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Men’s Basketball’s Jones Earns All-Big Sky First Team Honors

OGDEN, Utah – Junior Cameron Jones was one of four unanimous selections to the All-Big Sky first team announced by the conference office on Wednesday. Jones, who hails from Los Angeles, Calif., earned all-league honors for the second consecutive season after being tabbed for the second team last season.

"It is a pretty big deal because that was one of my goals at the beginning of the season,” said Jones prior to practice. “I told Coach Adras I wanted to make playoffs, get to the Big Sky Championship and get first team. I am proud of myself for making that goal.”

Jones is the only player in the Big Sky Conference to rank among the top 15 in points, rebounds, assists and field goal percentage. He is among the Big Sky leaders in points (19.3, 2nd), rebounds (4.7, 15th), assists (2.8, 11th), field-goal percentage (50.1, 9th), free throw percentage (73.5, 13th) and three-point percentage (43.2, 7th). Overall, he averages a team-best 19.3 points (2nd in Big Sky/37th in Division I) and 20.7 points in league play (T2nd in Big Sky).

“Cameron deserves it,” said Head Coach Mike Adras. “He is one of the top players in the league and he had player of the year credentials this season. He had a terrific season and we are happy for Cam.”

NAU travels to Montana to play the Grizzlies Saturday in the Big Sky Tournament Quarterfinals.

“Now that we are here, I got one goal,” said Jones. “Now I am trying to get another one and get to the Big Sky Championship. First team is all good but I am just happy we made the playoffs and are in the running again.”

A season after earning the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year Award, Weber State’s Damian Lillard was chosen as the league’s men’s basketball Most Valuable Player. He guided Weber State to the regular-season championship and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Big Sky Championship.

Lillard is one of just four sophomores to capture the MVP award, joining Montana State’s Jason Erickson (2001-02), Montana’s Larry Krystkowiak (1983-84) and Idaho’s Brian Kellerman (1980-81). Lillard and Erickson are the only players to win Freshman of the Year and MVP in consecutive seasons. Last season, Lillard became the first true freshman in Big Sky history to be named First Team All-Conference.

Lillard’s teammate Franklin Session was tabbed as the Newcomer of the Year. The 6-2 junior forward/guard averaged 10.5 points, six rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.9 steals and 0.9 blocked shots during the regular-season.
Eastern Washington’s Glen Dean was named the Freshman of the Year. The 5-10 guard from Seattle, Wash., averaged 12.2 points and 4.4 assists per game. The true freshman is 11th in the league in scoring and second in assists. Northern Colorado senior Yahosh Bonner was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year.

Four members of the six-player All-Conference First Team were unanimous selections. Joining Jones on all of the coaches’ ballots were Lillard, Montana guard Anthony Johnson, Northern Colorado guard Will Figures, Portland State forward Jamie Jones and Montana State forward Bobby Howard .

Big Sky Conference Honors
MVP – Damian Lillard, G, Weber State
Newcomer of the Year – Franklin Session, G/F, Weber State
Freshman Of the Year – Glen Dean, G, Eastern Washington
Defensive Player of the Year – Yahosh Bonner, G, Northern Colorado

First Team
Player, School, Position, Height, Year, Hometown
*Will Figures, Northern Colorado, G, 5-9, Sr., Centennial, Colo.
Bobby Howard, Montana State, F, 6-7, Jr., Great Falls, Mont.
*#Anthony Johnson, Montana, G, 6-3, Sr., Tacoma, Wash.
*Cameron Jones, Northern Arizona, G, 6-4, Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.
Jamie Jones, Portland State, F, 6-7, Sr., El Segundo, Calif.
*#Damian Lillard, Weber State, G, 6-2, So., Oakland, Calif.

*Unanimous Selections

DID YOU KNOW…Northern Arizona finished third in the Sterling Savings Bank Presidents Cup recognizing academic and athletics performances in 2008-09. The award is based on team grade point averages, graduation rates and the number of all-conference performers with a grade point average above a 3.0, as well as Men's and Women's All Sports points.