A Look At The Pac-12 Basketball Awards

                                                                              Photo Credit: Ted S. Warren/AP

Player of the Year: Jorge Gutierrez. California.
Freshman of the Year: Tony Wroten Jr. Washington.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jorge Gutierrez. California.
Most Improved: Brock Motum. Washington State.
Coach of the Year: Lorenzo Romar. Washington.

1st Team
Allen Crabbe (California). Jared Cunningham (Oregon State). Kyle Fogg (Arizona). Jorge Gutierrez (California). Solomon Hill (Arizona). Devoe Joseph (Oregon). Brock Motum (Washington State). Andre Roberson (Colorado). Terrence Ross (Washington). Tony Wroten Jr. (Washington).

2nd Team
Carlon Brown (Colorado). Lazeric Jones (UCLA). Harper Kamp (California). Josh Owens (Stanford). E.J. Singler (Oregon).

Honorable Mentions
Justin Cobbs (California). Reggie Moore (Washington State). Jesse Perry (Washington State). Garrett Sim (Oregon). David Wear (UCLA). C.J. Wilcox (Washington).

All-Freshmen Team
Spencer Dinwiddie (Colorado). Nick Johnson (Arizona). David Kravish (California). Chasson Randle (Stanford). Tony Wroten Jr. (Washington).

All-Defensive Team
Jared Cunningham (Oregon State). Kyle Fogg (Arizona). Jorge Gutierrez (California). Aziz N’Diaye (Washington). Andre Roberson (Colorado).


Player of the Year: Jorge Gutierrez

Pac-12 pundits should not be surprised that Gutierrez won the award. That said, he did not deserve it. As far as the eye test goes, Gutierrez does not scare me on the court. When playing Cal, I worry far more about Allen Crabbe going off (team scoring leader with 15.4 ppg) than Gutierrez taking over the game. In fact, California’s senior guard isn’t even capable of taking over a game. He leads his team in one significant category and that is steals (a 1.2 spg to 1.1 spg lead over Justin Cobbs). Of course, I would have been pleased to see Terrence Ross or Tony Wroten win the award (Wroten less so), as I am a Husky fan. That aside, even Jared Cunningham of Oregon State deserved this award more than Gutierrez. Those are three players right off the bat that are better than Gutierrez. Cunningham led the conference in points and steals per game as well as passing the eye test with flying colors. He was the sole reason that OSU was a factor in upsets during the Pac-12 season (i.e. beating California in January behind Cunningham’s 24 points and 5 assists).

Terrence Ross is the best player in this league. Period. Here are my rankings:
1) Terrence Ross
2) Jared Cunningham
3) Tony Wroten
4) Jorge Gutierrez
This will only add fuel to the Dawgs fire as they approach tournament time.

Freshman of the Year: Tony Wroten
This was a given. No surprises here. Wroten was arguably the Pac-12 POY and was projected by many to take home that award. The Pac-10/12 has only given FOY and POY to the same player twice (Kevin Love and Shareef-Abdur Rahim) and that certainly could have played a role in Wroten not bringing home more hardware.

Defensive Player of the Year: Jorge Gutierrez
More California love. Now don’t get me wrong, Gutierrez is a fantastic defender. He has been a lock-down defender since his freshman season. If not for Andre Roberson of Colorado, Gutierrez should win this award. But Colorado is in the league now, less we forget. Roberson dominated the paint this year, averaging 11.2 rebounds per game (3.4 more than second place) and led the conference with 1.9 blocks per game. There were not enough talented big men in the league for Roberson to show his defensive prowess (as with Gutierrez and the lot of NBA-caliber guards). That’s what it came down to. Coaches saw Gutierrez shut-down great scorers but were not able to see Roberson tested.

Most Improved: Brock Motum
Another given. Motum was second in the conference in scoring with 18.1 points per game and also totalled 6.5 rebounds per game, huge improvements over averaging 7.6 and 3 last season. Motum was one of the most consistent scorers in the league and the biggest surprise of the season.

Coach of the Year: Lorenzo Romar
Dana Altman and Tad Boyle each had extremely strong cases and if I were a fan of either of those teams I could probably form a solid argument for them. That said, Washington was picked to finish fourth in the conference and lost over 50+ points from last year’s team. Romar was left to fill to void of Isaiah Thomas, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Justin Holiday and Venoy Overton. Coach Romar entered the season with two vital seniors (Darnell Gant and Scott Suggs), then saw Suggs go down with a season-ending injury. The Huskies started 5-5 before growing into a team that is peaking in March, winning 16 of their last 20 games. To top this off, Coach of the Year is voted on by coaches.