Monday, March 10, 2008

PAC-10 Honors Announced

As we got closer and closer to the end of the regular season, my fellow FSN broadcast partners would often engage in pretty lively debates on who should be on the Pac-10 First Team. Previously, the all-conference team consisted of 10 players with no first or second team designation. Thus, making this year's selection of just the five best players even more difficult.

I don't have any serious issues with this year's award winners, although I would have placed Jerryd Bayless on the first team ahead of James Harden. Not to take anything away from the ASU guard, but I just think Bayless was the better player this year.

As far as the coach of the year is concerned, Trent Johnson is definitely worthy of the honor. However, for Ben Howland to guide his team to a 16-2 record in the toughest conference in the country, he should at least be co-coach of the year.

WALNUT CREEK, Calif., - In a vote of the 10 Conference coaches, UCLA freshman center Kevin Love has been named the 2007-08 Pacific-10 Men's Basketball Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, UCLA sophomore guard Russell Westbrook has been named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and Trent Johnson of STANFORD is the Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced today.

In a vote of the Pac-10 Coaches during their meetings last spring, the league has expanded the All-Conference honors from one team of 10 players to three teams of five players each.

The Complete Conference Honors:

Ryan Anderson CAL F Sophomore
James Harden ASU G Freshman
Brook Lopez STAN F Sophomore
Kevin Love UCLA C Freshman
O.J. Mayo USC G Freshman

Jerryd Bayless ARIZ G Freshman
Jon Brockman WASH F Junior
Darren Collison UCLA G Junior
Maarty Leunen ORE F Senior
Kyle Weaver WSU G Senior

Chase Budinger ARIZ F Sophomore
Taj Gibson USC F Sophomore
Derrick Low WSU G Senior
Jeff Pendergraph ASU F Junior
Russell Westbrook UCLA G Sophomore

Honorable Mention (also receiving votes): Aron Baynes (WSU, Jr., C), Patrick Christopher (CAL, So., G/F), Anthony Goods (STAN, Jr., G), Malik Hairston (ORE, Sr., G), Jordan Hill (ARIZ, So., F), Davon Jefferson (USC, Fr., F), Mitch Johnson (STAN, Jr., G), Robin Lopez (STAN, So., C), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (UCLA, Jr., F), Josh Shipp (UCLA, Jr. F).

Jerryd Bayless ARIZ G
James Harden ASU G
Davon Jefferson USC F
Kevin Love UCLA C
O.J. Mayo USC G

Honorable Mention (also receiving votes): Ty Abbott (ASU, G), Angelo Johnson (USC, G), Harper Kamp (CAL, F), Venoy Overton (WASH, G).

Darren Collison UCLA G Jr.
Taj Gibson USC F So.
Robin Lopez STAN C So.
Kyle Weaver WSU G Sr.
Russell Westbrook UCLA G So.

Honorable Mention (also receiving votes): Jon Brockman (WASH, Jr., F), Robbie Cowgill (WSU, Sr., F), Jordan Hill (ARIZ, So., F), Brook Lopez (STAN, So., F), Kevin Love (UCLA, Fr., C), O.J. Mayo (USC, Fr., G), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (UCLA, Jr., F), Jawann McClellan (ARIZ, Sr., G), Fred Washington (STAN, Sr., G).

KEVIN LOVE becomes the second freshman to earn Pac-10 Player of the Year, joining California's Shareef Abdur-Rahim who earned the honor during the 1995-96 season. Love is sixth in the league in scoring (17.4 ppg), second in rebounding (10.9 rpg), and sixth in field goal percentage (.570) . He's scored in double figures in all 31 games this season and has posted 19 double-doubles. He set a UCLA freshman record with 339 rebounds and is the fifth Bruin all-time to record more than 330 rebounds in a season. He also set a UCLA freshman single-game record with 21 rebounds at Oregon State, which were the most by a Bruin since David Greenwood grabbed 23 against Washington on Jan. 6, 1978. He becomes the sixth different Bruin to be honored as Pac-10 Player of the Year, joining Marques Johnson (1977), David Greenwood (1978, 79), Kenny Fields (1983), Ed O'Bannon (1995) and Arron Afflalo (2007).

KEVIN LOVE becomes the third Bruin in four years to earn Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, and the sixth Bruin overall to earn the rookie honor. He's the third center to earn the award, and first since Washington's Chris Welp in 1983-84.

RUSSELL WESTBROOK was key in guiding the Bruins to a league-leading 7.35 steals per game, while the Bruins allowed the opposition just 58.6 points per game (second in the Pac-10). His 50 steals led UCLA, while his 1.61 steals per game ranked sixth among all Pac-10 players this season. The Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year award was previously awarded from 1984-86 before being discontinued. The coaches voted to reinstate the award during their meetings last spring.

TRENT JOHNSON, 51, has guided STANFORD to a 24-6 record, including a 13-5 mark and second-place finish in Pac-10 play. It's Stanford's best league mark and finish since posting a 17-1 record to capture the league title in 2003-04, the year before Johnson arrived on The Farm. The 24 victories are the most for a Johnson-coached squad since his Nevada team went 25-9 and reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 2004. He's the third Stanford coach to claim the honor, joining Dick DiBiaso (1976) and four-time winner Mike Montgomery (1999, 2000, 2003 and 2004).

THE VOTE: Coach of the Year, All-Conference, All-Freshman, and All-Defensive teams are voted on by the coaches. Coaches are not permitted to vote for themselves or their own players for the honors.

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