The third annual #Sportsbrush awards are back to highlight the good, the bad and the ugly in Wolf Pack athletics this past year. Yes, this is the last #Sportsbrush honors with yours truly as the main judge. However, the legacy of the #Sportsbrush is far greater and will stand the test of time. Without further ado, here are your 2014-15 winners (and losers).
THE YES! YES! YES! MOMENT OF THE YEAR
Four precious ticks remaining in the game. UNLV and Nevada deadlocked at 62 points apiece. A hostile Thomas and Mack Center with 13,530 fans. Then the theatrics.
After dribbling coast to coast, Nevada point guard Marqueze Coleman sank a 20-foot dagger to lift the Wolf Pack over the Rebels. The win was Nevada’s third straight over its rival — a feat that hadn’t been duplicated in nine years.
The cold-blooded shot was the lone saving grace of a disastrous season that included the game’s hero serving a one-game suspension and head coach David Carter being ousted.
THE TBE (ATHLETE OF THE YEAR)
Ryan Howell’s stat line — 15 home runs, 61 RBIs, .690 slugging percentage and 129 total bases — isn’t merely gaudy, it’s second to few across the country.
Howell’s home run and RBIs are tied for most in the entire nation, while his total bases and slugging percentage ranks four and seventh, respectively.
The second baseman has powered one of the best offenses in college baseball to a Mountain West Conference regular season championship — a first for any Nevada program.
THE FLOYD MAYWEATHER VS. MANNY PACQUIAO DREAM MATCH
While the fight of the century between Mayweather and Pacquiao was a giant letdown, a one-on-one contest between Nevada center’s AJ West and Mimi Mungedi would be an instant classic.
West and Mungedi share a lot of similarities: lanky frames (West has a 1-inch advantage), rebound and blocking machines, one-person wrecking crews on struggling teams and masters of disaster in the paint.
Imagine the betting lines for this game — over or under 7.5 blocks, over or under 15.5 offensive rebounds, West a 2-to-1 favorite to win.
With the Nevada athletic department in dire need of raising money for its FieldHouse, this blockbuster matchup would be a money-in-the-bank fundraiser.
THE CHRIS WEBBER CHOKE-JOB OF THE YEAR
The stakes couldn’t have been higher for Nevada’s battle against Fresno State at Mackay Stadium on Nov. 22.
On a bitter cold night, the Wolf Pack said goodbye to seniors such as Cody Fajardo, Brock Hekking, Matt Galas, among others on Senior Night. Playing for teammates who had dedicated half a decade to the program was big, but not nearly as big as playing for a place in the conference championship game against Boise State.
On the biggest stage, Nevada laid a goose egg for the ages — 40-20 shellacking courtesy of the Bulldogs that would end up sending the Wolf Pack to an almost as embarrassing loss in the New Orleans Bowl.
THE CHRIS AULT LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
The writing was on the wall for Carter. Shrinking attendance numbers. Three consecutive losing seasons and Nevada’s first single-digit win season since 2000.
While the six-year head coach’s firing was no surprise, it closed the final chapter in the Wolf Pack’s first storied history.
For one, Carter was the final thread to Nevada’s four-year NCAA Tournament run. The then-assistant coach Carter was the last remnant of the coaching staff Trent Johnson built, that included Mark Fox.
Second, it was a close to the Wolf Pack’s old boys club. The Nevada power hierarchy has completely shifted in two years. Gone is Cary Groth, Chris Ault, Gary Powers and Carter. The Nevada Mount Rushmore is now etched with Doug Knuth, Brian Polian, Jay Johnson and Eric Musselman.
Nonetheless, Carter gave 16 years of his life to Nevada. He won his fair share of games and transformed young boys into men. Thank you, Carter, and I hope to see you at the craps table at the Grand Sierra Resort.
THE MOST RICHARD BELL-ESQUE MOVE OF THE YEAR
Everyone remembers Richard “Dick” Bell, right? The 6-foot-9 Englishman who was invisible during Wolf Pack games but present at every Wal Thursday, Bubingas Friday, random house party and everything in between?
This award is named in the ex-Nevada player’s honor and given to the Wolf Pack athlete who went a little too hard.
Jordan Dobrich was arrested last Thursday (at 3:34 a.m. to be exact) for “trespassing, not amount to burglary.” Early reports say Dobrich drank a little too much of grandpa’s old cough medicine and broke into the wrong home (in reality, he was trying to get into a friend’s house).
However, unlike Bell, Dobrich is actually a promising individual — two-time football captain, excelling engineering student and an overall well-mannered human being. Like nearly every Nevada student can attest to, Dobrich simply had too much fun on a wasted Wednesday night.
Eric Uribe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @Uribe_Eric.