Graham named first-team GNAC all-star

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Ira Graham
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Ira Graham
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

March 10, 2008

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Western Washington University men's basketball guard Ira Graham was a first-team choice to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-Star squad announced today.

A 6-foot-1 junior from Fontana, CA, Graham ranked third among league leaders in scoring with an 18.5 per game average, shooting 52.3 percent (184-of-352) from the field.

Graham, who was named to three all-tournament teams this season, was the Vikings' top scorer in 19 of 27 games and scored double figures 24 times, both team bests. Earlier in the season he had a school-record 10-game streak as Western's leading scorer, a string which began the year before.

Graham, who started all 27 games, led Western in assists with a 2.9 average. He scored 30 or more points three times, having a career-high 33 against Western Oregon on Jan. 12.

A three-year letter winner, Graham has scored 950 career points.

Western finished 15-12 overall and tied for fifth place in the GNAC standings at 8-10.

GREAT NORTHWEST ATHLETIC CONFERENCE Contact: Bob Guptill (509-535-5291/Fax 535-5293/e-mail - bguptill@gnacsports.com)

UAA's Cooper, Osborne Voted Player, Coach-of-the-Year

SPOKANE, Wash. - Alaska Anchorage point guard Luke Cooper and UAA head coach Rusty Osborne have been voted the men's basketball Player-of-the-Year and Coach-of-the-Year, respectively, in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

Cooper and Osborne helped lead the Seawolves to a school-record 25 wins and a league-record 16 conference victories this winter and their first-ever GNAC title. UAA (25-5) is the No. 1 seed and the host for the NCAA Division II West Regional which begins Friday.

Cooper, who is a senior from Melbourne, Australia, is the national leader this winter in assists with 274 (9.13 per game) and also leads the GNAC in assist/turnover ratio at 3.75. He ranks fourth in career assists in NCAA Division II history with 844 and ranks ninth in GNAC history in career steals with 153.

Osborne, a 1988 graduate of the University of Texas, is in his fourth season at Anchorage and has a career record of 74-42. Previously he served as an assistant coach for the Seawolves for 13 seasons.

Central Washington forward Jake Beitinger was selected the GNAC Newcomer-of-the-Year, while Blake Poole of Saint Martin's and Dane Johnson of Western Oregon tied in the balloting for the GNAC Freshman-of-the-Year award.

Beitinger, a transfer from Eastern Washington, finished fifth in the conference in scoring (15.0), 10th in rebounding (6.5) and third in blocks (1.54) as the Wildcats posted their first 20-win season in eight years. Central will take a region-best 10-game winning streak into the playoffs.

Poole, a product of Sheldon High School in Eugene, Ore., averaged 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds for the Saints, ranking third on the team in the latter category. He also ranked second for SMU in field goal percentage, converting on 53.5 percent.

Johnson, from Columbus, Ohio, finished second to Cooper in the conference in assists (4.67 per game) and also averaged 5.8 points per game for the Wolves.

Alaska Anchorage placed two players on the first-team all-star team with forward Carl Arts joining his teammate on the unit. Joining the two UAA players on the first team were Beitinger, Seattle Pacific center Rob Will, Western Washington guard Ira Graham and Saint Martin's guard Jake Linton.

Cooper and Linton were the lone repeaters from last year's first team. Will and Arts earned second team honors a year ago. Cooper and Beitinger were the only unanimous selections.

GREAT NORTHWEST ATHLETIC CONFERENCE - 2007-08 MEN'S ALL-STAR TEAM

First Team, Position, Height, Class, Hometown

+*Luke Cooper, Alaska Anchorage, Guard, 6-0, Sr.,Melbourne, Australia +Jake Beitinger, Central Washington, Forward, 6-8, Jr., Port Orchard, WA Carl Arts, Alaska Anchorage, Forward, 6-6, Sr., Valdez, AK Rob Will, Seattle Pacific, Center, 6-10, Sr., Seattle, WA Ira Graham, Western Washington, Guard, 6-1, Jr., Fontana, CA *Jake Linton, Saint Martin's, Guard, 5-10, Jr., Lynnwood, WA *Repeater +Unanimous

Second Team, Position, Height, Class, Hometown

Marques Echols, Seattle Pacific, Guard 6-2 Sr. Seattle, WA Justin Parnell, Northwest Nazarene, Guard, 6-4, So., Sutherlin, OR McCade Olsen, Alaska Anchorage, Forward, 6-8, Sr., Riverton, UT Ryan Coldren, Seattle, Forward, 6-8, Sr., Fall Creek, OR Travis Kuhns, Western Oregon, Forward, 6-8, Jr., Salem, OR Matt Penoncello, Central Washington, Guard, 6-5, Jr., Moscow, ID Nate Jackson, Central Washington, Guard, 6-0, Sr., Seattle, WA

Honorable Mention

Chris Bryant, Alaska Anchorage (G, 6-4, Sr., Metlakatla, AK); Mladen Begojevic, Alaska Fairbanks (F, 6-5, Jr., Ruma, Serbia); Kendall Gielow, Northwest Nazarene (F, 6-7, So., Medford, OR); Michael Wright, Seattle University (F, 6-5, Jr., Lakewood, WA); JoJay Jackson, Seattle Pacific (F, 6-5, Sr., Fairfield, CA); Brendan Campbell, Saint Martin's (F, 6-5, Sr., Bremerton, WA).

Player-of-the-Year - Luke Cooper, Alaska Anchorage Newcomer-of-the-Year - Jake Beitinger, Central Washington Freshman-of-the-Year - Blake Poole, Saint Martin's, and Dane Johnson, Western Oregon Coach-of-the-Year - Rusty Osborne, Alaska Fairbanks