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March 10, 2013 at 2:10 PM

My picks for Pac-12 postseason awards

This was the season when you really had to wait until after the final Pac-12 game before doling out all-conference awards.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
Note: Coaches vote on these awards and many of them don’t like to give the POY award to freshmen for reasons that are antiquated and wrongheaded. Since 1975 only two freshmen (Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Kevin Love) have won the league’s top postseason prize. Many coaches also subscribe to picking the best player on the best team when choosing the POY, which suggest Muhammad has a chance to win. The other leading candidate appears to be California junior guard Allen Crabbe, who led the league with an 18.6 scoring average. Muhammad was second at 18.1. UCLA senior guard Larry Drew II could take away votes from Muhammad, which may give the award to Crabbe.

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
Note: This is a two-man race between Muhammad and Jahii Carson, who helped Arizona State make a 10-game improvement this season from the previous year. Carson spent a year with the Sun Devils last season while he was academically ineligible.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Andre Roberson, Colorado
Note: Plenty of candidates, but Roberson leads the conference in rebounding average (11.5) and steals average (2.3). He’s eighth in blocks at 1.4 per game.

MOST IMPROVED: Dwight Powell, Stanford
Note: No one else in the Pac-12 made a bigger jump in points than Powell who averaged 15.1 points this season and 5.8 last season. He also nearly doubled his rebounding average (8.2) from the previous season (4.6). Arizona State’s Carrick Felix will receive consideration.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Ben Howland, UCLA
Note: Oregon’s Dana Altman is a deserving choice because he guided a team picked to finish ninth to a second-place finish. And he did it without his point guard who missed nearly a month. However, to the victor goes the spoils. Howland began the season on the hot seat and had to integrate four new starters, including three freshmen. The Bruins overcame a slow 5-3 start, the absence of their best player (Muhammad missed the first three games due to a NCAA investigation) and the loss of two players (Tyler Lamb and Joshua Smith) who transferred.

More awards below.

ALL-PAC-12 FIRST TEAM

Allen Crabbe, California
Solomon Hill, Arizona
Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
Andre Roberson, Colorado
E.J. Singler, Oregon
Comment: Crabbe, Muhammad and Roberson were each choices. Hill and Singler, both seniors, saw their statistics drop this season. But they were the heart and soul of their respective teams.

SECOND TEAM

Jahii Carson, Arizona State
Justin Cobbs, California
Spencer Dinwiddie, Colorado
Larry Drew II, UCLA
Dwight Powell, Stanford
Comment: Plenty of sidekicks on this list, however Carson and Powell starred for their respective teams.

THIRD TEAM

Jordan Adams, UCLA
Carrick Felix, Arizona State
Mark Lyons, Arizona
Brock Motum, Washington State
C.J. Wilcox, Washington
Comment: The best of the rest includes: UCLA’s Kyle Anderson, Colorado’s Askia Booker, Stanford’s Josh Huestis, Oregon State’s Roberto Nelson and Eric Moreland.

ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM

Jordan Adams, UCLA
Kyle Anderson, UCLA
Jahii Carson, Arizona State
Damyean Dotson, Oregon
Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
Comment: Several candidates this season. Notable omissions: Colorado’s Josh Scott, Oregon’s Dominic Artis and Utah’s Jordan Loveridge.

ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM

Nick Johnson, Arizona
Josh Huestis, Stanford
Eric Moreland, Oregon State
Aziz N’Diaye, Washington
Andre Roberson, Colorado
Comment: Perhaps the most difficult award to dole out. Left off the list: ASU’s Carrick Felix and Oregon’s Arsalan Kazemi.

Comments | More in Notes | Topics: Postseason awards

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