April 11, 2002
Santa Clara University senior guard Brian Vaka was honored as the Best Defensive Player and the Most Inspirational in an emotional Bronco men's basketball banquet Thursday night in the Benson Memorial Center on the Mission campus.
Sophomore guard Kyle Bailey was named the team's Most Valuable Player, redshirt freshman Ethan Rohde was honored with the Nick Vanos Most Improved Award and seniors David Emslie, Justin Holbrook, Steve Ross, Jason Westphal and Vaka were recognized with the team's captain's award. Each senior gave a brief speech at the banquet, showing appreciation for the opportunity they received and providing some highlights of their careers. Senior manager D.J. Frandsen was also recognized for his dedication to the program. Click Here for a feature story on Frandsen/
"I am really going to miss coaching this group of seniors," said head coach Dick Davey, following his 10th season as the Broncos' mentor. "They each have added something special to this program and have given their heart and soul to Bronco basketball. Four of the five of them will be graduating this spring, which is a great testament to their dedication to performing at a high level both on and off the court. I really look forward to having them continue to be a part of our program as alums."
Vaka, the first member of his family to attend college and earn a degree, played in 116 games in his career at Santa Clara and has been described by head coach Dick Davey as one of the toughest players in recent Bronco history. Despite several injuries, including a broken bone in his foot, Vaka rarely missed a game and was one of the team's inspirational leaders. He averaged 4.8 points and 2.6 rebounds as a senior and was generally called upon to defend the opposing team's best player.
Bailey was named the team's Most Valuable Player earning all-West Coast Conference honors and joining Santa Clara's top-10 in several career statistical categories in only two seasons. The Fairbanks, Alaska native recorded a career-high 30 points against Gonzaga and finished the season ranked in the top-five in the WCC in assists, steals, free throw percentage and three-point field goals made. He averaged 13.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game for the Broncos this season.
Rohde earned the Nick Vanos Most Improved Award. A walk-on from Seattle, Wash., Rohde worked his way into a significant role on the Bronco squad and played in 25 games this season including all 14 WCC contests. He was the team's top three-point shooter, connecting on 16-of-35 attempts for a .457 percentage. Rohde scored a season-high nine points on 3-of-4 shooting from the field and went 3-of-3 from beyond the three-point arc in 19 minutes in the win at Saint Mary's.