With the regular season officially over, the Mountain West (MW) Conference revealed its All-Conference teams, individual honors, and honorable mentions for the 2021-2022 basketball season, with three Runnin’ Rebels earning recognition.
Voting was conducted by both the media, independently through conference oversight, and 11 of the MW head coaches for this year’s league awards.
Bryce Hamilton: First Team All-Mountain West by both the coaches & media
Bryce Hamilton earned his second First Team All-MW selection after finishing as the conference’s leading scorer. Hamilton averaged 21.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game while shooting 42.9% from the field.
In 18 conference games played this season, Hamilton averaged 24 points and finished as the Rebels’ leading scorer in 14 of those games, putting up double figures in each of the contests.
Hamilton was first named during the 2019-20 season to the First Team All-MW, where he averaged 16 points, 5.5 rebounds on 45.3% shooting.
After receiving his second selection, Hamilton has become UNLV’s first two-time first-team selection since Odartey Blankson was honored in 2004 and 2005.
Hamilton has been a stand-out the last few years. He began getting attention from bigger meda outlets after dropping a new career-high of 42 points to upset then-ranked No. 22 Colorado State in front of a sold-out crowd in Fort Collins.
After Hamilton scored 27 points to lead the Rebels to victory over the rivals up North, the Nevada Wolf Pack, he got a shout out from former NBA player and now media personality, Kendrick Perkins.
Perkins took to Twitter to shout out Hamilton, calling him a “walking bucket” and “one of the most prolific scorers in college.”
Tracy McGrady, a former NBA MVP, stopped by during the Runnin’ Rebels home game to watch Hamilton and the team, which meant a lot to Hamilton as McGrady was a player he idolized a lot growing up.
“I watched a lot of Michael Jordan and Tracy McGrady,” Hamilton said. “A lot of players like that, that are able to score the ball at a high level.”
Donovan Williams: Sixth Man of the Year by the media
After not seeing a lot of playing time at Texas, Donovan Williams entered the transfer portal looking for a fresh start and a chance to prove he can play an important role on a team.
When he got to UNLV, he did just that, averaging 12.4 points and 3.4 rebounds a game while leading the Runnin’ Rebels in field goal percentage and three-point shooting percentage. During his first season at UNLV, Williams shot 49.6% from the field and 45.2% from behind the arc.
“I feel great,” Williams said. “I’m not a big guy on individual accomplishments but coming off two seasons where I was the last guy to get off the bench, there were some games, a lot of games actually where I never saw the floor.”
Williams scored a new career-high of 32 points in a game against the Hartford Hawks, early in the season. He would later start six of the 13 MW games he played, scoring in double figures seven times, including 20 or more points twice.
“For my life and my career to take that big of a 180 in just a matter of months, honestly it’s just a testament to all the work that I’ve put in,” Williams said. “All the sacrifices I have made, all the long hours, all the blood, the sweat, the tears that have gone into this journey that I’ve had.”
Earlier in the season, Williams stated it was hard to move his entire life to Las Vegas after living in Texas all his life, but with the help of coaches, staff and teammates, it made the transition much easier.
“I think that the support that I have gotten from staff, the community, and my teammates,” Williams said. “Having that award, to me individual awards are just icing on the cake for everything that I’ve had to go through to get to this point.”
Royce Hamm Jr: Honorable mention by the coaches
Transferring from Texas along with Williams, Royce Hamm Jr arrived at UNLV as a fifth year player determined to make a difference on the team for his last season, and that he did.
The only player this season to start all 31 regular-season games for the scarlet and gray, Hamm averaged 8.4 points and 8.9 rebounds a game, while shooting 50% from the field and 86.7% on free throws.
Hamm shot 38.9% from behind the arc, the second highest three-point shooting percentage on the team behind Williams. He finished the season with seven double-doubles and also earned himself a new career-high of 18 points in UNLV’s opening game against Gardner-Webb.
Hamm finished third in the MW in rebounds per game (rpg); he also recorded double figures in scoring six times in MW action and in rebounding on eight occasions. Hamm ranks 27th in the nation in rpg; earlier in the season he cracked into the top five on the list.
Make sure to catch all three in action in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Tournament, where the Runnin’ Rebels will take on Wyoming, Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at the Thomas & Mack.