The Big West announced its men's basketball all-conference awards on Monday with University of Hawai'i point guard Roderick Bobbitt claiming the highly coveted Defensive Player of the Year.
Aaron Valdes and Stefan Jankovic earned honorable mention honors. Bobbitt etched his name in the Big West record book in becoming the first player from Hawai'i to earn an All-Specialty Award of any kind.
Also named to the Big West all-conference second team, Bobbitt leads the league and nation with 95 steals, while he ranking third in the country with 3.0 steals per game. The steal total places Bobbitt at No. 4 in Big West single-season history, and he is on the cusp of being just the fourth player to amass 100 steals in a season. Bobbitt took down two UH records this season.
Against UC Riverside last month, he set a new UH single season steals mark and, against UH-Hilo this past November, established a new single-game UH record with 10 steals. Aaron Valdes and Stefan Jankovic both saw their first significant action on the court this season and led the 'Bows in scoring. Valdes is averaging a team-high 13.6 ppg with Jankovic right behind him at 11.2 ppg.
Valdes delivered a handful of outstanding performances this season beginning with 28 points in UH's season-opening win against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He dropped 31 against UH-Hilo less than a week later and posted his career high of 34 points against CSUN this past January. Jankovic, who did not play his first game until December due to NCAA transfer rules, scored in double figures in 14 games with arguably his best performance coming at UC Davis where he recorded a double-double with 15 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. Two nights later against league champion UC Davis, he dropped a career-high 21 points helped by a 9-11 shooting night at the free throw line.
Corey Hawkins and Jim Les won Player and Coach of the Year, respectively, for UC Davis. Gabe Vincent of UC Santa Barbara took home Freshman of the Year honors and UC Riverside's Jaylen Bland was voted Newcomer of the Year.
The fifth-seeded Rainbow Warriors will open Big West Tournament play versus No. 4 seed Long Beach State in a quarterfinal matchup on Thursday, Mar. 12 at 2:30 p.m. PT (11:30 a.m. HT).
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