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DENVER – After another banner year for the New Mexico State men’s basketball team, first-year head coach Chris Jans was named the Western Athletic Conference Don Haskins Coach of the Year while senior forward Jemerrio Jones claimed WAC Player of the Year accolades.

Jans is the first WAC men’s head coach since Nevada’s Mark Fox (2004-05) to win coach of the year honors in his first year at the helm.

The Aggies posted a 25-5 overall mark in the regular-season and 12-2 record in conference play under his direction. The 12-2 record in the WAC gave NMSU its third regular-season title in four years outright and is the second-best record in conference play since joining the WAC. In addition, Jans guided the Aggies to their first win over an AP top-10 ranked opponent since 1990 when NMSU defeated then-No. 6/ Miami 63-54 in the semifinal game of the 2017 Hawaii Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

Jones’ player of the year honor makes it three-straight for New Mexico State. It is also the fourth time an Aggie has been named the league’s top player in five years. Through 30 games, Jones is averaging a double-double with 10.9 points per game and 12.7 rebounds per game in addition to his 3.3 assists per game. The Memphis, Tenn., product finished the regular-season with 18 double-doubles – eight of which came in conference play – as well as a triple-double.

"I just took after (Ian Baker)," Jones said about being named WAC Player of the Year. "I had to fill his shoes."

NMSU has now won WAC Player of the Year in three straight seasons with Jones winning this year, Ian Baker winning last year and Pascal Siakam winning two seasons ago.

In conference play, the 6-5 forward elevated his numbers averaging 11.3 points, 14.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting 54.5-percent from the floor. His 14.1 boards ranks him fifth in WAC history while his 198 rebounds in league play is tied for 10th. In addition, Jones hauled in 20-plus rebounds four times in WAC play – including three-straight. The three-straight 20-rebound games was the first time any player in NCAA Division I has done this century per ESPN Stats & Info and Stats LLC.

Through Monday, Jones is currently ranked first in defensive rebounds per game (9.00), second in rebounds per game (12.7), third in total rebounds (380), third in triple-doubles (1) and ninth in double-doubles (18).

Jones was also selected the WAC All-Defensive Team by the league’s head coaches after taking home all-newcomer team honors last season.

Joining Jones on the First-Team All-WAC list is Zach Lofton. The 6-4 guard is averaging 19.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists this season for the Aggies. His 19.3 points per game is second-most amongst grad transfers. The St. Paul, Minn., native scored in double-figures in all but one game during WAC play. The grad transfer was also named to the WAC All-Newcomers Team in addition to his first-team honors.

Joining Lofton on the all-newcomers team is AJ Harris, who played his first season in the Crimson & White after sitting out last season due to the NCAA transfer rule. Harris was fourth on the team in scoring and averaged 9.2 points, 3.0 assists and 2.0 assists as a redshirt sophomore. The Aggie floor general also owns a 1.8 assist to turnover ratio.
 
First Team All-WAC

Nick Dixon$% Texas-Rio Grande Valley R-Sr. G 6-2 Hillside, Ill. (Morton College)

Jemerrio Jones% New Mexico State Sr. F 6-5 Memphis, Tenn. (Hill Junior College)

Alessandro Lever Grand Canyon Fr. C 6-10 Bolzano, Italy (Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia)

Zach Lofton NMSU Gr. G 6-4 St. Paul, Minn. (Texas Southern)

Kenneth Ogbe Utah Valley Gr. G 6-6 Munich, Germany (Utah)

Second Team All-WAC

Joshua Braun#@& Grand Canyon R-Sr. G 6-4 Anthem, Ariz. (Westwind Prep Academy)

Matej Kavas^% Seattle R-So. G 6-8 Ljubljana, Slovenia (Gimnazija Bezigrad)

Aaron Menzies Seattle R-Jr. C 7-3 Manchester, England (Loreto Academy)

Brandon Randolph Utah Valley R-Sr. G 6-2 Inglewood, Calif. (Xavier)

Conner Toolson Utah Valley Jr. G 6-4 Highland, Utah (Salt Lake CC)

All-Defensive Team

Moataz Aly!% Cal State Bakersfield Sr. C 6-10 Alexandria, Egypt (Hutchinson CC)

Oscar Frayer Grand Canyon So. F 6-7 Oakland, Calif. (Moreau Catholic)

Jemerrio Jones% New Mexico State Sr. F 6-5 Memphis, Tenn. (Hill Junior College)

Akolda Manyang Utah Valley R-Sr. C 7-1 Rochester, Minn. (Oklahoma)

Aaron Menzies Seattle R-Jr. C 7-3 Manchester, England (Loreto Academy)

All-Newcomer Team

AJ Harris New Mexico State R-So. G 5-9 Dayton, Ohio (Ohio State)

Jordan Hill Seattle Gr. G 6-4 Pasadena, Calif. (Wisconsin)

Alessandro Lever Grand Canyon Fr. C 6-10 Bolzano, Italy (Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia)

Zach Lofton New Mexico State Gr. G 6-4 St. Paul, Minn. (Texas Southern)

Jake Toolson Utah Valley R-So. G 6-5 Gilbert, Ariz. (Brigham Young)

Player of the Year: Jemerrio Jones, New Mexico State
Freshman of the Year: Alessandro Lever, Grand Canyon
Don Haskins Coach of the Year: Chris Jans, New Mexico State

# – 2017 First Team All-WAC selection
$ – 2017 Second Team All-WAC selection
% – 2017 All-Newcomer Team selection
! – 2017 All-Defensive Team selection
^ – 2017 WAC Freshman of the Year
@ – 2016 First Team All-WAC selection
& – 2015 All-Newcomer Team selection

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