Stafford Is Taylor Made For Player Of The Year Honors
Stafford led Western Washington to a 23-5 overall record and the GNAC regular season title. He enters the GNAC Championships averaging 22.1 points per game.
Stafford led Western Washington to a 23-5 overall record and the GNAC regular season title. He enters the GNAC Championships averaging 22.1 points per game.
Tony Dominguez was named Coach of the Year for the second time in his five-year career at Western Washington.
Tony Dominguez was named Coach of the Year for the second time in his five-year career at Western Washington.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – The best new player in the league is also the best player period as Western Washington senior guard Taylor Stafford leads the selections for the 2016-17 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball All-Conference Team.

Stafford was voted by the conference’s coaches as both the Player of the Year and the Newcomer of the Year for his role in leading the Vikings to their first regular season championship since 2013 and the No. 1 seed in this week’s GNAC Men’s Basketball Championships.

The transfer from the University of Evansville leads the Vikings in scoring and is 25th in Division II with an average of 22.1 points per game. He scored in double digits in all but one of WWU’s 28 games and six times scored 30 or more points, topped by a 44-point performance at UC San Diego on Dec. 12. In addition to his scoring prowess, Stafford ended the regular season ranked second in the GNAC in free throw percentage (.881), third in steals (1.9 per game), three-pointers made (2.6 per game) and fourth in assists (3.6 per game).

Stafford leads four Western Washington selections to the all-conference team, the most of any school. Joining Stafford as a first team selection is senior forward Jeffrey Parker.

Western Washington’s Tony Dominguez was selected by his peers as the GNAC Coach of the Year for the second time in his career. Dominguez led the Vikings through a brilliant turnaround after finishing sixth in the league and just making the GNAC Championships last year. The Vikings enter this year’s tournament with a 23-5 overall record, 17-3 GNAC, and were ranked No. 3 in the latest NCAA Division II West Region Rankings (as of Feb. 22). Western Washington leads the GNAC and is 13th in Division II in scoring at 88.8 points per game and leads the league in field goal percentage, free throw percentage and three-point percentage.

Western Oregon junior forward Tanner Omlid was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year. The Wolves’ top scorer and rebounder at 15.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, Omlid enters the GNAC Championships leading Division II in steals per game (3.26) and total steals (90). He also ranks in the GNAC’s top-10 in assists (3.6 per game) and blocked shots (1.6 per game). Omlid set a GNAC single game record with 11 steals against Seattle Pacific on Feb. 4, a game in which he had a triple-double that also included 18 points and 15 rebounds.

With his 90 steals on the season, Omlid has surpassed the previous GNAC single season record of 80 set by Alaska’s Brad Oleson in 2002-03 and his 65 steals in conference games broke the record set Saint Martin’s Jarel Cherry in 2001-02. In addition to the defensive honor, Omlid was named to the all-conference first team.

Seattle Pacific forward Tony Miller was named the Freshman of the Year in addition to receiving Second Team All-GNAC honors. Miller was one of two players to rank in the GNAC’s top-five in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 19 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Miller finished with 15 double-doubles, which included a 33-point, 15-rebound performance against Saint Martin’s on Feb. 14.

Joining the Western Washington selections and Omlid on the first team are Alaska Anchorage senior guard Suki Wiggs, Montana State Billings sophomore forward Preston Beverly and Central Washington senior guard Dom Hunter. Stafford, Wiggs and Omlid were the three unanimous selections to the team while Wiggs is the only repeat first team choice.

Wiggs enters the GNAC Championships as the GNAC’s leading scorer. He is ranked sixth in Division II with an average of 24.2 points per game. Wiggs is also one of the most prolific free throw shooters in Division II, ranking third with 234 attempts and fourth with 177 made. Wiggs has scored double digits in all 28 of the Seawolves’ games this season and has scored at least 30 points in six games, topped by a 46-point performance at Central Washington on Dec. 1.

Beverly was the 2015-16 Freshman of the Year and was one of two players to rank in the league’s top-five in both scoring and rebounding. He averaged 19.1 points and 8.3 rebounds per game to lead the Yellowjackets to a berth in the GNAC Championships. He also ranks fourth in the GNAC with 1.8 blocked shots per game. Beverly posted double-figure scoring in all but one game this season and scored 20 or more points 13 times, capped by a 35-point night against Simon Fraser on Jan. 28.

Hunter flourished in Ellensburg after transferring from Alaska Anchorage, finishing second in the GNAC and ranked 13th in Division II with an average of 22.8 points per game. He also ranked sixth in the GNAC in assists (3.3 per game) and ninth in steals (1.2 per game). Hunter finished with 22 double-digit scoring performances and five games with 30 or more points, paced by a 34-point performance against Concordia on Jan. 26.

Player of the Year: Taylor Stafford, Western Washington     
Coach of the Year: Tony Dominguez, Western Washington        
Defensive Player of the Year: Tanner Omlid, Western Oregon      
Freshman of the Year: Tony Miller, Seattle Pacific        
Newcomer of the Year: Taylor Stafford, Western Washington      
FIRST TEAM          
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
*+ Sekou “Suki” Wiggs Alaska Anchorage G 6-4 Sr. Seattle, Wash. (Univ. of Idaho)
* Taylor Stafford Western Washington G 6-1 Sr. Chicago, Ill. (Univ. of Evansville)
*# Tanner Omlid Western Oregon F 6-4 Jr. Monmouth, Ore. (Army)
+% Jeffrey Parker Western Washington F 6-6 Sr. Richmond, Calif. (Salesian)
@ Preston Beverly Montana State Billings F 6-7 So. Wildomar, Calif. (Elsinore)
Dom Hunter Central Washington G 6-0 Sr. Federal Way, Wash. (Univ. of Alaska Anchorage)
SECOND TEAM          
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
@ Drew Martin Concordia F 6-8 Sr. Beaverton, Ore. (New Mexico Highlands Univ.)
Cole Preston Saint Martin’s G 6-4 Sr. Escondido, Calif. (Sierra Coll.)
Brandon Davis Alaska G 6-0 Sr. Spokane, Wash. (West Valley)
Maurice Jones Northwest Nazarene F 6-5 Jr. Riverside, Calif. (Saddleback JC)
Tony Miller Seattle Pacific F 6-6 Fr. Woodinville, Wash. (Woodinville)
@ Spencer Svejcar Alaska Anchorage G 6-4 Sr. Arvada, Colo. (Laramie County CC)
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
Diante Mitchell Alaska Anchorage G 6-1 Sr. Syracuse, Utah (Western Nebraska CC)
Fuquan Niles Central Washington C 5-11 Jr. Seattle, Wash. (North Idaho Coll.)
Christopher Edward Concordia F 6-7 Jr. Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. (Chaffey Coll.)
@ Latrell Wilson Concordia G 6-3 Jr. Arcata, Calif. (Cabrillo JC)
@ Marc Matthews Montana State Billings G 6-2 Jr. Sierra Vista, Ariz. (Buena)
@ Bouna N’Diaye Northwest Nazarene G 6-6 Sr. Bergen, Norway (Barry Univ.)
Kaileb Rodriguez Northwest Nazarene C 6-9 Sr. Denver, Colo. (Sheridan Coll.)
Tyler Copp Saint Martin’s G 6-1 Sr. Camas, Wash. (Union)
Joe Rasmussen Seattle Pacific C 6-8 Sr. Mercer Island, Wash. (Mercer Island)
Coleman Wooten Seattle Pacific F 6-5 So. Maple Valley, Wash. (Tahoma)
Kedar Wright Simon Fraser G 6-3 Jr. Toronto, Ont. (Univ. of British Columbia)
Ali Faruq-Bey Western Oregon G 6-2 Jr. Chicago, Ill. (Idaho State Univ.)
Deandre Dickson Western Washington C 6-9 Jr. Easton, Calif. (Bakersfield Coll.)
Daulton Hommes Western Washington F 6-7 Fr. Lynden, Wash. (Lynden Christian)
* - Unanimous Selection               
+ - First Team Selection In 2015-16        
# - Second Team Selection In 2015-16        
@ - Honorable Mention In 2015-16        
% - Second Team In 2014-15