By John Lloyd @JohnHLloydIII on March 12, 2014
Since the Pac-12 and the SEC have started the trend of adding more players to a “first-team all-conference” list, we have to start narrowing things down to five, not eight or 10. The Pac-12 first-team should be these five players not the 10 that were announced.
The most polarizing freshman along the West coast was Aaron Gordon of Arizona Wildcat fame. Gordon might not have been the offensive player on his team, in fact, he was often the third or fourth option, but his defense and athletic ability helped him become first-team all-Pac-12 in his only season in college basketball. Gordon’s biggest flaw was his execution at the foul line, shooting just 44 percent from the charity stripe.
One of the most dynamic players stepped his game up from his freshman year and helped the Arizona State Sun Devils become one of the most dangerous teams in the Pac-12. Jahii Carson, a score-first pass-second point guard averaged almost 19 points per game and hovered around five assists per game on the season. He shot better from behind the arc improving his percentage from 32 percent to 39 percent.
Another sensational sophomore on UCLA, Jordan Adams was the scorer that was needed for the Bruins down the stretch. Leading the team in steals (2.8 per game) and points (17.5), Adams showed that he can play both offense and defense. He has great awareness on the court, especially in UCLA’s soft 2-3 zone defense, and was the perfect fit for coach Steve Alford’s system.
Kyle Anderson had a great year playing the role of point guard on the UCLA Bruins that needed a veteran distributor rather than a true scorer at the position. Anderson led the young team in assists (6.6) and rebounds (8.7) while scoring around 15 points per contest. The sophomore from New Jersey was often the team’s best player and definitely the leader on the court.
While I might not necessarily agree with the Pac-12 Player of the Year name that Nick Johnson received this year, he had a sensational season that deserves recognition. The junior from Arizona scored 16 points per game as one of the best off-ball guards in the conference. The thing that made Johnson special was the fact that he could score anywhere on the court and was a willing passer.
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