Yesterday marked the announcement of an underwhelming but no less congratulations-worthy Pac-12 awards. Jorge was POY and dPOY; LoRo COY; Brock MIP; and Wroten FOY.
Whether I agree or disagree, gentlemen, I congratulate you. The coaches spoke and so it is. Bravo.
A Few Notes:
- USC was eliminated from awards consideration in most categories due to five season-ending injuries
- Thanks are in order to the selection committee: Hatty, Doctor J, BH, Baby Dock, Sweet Child, and Tiny Dancer (I had full veto power)
- For all the crap this conference took, it was a fun year with six teams in it to the wire. And with that painful final weekend, in a sick and rubber necking kind of way, I’m even more intrigued by what’s about to transpire in the Staples Center. Oh March.
Now, here are your Not So Coaches Pac-12 Awards:
The Dorothy - Awarded to the league’s worst home team.
I dunno about you but I’ve always had a Judy Garland crush. The wavy hair, the red lips, the bold adventurousness of Dorothy. But she had to run away in order to find out there’s no place like home. The 2011-12 season was just that for the homeless UCLA Bruins. Sure they compiled an impressive 8-1 home record – completely backwards from a “worst” award – but they never played in Westwood, finished seventh in conference attendance, and hosted half their games on rival USC’s campus. Perhaps this trying year – from LMU to Reeves to Sports Illustrated – has been their journey through Oz. A path of self discovery to eventually click their heels, close their eyes, repeat a cutesy phrase and come to realize it was all just a dream. Also considered: USC (1-8 at the Galen Center not including a 10-point loss to UCLA on their own campus)
The Steinbrenner - Awarded to the one player you’d want on your team, and hate on theirs.
Ask Cal fans and they love him. Ask Yankees fans and they love him. Common denominator? Everyone else hates them. And if everyone hates you it probably means you’re doing things they’re not which is usually winning. We’re all west coasters so I see no need for further explanation using words like “hatred,” “Yankees,” or “Steinbrenner.” But Jorge (pure coincidence on the George/Jorge thing), for all the holes and flaws in his Pac-12 POY awarding, is a winner. He plays HAM and buzzer-to-buzzer so it’s no wonder the coaches doled out the career achievement POY award. And as my Montlake Madness friends said, “Put it this way, if I could have one player off of any team, it would be Guti.” Hence: The Steinbrenner. Jorge also fought a coach not unlike a Billy Martin incident. Also considered: EJ Singler as the jack-of-all trades brother of a Dukie and the hair cause you know you wish you could rock it.
The Grecian - Awarded to the team that did the least for the collective.
Welcome to the Conference of Champions! Larry K and his eleven new players did no favors by way of improving conference perception this year. When parts of the early season conversation revolve around the odds Utah would be the worst BCS conference team of all-time, then you know it’s going to be bad. I mean, people were excited by the prospect of Utah’s historical misery. Their time will come – it’s not as if basketball is foreign to Utah (still bitter) – but it certainly wasn’t 2011-12, finishing with a BCS and league worst RPI of 266. But they’ll always have Stanford. Also considered: Arizona State who compiled a 10-20 season but still managed to give their coach a contract extension and of course USC was considered.
The BooYaPop - Awarded to the most surprising and unsuspecting season long performance.
Firstly, we’re Americans and so we always go crazy – either jealously or adoringly – when a foreigner excels at our stuff. Just look at Jeremy Lin. So when Brock Motum, the junior Aussie, exploded into the conference’s most offensively efficient and wonderful player – a stat geek’s wet dream – it came as a complete and utter surprise. Of course I’ll have it be known that I wrote on the subject of Brock’s potential breakout in November (ignore the stuff about WSU jumping into the conference’s upper half, deal? Deal.) but that’s neither here nor there. Motum had a terrific season, and won the Most Improved award which in reality sucks but it’s the coaches way of rewarding the kid that wouldn’t otherwise win anything cause isn’t that good. I’m unfortunately all too familiar with this one except they also threw in Best Attitude with my Most Improved award at Lute Olson Basketball Camp and if that doesn’t scream “fat kid” I don’t know what does. I’ve grossly digressed and I’m not going to get into the naming of this award. If you understand it, you know I got you. Also considered: Garret Sim has a career year as a senior, jumping his FG%, 3 FG%, and scoring a combined 35%.
The LeBron - Awarded to the team that passes in the end.
California Golden Bears
We’re all too familiar with the LeBron-clutch debate and if you’re not, turn on ESPN. But just because the greatest basketball player on earth gets a bad rep as a non-closer, doesn’t mean it’s a fad. It’s the opposite. So I ask you, Cal Bears, what the eff? This league was countlessly theirs to win and they closed like that? I wish you all could have seen my face as I wrote that cause it looked really sad. Kinda like you might look if you had LeBron, Wade, and Bosh on a roster and Udonis Haslem was taking the final shot (that said, there’s nothing awkward or sad about Steve Kerr taking the final shot). Moral of the story? If you’re going to be the best, close. Ask Mariano. Also considered: The Washington Huskies too tried their darndest in not winning the Pac that was eventually handed to them.
The Susan Boyle - Awarded to the coach that most exceeded expectations.
Susan Boyle sang the hell out of that Les Mis song and I might have cried watching it if singing humans didn’t make me so damn uncomfortable. Then there’s Tad. Picked to finish eleventh he led the rebuilding Buffs to a sixth place finish. Based on our very complex algorithm, Boyle wins the Susan Boyle in a landslide (algorithm: true finish – expected finish = level of exceeded expectations). Boyle scored a -5 here where Ben Howland conversely scored +4 to finish last (again, USC was eliminated from award consideration but KO did score a +5). Boyle (Tad that is) was overlooked for COY because, frankly, there ain’t much sexy about finishing sixth in a horrible conference. But whenever you can stick it to the talking heads – AKA me and those who prognosticate things like preseason rankings – then kudos are in order. Well done. Plus I’m pretty sure Susan Boyle has laid at least a make out or an OTPHJ on Simon Cowell. Also considered: Dana Altman and Ken Bone each scored a -2 when inputting their data into the Susan Boyle algorithm (SBA).
All Smooth Team:
Terrence Ross, Washington
Allen Crabbe, California
DeVoe Joseph, Oregon
Solomon Hill, Arizona
Jared Cunningham, Oregon State
All Fundamentals Team:
The Wear Family, UCLA
Brock Motum, Washington State
Kyle Fogg, Arizona
Jorge Gutierrez, California
Aaron Bright, Stanford
All Awkward Team:
Jesse Perry, Arizona
Aziz N’Diaye, Washington
Kyryl Natyazhko, Arizona
John Gage, Stanford
Reeves Nelson, UCLA
All Greg Oden (formerly the Old Man Face Team):
Olu Ashalou, Oregon
Solomon Hill, Arizona
EJ Singler, Oregon
Andrew Zimmerman, Stanford
Kyle Cain, Arizona State