HARTFORD, Conn. – UConn center Amida Brimah, who had an American Athletic Conference-record 101 blocked shots in the regular season, has been chosen as the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year by the league’s 11 head coaches. The announcement was made Wednesday by Commissioner Mike Aresco.
SMU, which won The American’s regular-season title, had a pair of individual award winners that were announced Wednesday. Mustangs forward Markus Kennedy was the winner of the Sixth Man Award, while center Yanick Moreira was named the conference’s Most Improved Player.
Memphis forward Shaq Goodwin was chosen as the winner of the league’s Sportsmanship Award.
Brimah, the latest in a long line of standout centers for UConn, led the American Athletic Conference in total blocks as a sophomore and was second in the league in blocks per game (3.4). He averaged a league-leading 4.0 blocks per game in conference play and was the anchor of a UConn squad that held opponents to 39.7-percent field goal shooting. Brimah, who was an honorable mention all-conference selection, started all 30 games for the Huskies, averaging 10.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.
Kennedy earned honors as The American’s Sixth Man after he averaged 11.2 points and 6.0 rebounds in 20 regular-season games off the bench. He shot 56.3 percent from the field and ranked 11th in the league in scoring in conference games (11.8 ppg). Kennedy was named to the all-conference second team earlier this week.
Moreira, who also earned second-team all-conference honors, was tabbed as the league’s Most Improved Player after he finished the regular season as SMU’s second-leading scorer (11.3 ppg) and the team’s top rebounder (6.4 rpg). He started all 30 games and ranked seventh in The American in rebounding and blocks (1.3 per game). He averaged 6.0 points and 3.9 rebounds for the Mustangs last season.
Goodwin averaged 9.5 points and 7.1 rebounds for Memphis, but was recognized by the league coaches for his sportsmanship, positive demeanor, commitment to player safety and public support of both his teammates and opponents.
The league’s Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards will be presented at a Thursday luncheon at the XL Center in Hartford.
Complete coverage of the 2015 American Athletic Conference Championship will be available on the conference’s Championship Central page at www.TheAmerican.org/mbb.
2015 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year
Amida Brimah, C, UConn
2015 American Athletic Conference Sixth Man Award
Markus Kennedy, F, SMU
2015 American Athletic Conference Most Improved Player
Yanick Moreira, C, SMU
2015 American Athletic Conference Sportsmanship Award
Shaq Goodwin, F, Memphis