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Barone selected as WAC’s top player

After 125 games over four seasons, Kyle Barone is at or near the top in almost every meaningful statistical category in Idaho men's basketball history. And Sunday he accomplished another feat: He became the first Vandal to be honored as WAC player of the year.

Barone, the 6-foot-10 senior center who has played the most games in UI history, led the WAC by averaging 18.2 points and 10.9 rebounds per game in conference play. Last night he registered his 16th double-double of the season and ninth game with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.

The Garden Grove, Calif., product was the only Vandal to be recognized by the coaches, and his award comes after UI finished sixth in the conference. But he was clearly the most consistent (and often dominant) player this season, from start to finish.

More below.


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Below is the full UI release on Barone. Idaho plays New Mexico State at noon Thursday — not 11 a.m. as it says in the release — in the quarterfinals of the WAC tournament. The Vandals are 0-4 in the event under Don Verlin.

DENVER – Kyle Barone can add Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year to the resume he has been building throughout his four-year career on the Idaho men’s basketball team, as the 6-foot-10 senior was voted the league’s best by the 10 head coaches, the WAC announced today.

Barone led the WAC in both scoring and rebounding with 18.2 points and 10.9 rebounds per game in WAC games. He was second in the league with a 58.3 field goal percentage, fourth with an 80.9 free throw percentage, and eighth with 1.1 blocks per game. He is the first Idaho player to earn WAC Player of the Year honors.

The center from Garden Grove, Calif., scored a career-high 27 points twice in 2012-13, racked up 16 double-doubles, scored 20 or more points nine times and had 20-point, 10-rebound efforts on eight occasions. His 59.0 field goal percentage for the season is the eighth-best single-season total in school history, and his 155 free throws made entering next week’s WAC tournament are the fourth-most.

Barone has never missed a game in his four-year career, and is Idaho’s career-leader with 125 games played. His 1,414 career points rank fourth in program history, his 864 career rebounds rank second, just 13 shy of all-time leader Deon Watson.

Barone, a two-time WAC Player of the Week in 2012-13, was also a first-team All-WAC pick and was the only Idaho player selected to the All-WAC teams. He was a second-team All-WAC selection in 2011-12 and an All-WAC honorable mention in 2010-11.

Joining Barone on the first-team All-WAC are Denver’s Chris Udofia, New Mexico State’s Bandja Sy and  Raheem Appleby and Kenneth Smith from Louisiana Tech.

This year’s all-WAC second team consists of Denver’s Chase Hallam, New Mexico State’s Daniel Mullings, Texas State’s Joel Wright and Utah State’s Spencer Butterfield and Jarred Shaw.

The all-WAC third team consists of Denver’s Brett Olson and Royce O’Neale, New Mexico State’s Sim Bhullar, UT Arlington’s Kevin Butler and UTSA’s Michael Hale III.

New Mexico State’s Bhullar becomes the first Aggie in school history to earn the WAC’s Freshman of the Year award. In 18 conference games, Bhullar averaged 11.3 points per contest, 7.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game, while shooting 60.2 percent from the field.

Louisiana Tech head coach Michael White earned his first Don Haskins Coach of the Year honor by leading the Bulldogs to a share of the school’s first-ever regular season WAC title. In his second year with Louisiana Tech, White led the Bulldogs to a 16-2 conference record.  Coach White is the first Louisiana Tech coach in school history to receive WAC Coach of the Year honors.

Those named to the WAC’s all-defensive team were Denver’s Hallam and Udofia, Louisiana Tech’s Michale Kyser and Smith and New Mexico State’s Mullings.

Selected to the WAC’s all-newcomer team were Louisiana Tech’s Alex Hamilton, New Mexico State’s Bhullar, Texas State’s Wright and Utah State’s Butterfield and Shaw.

The 2013 WAC Tournament will be held March 12-16, at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Idaho, the No. 6 seed in the tournament, will take on No. 3 New Mexico State at 11 a.m. (PT) on March 14.

2012-13 WAC Men’s Basketball Postseason Award Winners

All-Conference
First Team
Chris Udofia, Jr., F, Denver
Kyle Barone, Sr., C, Idaho
Raheem Appleby, So., G, Louisiana Tech
Kenneth Smith, So., G, Louisiana Tech
Bandja Sy, Sr., F, New Mexico State

Second Team
Chase Hallam, Sr., G, Denver
Daniel Mullings, So., G, New Mexico State
Joel Wright, Jr., F, Texas State
Spencer Butterfield, Jr., G/F, Utah State
Jarred Shaw, Jr., F/C, Utah State

Third Team
Brett Olson, So., G, Denver
Royce O’Neale, So., F, Denver
Sim Bhullar, Fr., C, New Mexico State
Kevin Butler, Sr., F, UT Arlington
Michael Hale III, Sr., G, UTSA

Player of the Year: Kyle Barone, Sr., C, Idaho
Freshman of the Year: Sim Bhullar, Fr., C, New Mexico State
Don Haskins Coach of the Year: Michael White, Louisiana Tech

All-Defensive Team
Chase Hallam, Sr., G, Denver
Chris Udofia, Jr., F, Denver
Michale Kyser, So., F, Louisiana Tech
Kenneth Smith, So., G, Louisiana Tech
Daniel Mullings, So., G, New Mexico State

All-Newcomer Team
Alex Hamilton, Fr., G, Louisiana Tech
Sim Bhullar, Fr., C, New Mexico State
Joel Wright, Jr., F, Texas State
Spencer Butterfield, Jr., G/F, Utah State
Jarred Shaw, Jr., F/C, Utah State


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