DeSaulnier, West make conference all-star unit
ASHLAND — The Southern Oregon men's basketball team's backcourt duo of senior Joel Spear and sophomore Ben DeSaulnier landed on the All-Cascade Conference team, which was released Wednesday.
The 12-person team is voted on by the CCC's head coaches was headed by Northwest Christian senior guard Javonte Byrd, who was named player of the year a day after his Beacons won the CCC tournament title.
Along with Byrd, DeSaulnier and Spear were among nine players who were All-CCC selections for the first time. SOU senior forward Jordan West was honorable mention for the second year in a row after again ranking among the league leaders in scoring, rebounding and blocks.
DeSaulnier, a 6-foot-3 guard from Philomath, led the Raiders and ranked 11th in the CCC during conference play in points per game (17), sixth in 3-point percentage (45.3), 13th in field-goal percentage (51.9) and 15th in free-throw percentage (74).
He was one of the CCC's most efficient scorers, going for at least 20 points eight times while averaging just under 11 field-goal attempts in those games.
Spear, a 6-3 product of Adelaide, Australia, has turned in arguably the best season for an SOU point guard in Brian McDermott's 20 seasons as head coach. Spear was among the CCC leaders in points (14.7, 20th), rebounds (7.2, eighth), assists (5.6, third), steals (1.3, 14th), blocked shots (0.9, eighth) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.6) — ranking ahead of Byrd in all of those categories except steals.
He shot 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range — making 41 3-pointers in CCC play after hitting seven last season — and is one of just four players in the nation averaging at least 10 points, six rebounds and five assists overall.
Spear and West already have more career victories (97) than any players in program history and will become the first Raiders to ever appear in three national tournaments.
West, a 6-8 forward from Gymea Bay, Australia, was his usual steady self while ranking 14th in points (15.9), 14th in rebounds (6.7), third in blocks (1.2), and 12th overall and first among post Northwest Christian’s Luke Jackson was named the coach of the year, Eastern Oregon's Kentrell Washington was the newcomer of the year, and NCU's Omar Richards and EOU's Kalvin Johanson were the co-defensive players of the year.