SAN LUIS OBISPO (February 24, 2017)— Cuesta Men’s Basketball team finished 2nd in the Western State Conference with a 6-4 mark against the loop, but missed the post-season for the first time since 2011. The Cougars, 13-15 overall, lost their season finale this past Saturday to finish below .500 for only the second time over the past decade.  The Western State Conference held tits season-ending coaches meeting and has released the 2017 All Western State Conference seasonal awards.  Three members of the Cuesta starting line-up were honored, including two first team selections! 

Freshman Small Forward Noah Saunders (Pittsburgh, PA) was named to the 2017 All Western State Conference First Team.   He averaged 12.0 points per game and led the Cougars with 7.0 rebounds on the season.  He also posted six double-doubles on the season, including four during WSC play.  Saunders scored a team season-high 29 points in the Cougars win over Santa Barbara on January 14 and pulled down a team season-high 18 rebounds in their win over San Diego Mesa on January 6.   He also led the Cougars in field goals made (133), shooting percentage (53.2%), blocked shots (25) and, minutes played (847).  Saunders all-court play was crucial to the Cougars’ success this season.  His 1.4 assists per contest were the fourth best mark on the team and he tied for second with 31 steals on the year.

Sophomore Shooting Guard Andres Aguado (Malaga, Spain) was also selected to the 2017 All-WSC First Team.  He averaged 12.4 points on the season and netted a team-high 62 three-point shots.  Aguado was also second on the team with 2.6 assists per game and 31 steals on the season, while also adding 2.5 rebounds per game.  Aguado has been the Cougars’ primary deep threat over the past two years and led the Cougars with 62 field goals from beyond the arch.   He ranks 8th all time for Cuesta in three-point field goal percentage at 35.6%.

Two-time All-WSC Honorable Mention Point Guard Kerem Ozel (Marmaris, Turkey) was the Cougars’ floor general and controlled the offense by getting his teammates the ball where they could be most successful.  He led the team with 3.9 assists per game and also averaged 12.0 points per game, while leading the Cougars in scoring a team-best nine times.  Ozel suffered an ankle injury just before conference play, but after missing four games he rushed back to the floor to lead the Cougars into playoff contention.  Ozel played sparingly for his first few weeks back, but started the last three games of the season, when he scored 58 points and dished out 26 assists in his last games in a Cuesta uniform.  He ranks 19th all time at Cuesta with 717 career points scored, however his 12.8 points per game ranks 15th.  He also ranks 8th all time with 194 career assists and 7th with 3.4 assists per game over the past two seasons.