Wrapping Up Pac-12 Non-Conference Play By Reassessing Our All-Conference Selections

Posted by AMurawa on January 2nd, 2013

Later tonight, the second leg of the Pac-12 college basketball season begins as conference play tips off with the Battle of the Bachynskis, when Utah travels to Arizona State. After last year’s nightmare of a non-conference slate, this season the conference took major strides, with Arizona’s win over Florida, UCLA’s win over Missouri, Colorado’s win over Baylor, and Oregon’s win over UNLV making up the top tier of the best wins for the conference. Before we turn our complete attention to conference play, we thought we’d hand out some awards based on the season to this point, so Connor Pelton, Parker Baruh, Pachoops’ Adam Butler and myself voted and came up with the following results.

Player of the Year

Allen Crabbe, Jr, California – Crabbe’s 20.9 PPG and efficient all-around offensive game earned three of the four votes for our player of the year, with UCLA’s Jordan Adams receiving the other vote from me. Crabbe has been a rock for the Golden Bears (well, aside from that Creighton debacle, at least), scoring in double figures in every game, helping out on the glass and, thus far, knocking down better than 38% of his shots from deep.

The Pac-12's Leading Scorer, Allen Crabbe Takes Down The Mid-season POTY Award (credit: Jeff Gross)

The Pac-12’s Leading Scorer, Allen Crabbe Takes Down The Mid-season POTY Award (credit: Jeff Gross)

Coach of the Year

Dana Altman, Oregon – Despite losing three of last year’s top four scorers, and having the other guy in that quartet – E.J. Singler – struggle through the early part of this year, the Ducks have reeled off wins in 11 of their 13 games. Altman has gotten great production out of his freshman backcourt of Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson, has folded Rice transfer Arsalan Kazemi into the mix seamlessly, and coaxed great improvement out of senior center Tony Woods. As a result, he earned three of our four votes for the COY, while Arizona State’s Herb Sendek got my support.

Freshman of the Year

Shabazz Muhammad, Fr, UCLA – After missing the first three games of the season due to an NCAA investigation into his eligibility, Muhammad has come on strong for the Bruins, scoring in double figures in all 10 of the games he’s played in on his way to 19.6 points per night. He’s just beginning to ease into the best physical shape of the season, so the expectation is that conference play will see an even better version of Shabazz. Once again, Shabazz earned three of our four votes for FrOY, with the lone dissenter (again, me) nabbing teammate Jordan Adams.

All-Conference Team

  • G Jahii Carson, Fr, Arizona State
  • G Allen Crabbe*, Jr, California
  • F Solomon Hill, Sr, Arizona
  • F Brock Motum*, Sr, Washhington State
  • F Shabazz Muhammad, Fr, UCLA

* represents unanimous selections throughout

Crabbe and Motum were unanimous selections, while Hill and Muhammad grabbed three votes each and Carson snuck in with a pair of votes. Hill was the sole player picked for All-Conference honors who is not among the top five scorers in the league. It is interesting to note that four of the five players on our preseason first team are represented here, with the sole substitution the inclusion of Carson and the subtraction of Colorado’s Andre Roberson, the conference’s top rebounder. Roberson only received one first team vote.

Brock Motum, Washington State

Brock Motum Was A Unanimous All-Conference Selection (Dean Hare/Moscow-Pullman Daily News)

All-Freshmen Team

  • G Jordan Adams, UCLA
  • G Jahii Carson, Arizona State
  • F Jordan Loveridge, Utah
  • F Shabazz Muhammad*, UCLA
  • C Josh Scott*, Colorado

Muhammad and Scott are the unanimous picks here, while the other three picks each earned three votes. Notably absent from this list are Kyle Anderson and any of the three Arizona big men, although Kaleb Tarczewski received a single vote.

All-Defensive Team

  • G Dominic Artis, Fr, Oregon
  • G Nick Johnson*, So, Arizona
  • F Arsalan Kazemi, Sr, Oregon
  • F Eric Moreland, So, Oregon State
  • C Jordan Bachynski*, Jr, Arizona State

Johnson and Bachynski are the unanimous picks here, the former on the strength of his all-around defensive ability and the latter by virtue of leading the conference in blocked shots with 4.5 per night. Kazemi leads the conference in steals, and is the best defensive rebounder in the nation, while his teammate Artis is rapidly gaining a reputation as an annoying defender. The final spot goes to Moreland over Stanford’s Josh Huestis, after two rounds of voting both resulted in a tie. In my official role as tiebreaker, I opted for Moreland since, while they are both excellent shot-blockers, Moreland is more of a disruptive force away from the basket and is a vastly superior defensive rebounder.

All-Surprise Team

  • G Jordan Adams, Fr, UCLA
  • G Dominic Artis, Fr, Oregon
  • F Josh Huestis, Jr, Stanford
  • F Arsalan Kazemi, Sr, Oregon
  • C Tony Woods, Sr, Oregon

A pair of Oregon seniors highlight this team, but they may each be surprises for different reasons. Woods, after three seasons of being little more than a shot-blocker and a halfway decent rebounder, has found an offensive game and is averaged 11 efficient points per night for the Ducks. On the other hand, we all knew Kazemi could play, but very few of us expected him to be eligible this season. Artis joins his elder teammates on this team, while fellow freshman Adams earns a spot here after being the least highly regarded freshman Bruin, but one of that team’s most important contributors. And, while Huestis may have missed out on the All-Defensive team, he gets recognized here for nearly doubling most of his numbers from last season in just 50%  more minutes. Notably absent are Stanford’s Andy Brown and Dwight Powell, UCLA’s Larry Drew II, and ASU’s Bachynski.

Tony Woods' Offensive Development Has Been A Pleasant Surprise (GoDucks.com)

Tony Woods’ Offensive Development Has Been A Pleasant Surprise (GoDucks.com)

All-Disappoinment Team

  • G Jio Fontan*, Sr, USC
  • G Ahmad Starks, Jr, Oregon State
  • G J.T. Terrell, Jr, USC
  • F E.J. Singler, Sr, Oregon
  • C Josh Smith*, Jr, UCLA

Our one negative team, this is the one that you don’t want to wind up on. And yet, Fontan and Smith are pretty obvious picks for this squad, and were unanimous selections. Smith “earned” his way here by quitting on his team before a month had passed, while Fontan’s not here due to a lack of effort, but rather due to a lack of production – his shooting percentages are atrocious (34.3% eFG) and, while he’s doing a good job of getting teammates involved, he’s turning it over too much. His teammate Terrell is here on the strength of some of the worst shot selection seen this side of Russ Smith’s sophomore campaign and a bad attitude to boot, while Singler is here not because his performance has been bad, just because we expected more. Likewise, Starks gets picked here despite putting up roughly the same numbers in the same amount of minutes as he played last year; apparently our voters expected more production out of him in the absence of Jared Cunningham.

All-Improved Team

  • G Carrick Felix*, Sr, Arizona State
  • G Nick Johnson, So, Arizona
  • F Eric Moreland, So, Oregon State
  • F Dwight Powell, Jr, Stanford
  • C Tony Woods, Sr, Oregon

Felix is the lone unanimous selection here as he is breaking out all over the place this year for the Sun Devils. Despite playing roughly the same number of minutes he did last season, his points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals are all up this year, while his turnovers are down. And, most impressively, his shooting percentages are through the roof, something that can be partially attributed to his freshman point guard getting him plenty of good looks. The other name we haven’t mentioned yet is Stanford’s Dwight Powell, who despite a 6’10” frame was largely a passive, rail-thin perimeter player in the past. This year, while consistency has been a concern, when he’s brought it, he’s shown as much talent and as much versatility as anyone in the conference.

Dwight Powell's Numbers Have Exploded, Though Consistency Is Still Needed

Dwight Powell’s Numbers Have Exploded, Though Consistency Is Still Needed

All-Upside Team

  • G Aaron Bright*, Jr, Stanford
  • G Tyrone Wallace*, Fr, California
  • F Brandon Ashley*, Fr, Arizona
  • F Shabazz Muhammad , Fr, UCLA
  • F E.J. Singler, Sr, Oregon

The idea behind this team was a predictive one, trying to nail down players whose performance in conference play should exceed their performance to this point. Bright, Wallace and Ashley were on the list of all of our voters, while Muhammad and Singler edged out Kyle Anderson in a tie-breaker. Bright’s a no-brainer, as he was limited in non-conference play by injuries and atypically low shooting numbers; those should begin to revert to the mean as conference play rolls on (as should Chasson Randle’s, for that matter). Wallace and Ashley, however, are selections based more on their potential, as our voters foresee larger roles for the talented youngsters as they get more comfortable with their teams.

Game of the Year to this Point

Arizona 65, Florida 64*. This was unanimous, although our voters acknowledged several other contenders (UCLA/Missouri, Washington State/Gonzaga and Arizona/San Diego State, to name a few). But, we’ll let Adam Butler explain why this one was the winner. “The game was hyped as the biggest of the non-conference schedule and lived up to the billing. McKale was rocking as if the ‘Cats were a top-10 tea… — wait, they are. OK, so it appeared as if things were back to normal in Tucson until Arizona spent much of the game playing catch-up. With the final possession and the ball in their fearless gamer’s hands, the Wildcats managed to knock off the Gators.”

Game of the Year to Come

Arizona at UCLA*, March 2. It was also unanimous that this is the game that we are all most looking forward to on the conference schedule in what should be the toughest test the Wildcats face. By the time this thing rolls around on the first weekend in March, both sets of talented youngsters should be at their peak for the year. Again, to Adam for the summation: “This should be the game of the year in the second to last weekend with Game Day in town and a whole lot of talent on the floor. I think it’s safe to assume Arizona will be a contender but no one seems to know what we’ll get out of UCLA. If recent history serves us well, this will indeed be a ball game.”

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AMurawa (999 Posts)

Andrew Murawa Likes Basketball.

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One response to “Wrapping Up Pac-12 Non-Conference Play By Reassessing Our All-Conference Selections”

  1. […] With Conference play kicking off tonight last night, the fellas at RTC and I compiled what I would call our Pre-Season-Post-Non-Conference-Schedule predictions. With a twelve-to-thirteen game sampling from each team and player, we made new-ish predictions on how the league is going to shape out. Here is the aggregation of our picks. […]

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