Pac-12 Midseason AwardsPosted by AMurawa on December 28th, 2011
With non-conference play involving Pac-12 teams all but wrapped up and the tip-off of the conference season bearing down on us, we have a good chance today to look back at the first half of conference play. If you have been reading the RTC Pac-12 microsite this season, you know how bad the conference has been, so we are not going to spend a lot of time rehashing every suspension, defection, or other soap opera, nor are we going to remind you every loss to a Middle Tennessee State or South Dakota State. For the most part we are going to reward the best performances to this point, and tomorrow we’ll also spend a bit of time trying to forecast what should be a wide-open and relatively unpredictable conference race. But first, the awards from the non-conference portion of the Pac-12 schedule.
Player of the Year, Non-conference Edition:
F: Devon Collier, Oregon State – Among the most improved players in the conference, he is second in blocks, 11th in points, and boasts a stellar 127.8 offensive rating.
The rest of our 1st team All-Pac-12, non-conference edition:
F: Solomon Hill, Arizona – The versatile junior leads the Wildcats in points, rebounds, and assists, and he is the emotional heart of his team.
C: Josh Owens, Stanford – He has been a stud up front for the Cardinal, leading the team in points and rebounds while hitting nearly 62% of his shots from the field.
G: Jared Cunningham, Oregon State – He is the Pac-12’s leading scorer. He leads the league in steals. And he’s the best perimeter defender. We will find a spot for him on our first team.
G: Terrence Ross, Washington – The only player in the conference in the top ten in both points and rebounds, he also blocks more than a shot per game and is capable of connecting from deep.
G: Allen Crabbe, California – Not only does he lead the Golden Bears in scoring with 15.8 points per game, but he does so while connecting at a 45% clip from deep and contributing nearly six rebounds per game.
G: Aaron Bright, Stanford – He is scoring double-digits a game, knocking down threes at around 50%, and he has a sick 121.6 offensive rating, but more importantly, he is running the Cardinal offense smoothly.
G: Justin Cobbs, California – The transfer from Minnesota has been excellent in his first year in Berkeley, scoring 12.6 points per game, handing out 4.5 assists a night (fourth in the conference), and hitting a sizzling 65.2% of his threes.
F: Andre Roberson, Colorado – Easily the best rebounder in the conference (11.5 per game), he’s just beginning to scratch the surface of his offensive talent, but he is still almost a shoo-in to average a double-double the rest of the way.
F: Aaron Fuller, USC – The Trojans have plenty of problems, but this Iowa transfer is doing all he can, scoring 11 points and grabbing almost seven rebounds per night while being USC’s most efficient offensive player.
Freshman of the Year: Spencer Dinwiddie, Colorado – Tony Wroten at Washington may be getting the most press, but Dinwiddie has been better, not least because he’s knocking down threes at a better than a 50% rate.
Coach of the Year: Craig Robinson, Oregon State – It’s a toss-up here between Robinson and Stanford’s Johnny Dawkins, both of whom have fielded vastly improved teams this season. The nod, however, goes to Robinson, if only because last year’s Beaver squad was so wildly inconsistent and this year’s team has shown, with one significant exception, a rock-steady effort all year long.
Most Improved: Charlie Enquist, Washington State – Collier and Bright have had more significant effects on their teams, but Enquist, given that he scored a grand total of 50 points in his first three years in Pullman, has had a more rapid rise. Not only has he earned more minutes in his senior season than he had in his first three, he is producing with two double-doubles in the span of eight days and a ridiculous 146.5 offensive rating, largely made on the back of his 81% field goal percentage.
Biggest Surprise: Stanford – Aside from an uninspiring loss at home to Butler just before the holiday break, the Cardinal have looked very good this year even if they have made their name mostly on looking better than expected in a loss to Syracuse on the day after Thanksgiving. It seems like everybody on this team is better than last year, and they should be a force in conference play.
Biggest Disappointment: UCLA – Our lone negative “award”, the Bruins are the easy winner after struggling out of the gate, losing five of their first seven in listless fashion and suffering through the Reeves Nelson drama. Now, they’re winners of five straight against underwhelming competition, but at least things seem to be headed in the right direction, even if this team likely has no chance to live up to preseason expectations.