Men's Basketball

Awards Banquet

STANFORD, Calif. – Sophomore KZ Okpala captured the Hank Luisetti Most Valuable Player Award, as the Stanford men's basketball program celebrated the 2018-19 season at its awards banquet at Bing Concert Hall on campus.
The Cardinal highlighted the accomplishments of senior Josh Sharma and recognized the overall achievements of a roster that featured 11 of 15 student-athletes in their first or second year playing. Anne & Tony Joseph Director of Men's Basketball Jerod Haase thanked both Sharma and senior manager Ryan Cole for their outstanding efforts throughout their Cardinal career. Haase also expressed his enthusiasm for a promising future with an experienced roster back on The Farm for the 2019-20 campaign.
Okpala, a First Team All-Pac-12 selection, First Team USBWA All-District pick and a Second Team NABC All-District selection this past season, took home the Hank Luisetti Most Valuable Player Award. The sophomore standout averaged a team-best 16.8 ppg to go along with 5.7 rpg and a steal per contest. He finished fifth in the Pac-12 in scoring with the second-most 20-point games (15) in the conference. The sophomore also ranked 16th in the conference in rebounding and 12th in defensive rebounding (4.5 drpg). During the Pac-12 regular season, Okpala finished fifth in the conference in scoring (17.5 ppg).
Sharma and Oscar da Silva were each the recipient of the Howie Dallmar Coach's Award.
Sharma was recognized following a standout senior season on The Farm. The center, who was a candidate for the Pac-12's Most Improved Player Award, established a school record for field goal percentage in a season. His mark of .673 was not only a program record, it was the eighth-best field goal percentage in a season in Pac-12 history. Sharma completed his standout career eighth on Stanford's field goal percentage list, shooting .563 for his career. The Cardinal senior was an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention selection, after finishing the year as the conference's field goal percentage leader and ranking in the top-10 in the league in offensive rebounds (3rd, 2.6 orpg), blocks (7th, 1.4 bpg) and rebounds (9th, 7.1 rpg). He averaged 11.3 ppg and 8.2 rpg during Pac-12 play, posting double-doubles in five of his final seven games. Sharma averaged 14.7 ppg and 11.1 rpg over those final seven contests. He was selected to play in the NABC College All-Star Game at the Final Four, featuring the top seniors in the nation.
da Silva was recognized for the second consecutive season. The sophomore was the lone member of the Cardinal to start all 31 games. He averaged 9.5 ppg and 6.0 rpg. The forward, who averaged 28.3 mpg, finished second on the team in blocks with 40 on the season. He finished the season ranked eighth in the Pac-12 in blocks (1.3 bpg) and 13th in rebounding. The sophomore registered four 20-point games on the year, posting a career-best 23 points against both San Jose State and Oregon State. He recorded three double-doubles for the season.
Junior Rodney Herenton was the recipient of the Peter Sauer Most Inspirational Award. Named in honor of the late Peter Sauer, who was the inspirational leader and captain of the 1998 Final Four Team, the award recognizes an individual who embodies the same qualities as Sauer did of enthusiasm, leadership and courage which serves as an inspiration to the program. Herenton has been a constant voice of encouragement and inspiration as a true representative of the Invested, Tough and Selfless pillars of the program. He played in six games, highlighted by four points in four minutes of action in the win over Washington State in February. The International Studies major has represented the program globally, earning a selection to the prestigious Rubenstein-Bing Student-Athlete Civic Engagement Program. He traveled to India, where he served as a mentor and teacher for English, math and athletics to children as part of the program. Commanding the utmost respect of his teammates, Herenton has exemplified the exceptional character and charisma that helps define the Peter Sauer Most Inspirational Award.
Freshman Bryce Wills captured the Roy Young Toughness Award, recognizing the individual who was a leader in floor burns for the season. Originally created at Kansas in honor of Haase, the floor burns stat was adopted by Stanford when Haase was hired as head coach. Floor burns recognizes individuals for diving for loose balls, taking charges and making the extra effort to help their team win. Wills, who collected 48 floor burns, was recognized for giving the extra effort on both ends of the floor, highlighted by scoring performances down the stretch to win games and blocks on the defensive end to help seal victories. Wills became a regular starter as a freshman as the Cardinal entered Pac-12 play. He averaged 7.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg and 2.2 apg from the guard spot during conference action, scoring in double figures in seven Pac-12 games. Wills also recorded multiple steals in five games, including four in the victory over Middle Tennessee in the Battle 4 Atlantis. The freshman scored four of his 11 points in the final 14 seconds, including the go-ahead basket in the 79-76 come-from-behind win over USC in February.
The banquet concluded with speeches by Sharma and Cole, who both shared their gratitude to everyone involved with the program.