March 5, 2012
Colorado Springs, Colo. -
Wyoming senior guard JayDee Luster was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year and two other Cowboys earned All-MW honors, as the conference office announced the awards Monday night. Luster also claimed All-Defensive Team and Honorable Mention All-MW in a vote of the league head coaches and media, while redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington was named to the Second Team and senior guard Francisco Cruz was Honorable Mention.
Luster spearheaded the Cowboy defense this season to become the second Cowboy to earn MW Defensive Player of the Year after Justin Williams claimed the award in 2006 and 2007. He has held 10 of the 14 opposing MW players he has guarded below their season scoring average with his tenacious defense. Offensively, he ranks fifth in the MW with 3.7 assists per game and his 1.73 assist-turnover ratio is fourth. His 34 minutes per conference game ranks second on the team and seventh in the league. Luster's top MW performance was eight assists, two steals and no turnovers against TCU on Feb. 28.
Washington has proven himself as one of the most athletic players in the MW this season to earn the highest honor for a Cowboy since Brandon Ewing was named to the First Team in 2009. Washington currently ranks in the top 10 of seven MW statistical categories during conference play, including second in blocks (1.2) and field goal percentage (53.1). He notched three double-doubles against league foes, including 32 points and 14 rebounds against Colorado State on Jan. 21, to rank fifth in points (13.9) and rebounds (7.5). On the glass, he is 10th in the MW in offensive rebounds (1.6) and fourth in defensive rebounds (5.9). He also ranks eighth in free throw percentage (69.2).
Cruz showed improvement in several areas of his game during his second season at UW. He ranks 11th in the MW in scoring with 12.6 points per game, fourth in field goal percentage at 46.2 and sixth in threes per game with 1.6. His 1.68 assist-turnover ratio is fifth and 3.0 assists per game are ninth. He leads the Cowboys and ranks second in the MW at 35 minutes per conference game. His top MW performance was 22 points, four rebounds and three steals versus New Mexico on Jan. 14, while he also notched 19 points and five assists versus TCU on Feb. 28.
Wyoming opens play at the 2012 Conoco MW Championships against UNLV on Thursday at 9:30 p.m. MT in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.