March 3, 2010

Glen Dean is selected as the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year

Graduate of Roosevelt High School in Seattle ‘Starts Something Big` For Eagles

Complete All-Big Sky Team

Glen Dean is the epitome of the Eastern Washington University catchphrase, "Start Something Big."

The first-year Eagle men's basketball player was honored Wednesday (March 3) as the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year as selected by the league's nine head coaches. He is the fourth Eagle to earn that honor, joining Rodney Stuckey (2006), Matt Nelson (2004) and Marc Axton (2002) as the previous winners.

The 5-foot-10 guard finished with a 12.2 scoring average to rank 11th in the Big Sky, and his average of 4.4 assists was second. He was also eighth in the Big Sky in three-point field goal percentage (42.9 percent) and seventh in free throw percentage (80.4).

In Big Sky Conference play, Dean averaged 5.2 assists to lead the BSC in league-only statistics, and his 14.4 scoring average was 10th. He made 29-of-62 treys (46.8 percent to rank fifth) and 57-of-68 free throws (83.8 percent to rank sixth).

The 2008 graduate of Seattle's Roosevelt High School was selected as Eastern's male recipient of the December Scholar-Athlete of the Month Award, and currently has a 3.85 grade point average at EWU.

"In every way imaginable he's exceeded our expectations," said Eastern head coach Kirk Earlywine. "His performance on the floor and in the classroom has been unbelievable."

Fellow freshman Jeffrey Forbes was also one of the top newcomers in the league, averaging 13.2 points in 16 Big Sky Conference games to rank 12th in league-only statistics. The 2009 graduate of Federal Way (Wash.) High School averaged 11.0 points overall (17th in the league) as he started 27 of 30 games in the 2009-10 season.

Besides Dean and Forbes, no other freshman ranked in the top 24 in the league in scoring overall and in the top 22 in league games only. Forbes led the Eagles with an average of 31.2 minutes per game (33.8 in league play to rank seventh).

Kevin Winford was a third freshman guard in the starting lineup. Winford averaged 6.9 points per game overall and 7.6 in league play.

"Up until the first week of November we were hoping to redshirt him," Earlywine said of Forbes, who played for 2009 State 4A Champion Federal Way (Wash.) High School. "In my opinion, they were the two best freshmen in the league. With Kevin Winford, I could make the argument that they were the three best."

Dean originally signed a letter of intent to play at Big Sky rival Portland State, but eventually decided to go to prep school in North Carolina instead. He played half a season there before returning to Seattle to be with his ailing mother, who is better now.

While he was sitting out, Earlywine and his coaching staff began to recruit Dean. He picked Eastern over several other larger schools, but Earlywine didn't realize what a gem the Eagles had until the arrived on campus last fall.

"From high school, we knew he was a good player," explained Earlywine. "But I would be lying if I said we knew he would be one of the best freshmen in the league, let alone the best. We already had seniors on our roster, so we were looking for somebody in our program to take over next year. He exceeded our expectations."

After seven non-league games to start his career, Dean had a break-out game with 17 points and four assists in the team's league opener against Portland State on Dec. 5. Two games later, he had a double-double with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting and 10 assists in Eastern's three-point loss at Nevada on Dec. 17. He equaled the 14th-best recorded assists total in school history, and was the most since Rodney Stuckey (now with Detroit Pistons) had 10 versus Idaho State on Feb. 22, 2007.

"Physical readiness was one thing," explained Earlywine of the reason Dean got off to a fast start. "Because he had an extra year out of high school, physically he was more ready than most freshmen. He also has the willingness to be coached and to listen. He has a very high basketball IQ and he's constantly asking for more. He wants to look at more video and learn, and he has the ability to work on an individual skill and translate it to a 5-on-5 situation. That's a rare quality."

Dean equaled his season high with 10 assists at Portland State on Jan. 30, giving him his second double-double of the year as he also had 10 points. However, eight of his assists came in the first half as foul trouble limited him to just eight minutes in the second half. Worst of all, he had to sit out most of the stretch when PSU overcame a 14-point deficit by out-scoring EWU 40-18 in the final 15 minutes.

In EWU's victory on Jan. 10 versus Montana State, Dean finished with 23 points, seven assists and a career-high six rebounds. He made a game-winning, six-foot running bank shot with 3.8 seconds to play. Against Sacramento State on Dec. 31, Dean scored 29 points as he made 8-of-17 shots from the field and 6-of-7 free throws, and had seven assists and just two turnovers in 34 minutes of action. He tied the school record with seven three-pointers in 12 attempts, equaling the mark set on 11 previous occasions by five other players.

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