title, averaging 20.3 points per game. He also led the conference in field goal percentage and finished in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive rebounds.
Bairstow wasn’t completely left out. He was named first team Mountain West along with Lobos guard Kendall Williams. Williams won Player of the Year last season.
Many thought Bairstow would take the award due to a very strong and consistent year. The last 11 Player of the Year awards have gone to a member of the regular season league title. When reacting to Monday’s news Bairstow said, “Traditionally, the four years I have been here, it’s been the best player on the best team that basically won the conference. I think that’s the way it should be. So I think rightfully, he (Thames) deserved the award.”
Lobos head coach Craig Neal responded to the news by saying, “Xavier had a heck of a year, but there is not a guy in our league that went from game one out of the 18 that was more consistent than Cam Bairstow.”
Bairstow is the only Mountain West player who is a finalist for a national award.
Lobos Center Alex Kirk was named to the all defense team with Kendall Williams. Williams was also named third team Mountain West.
Lobos guard Hugh Greenwood picked up an honorable mention.
San Diego State Coach Steve Fisher is the Mountain West Coach of the Year.