Darius Brown II and Kelsey Kaufusi named Male and Female Athlete of the Year | Sports

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State men’s basketball graduate student Darius Brown II and soccer senior Kelsey Kaufusi were named the Male and Female Athlete of the Year, respectively, at the annual Robins Awards, recognizing the best of Utah State University.

Brown earned first-team all-Mountain West honors and was named to the MW all-defensive team as he started all 35 games and finished the season averaging 12.3 points, 6.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 0.2 blocks per game, while shooting 44.6 percent (152-of-341) from the field, 39.8 percent (64-of-161) from 3-point range, and 86.5 percent (64-of-74) at the free throw line. Brown, who set the program record with 228 assists during the season, was also named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District 17 second team.

Brown scored in double-figures 24 times during the season, including five games with 20 or more points, which included a season-high 25 points against No. 19 San Diego State. He also posted six double-doubles during the season, including 17 points and a career high 11 assists against Fresno State in the quarterfinals of the MW Championships to set a school record for postseason assists in a game. Brown added 10 points and 10 assists against TCU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to set a school record for assists in an NCAA Tournament game.

Brown finished the season among the top 10 all-time in school history in several categories as he ranks tied for second all-time in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.40), third in assists (6.5 pg), third in minutes played (1262), tied for third in games played (35), tied for third in game started (35), tied for 10th in minutes played per game (36.1) and tied for 12th in total steals (51).

And Brown helped Utah State claim its first outright Mountain West regular season title in school history and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the 24th time. In the NCAA Tournament, USU advanced to the second round for the first time since 2001 as it posted an 88-72 win against TCU in the first round.

Other nominees for Male Athlete of the Year included junior golfer Julio Arrante Sanchez, junior cross country/track & field athlete Brennan Benson, sophomore track & field athlete Logan Hammer, football junior Jalen Royals and tennis senior Bodin Zarkovich.

Kaufusi started all 23 games last fall and was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, was first-team all-MW, and was just the sixth player in program history to earn United Soccer Coaches NCAA All-Pacific Region Second Team honors. Kaufusi helped USU win its first-ever MW Tournament Championship and advance to the programs third NCAA Tournament. She helped the Aggies field the league’s top defense, allowing just six combined goals to 13 MW opponents. During the season, Kaufusi was the only Utah State player to play all 2,090 minutes. She also earned academic all-district and academic all-MW honors.

Other nominees for Female Athlete of the Year included gymnastics senior Brianna Brooks, track & field senior Abbey Bryant, volleyball graduate senior Shelby Capllonch, softball junior Ariel Fifita, tennis senior Zeynep Naz Ozturk, basketball junior Cheyenne Stubbs and junior cross country runner Emma Thornley.

Finalists for the Athlete of the Year were selected by members of the athletics department. A selection committee over these categories then selected the winners. The awards were just two of 16 honors extended by the University during the event, with students, faculty and staff all receiving recognition for their individual contributions to Utah State.

Fans can follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.

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