Alford Coach of the Year, Williams Player of the Year in the MW

March 11, 2013

Now comes the hardware.

Picked to finish third in the Mountain West preseason poll, but winners of the regular-season championship by two games, the University of New Mexico was recognized in a big way for being the 2012-13 conference champions.

The Mountain West today announced that Lobo junior guard Kendall Williams has been named Player of the Year while head coach Steve Alford picked up his third Coach of the Year award in the past five seasons.

Williams is the seventh Lobo to make first team under Alford. UNM has had at least one representative on the first team in each of Alford's six seasons.

Sophomore post Alex Kirk, who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery, was named to the second team while also earning a spot on the league's All-Defensive Team.

Junior guard Tony Snell was chosen to the third team while junior post Cameron Bairstow and sophomore guard Hugh Greenwood received honorable mention honors.

It's the first time since 2005 that all five Lobo starters gained recognition on the various teams.

Voting was done by the head coaches and two media members from each team's market.

"We're very excited for the team," said Alford, who also captured coach of the year accolades in 2009 and 2010. "I was glad that we had as many guys recognized as possible. We are very appreciative of the honors because these guys are very deserving."

Alford joins BYU's Dave Rose as the only head coaches to be recognized three times. Alford's awards have come in a five-year span, Rose's in six.

Williams is the fourth Lobo to be named player of the year, joining Ruben Douglas (2003), J.R. Giddens (co-player in 2008 with BYU's Lee Cummard) and Darington Hobson (2010).

Only BYU with five has garnered more player of the year awards than New Mexico.

Williams probably clinched the award Feb. 23 when he scored 46 points in UNM's 91-82 victory over 22nd-ranked Colorado State at sold-out Moby Arena. The victory halted the Rams' 27-game home winning streak and provided UNM with a two-game lead over Colorado State in the conference standings with four games to play.

Williams drained a school and conference record 10 3-pointers, and his 46 points tied for the third-highest scoring game in UNM history. Williams came into the game averaging less than 14 points a game.

"There are a lot of very good players in the Mountain West this year so to be chosen as the player of the year is very special," said Williams. "I have to thank my coaches and teammates because they played a huge part in this award."

Williams averaged 13.1 points, 5.3 assists and 33.9 minutes during the conference season. He finished the regular season with his second career double-double, 21 points and 10 assists at Air Force.

Kirk averaged 12.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.25 blocks in MW play. He posted five double-doubles, including three in the last five games when the conference race was still in doubt. Kirk averaged a double-double (14.8 points and 10.2 rebounds) over the final nine games.

Snell averaged 13.1 points and made a team-high 30 3-pointers in league action. He scored 20 or more points four times, including the last two games of the regular season when he totaled 46 points and connected on 10 of 19 attempts from 3-point.

Bairstow averaged 10.6 points and 6.0 rebounds in 16 conference games, but increased those numbers to 12.3 points and 6.9 boards in the last 11 games as a starter.

Greenwood averaged 7.3 points and 4.9 rebounds. He also had 25 steals, tying for tops in the conference.