Yuma, Arizona – February 25, 2013 – Arizona Western College is proud to announce that three members of the AWC Men’s Basketball team have been named to the All-ACCAC and All-Region I postseason teams. Sophomore guard Marvin Whitt was named to the 1st Team on both the All-Region I and All-ACCAC postseason squads; sophomore forward/center Tanner Clayton earned 2nd Team honors on both teams; and fellow sophomore post Carlos Perez was named All-ACCAC Honorable Mention. The announcements come following the conclusion of the ACCAC postseason coaches’ meetings in Phoenix.
After spending his freshman campaign splitting time at both the point guard and shooting guard spots, Marvin Whitt expected to spend this season as the starting point guard. He was only half right. The native of Birmingham, Alabama, did just that in November & December, then moved back to the two-guard in the Matadors’ starting lineup with the insertion of freshman Anthony Alston in January. No matter where he was, though, Whitt’s game continued to improve with each game in 2012-13. When the Matadors needed the ball distributed, Whitt was their best at it, averaging a team-leading 3.2 assists per game. When the Matadors needed scoring, there was Whitt, leading them in scoring in 11 of the Mats’ 30 games, and leading them overall with a 15.3 points-per-game average. Defense? Whitt’s quick hands led to a 1.5 steals-per-game average (also tops on the team). The 5’10” sophomore also wasn’t afraid to mix it up inside, averaging 5.3 rebounds per game. Whitt also finished 3rd on the team in free throw shooting with a percentage of 74.8%.
Speaking of doing whatever the team needed to make them successful, Tanner Clayton had that market cornered throughout most of the season. Respect for Clayton’s jumping ability (he transferred to AWC after playing volleyball for the University of Southern California) caught on quickly in the season, yet opponents had few answers for it. It served him well in several areas-especially on defense, where he was among the top two shot blockers in the conference all season, finishing with 2.2 blocks per game. His excellent footwork-combined with the leaping ability to jump over defenders to cleanly snatch the rebound when he couldn’t get position-was a key reason why Clayton’s rebounds-per-game total never dipped under 10, and he was the only player in the conference to say that, finishing with a league-leading 10.6 boards per contest. The native of San Diego, California was also one of four Matadors to average in double figures in scoring (10.1 points per game) on the season. Finally, Clayton was the team’s best shooter from start to finish with a 51.4% field goal percentage, was just one-tenth of a percentage point away from being the team’s best free throw shooter (75.6%), and even shot a whopping 45% from the 3-point line.
Matador fans have been delighted to watch the game-by-game progress of Carlos Perez, and he comes into the postseason easily playing the best basketball of his two-year Matador career. After coming off the bench during his entire freshman year and learning from the sophomores in front of him, Perez started every game in 2012-13 in the post. With the extra work on his footwork, aggressiveness and new hook shot during the off-season, Perez was one of the top forces in the ACCAC conference in the paint this season. When opposing coaches started to double-team Perez in the post, the Chula Vista, California native suddenly moved to the baseline and started to match the accuracy of Clayton in hitting baseline jumpers from 12 feet out. Perez was among the team’s top 5 in four different categories, including scoring (8.9 points per game), rebounding (6.5 boards per contest), field goal percentage (49.1%) & free throw percentage (71.4%).
The 3rd-seeded Matadors will open up postseason play at the same site as their regular season finale last Friday: Mesa Community College, home of the 2nd-seeded Thunderbirds. The Matadors and T-Birds will square off this Thursday night, February 28th, in the Region I Division I Men’s Semifinals in a 7:30PM tipoff, with the winner advancing to the Region I Finals on Saturday. Those who can’t make the trip to MCC (1833 West Southern Avenue in Mesa) to cheer on the Matadors in person can catch all the action of any playoff game the Matadors are involved in LIVE on the Matador Sports Network: SportsRadio 560 KBLU on the radio; the AWC Athletics website (www.azwestern.edu/athletics) & the SportsRadio 560 KBLU website (www.kbluam.com) on the internet. Thursday’s game will be broadcast on radio and internet audio starting with the Matador Basketball Playoff Pregame Show at 7PM.