Big Sky men's all-conference teams announced; MSU's Robert Ford III is top defender

Posted at 2:48 PM, Mar 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-07 16:48:54-05

The Big Sky Conference office has announced the results of its 2023-24 All-Conference Teams and All-Defensive Team, along with its individual award winners in anticipation of the 2024 Championship Tournament starting this weekend.

These awards and titles are voted on by the league’s 10 head coaches.

Montana had three players named all-conference while Montana State had two. UM's Aanen Moody and MSU's Robert Ford were first-team selections. Ford was also named the Big Sky's defensive player of the year.

Montana's Dischon Thomas was a second-team pick while teammate Brandon Whitney and MSU's Brandon Walker were named to the third team.

Headlining the honors, Weber State’s Dillon Jones has been named the Big Sky’s Most Valuable Player following the regular season. He is looking to become the first player in conference history to lead the league in points (20.8 points per game), rebounds (10.1 rebounds per game) and assists (5.2 assists per game).

He was named Big Sky Men’s Basketball Player of the Week eight times during the course of the season, and 16 times during his Wildcat career.

He’s the first Wildcat to win Most Valuable Player since Joel Bolomboy in 2015-16.

Jones is also now a two-time unanimous First Team All-Conference selection. This season, Eastern Washington’s Cedric Coward, Montana’s Aanen Moody and Northern Colorado’s Saint Thomas join Jones with that distinction.

Additionally, Thomas was named the league’s Newcomer of the Year after sitting second in both scoring and rebounding heading into the championship.

Eastern Washington’s David Riley and Northern Colorado’s Steve Smiley were named Co-Coach of the Year, after navigating their teams to the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in Boise respectively. For Riley, this marks his second-consecutive honor.

This season, the Big Sky Conference added an All-Defensive Team. This group was headlined by Defensive Player of the Year from Montana State Robert Ford III, along with Idaho State’s Maleek Arington both gaining a unanimous slot on the squad.

Rounding out the individual honors with unanimous picks, Northern Colorado’s Dejour Reaves was named the Big Sky’s Top Reserve, while Eastern Washington’s LeJuan Watts was named the conference’s Freshman of the Year.

2023-24 Big Sky Men’s Basketball Individual Awards

Most Valuable Player – Dillon Jones, Weber State
Newcomer of the Year – Saint Thomas, Northern Colorado
Defensive Player of the Year – Robert Ford III, Montana State
Top Reserve – Dejour Reaves, Northern Colorado *
Freshman of the Year – LeJuan Watts, Eastern Washington *
Co-Coach of the Year – David Riley, Eastern Washington & Steve Smiley, Northern Colorado

First Team All-Conference

Dillon Jones, Weber State *
Cedric Coward, Eastern Washington *
Aanen Moody, Montana *
Saint Thomas, Northern Colorado *
Robert Ford III, Montana State
Brayden Parker, Idaho State
Trenton McLaughlin, Northern Arizona

Second Team All-Conference

KJ Allen, Portland State
Ethan Price, Eastern Washington
Dischon Thomas, Montana
Casey Jones, Eastern Washington
Carson Basham, Northern Arizona
Dejour Reaves, Northern Colorado

Honorable Mention All-Big Sky

Steven Verplancken, Weber State
Maleek Arington, Idaho State
Brandon Whitney, Montana
Brandon Walker, Montana State
Jaron Rillie, Northern Colorado
Zee Hamoda, Sacramento State

All-Defensive Team

Robert Ford III, Montana State *
Maleek Arington, Idaho State *
Carson Basham, Northern Arizona
Casey Jones, Eastern Washington
Julius Mims, Idaho
Alex Tew, Weber State

*Unanimous selection