The best Pac-12 basketball writers have come together to vote on the best in the conference. Today's award: Defensive player of the year.
Andre Roberson is undoubtedly the biggest reason the Colorado Buffaloes got to the NCAA Tournament, as his development through the season and into the postseason brought them a Pac-12 tournament championship and an automatic bid. The Colorado interior defense and rebounding is the main reason the Buffs have been so successful this season.
Roberson received six of the ten first place votes, with the official Pac-12 defensive player of the year Jorge Gutierrez of Cal getting three of the remaining votes and Jared Cunningham of Oregon State getting the tenth.
Jeff Nusser, CougCenter:
Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: Jorge Guiterrez, his hustle and toughness on defense alone made him nearly my choice for player of the year. Guiterrez's leadership and style on the court also inspires his teammates to be better defenders.
Joey Kaufman, Pacific Takes: The candidate seems obvious: Colorado forward Andre Roberson. Roberson led the conference in rebounds (11.2) and blocks (1.9 per game). Though Jorge Gutierrez might be the conference's best on-the-ball defender, Roberson was fantastic in the paint.
awbutler, Pachoops: This is never an easy one to pick. Kyle Fogg certainly got after it on the defensive end. Lots of talk goes towards Jorge Gutierrez but I'm not always buying that. DeVoe dropped 33 on him, Fogg 24, and Mizzou's four-guard offense ran circles. I think I ultimately give it to Andre Roberson for versatility, shot blocking ability, and rebounding. Atta boy Andre.
David Piper, Addicted to Quack: Andre Roberson -- Colorado. The only other guys I seriously considered were Gutierrez and Cunningham. Ultimately, Cunningham, for all his steals, isn't a great defender, and while very good, Gutierrez doesn't mean as much for his team as Roberson does for his. Colorado was, at times, absolutely nightmarish on defense. Roberson's ability to dominate on the boards, block shots, and not pick up fouls made him the anchor of that defense.
norcalnick, California Golden Blogs: Andre Roberson, for dominating the paint and sucking up every defensive board in sight. Without him Colorado would have been a thoroughly average defensive team rather than one of the conference's best.
AndyPanda, Building The Dam: It’s hard to argue against the Conference’s choice of Gutierrez, as California was one of the best defensive teams in the Pac-12, and Gutierrez’s presence was a difference maker in how good the entire Bears team played defense.
I stay with my original choice of Cunningham for Defensive Player of the Year though; Jared led the conference in steals, and it wasn’t even close. Second place was 18 back. That’s a staggering differential. Cunningham is that rare player where the opposition knows what is coming and still can’t stop it.
Griffin Bennett, Montlake Madness: Andre Roberson – Colorado
He led the league in rebounding which is usually the key factor as to who wins this award. Add that to the fact that he led the league in blocked shots and you have your reason as to why he wins this award. He was a huge reason why Colorado exceeded expectations this season. Other candidates were Jared Cunningham, Solomon Hill, Jorge Gutierrez, Marcus Capers.
Parker Baruh, Ralphie Report: Defensive Player: Jorge Gutierrez - Cal
Gutierrez’s defensive mentality and ability were unmatched in almost every game this year. His man-to-man defense was stellar all season and his toughness and work ethic set him apart from everyone in the defensive area.
Avinash Kunnath, Pacific Takes: Andre Roberson. Nothing against Jorge, but Roberson was on another level for Colorado. Having a defensive rebounding rate over 30% second in the country (trailing only Thomas Robinson) is pretty insane, even in a Pac-12 lead deficient of quality big man talent.