SPOKANE – A fifth consecutive Northwest Conference championship in men's basketball has led to a slew of All-NWC accolades for the Whitworth Pirates in 2014.
Dustin McConnell has been chosen as the NWC Player of the Year in a vote by league coaches. Colton McCargar joins McConnell on the All-NWC first team. Taylor Farnsworth and Christian Jurlina represent Whitworth as honorable mention selections. And head coach Matt Logie has been named NWC Coach of the Year for the second time in his three-year tenure leading the Pirates.
McConnell, now a two-time First Team All-NWC honoree, is averaging 12.9 points and 3.7 rebounds. He ranks second in the Northwest Conference in assists (3.2 per game) and is first in free throw percentage (85.6). McConnell needs only 28 more points to become the latest member of Whitworth's 1,000-career-points club. He was named NWC Player of the Week on Feb. 10 after he played all 80 minutes and averaged 21.0 points per game in a pair of wins at Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran. In 2012-13 he scored a team-best 13.7 points and added 3.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game and was named First Team All-NWC.
McCargar, a Second Team All-NWC choice last winter, transitioned to more of a wing position and moved into a starting role this season. He is averaging a team-high 14.9 points per game (sixth in the NWC) while making 43.2% of his three-point attempts (5th in the league). He is also is second in the conference rankings in free throw percentage (84.9). He adds 4.2 rebounds per game, fourth on the team. He was named NWC Player of the Week on January 6th for his first weekly conference honor of his career. He poured in 23 points in the win at Whitman on January 21st and had 22 to key Whitworth's huge comeback win over George Fox on February 15th.
"Dustin and Colton have been our engine all year long, providing steady leadership and veteran guard play which has allowed our team to have the success we have thus far," Logie said. "Both are very deserving of their honors and I'm extremely proud of both of them for being recognized by our conference."
Taylor Farnsworth is on the All-NWC honorable mention list for the second straight season. He is making 57% of his shots from the field and leads the Pirates in rebounding average (5.8) and in blocked shots (25) this season. He is averaging 7.5 points per contest and has four double-doubles.
Christian Jurlina is one of only two freshman on the All-NWC list. He is making 49.1% of his shots from the field and 39% of his three-pointer and is averaging 10.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per contest to rank third on the team in both categories. He was NWC men's basketball Player of the Week on Feb. 3rd after totaling 42 points in home wins over Willamette and Pacific.
"Taylor and CJ also being recognized as honorable mention speaks to the balance of our team," Logie said. "We have had steady contributions from many players but Taylor and CJ have definitely stood out with some all-conference type performances in clutch situations and I look forward to their continued growth in our program."
Logie has directed the Pirates to a 20-5 record and their fifth straight NWC regular season championship. The Coach of the Year award is the second of Logie's career. He also was voted by his colleagues as Coach of the Year in 2012 – his first season leading the Bucs. Logie's three-year record leading Whitworth is 72-13 heading into Thursday night's NWC semifinal against Lewis & Clark.
Whitworth is 20-5 and the Pirates host Lewis & Clark College in the Northwest Conference semifinals on Thursday night at the Fieldhouse.