Casper Ware is just the seventh player in Big West history to win back-to-back player of the year awards
March 5, 2012
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Casper Ware, Larry Anderson and Dan Monson made it a clean sweep for Long Beach State for the second year in a row. Ware earned Big West Conference Player of the Year honors for the second straight season, while Anderson claimed Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Year recognition and Monson won his second straight Big West Conference Coach of the Year award.
The three major awards highlighted a banner day for the 49ers as all five starters earned all-league recognition. Ware and Anderson were joined on the first team by T.J. Robinson, while Eugene Phelps claimed second-team all-league honors and James Ennis claimed honorable mention accolades. It is the first time since 2005 that three players from the same team have earned first-team All-Big West honors when Pacific had three first-team honorees. It is the second straight season that Long Beach State has placed five players on the all-league team. Last year, Ware and Anderson were named first-team all-league, while Robinson was a second-team pick and Phelps and Greg Plater claimed honorable mention honors.
Ware (Cerritos, Calif./Gahr HS) becomes the seventh player in Big West Conference history, and the first since 2001 and 2002, to repeat as the Big West Conference Player of the Year. The senior point guard is the third 49er to win back-to-back player of the year honors joining George Trapp (1970, 1971) and Ed Ratleff (1972, 1973). In addition to Trapp and Ratleff, Ware is one of eight LBSU players to win the league's player of the year award. Ware, Trapp and Ratleff are joined by Aaron Nixon (2007), Mate Milisa (2000), Lloyd McMillian (1977), Bobby Gross (1975) and Leonard Gray (1974). Ware is one of 11 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, which honors the nation's top point guard, and he is the career leader in assists at Long Beach State while ranking eighth all-time in the Big West. Ware led Long Beach State in scoring (16.9 ppg), assists (97) and 3-pointers made (79). Ware finished the regular season fourth in the conference in scoring, while also ranking second in 3-point field goals made (2.63 per game), fifth in assists (3.23 apg), fourth in steals (1.47 spg), seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.42), and eighth in free throw percentage (.786). He ranks sixth among LBSU's all-time single-season leaders in 3-point field goals made, and claimed Big West Conference Player of the week honors four times during his senior season (one shy of the league record). In addition to being the all-time assists leader at LBSU, Ware ranks second in steals and free throws made, third in scoring, fourth in 3-point field goals made, fifth in 3-point field goals attempted, and seventh in field goals made.
Anderson (Long Beach, Calif./Jordan HS) became just the second Long Beach State player ever to win the Big West Defensive Player of the Year award, joining Ware who won claimed the honor last season. The senior also claimed first-team all-league honors for the third time in four seasons, with his other awards coming following his freshman and junior seasons. Anderson finished the regular season averaging 14.0 points and 5.0 rebounds. He ranked among the Big West leaders in seven of 13 statistical categories, where he was first in steals (1.87 spg), second in minutes (34.67 per game), fourth in field goal percentage (.491) and 3-point field goal percentage (.419), sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.42), eighth in scoring, and 10th in assists (3.07 apg). Anderson is the all-time leader in steals at Long Beach State, while ranking third in free throws made, sixth in scoring, seventh in assists, eighth in rebounding, and ninth in field goals made. Defensively he spearheaded an attack that held Big West opponents to a league-low 61.1 points per game. Behind Anderson, the 49ers had a 20-0 record when limiting an opponent to under 70 points. He had three or more steals on 11 occasions and amassed at least one steal in all but four games.
Robinson (West Haven, Conn./Kolbe Cathedral HS) earned first-team all-league honors for the second time in three seasons. He was a first-team pick as a sophomore before being named second-team as a junior. The senior finished the regular season with 15 double-doubles to run his career total to 53. He averaged a double-double for the third straight year, finishing the regular season averaging 12.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. He led the Big West Conference in rebounding, defensive rebounding (7.10 per game) and field goal percentage (.545), while also ranking second in offensive rebounds (3.17 per game). Robinson is the all-time leading rebounder in both the Big West Conference and at Long Beach State. His 308 rebounds this season ranks eighth all-time on the single season list at LBSU. In addition to ranking first in career rebounds at LBSU, he is fifth in scoring, field goals made and free throws made.
Phelps (Los Angeles/Taft HS) claimed second-team honors for the first time, after being named was named honorable mention last season. The senior finished the season averaging 8.6 points and 5.7 rebounds. He is second on the team in both rebounds and blocked shots, and needs just three points in the Big West Conference Tournament to become the 22nd 49er to score 1,000 career points. He finished the regular season 11th in the Big West Conference in rebounding, and eighth in defensive rebounding.
Ennis (Ventura, Calif./Ventura College) earned honorable mention all-league honors after finishing the regular season averaging 9.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.7 steals. He was second in the Big West Conference in steals.
Monson was named the Big West Conference Coach of the Year for the second straight season after leading the 49ers to their second consecutive Big West regular season championship and the top seed in this week's Big West Conference Tournament. The 49ers finished the regular season 22-8 (15-1 Big West), despite playing the toughest non-conference schedule in the country. Long Beach State has had back-to-back 20-win seasons under Monson, the first time 49ers teams have done that since 1972-73 and 1973-74. The coach of the year award is the third for Monson, who was named the West Coast Conference Coach of the Year in 1998.
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