UM’S Jamar Named Big Sky MVP; Cherry Earns Defensive Honor

By Beacon Staff

The University of Montana Grizzlies had four players receive postseason recognition by the Big Sky Conference. UM’s Kareem Jamar was named the league’s MVP and Will Cherry was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Jamar and Cherry were both named to the Big Sky’s first team, while Mathias Ward was picked for the second team, and Jordan Gregory was an honorable mention selection. This is the third season in a row Cherry has been named to the first team, and the second straight year for Jamar to be honored.

The Grizzlies recently won their second straight Big Sky regular-season championship, going 19-1 in league – a record-high for most conference wins in a year. Montana, now 23-6 overall, earned the No. 1-seed and the right to host the league’s seven-team post-season tournament in Missoula, March 14-16.

A 6-5 junior guard-forward from Venice. Calif., the versatile Jamar is ranked seventh in the Big Sky in scoring (14.1 ppg), third (tie) in assists (4.1 apg), seventh in assist/TOs ratio (at 1.5), 11th (tie) in rebounding (5.9 rpg), and 13th in field goal percentage (48.6%). Jamar, who was named the Big Sky “Player of the Week” today for the third time this season, is the first Griz player to receive the MVP award since forward Delvon Anderson won it in 1991-92.

Cherry, a 6-1 senior point guard from Oakland, Calif., has been hampered by injuries and has been limited to playing in 19 games so far this year. He has not played in enough games to be ranked among the league leaders. He is averaging 13.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.8 steals per contest.

The 6-7 Ward, a senior forward from Gig Harbor, Wash., is currently ranked among the Big Sky’s leaders in several categories, but was lost for the season when he underwent surgery on March 6. Ward is ranked fifth in the conference in scoring (14.8 ppg), sixth in free throw percentage (81.7 percent), and seventh in field goal percentage (51.0 percent).

A 6-2 sophomore guard from Pueblo, Colo., Gregory is UM’s fourth-leading scorer, averaging 8.3 points a game. He has averaged 17.6 points a contest in the Grizzlies’ last five games, including a career-high 21 points in a recent home win over Sacramento State.

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