Courtesy of WMU Athletics/Sean Fagen
CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Mid-American Conference announced its first batch of year-end award winners for the 2013-14 men's basketball season, with four members of the Western Michigan men's basketball team garnering All-MAC honors on Monday. Shayne Whittington and David Brown became the first pair of Broncos to earn First Team All-MAC honors in the same season since 2008, Connar Tava was named an All-MAC Honorable Mention, and freshman Tucker Haymond became the fifth Bronco in the last six years to be named to the MAC All-Freshman team.
Whittington was named First Team All-MAC one year after earning Second Team All-MAC honors in 2013, with the senior center improving in nearly every category across the board. Whittington is one of just two players in the conference to rank in the top-four in both scoring (4th - 16.1 ppg) and rebounding (3rd - 8.8 rpg), and his 52.6 field goal percentage ranks eighth among MAC players. Earlier this year, he became the 38th player in program history to record 1,000 career points, and he also ranks third in program history in career blocked shots with 124 rejections. Whittington was honored as MAC West Player of the Week four times this year, including three straight times from Feb. 17 - March 3.
Brown played the first fully healthy season of his career in 2013-14 and produced one of the best offensive seasons in recent memory at WMU, leading the MAC in scoring with a 19.1 points per game average for his first career All-MAC selection. Brown has been uncannily consistent this year, having scored in double-digits in all 30 regular season games, and has produced 13 20-point games and one 30-point effort this year as well. He leads all MAC players with an average of 2.7 three-point field goals made per game in conference play, and ranks 13th in MAC games with a 37.2 three-point field goal percentage. He was previously honored by the conference as the MAC West Player of the Week for Feb. 10.
Tava became the first Bronco since Russ DesErmia in 1995-96 to shoot better than 60.0 percent from the field, ranking second in the MAC with a 60.7 field goal percentage on the season. Tava's offensive game improved by leaps and bounds over last year's campaign, with the sophomore averaging 11.8 points and a team-best 2.8 assists per game in 2013-14. He also ranked in the top-20 in the MAC in rebounding by pulling down an average of 5.6 boards per game, and was twice named the MAC West Player of the Week (Dec. 2 & Jan. 13).
Haymond continues a long line of Broncos that have been recognized on the MAC All-Freshman team under head coach Steve Hawkins, with WMU placing at least one player on the team in seven of the 11 years of Hawkins' tenure. Haymond earned a spot in the starting line-up in the offseason and remained in it for much of the season, leaving only due to a mid-season injury that sidelined him for several games. He started 21 of the 26 games he played in this year, ranking fifth on the team with an average of 6.4 points per game while shooting 41.7 percent from the field and also contributing 3.6 rebounds per game. Haymond's scoring average jumped to 7.4 points per game in conference play, and his field goal percentage skyrocketed to 46.6 percent from the field.