(MSUB Athletics release)
PORTLAND, Ore. – Senior Kendall Denham and junior Zack Rollins each claimed spots on the All-Great Northwest Athletic Conference Honorable Mention squad on Tuesday as the conference recognized 21 outstanding men’s basketball players from around the league. It is the 10th consecutive season that the ‘Jackets have had at least one player recognized with an all-league selection.
Denham will add the achievement to three academic All-GNAC honors he has received in his career with the Yellowjackets. The Malta, Mont. native was the only ‘Jacket to start all 31 games and he averaged a career-high 11.4 points this season.
“We always knew what we were going to get out of Kendall whenever he was on the floor,” head coach Jamie Stevens said of the senior captain. “He continued to grow throughout his time here and I am glad to see that he finished off his career with an all-league honor. He has been a rock for this program all five years.”
After four years on the court at MSUB, Denham will leave the program ranking ninth in steals with 100, 10th in assists (326) and 12th in 3-pointers made with 140. The point guard started 74 games for the ‘Jackets and played in 109 contests all together while scoring 950 career points.
“As a Montana guy, Kendall left his mark on our program,” Stevens noted of the in-state talent. “We had a tight-knit group this season and I think a lot of the credit for that goes to Kendall and Kamal (Tall). Kendall is a natural leader and was a fantastic captain, he will definitely be missed.”
In his first year in the GNAC, Rollins was eighth in the league scoring 15.4 points per game and 16th in rebounding averaging 5.3 boards. He led the ‘Jackets in both categories after joining the team as a late signee in September.
“We were fortunate to have Zack join our team this season,” Stevens said of the athletic forward. “He had to make a big adjustment to our league and he handled it well. He can do a little bit of everything on the court and it didn’t take long for people to notice. For him to be recognized in his first year in a league as talented as ours is a major accomplishment.”
In the first game of the 2017-18 season the Pelham, N.Y. native showed just how gifted he is as a scorer when Rollins became the third ever Yellowjacket to shoot 5-for-5 from beyond the arc in a win over Cal State East Bay. At the end of the regular season Rollins ranked 13th nationally in 3-pointers made with 91. The season total is tied for the 14th most 3-pointers made in a season by a Yellowjacket. The wing also had a team-best 36 steals on the year.
“Next season Zack will face a different challenge with our league having 31 games of film on him,” Stevens noted about the ‘Jackets top threat moving forward. “His talent level with the ball in his hands is elite. With a full summer in our program and a better understanding of our league, the sky is the limit for his senior season.”
Regular season champion Western Oregon’s Tanner Omlid was named the Player of the Year in the GNAC while teammate Malik Morgan was named the Defensive Player of the Year and the Wolves’ head coach Jim Shaw was tabbed Coach of the Year. The Wolves finished the regular season 27-1 with a 19-1 mark in the GNAC. Their only loss came against Western Washington.
Western Washington and Central Washington each had three representatives among the 21 honorees with the Vikings being the only team to have two first team players in Daulton Hommes and Trey Drechsel. The Wildcat’s Khalil Shabazz was named the Freshman of the Year and Saint Martin’s Luke Chavez was named the Newcomer of the Year.
The GNAC Men’s Basketball Championships will begin on Thursday, March 1, with Western Oregon seeded as the top team followed by Western Washington, Saint Martin’s, Seattle Pacific, Alaska Anchorage and Central Washington. The Yellowjackets finished the season 13-18, 5-15 GNAC in ninth-place.