Saturday, March 08, 2008

Pac-10 Awards

Player of the Year: Kevin Love (UCLA)
He's sixth in scoring, second in rebounding, and fourth in field goal percentage in the Pac-10, playing for a team that will win the conference. Moreover, it's the intangibles that make him so special. He leads the UCLA fastbreak with his outlet passes, steps up in tough environments (like at Oregon) and is the only freshman in the country to score in double digits in every single game this season. Plus, he's actually raised his averages in Pac-10 play despite facing tougher competition than UCLA's soft non conference schedule.

Coach of the Year: Kevin O'Neill (just kidding)

Herb Sendek (ASU)
During the Rob Evans tenure at ASU, Sun Devil fans were just hoping for relevancy. I bet they didn't think it would come this fast. In just his second season at the helm, Sendek has turned things around in Tempe, bringing ASU to the doorstep of the NCAA Tournament. And he's done it with a core of underclassmen. Three of Sendek's top six scorers are freshmen and two are sophomores.

Most underrated: Jon Brockman (Washington)
Usually the most underrated player gets discussed so much that he no longer becomes underrated. That would be Ryan Anderson. He's not underrated because everyone now knows about him.
Meanwhile Brockman, for an underachieving Washington squad, leads the Pac-10 in rebounding and is fifth in scoring.

Worst player in the history of the Pac-10: Mitch Johnson (Stanford)
I know Mustafa Shakur is probably screaming at his computer right now from Belgium or Poland or whatever Eastern European country he's hiding in, but Mitch Johnson stomps on the theory that you need a good point guard to be a good team. Blind announcers call Johnson steady. That's code word for completely ineffective. With the Lopez twins inside, Johnson finds himself more open than the ticket register at Oregon State games, but he still managed to score zero points in 32 minutes against Washington State. He constantly gets beat off the dribble by opposing point guards (see Darren Collison Thursday) and when it comes to crunch time don't expect him to make a play.
"We're going to go as far as Mitch takes us," Stanford guard Anthony Goods said in February.

The don't call me, I'll call you award (for exceeding my expectations): OJ Mayo (USC)

Mayo may have dropped in terms of draft status but he didn't live up to the off-court hype, which is a very positive thing for his image (except for those rumors that he punched Daniel Hackett and broke his jaw, but that was preseason so we'll excuse it, right?)
On the court, he may have put up a lot of shots, but he showed that he can play within a team, play both guard positions, and step up to the challenge. He outplayed Derrick Rose and Jerryd Bayless head to head on both ends of the floor. Barring him tossing the ball into the crowd after a dunk in his last game of the season, Mayo will leave USC on a high note, no pun intended.

The Isaiah Fox award for grand larceny: Pac-10 officiating

They say bad calls eventually even out. I guess that's true for Stanford. The Cardinal stole a game from Arizona on two phantom calls, one on Jordan Hill's fifth foul and one on Brook Lopez getting blocked. Then they got a taste of their own medicine against UCLA when for some inane reason Kevin Brill (no relation to Darren) called a foul on Lawrence Hill for what replays showed to be a completely block. Even more ridiculous was the fact there were two seconds left. Unless someone gets absolutely hammered, you're supposed to let the players decide the game. Nice job Brill. For Stanford fans and betting aficionados, the result was even worse. Stanford was +8.5 and lost by 10 in overtime, thanks to a meaningless Darren Collison layup late in the game. I'm officially putting the Stanford campus on suicide watch.

The Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio Award: Washington

It seems like the Washington/Arizona battle for Pac-10 supremacy was just a few years ago. O, wait. It was just a few years ago. Maybe Cameron Dollar should do some more illegal recruiting because the Huskies recruits haven't panned out too well. Losing Spencer Hawes to the NBA draft didn't help, but every successful program must be able to overcome the loss of players leaving early.

The Official RPI Killers Award: Oregon State

Bubble teams everywhere who had Oregon State on their schedule are currently sobbing.

The Dan Gadzuric Award for best name change: Lorenzo Mata-Real

You know what adding an extra word to your name gets you? Less playing time. Congrats Lorenzo.

The Eugene Edgerson Award for best hair: (Tie) Russell Westbrook, Robin Lopez

Lopez tried to do his best Anderson Verejao impersonation while Westbrook had the flaming mohawk going (that sounds like a gay porn movie).

1 comment:

Hoosh said...

west coast bias...