Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

McClanahan steps up to earn All-BWC Second Team honors

When University of Hawai’i starting point guard Juan Munoz went down with a season-ending injury before the first regular season game, JoVon McClanahan stepped up and delivered.

Then about six weeks later, when the Warriors needed an offensive jolt, McClanahan again stepped up and adroitly switched his role from distributor to scorer. And all along, he was a stalwart defender while playing almost 35 minutes per game.  

WarriorInsider.com file photo courtesy Brandon Flores

That clutch deliverance and consistent value throughout the season was recognized Monday afternoon when league honors were announced, as McClanahan earned a spot on the All-Big West Conference Second Team.

“It’s a league with a lot of good point guards, and for him to step up with the absence of another point guard, his overall improvement, head of the snake on both ends, competitive spirit, and then making big plays in big games … having to rise to the challenge, I’m proud of him,” UH coach Eran Ganot said of McClanahan, a 5-foot-10 junior who emerged as the Warriors’ leading scorer in conference games, averaging 13.5 points and 4.0 assists in 20 Big West outings. “No days off, he plays heavy minutes. Especially at the point — the most important position.”

Ganot said the fact that McClanahan was able to switch gears according to the certain team situation shows his maturity and leadership as a player.

“He’s a competitor, and the good ones do recognize what is needed of them at that time,” Ganot said. “I think he’s picked his spots in games, sometimes games have been different, too. His strength is conditioning, to be able to have the ball in his hands like he does, and then to be disruptive on the other end … not easy to do, and it’s been very impactful for us.”

McClanahan said his progression from part-time starter the past two seasons into full-time starter this year was mostly natural and expected.

“To go back on my first year and my second year, and now my third year, I think it’s only right for everyone to improve on their game,” McClanahan said. “And that’s just how it usually works. You’re young in the program, and then as you grow, you learn things and you grow, and you know what your coaches want from you. So I just want to thank my coaches as well, for just getting me better and trusting the system and trusting the process.”

Courtesy www.hawaiiathletics.com

Ganot said McClanahan always had confidence in his own abilities, but took it to another level when the team needed his scoring during the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, for which he was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

“What took it up a notch is having some breakthroughs, and making big plays and doing it on the biggest stage,” Ganot said. “It started to come right before the Diamond Head, and then having to play like that in the Diamond Head. I think he really built off that experience, not just performing and making big plays in the big games late, but using that to fuel him and us in the second half of the season.”

Teammates Noel Coleman and Kamaka Hepa received honorable mention for the All-Conference team.

Coleman, who was a second-team selection last season, averaged 12.2 points per game overall and 10.7 ppg against league opponents. Hepa averaged 11.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in conference play.

Six players from other teams were selected to the All-Big West Conference First Team, led by Player of the Year Ajay Mitchell of UC Santa Barbara.

Joining him on the First Team are DJ Davis (UC Irvine), Elijah Pepper (UC Davis), Zyon Pullin (UC Riverside), Lassina Traore (Long Beach State) and Latrell Wrightsell Jr. (Cal State Fullerton).

Mike Magpayo of UC Riverside was selected the Coach of the Year.

Hawai’i finished in fifth place in the Big West with a 13-7 conference record. The Warriors will be the No. 5 seed for this week’s Hercules Tire Big West Championship Tournament at Henderson, Nev. Hawai’i will face No. 4 Cal State Fullerton in a quarterfinal game at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (12:30 p.m. Hawai’i).

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