The Mountain West Conference is one of the newer leagues in all of college basketball. The 2010s was the league’s second full decade. Seven out of the ten years of the decade saw at least two teams make the NCAA Tournament. This past season would have made eight if not for the cancellation of March Madness due to COVID-19. The success of the conference is in large part due to some players with NBA talent coming through the member schools.
Mountain West Conference 2010s All-Decade Team
Guard – Jimmer Fredette, BYU
Jimmer Fredette took the college basketball world by storm during his time at the college level. He became known for almost never missing from the three-point line and taking insanely deep attempts from three. Fredette only played one season in the past decade, but it was a historic one. He was the national player of the year for the 2010-11 season, taking home the Wooden, Naismith, and AP honors. He was also a first-team AP All-American and was Division I’s leading scorer at 28.9 points per game.
Fredette finished his career as the Mountain West Conference’s all-time leading scorer. He also left as the league’s career leader in made field goals, player efficiency rating, offensive win shares, and total win shares. He helped the Cougars tie for the regular-season title with Kawhi Leonard’s San Diego State squad that season. BYU made it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.
Guard – Sam Merrill, Utah State
Sam Merrill just finished his Utah State career, becoming known for his ability to step up for the Aggies. He was the league’s player of the year in 2019 and twice captured the tournament’s most valuable player honor. His fantastic 2018-19 campaign also landed him as an honorable mention on the AP All-American team. Merrill finished as the school’s all-time leader in free throw percentage as well as second in points, assists, and made threes.
For his career, he averaged 16.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. He also was a 42 percent career shooter from behind the arc. Merrill is first in conference history in all-time free throw percentage, offensive rating, and points produced. He is second in career points, sitting only behind Fredette. Merrill helped Utah State capture one regular-season title and go to one NCAA Tournament. His game-winning shot in this past season’s conference tournament championship had Utah State set to play in the Big Dance again.
Guard – Kendall Williams, New Mexico
Kendall Williams played in the first four years of the decade for New Mexico. He won player of the year as a junior in 2013. He made the conference’s first-team twice and left the Lobos as the program’s leader in made free throws as well as fifth in points.
Williams averaged 13.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game for his career. He was a skilled passer, finishing as the league’s career leader in assists and assists per game. He is also in the top five in points produced, offensive win shares, and assist percentage. Williams helped the Lobos capture two league titles and play in three NCAA Tournaments.
Guard – Marvelle Harris, Fresno State
Marvelle Harris played for Fresno State from 2012-16. He took home both the player of the year and tournament most outstanding player awards as a senior in 2016. He was also an AP All-American honorable mention that season. Harris left the Bulldogs as their leading scorer and free-throw maker.
For his career, he averaged 14.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He finished fourth in Mountain West Conference history in steals and sixth in career points. Harris led the Bulldogs to one NCAA Tournament and to the 2014 CBI championship series.
Forward – Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State
Leonard is a star in the NBA, but he took college basketball by storm first. Like Fredette, he only played one season in the decade but also had a fantastic year. He made the league’s first-team and was a member of the AP All-American second-team. Leonard ranked fourth in the NCAA in double-doubles and ninth in rebounding in 2010-11. He was a finalist for both the Naismith and Wooden awards, ultimately getting awarded to his conference foe, Fredette.
Leonard averaged 15.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists that season. He entered the NBA Draft at the conclusion of the season, leaving tied as the Mountain West Conference’s career leader in double-doubles with 40. He also set new highs in conference play with 21 double-doubles against league foes in a career and 12 in a single-season. Leonard helped San Diego State reach the Sweet 16 that year.
Guard – Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State
Jamaal Franklin was also part of the early-decade success that San Diego State saw. He captured the second player of the year honor in school history as a sophomore in 2012. He earned an honorable mention spot on the AP All-American team as well.
Franklin averaged 13.7 points and seven rebounds per game for his career. He led the league twice in points produced and finished on conference career lists in the top ten in defensive rating and defensive rebounding percentage. Franklin helped the Aztecs capture two league titles and make three NCAA Tournaments, including the Sweet 16 run with Leonard. He declared for the NBA Draft after his junior season.
Guard – Deshon Taylor, Fresno State
Deshon Taylor came to Fresno State after playing one season at Kansas City in the WAC. He made the Mountain West’s first-team twice in his three years with the Bulldogs. He finished in the top ten at Fresno State in points, three-point and free-throw percentage, and made free throws.
For his Fresno career, Taylor averaged 15.9 points, three rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. He finished top five in league history in offensive rating, free-throw percentage, and true shooting percentage. Fresno State played in one NIT while Taylor was there.
Guard – Derrick Marks, Boise State
Derrick Marks was a Boise State Bronco from 2011-15. He won the conference’s player of the year honor as a senior in 2015. He was also an AP All-American honorable mention for the 2014-15 season. Marks finished as the Broncos’ third all-time leading scorer.
He averaged 15.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Marks finished in the top five in conference history in two-point field goals and points produced, and top ten in points and steals. He was a huge reason why Boise State captured their first Mountain West title in school history and make two NCAA Tournaments. Marks is one of three players in school history to start in two March Madness games.
Forward – Caleb Martin, Nevada
Caleb Martin played two seasons at Nevada after transferring from North Carolina State with his twin brother, Cody. He won newcomer and player of the year in his first season with the Wolf Pack in 2017-18. He was a first-team member in both seasons and also garnered honorable mention accolades for the AP All-American team in 2018.
Martin averaged 19.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game during his Nevada career. He led the league in points and made field goals in 2017-18 and made threes and steals in 2018-19. Martin helped Nevada win two titles, make two NCAA Tournaments, and appear in one Sweet 16.
Forward – Larry Nance Jr, Wyoming
Larry Nance Jr comes from a good bloodline, with his father having spent more than a decade in the NBA. Nance Jr is a rising star in the NBA but started showing his skills while at Wyoming. He made the first-team twice and shared the defensive player of the year award as a senior in 2015. He finished fifth on the Cowboys’ career lists for blocks and steals.
For his career, Nance averaged 11.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. He is in the top five in Mountain West Conference history in defensive and total rebounds and in defensive win shares. Nance helped Wyoming make its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 13 years in 2015 and also played in three CBIs.