Penava voted C-USA defensive POY
FRISCO, Texas – After leading the nation in blocks and blocked shots per game, Marshall junior forward Ajdin Penava has been named Conference USA’s Defensive Player of the Year, the league announced on Tuesday.
“Anytime you lead the nation in anything, that means you’re pretty good at what you’re doing,” head coach Dan D’Antoni said. “Ajdin has come a long way since he first stepped on campus. He not only makes me a better coach, but he makes the team better.”
With the honor, Penava becomes the first Marshall player to win C-USA’s Defensive Player of the Year since Hassan Whiteside accomplished the feat during the 2009-10 season.
Penava leads the nation in total blocked shots (124) and blocked shots per game (4.28) and has a defensive rating of 91.8 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court. The 124 blocks are third all-time in a single season in C-USA history. Penava is 11th in the league points per game (15.4) and his 8.6 rebounds per game rank fourth in the league. The 194 defensive rebounds that Penava has pulled down places him second in C-USA in that category. The Bosnian has 13 games with five or more blocked shots this season and three games with nine blocks. Penava was named C-USA Player of the Week on December 18.
“It’s pretty cool to be named in the same sentence with Hassan Whiteside,” Penava said. “I’m honored to win this award. This isn’t an individual award, but an award for the entire team. They make me a better player and they are the reason we are where we are.”