The Pac-12 announced its all-league selections and other individual honors Monday, and I think justice was done with the selection of Washington’s Lorenzo Romar as coach of the year.
It was a competitive race, no doubt. Several coaches in recent weeks voiced support for for job done by Tad Boyle of Colorado, and yes, he did a nice one. I think you could also make a case for Dana Altman of Oregon, who piloted the Ducks to the No. 3 seed in the league tournament and who has a team that’s a popular pick to win the thing.
As the season wound down, the case against Romar seemed to revolve around the fact that he’s coaching two future first-round NBA draft picks in Tony Wroten and Terrence Ross, and nobody else is. That much is true.
But I’d counter with the notion that they weren’t necessarily considered that (at least by this season) when the season began, and Romar had something to do with their elevated pro status today. He also had to negotiate a season in which Scott Suggs was out injured and C.J. Wilcox has been unable to practice much because of his hip condition.
The Huskies had a bunch of games they could have lost down the stretch, but managed to come through in most of them. I don’t necessarily agree that the award should go to the coach of the league champion, but in this case, there isn’t a compelling reason not to make that call.
As for Boyle, Colorado finished 11-7 after a poor weekend on the Oregon trail. Win one or two of those, and maybe the decision is different. They were picked to finish in a tie for 10th, but I think that might have had something to do with simple lack of knowledge of the program — new, as it was, to the Pac-12 — than any real solid assessment of what Colorado had.
I liked the selection of Jorge Gutierrez as league player of the year, although Wroten surely was a worthy adversary. Gutierrez doesn’t knock you over with his stats, but he’s the unquestioned best defender in the league.
I thought the most notable omission from the all-league team was E.J. Singler of Oregon. Singler is one of the league’s hardest-working players, averages 13.3 points a game (second on the team), 5.5 rebounds and his .907 free-throw percentage is first in the Pac-12 and second in the nation.