Sunday, March 05, 2006

Handing out some hardware

It's that time of the year. Time to hand out some season awards. I'll just stick with the 6 Major Conferences, because that's what I know best. My knowledge of the Mid-Majors is mostly just the upper tier teams in those conferences, so I might miss some things. So anyway, without further ado:

ACC

Player of the Year: J.J. Redick - Duke - Pretty much a no-brainer. There are a couple of other decent candidates, but Redick is the runaway winner of this.
Other Candidates: Tyler Hansborough - North Carolina, Shelden Williams - Duke, Craig Smith - Boston College

Freshman of the Year: Tyler Hansborough - North Carolina - And it's not even close. To average 19 points and 7.6 rebounds per game as a true freshman in the ACC is pretty remarkable. To go into Duke and lead a team to an upset over Duke on senior night, well that's something else. This guy is special, and a legit All-American candidate as a true freshman. And he's even got his own website.
Other Candidates: None

Coach of the Year: Roy Williams - North Carolina - Again, the obvious choice. UNC lost their top 7 scoreres from last year, which is, well, hard to come back from. All they've done this year is go 21-6 (12-4 in the ACC), and finish second in the conference. Incredible coaching job by Roy.
Other Candidates: None


Big East

Player of the Year: Randy Foye - Villanova - This is not an easy choice, because unlike the ACC, there are other very good challenges. But in the end, I give the nod to Foye. First off, his team is performing at an extremely high level, likely the #2 team in the nation. Likewise, Foye has been excellent all-around, scoring over 20 points a game, but also pulling down over 5 rebounds a game, doling out over 3 assists per game, and getting over one steal per game. He's been an excellent all-around player on an excellent team.
Other candidates: Mike Gansey - West Virginia, Rudy Gay - Connecticut, Steve Novak - Marquette

Freshman of the Year: Dominic James- Marquette - Like the Player of the Year race, this is no easy call. There have been a few extremely good freshmen in the Big East, and even multiple good ones on the Golden Eagles. But James averages over 15 and 5 a game for the overachieving Golden Eagles, and he plays solid defense to boot, which is why he gets my vote.
Other Candidates: Devan Downey - Cincinnati, Eric Devendorf - Syracuse

Coach of the Year: Tom Crean - Marquette - Like everything else in this conference, this was a tight race. With all these teams, there's easily more than one coach that could win this, but I go with Crean. Marquette overachieved this year, and did it largely with young players such as Dominic James. Crean has been very good this year.
Other Candidates: Jamie Dixon - Pittsburgh, Jay Wright - Villanova, John Thompson III - Georgetown, Andy Kennedy - Cincinnati, Louis Orr - Seton Hall


Big Ten

Player of the Year: Dee Brown - Illinois - His numbers aren't huge (14.7 PPG, 5.6 APG), but no one has been a bigger part of their team's success. He sets the tempo for the team and is really the leader (although James Augustine is no slouch). Sure, I'd like to see him shoot better, but everything else outweighs that.
Other Candidates: Terrence Dials - Ohio St., Paul Davis - Michigan St., Alando Tucker - Wisconsin, Marco Killingsworth - Indiana

Freshman of the Year: Jamar Smith - Illinois - A really weak class of Freshman in the Big 10, especially when compared to the ACC or Big East, which is why Smith gets the nod here. He only averages 8 points per game in 19 minutes, but he shoots almost 50% from beyond the arc. If the Illini are going to make a run, they need him to play well in the tourney.
Other Candidates: Jamelle Cornley - Penn St.

Coach of the Year: Thad Matta - Ohio St. - This team wasn't supposed to win the Big 10 until next year when Greg Oden came aboard, but they tore through the conference at 12-4 and are looking like a legit Final Four contender at this point. Great job by Matta this year.
Other Candidates: Ben Weber - Illinois


Big 12

Player of the Year: PJ Tucker - Texas - Tucker's the relatively easy choice, as he's been the best player for Texas one year removed from his academic suspension. He averages over 16 and 9 a game, and has been consistent even when players like Daniel Gibson have not. He is the biggest reason Texas has a share of the Big 12 Title.
Other Candidates: LaMarcus Aldridge - Texas, Taj Gray - Oklahoma

Freshman of the Year: Brandon Rush - Kansas - He's been the best player on the second best team in the Big 12 as a true freshman. There weren't really any other viable candidates (maybe Mario Chalmers from Kansas), so he kinda gets it by default, but he does deserve it.
Other Candidates: None

Coach of the Year: Bill Self - Kansas - He's basically in the same situation as Roy Williams at North Carolina. Lost a lot of good players, and this was supposed to be a rebuilding year. But nobody told him, as the Jayhawks have been great of late (loss to Texas notwithstanding). No one comes close to him for this award.
Other Candidates: None


Pac-10

Player of the Year: Brandon Roy - Washington - With Washington surging, Roy gets my vote. He's averaging nearly 20 a game, almost 6 rebounds a game, and over 4 assists right now. Don't look now, but Washington is playing really well right now, and Roy is the biggest reason for it.
Other Candidates: Leon Powe - California, Jordan Farmar - UCLA

Freshman of the Year: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - UCLA - Aside from having the coolest name in college basketball, he's been excellent this year, especially on the glass, as he's 3rd in the Pac-10 in rebounding, which is pretty darn good for a frosh.
Other Candidates: Jon Brockman - Washington, Marcus Williams - Arizona

Coach of the Year: Ben Howland - UCLA - No team has faced more injury problems than UCLA this year, but Howland has kept them together, even though there's really only two seniors in the rotation. The team is playing well, playing together, and under Howland they looked poised to make a run in the Tourney. Look out for the Bruins.
Other Candidates: Lorenzo Romar - Washington


SEC

Player of the Year: Glen Davis - LSU - This guy is an absolute beast down low, averaging 18 and 10 for the year. Only a sophomore, he's been a leader of one the best team in the SEC at this point, even though the whole team is really young. If he stays in school, he's a candidate for National Player of the Year next year. To top it off, he's got a great nickname. What more could you want?
Other Candidates: Darrel Mitchell - LSU, Chris Lofton - Tennessee, Ronnie Brewer - Arkansas

Freshman of the Year: Tyrus Thomas - LSU - The numbers speak for themselves, as Thomas has averaged over 12 points a game, and his 9.3 rebounds per game are second in the SEC behind only teammate Glen Davis.
Other Candidates: None

Coach of the Year: Bruce Pearl - Tennessee - This is a tough call, but I go with Pearl over John Brady at LSU by a slight margin. Pearl has come in and changed the attitude, as Pat Forde said. He's changed the style of play dramatically, changing Tennessee from a 14-17 team to a 21-6 team with basically the same personnel. Plus, he's got the most entertaining attire of any coach in America.
Other Candidates: John Brady - LSU


And that's a wrap. The plan for the week will probably be to give my National awards tomorrow night, and then my Major Conference Tourney predictions on Tuesday. After that, more conference tourneys will be underway, so there will be plenty to write about!

7 comments:

Dan McGowan said...

Just for sake of argument because I'm a big Big East guy, Rudy Gay doesn't belong on any player of the year list. He has consistently underachieved.

It's hard for a UConn fan to say, but its true.

Also, the job that Louie Orr did at Seton Hall this season is one of the most remarkable in the country. I went to the Hall last season and can truly say that no one wants him there. We used to chant "fire louie" in the student section.

This season, he has proved that he deserves a new contract and should be very close with Marquette's coach in coach of the year voting. It would be Orr's second in four years.

dolphinfan said...

Here is the full breakdown of Big 12 awards.

http://myopiniononsports.blogspot.com/2006/03/all-big-12-mens-basketball-awards.html

twins15 said...

Dan,

Gay has been a little inconsistent and a little soft at times, but he is the best player on the best team in America. He's putting up good numbers, shooting well, rebounding, and playing good defense (almost 2 steals and blocks per game). I probably should have put Aaron Gray on there as well, but I do think Gay deserves some consideration.

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