After winning a share of its first Big West regular season title, the University of Hawaiʻi men’s basketball team was honored with its first Player of the Year award, given to junior forward Stefan Jankovic, and its first Coach of the Year to first-year head coach Eran Ganot.
Jankovic, a junior from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, leads the team and ranks fifth in the conference in scoring (15.7). He also ranks third in blocked shots (1.3) and field goal percentage (55.9) and fourth in rebounding (6.8) and has a league-best five double-doubles. Jankovic becomes UH’s second all-time conference player of the year, joining Anthony Carter, who was the Western Athletic Conference’s Pacific Division Player of the Year during the 1997–98 season.
Ganot becomes just the fourth head coach to earn Big West Coach of the Year honors in his rookie season, joining UC Santa Barbara’s Bob Williams (1998–99), San Jose State’s Bill Berry (1979–80) and Fresno State’s Boyd Grant (1977–78) on that list. Ganot’s 24 wins are tied for the most by a first-year Big West head coach, alongside coaching legends Jerry Tarkanian and Lute Olson from Long Beach State.
Former coach Riley Wallace was a three-time WAC Coach of the Year.
Bobbitt is vying to become the first Big West player to lead the league in both steals (2.1) and assists (5.7) for two straight seasons. He also leads the league in minutes played (34.4) and ranks 11th in scoring (13.2), seventh in free throw percentage (81.6), and eighth in assists-to-turnover ratio (2.0). The senior from Oakland, Calif., was a second-team all-Big West and the league’s Defensive Player of the Year last season.
Valdes, a junior from Whittier, Calif., ranks eighth in the league in scoring (14.4) and 14th in rebounding (5.4). He was an honorable mention pick a year ago.
UH finished the regular season with a 24-5 overall record and clinched the program’s first league crown since winning the WAC in 2001-02. Hawai’i enters this week’s Big West Tournament as the No. 1 seed and will face eighth-seeded Cal State Fullerton in Thursday’s quarterfinals.