Pac-12 Postseason HonorsPosted by AMurawa on March 11th, 2013
With the Pac-12 regular season now two days in the books and with the first Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas on the immediate horizon, we’ve got a brief moment in time to look back at the regular season and wrap up all we’ve gone through over the past 10 weeks. And we’ll start that out by doing what every self-respecting college basketball writer is doing about now – handing out some awards. We’ll get to our all-conference teams a bit later today, but for now, let’s get right to it as Parker Baruh, Adam Butler, Andrew Murawa and Connor Pelton compile their votes and their reasoning as we go through all the usual postseason awards.
Player of the Year – Allen Crabbe, Junior, California
Crabbe was a unanimous selection for this award, earning all four votes.
- Connor Pelton: “He puts up the quietest 18.6 PPG you’ll ever see, but leading the conference in scoring is no small task. And to do it while bringing your team from the bottom fourth of the league all the way to an NCAA Tournament lock in the final month of the year is the icing on the cake.”
- Adam Butler: “Allen Crabbe was the best player on the most surprising team. He’s the most feared offensive threat in the conference.”
- Parker Baruh: “A case can be made for Jahii Carson, but given Cal’s resurgence in the Pac-12, Crabbe being the leading scorer in the conference, and his spectacular 31 point, 12-of-15 shooting performance against Arizona on the road, the nod goes to Crabbe.”
- Andrew Murawa: A month into the conference season, Crabbe probably wasn’t even on my radar for this award. Then came the 31-point explosion in a win at Arizona and the post-shove streak down the stretch against USC, all part of a seven-game winning streak for Cal that found Crabbe, in particular, playing his best ball of the season.”
Coach of the Year – Dana Altman, Oregon
Altman won three of our four votes, with Mike Montgomery of Cal the dissenting opinion.
- AB: “Dana Altman turned his group of effective pieces into a dynamic team. They’ve certainly overachieved but that’s not why I’d award him this honor. I love the Ducks’ ability to fill their roles and the system they execute, a direct reflection of their coach.”
- PB: “His team was playing the best basketball in the conference to start the season, winning its first seven games by beating Arizona and UCLA. And despite losing Dominic Artis for part of the conference season, the Ducks still managed to finish with the second best record in the Pac-12 at 12-6.”
- AM: “Let’s put it this way: I picked Oregon ninth prior to the season. Of course, part of that is because I am a stupid, stupid man (who the hell picks any Altman-coached team to finish that low?), but Altman did a great job molding a collection of cast-offs and newcomers into a cohesive unit that outperformed expectations.”
- Connor’s Montgomery dissent: “Once again, the amazing turnaround gives the nod to a Golden Bear. California is largely where we thought they’d be when we made predictions at the beginning of the season NCAA Tourney wise, but nobody expected a top two finish inside the Pac. Very impressive.”
Freshman of the Year – Jahii Carson, Arizona State
Carson wins three of the four votes, with Shabazz Muhammad earning the fourth vote.
- AM: “Right up until about that time when Crabbe started to turn things up in mid-February, Carson was my pick for Player of the Year. While his team faltered down the stretch, Carson stayed strong to the end, averaging 17.7 points and 5.0 assists per game for the year while making Arizona State cool again.”
- AB: “Carson has been a program changer for the Sun Devils. They doubled their win total with him on the roster and found themselves flirting with the Dance.”
- PB: “He averaged 37 minutes, 17.7 points, and 5.0 assists per game and was Arizona State’s most valuable player without question. Coming into the year, I thought this would be Muhammad, but Carson was the better and more important player this year.”
- Once again, it is Connor with the dissenting vote, for Muhammad: “Bazz was everything I expected him to be in his one and only year in Los Angeles. His 18.3 PPG led the Pac-12 regular season champions, and he was a force on the offensive glass as well, grabbing 2.5 ORPG.”
Defensive Player of the Year – Andre Roberson, Junior, Colorado
It’s back to unanimity, as Roberson earned all four of our votes.
- CP: “He’s flexible and versatile, able to guard the opponents best offensive scorer, whether it be a one or a five.”
- AB: “Roberson is the most dynamic defender this conference has got. There are some very good defender’s in the conference (Huestis, Johnson, Kazemi) but Roberson has guarded seemingly every position up and down a lineup and done so effectively. Oh, and the numbers back it up.”
- PB: “He led the conference and the nation in rebounding at 11.5 rebounds per game, led the conference in steals with 2.3 per contest and was incredible defensively all year long. He stopped Allen Crabbe, Solomon Hill, and other top players in the Pac-12 and can guard any position on the floor.”
- AM: “For the longest time I was thinking Carrick Felix, but Roberson is every bit the on-ball defender that Felix is, he’s capable of guarding more different types of players and he’s a better rebounder.”
Most Improved – Roberto Nelson, Junior, Oregon State
Finally, a category with some significant disagreement. Still, Nelson wins the vote, being named on two out of the four ballots, with Dwight Powell and Carrick Felix also earning recognition.
- PB: “Spencer Dinwiddie certainly is in the conversation, but Nelson increased his scoring from 9.3 points per game last year to 17.7 PPG this year. Although Oregon State didn’t have a great season, Nelson really improved as the conference season went along and was one of the only bright spots for the Beavers.”
- CP: “We didn’t know if Nelson would be ready to replace Jared Cunningham’s production, but Roberto did just fine in 2012-13. His 17.7 PPG was by far a team best, and he had huge nights of 34- and 31-point games.”
- AB: “Carrick Felix had a monster senior year after a less than stellar junior year. I always love seeing a senior blossom in their final year.”
- AM: “Last year Dwight Powell averaged 5.8 points and 4.6 boards in just 17.5 minutes per game. This year, he’ll be on my first-team all-conference with his 15.1 points, 8.2 boards and countless ‘wow’ plays. Not only is he the most improved player I’ve seen this year, if he returns next season he’ll likely be my pick as preseason Player of the Year.”