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NAU ROUNDUP: Men's basketball assistant Tyler Ojanen earns national recognition

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Tyler Ojanen

Northern Arizona men's basketball assistant coach Tyler Ojanen gives directions during a game in the 2021-22 season.

Garnering national recognition once again, Northern Arizona men's basketball assistant coach Tyler Ojanen was named to Silver Waves Media's Most Impactful Mid-Major Assistant Coaches list in early June.

Ojanen, who was recognized by Silver Waves Media for the second time in three years following distinction in 2020, was selected after the global media company consulted with a panel of basketball professionals.

Ojanen, who recently completed his third season on the NAU men's basketball coaching staff, works primarily with the Lumberjacks' post players. In 2021-22, he was instrumental in guiding Carson Towt to a breakout season that concluded with Towt ranking among the NCAA's elite rebounders.

Under Ojanen's guidance, Towt ranked 35th in Division I in rebounds per game (8.8) and 39th in total rebounds (280) with the latter ranking as the sixth-most in a single-season -- and second-most in the last 60 years -- in program history. Towt also ranked 44th in the country with a Big Sky leading 2.9 offensive rebounds per game.

Towt also led the team with 119 assists and the redshirt freshman posted the second triple-double in program history on Jan. 5 versus Embry-Riddle with 10 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists.

Ojanen also coached Ezekiel Richards to a successful first season as a Lumberjack after transferring in from Santa Clara. Richards started 19 games at the center position and ranked fourth in the Big Sky with 32 blocks. He twice came up a block shy of tying the NAU single-game school record of six with five rejections versus Washington and Idaho.

Both Towt and Richards, along with Nik Mains who spent time at the 4 spot on the court, return for the Lumberjacks this fall.

Ojanen was one of four Big Sky Conference assistant coaches on Silver Waves Media's Mid-Major list.


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