Joaquim takes top honor at Awards Banquet
Vander Joaquim’s outstanding season for the Hawai’i basketball team was rewarded with the Art Woolaway Most Outstanding Player award.
Joaquim received the team’s top honor at the 2012 Awards Banquet, which was held on Wednesday, April 25, at the Tapa Ballroom of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
The 6-foot-10 junior center led the Warriors in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and field goal percentage for the 2011-12 season. He finished the season with 14.3 points per game, 9.5 rebounds per game, 58 blocked shots, and a .560 field goal percentage.
In addition to the Most Outstanding Player award, Joaquim received the Best Defensive Player award.
The awards came as no surprise, as Joaquim also received several individual awards during the 2011-12 season. He was named a first-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection, as well as a WAC All-Defensive Team selection.
Last month Joaquim was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District 6 first team, making him the first player to earn first-team all-district recognition since Michael Kuebler in 2003-04.
“I said it after the WAC Tournament, and I’m going to say it again – he’s the best center on the West Coast, any conference, hands down,” Hawai’i head coach Gib Arnold said. “It’s been great to watch him evolve, and his maturity as a player.”
Joaquim, who is from Luanda, Angola, is expected to play for Angola’s national team this summer before returning to Hawaii for his senior season.
Joaquim took home two of the four major awards at the banquet. The others went to senior point guard Miah Ostrowski and sophomore forward Davis Rozitis.
Ostrowski received the Ah Chew Goo Most Inspirational Player award for the second consecutive season. He led the team in assists with 7.0 per game, which ranked sixth in the nation. For the last two seasons, Ostrowski has played as a receiver for the UH football team, then joined the basketball team in December. The Punahou School graduate will play another season with the Hawai’i football team in 2012.
“He won us a bunch of games and affected winning,” Arnold said. “I’m going to miss him because these guys don’t come around often and I’m proud to say I coached him.”
Rozitis received the Academic Award as the team’s top scholar-athlete. He is a political science major who also received WAC All-Academic recognition for 2011-12. Rozitis, who is from Cesis, Latvia, is expected to play for Latvia’s national team this summer before returning to Hawai’i for his junior season.
“He’s our brightest student … I was in Serbia recruiting and I get a text (from Rozitis) ‘Coach, how do I see the Dalai Lama?’ I never thought I’d have a player ask to see the Dalai Lama,” Arnold said. “We have a couple years to work with Davis, and I’m thrilled he’s with us.”
Arnold and his staff presented the awards, and also introduced each of the team members. Arnold also talked about the signed recruits who will join the Warriors for the 2012-13 season – Caleb Dressler, Isaac Fotu, Orel Lev and Brandon Spearman. Lev enrolled at UH this semester and was in attendance at the banquet.
Senior guard Zane Johnson did not attend the banquet, as he has already left Hawaii to start training for a shot at professional basketball.
Three players who departed the team after the 2011-12 season (Bobby Miles, Joston Thomas and Trevor Wiseman) also did not attend the banquet.
Freshman point guard Shaquille Stokes attended the banquet, and announced the next day that he would not return to UH next season for family reasons.
The event helped raise funds to pay for summer school costs for the players. Around 300 fans attended the banquet, including Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle and Speaker of the House Calvin Say.