Pac-12 Season Superlatives

Posted by Andrew Murawa on March 9th, 2015

The regular season has ended and Pac-12 fans are looking forward to the postseason. Before we all descend on Las Vegas for a fun four days of action, let’s run down our Pac-12 superlatives for the 2014-15 campaign.

Player of the Year

Delon Wright, Sr, Utah – It came down to a three-man race for POY between Wright, Arizona’s T.J. McConnell and Oregon’s Joseph Young (who won the official Pac-12 award). McConnell was the senior leader on the conference’s best team and the glue that brought the Wildcats together, but he mustered only two second-place votes in our four-man vote. Young, the conference’s best scoring guard and an underrated playmaker, also earned two second-place votes. In the end, though, it was Wright who earned the first-place vote on all four of our ballots. As the Utes’ primary playmaker and the only player capable of creating his own offense, Wright was the best player on the floor in most of the games he played this season. Whether looking at traditional or advanced stats, Wright’s numbers across the stat sheet are very impressive.

Delon Wright: The Real Pac-12 Player of the Year (Rick Egan, The Salt Lake Tribune)

Delon Wright: The Real Pac-12 Player of the Year (Rick Egan, The Salt Lake Tribune)


First Team

  • Delon Wright, Sr, Utah (14.7 PPG, 5.3 APG, 4.7 RPG. 2.1 SPG) – The RTC Pac-12 Player of the Year.
  • Joseph Young, Sr, Oregon (19.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.7 APG) – The conference’s best shooter and scorer does so much more than put the ball in the hoop.
  • TJ McConnell, Sr, Arizona (9.6 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.8 RPG, 2.1 SPG) – The consummate point guard and senior leader, McConnell’s impact cannot be summed up in numbers.
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Soph, Arizona (11.2 PPG, 6.5 RPG) – The conference’s best defender made strides on the offensive end during his second year.
  • Stanley Johnson, Fr, Arizona (13.9 PPG, 6.8 RPG) – The Wildcats’ leading scorer is the third member of the squad on our first team.

Second Team

  • Chasson Randle, Sr, Stanford (19.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 3.1 APG) – Team success eluded Randle and the Cardinal down the stretch, but his numbers still warrant all-conference inclusion.
  • Gary Payton II, Jr, Oregon State (13.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3.2 APG, 3.1 SPG) – The conference’s other elite defender, Payton’s versatile game was a key in the Beavers’ overachieving season.
  • Norman Powell, Sr, UCLA (16.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.0 APG) – An electric finisher on the offensive end and a no-nonsense stopper on the defensive end.
  • Kevon Looney, Fr, UCLA (12.3 PPG, 9.5 RPG) – A double-double threat every night, Looney brought his lunch pail to the court in every game.
  • Brandon Ashley, Jr, Arizona (11.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG) – Often overlooked on a team full of stars, Ashley’s ability to knock in the jumper opens up room on the offensive end.

Honorable Mention: Anthony Brown, Josh Hawkinson, Shaquielle McKissic

Coach of the Year

Wayne Tinkle, Oregon State – The Beavers faltered down the stretch in losing six of their last seven games, but two of our four voters still pulled the lever for Tinkle. With a squad that was projected to be the worst major conference team in America this season, Tinkle coaxed surprising results, in the form of 17 wins and an 8-10 conference record, from this group. He also laid the groundwork for future success in Corvallis with some good recruits headed his way next season. In the end, though, Tinkle’s overachieving season was enough to edge Arizona’s Sean Miller and Oregon’s Dana Altman for this award.

Wayne Tinkle And Gary Payton II Helped The Beavers Overachieve (Greg Wahl-Stephens, AP)

Wayne Tinkle And Gary Payton II Helped The Beavers Overachieve (Greg Wahl-Stephens, AP)

Freshman of the Year

Stanley Johnson, Arizona – He lived up to his lofty preseason expectations all year long, delivering on offense, defense, on the glass and in the highlight packages. He experienced some of the growing pains that all freshmen go through — most notably watching from the bench as his teammates finished off Utah to seal the Pac-12 title — but on a team filled with stars, he was able to play within the parameters of Sean Miller’s system and excel on an individual basis.

Defensive Player of the Year

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona – There is nothing Hollis-Jefferson doesn’t do well on the defensive end of the floor. He can chase and hound and deny the ball against guards like Joseph Young. He can fluster and challenge and limit penetration on ball-handlers like Delon Wright. He can bang and pound and wear down bigs like Kevon Looney. And then he can finish defensive possessions by securing the defensive rebound and transitioning seamlessly to the offensive end.

Most Improved Player

Josh Hawkinson, Soph, Washington State – Last year I was vaguely aware of a guy at the end of the Cougars bench named Hawkinson – a name like that can certainly get your attention. Unfortunately, he did not have the game to sustain my attention. Almost from day one this year, however, it became apparent that he was going to earn some warranted attention. But it wasn’t until conference play began, when Hawkinson was still turning in double-figure rebound nights and efficient offensiver performances against a higher level of competition, that we really got it: Hawkinson is a player to be reckoned with.

Biggest Surprise

Oregon State – Seriously, go read some of the preseason previews for this team. It was very much taken for granted that this squad – whose leading returning scorer averaged 4.0 PPG last year – would occupy the Pac-12 cellar. Getting to 17 wins on the year? Impossible. And yet, the Beavers also won eight conference games, including a huge home victory over Arizona. Seventeen wins on the year! I’m still surprised with that number even as I write this.

Biggest Disappointments

Stanford and Colorado (tie) – These two clubs were in the conversation at season’s start for the title of the team that would finish second in the conference behind Arizona. Now? The Cardinal are the #6 seed in the conference tourney after losing seven of their last 10 games. The Buffaloes are the #10 seed and haven’t won three games in a row since handling Air Force, Lipscomb and San Francisco back when we flipped the calendar to December. Both of these teams found new and unpopular ways to underachieve this season.

AMurawa (999 Posts)

Andrew Murawa Likes Basketball.

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