Pac-12 All-Conference “Graybeards”Posted by RJ Abeytia on March 4th, 2017
As the Year of the Freshman winds down in the Pac-12, it’s time for age rather than youth to be served. In addition to the all-around brilliance of Lonzo Ball, T.J. Leaf, Markelle Fultz and the Arizona Trio, this season has also provided a number of great performances by players actually old enough to gain admission to some of the many classic sports bars around the Conference of Champions. And while it says something about the conference that a separate post like this about the “graybeards” is even necessary, it’s time to recognize the best non-freshman performances in the Pac-12 this season.
All Pac-12 Non-Freshman Team
- Dillon Brooks, Oregon, G/F – The Oregon swingman has been as good as advertised this season, with an injury the only thing capable of slowing him down. His efficiency differential of +23 is the best among non-freshmen and only Washington’s Fultz carried a bigger usage load. Like his team, he’s defended at a high level without receiving much praise, but his 99.0 defensive rating in league play has been exceptional.
- Derrick White, Colorado, G – Colorado struck gold with the senior transfer who was once relegated to a Denver cooking school. White has posted a 125.0 offensive rating this season — the best of any player on this list — and has demonstrated a great ability to get to the line. His 41 percent FT Rate ranks 10th best in the Pac-12 this year.
- David Collette, Utah, F – Another free agent success story, Collette came over from Utah State and has helped anchor a strong Utah front line. He has an offensive rating of 121.0, an efficiency differential of +19, and has scored in double figures in every conference game in which he played.
- Kyle Kuzma, Utah, F – Kuzma formed a solid combination with Collette this year as one of only two players to finish in the top five in both offensive (12%) and defensive (25%) rebounding percentage. He was a better than average defender (101.0 defensive rating) as well, like every member of the non-freshman team except White.
- Ivan Rabb, California, C – Rabb doesn’t have a very energized demeanor on the court but it’s impossible to ignore his impact for the Golden Bears. He owns the second best efficiency differential of the five players in this group (+20), he is the best defender by far (94.0 defensive rating), and he has the highest offensive and defensive rebounding percentage in the league. To top it all off, his 54.4 percent FT Rate is by far the highest of any player in this group.
Most Improved Player
This was an easy one. Stanford’s Reid Travis took a huge step forward this season, his second complete campaign in three years on The Farm. In addition to posting an offensive rating of 111.0, he was a top three offensive rebounder (13%) and a top-20 defensive rebounder. He also got to the line at a 40 percent rate and went from making 47 percent from the line in his career to 66 percent this year, highlighted by a spectacular 19-of-22 performance at Kansas.
Non-Freshman Player of the Year
The more I looked into Ivan Rabb’s numbers, the more I liked him here. However, Dillon Brooks is the choice. He shouldered a higher usage load, had a better efficiency differential than Rabb (+23 to Rabb’s +20), and he has several signature moments. One of those was the game-winning shot in Berkeley against Rabb’s Golden Bears as well as the walk-off winner in Eugene against UCLA. His physicality and skill make him an incredibly difficult cover, and the fact that he has been an excellent two-way player puts him in the winner’s circle. Rabb would have been a great choice as well, but Brooks is the man, at least among his more aged peers.