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Joaquim in elite company with second WAC award

Ultimately, the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week award is just that — an award.

But by getting it for the second time this season, Vander Joaquim of the Hawai’i basketball team is suddenly among the elites in program history.

Only seven former Warriors have been named WAC Player of the Week at least twice in the same season, and each of those seven is considered among the all-time Hawai’i greats: Tes Whitlock (1994-95 season), Anthony Harris (1995-96), Anthony Carter (1996-97 and 1997-98), Predrag Savovic (2001-02), Carl English (2002-03), Matt Lojeski (2006-07) and Roderick Flemings (2009-10).

Joaquim, a 6-foot-10 junior center from Angola, earned his way onto the list with a monster week on the road. In two games — a win at Fresno State, and then a three-point loss at WAC leader Nevada — Joaquim averaged 22.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 5.0 blocked shots. He shot 73.9 percent from the field and 61.1 percent from the free-throw line.

The award was announced by the WAC early Monday morning, but Joaquim said he did not find out until he was making his way to practice on Monday afternoon.

“Actually, I didn’t even know,” he said. “One of the volleyball players came up to me and said congratulations … I feel good about it, actually. I appreciate my teammates. They helped me, they get me the ball.”

After a slow start in the non-conference games, Joaquim has turned into a legitimate low-post force in WAC play. Through the first two weeks of games, Joaquim is averaging 21.7 points and 12.3 rebounds per game against WAC opponents. Overall for the season, he is averaging 13.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

“I feel like I’m playing good basketball right now,” he said. “Not just me, but the team in general. We’re playing good basketball.”

The Warriors are 10-7 overall and in third place in the conference at 2-1. They returned to Honolulu on Sunday afternoon and will host two WAC games this week — Louisiana Tech on Thursday, and then New Mexico State on Saturday.

The WAC has awarded 10 Player of the Week honors this season, and Joaquim is one of two players to get it twice or more. Nevada point guard Deonte Burton — the early leader for WAC Player of the Year — has won it three times already.

2 Comments

  1. The way they are opening up wac play, Vander and Joston will probably both be first team all wac, hope they keep it up.

  2. Multiple P-O-Week wins speaks to a very high, outstanding level of performance, even consistency; Vander was key in Hawai’i’s near-sweep of Fresno-Nevada…

    Agree that Joston, if he keeps his inside game at the forefront, should be notable for ALL-WAC Consideration — would probably need to win one or two P-O-Week awards to get above second team; when most coaches talk about Vander they also give strong props for Joston, the inside duo makes overplaying one or the other that much tougher; and i can see Trevor coming up a solid 8-8 or 10-10 to force opposing front-lines to play honest inside (i’m thinking most teams will have no consistent answer when you add Standhardinger, Dressler and Fotu next year);

    IF/When Zane wins another, he should be a solid first/second teamer … esp. now that coach can trust Hauns on defense, the door is open to get more consistent on outside scoring, forcing teams to play Zane more honest as well …

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