Vander Joaquim named U.H. MVP at awards banquet

The University of Hawai`i men's basketball team held its annual awards banquet Wednesday night at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. Junior Vander Joaquim took home the top honor, claiming the Art Woolaway Most Outstanding Player Award.

Joaquim, a 6-10 center from Luanda, Angola, proved the most consistent performer on this year's Rainbow Warrior squad. Joaquim led the team in scoring (14.3 ppg), rebounding (9.5 rpg), field goal percentage (.560) and blocks (58). Among the national leaders in rebounding and field goal percentage, Joaquim posted a team-high 12 double-doubles, including six performances with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Last month Joaquim was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District 6 first team, making him the first player to earn first-team all-district recognition since Michael Kuebler in 2003-04. Earlier in the month he was named to the all-Western Athletic Conference first team, the first UH player to earn that honor in six years.

Joaquim was also tabbed the best defensive player at the banquet. His seven blocks at Nevada in January was just one short of tying the school record, while the junior finished this season ranked sixth-all-time in blocks at UH. His rebounding average was the highest by a Rainbow Warrior since Tony Maroney (9.6) in 1994-95.

Junior guard Jeremiah Ostrowski, meanwhile, earned the Ah Chew Goo Most Inspirational Award for the second straight year. Despite having played less than one full season for the Rainbow Warriors, the 'Aiea, O'ahu native entered the 2011-12 season as one of three team captains. The multi-sport athlete joined the team full-time following the football season in early December and led the team to wins in eight of its next 10 games following a 2-4 start without him. The senior ranked sixth nationally in assists per game (7.0 apg) and finished with the third-highest assist average in school history.

Sophomore Davis Rozitis, a native of Cesis, Latvia, earned the Academic Award as the team's top scholar-athlete. The political science major was garnered all-WAC academic accolades earlier in the week.

The Rainbow Warriors, under the direction of second-year head coach Gib Arnold, finished the 2011-12 campaign with a 16-16 overall record in a season highlighted with the team's first win over a nationally ranked team in six years, its first WAC Tournament win since 2005 and its first tournament semifinal appearance in nearly a decade.

2011-12 Award Winners

Best Defensive Player: Vander Joaquim

Academic: Davis Rozitis

Ah Chew Goo Most Inspirational Player: Jeremiah Otrowski

Art Woolaway Most Outstanding Player: Vander Joaquim