So following in the footsteps of about every other Pac-10 writer this week, I’m going to put out a mid-season award list. It’s incredibly copy cat of me as I continue to do my best impersonation of a legit beat writer, but of course hopefully with a little more flair and fun to the information.
And come on… how many of these beat writers say “fuck” and “damn” in their postings? I’m definitely doing a weak impersonation cause otherwise it would not be as fun to write this stuff without throwing a little flavor of myself in the posts to keep them casual.
I’m going to try and approach this as unbiased as possible, but I’m sure there will be plenty of Husky mentions. That ought to come with the fact we are tied for first place in the conference anyway.
So here’s the awards…
Player of the Year: Jordan Hill, Arizona
This is an unconventional pick for POY so far as I have not seen any of the beat writers pick Hill as their winner. If Arizona had not struggled out of the gate then we would probably see him on a lot more lists as the favorite. Right now Hill is third in the conference scoring, first in rebounding, first in offensive rebounding, seventh in field goal percentage, second in blocked shots, and has played the seventh most minutes in the conference.
If it wasn’t for Hill, Arizona very well could be in the area of Stanford and Oregon State. But this kid has elevated his game to the next level, and by all signs has started a fierce Arizona turnaround that I now could see the Wildcats making the tournament at the end of the year.
He does everything you would want a guy for his size and position to do for the team, and does them all incredibly well. That isn’t saying the other guys on the list I considered are not similar to Hill in that way, but right now it just seems like Hill is at a whole different level.
Of course if probably doesn’t hurt his cause that the last time I saw him play he was laying down 18 (on 7-9 shooting) and 9 in some clutch minutes against the Dawgs.
I may be projecting more of what I think will happen at the end of the year, but Hill’s stats don’t lie and he is definitely earned being given the title halfway through the season.
Following Hill I would put Darren Collison second, Justin Dentmon third, and James Harden fourth. Harden was my pick at the beginning of the year and someone who I thought would be first or second team All-American; ASU will need to pick it up in order for that to happen but I don’t like their chances down the stretch.
Coach of the Year: Craig Robinson, Oregon State
He’s the logical pick after Cal and Mike Montgomery began it’s long fall from grace since defeating UW in triple OT’s. But it is not just because of Cal’s decline he gets the award. Just compare the outlook of of OSU from last year to this year.
Robinson has righted the ship in terms of player character so far this year. As a Husky fan it is not unfair to remember OSU last year mostly for when their team was calling out the UW players for a throw down. I have not heard of one character problem out of Corvallis yet this year. He should be applauded for that.
But more impressively, Obama’s brother-in-law (the first, and last time I will ever mention that. If he is to ever meet me I’m sure he will be grateful for it) has turned the dreadful program into actually… respectable. Rolling on a four game win streak, the Beavers actually look like they belong in a BCS conference for basketball compared to previous team’s embarrassments.
Look for him to keep it up as well as he has become a hit with recruits.
Freshman of the Year: Isaiah Thomas, Washington
Explanation not needed. The consensus pick thank god.
Most Improved Player: Justin Dentmon, Washington
Basically the fact that I was trying to find a way for him not to be in the starting lineup last spring, to the point where he is now clipping the heels to be my conference player of the year? Yea, he’s made an improvement.
I’ve stated my pride for Justin in some past writings, so I’ll make this brief.
I have never seen a player make such a transformation under so much scrutiny like Dentmon has made. This award will not only represent the positive changes he has made on the court, but the amazing attitude this kid carries with him. When he leaves Washington, he will leave fans remembering all the positives that he brought to the program. That speaks volumes considering where he was his sophomore and junior years.
First Team All-Pac-10
Guards: Justin Dentmon (UW), Isaiah Thomas (UW), Darren Collison (UCLA), James Harden (ASU), Josh Shipp (UCLA)
Forwards/Centers: Jon Brockman (UW), Jordan Hill (UA), Jeff Pendegraph (ASU), Taj Gibson (USC), Chase Budinger (UA)
Second Team All-Pac-10
Guards: Jerome Randle (Cal), Calvin Haynes (OSU), Daniel Hackett (USC)
Forwards/Centers: Patrick Christopher (Cal), Lawrence Hill (Stan)