Fresno State Basketball

Bulldogs’ Taylor a repeat All-Mountain West selection; Huggins the newcomer of the year

Fresno State senior Deshon Taylor was named a first-team All-Mountain West Conference for a second year in a row while Braxton Huggins was a second-team selection and the newcomer of the year. Forward Nate Grimes was an honorable mention pick.

The results of voting by conference coaches was announced on Tuesday from the Mountain West Tournament, with Utah State guard Sam Merrill the player of the year, Aggies’ center Neemias Queta the defensive player or the year and freshman of the year, Utah State’s Craig Smith coach of the year and Nevada guard Jazz Johnson the sixth man of the year.

Taylor again excelled at both ends of the floor for the Bulldogs, averaging 18.6 points and 4.7 assists per game in conference play while often tasked with the defensive assignment against an opponent’s best perimeter scorer.

In Mountain West play, Taylor ranked in the top 10 in nine of 13 statistical categories – more than any of the other players selected to the all-conference teams.

He is fifth in scoring, second in assists, tied for sixth in steals, 10th in field-goal percentage, fourth in 3-point field-goal percentage, fifth in 3-pointers made, seventh in free-throw percentage, seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio and fourth in minutes played.

Merrill, the conference player of the year, ranked in the top 10 in seven of the 13 categories. Nevada guard Caleb Martin and forward Jordan Caroline ranked in five categories and Colorado State center Nico Carvacho was ranked in six.

Huggins, third in conference play in scoring with 19.8 points per game, was on the second team along with San Diego State foward Jalen McDaniels, Aztecs guard Devin Watson, Wyoming guard Justin James and Queta.

Nevada guard Cody Martin, Air Force forward Lavelle Scottie, Boise State guard Justinian Jessup, UNLV guard Kris Clyburn and New Mexico guard Anthony Mathis were the third-team selections.

Marvelle Harris, who was the conference player of the year in 2016, is the only other Fresno State player to be a two-time first-team selection.

The Bulldogs have won three games in a row headed into the Mountain West Tournament and are the No. 3 seed. They open play in at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas at 8:30 p.m. Thursday against the winner of a first-round game between No. 6 Air Force and No. 11 San Jose State.

ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST TEAMS

First team

G Sam Merrill, Utah State

G Deshon Taylor, Fresno State

G/F Caleb Martin, Nevada

G/F Jordan Caroline, Nevada

C Nico Carvacho, Colorado State

Second team

G Braxton Huggins, Fresno State

F Jalen McDaniels, San Diego State

G Devin Watson, San Diego State

C Neemias Queta, Utah State

G Justin James, Wyoming

Third team

F Lavelle Scottie, Air Force

G Justinian Jessup, Boise State

G Cody Martin, Nevada

G Anthony Mathis, New Mexico

G Kris Clyburn, UNLV

Honorable mention

F Nate Grimes, Fresno State

F Ryan Swan, Air Force

G Derrick Alston, Boise State

G J.D. Paige, Colorado State

All-Defense team

C Nico Carvacho, Colorado State

J.D. Paige, Colorado State

G Deshon Taylor, Fresno State

G/F Jordan Caroline, Nevada

G/F Caleb Martin, Nevada

G Cody Martin, Nevada

G Jeremy Hemsley, San Diego State

G Kris Clyburn, UNLV

C Neemias Queta, Utah State

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Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
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