Previous Pac-12 basketball Internet awards: All Pac-12 teams (all-conference, all-defense, all-freshman), freshman player of the year, most improved player of the year, defensive player of the year, coach of the year.
The Pac-12 has struggled through hard times. Nowhere is that more evident than the Player of The Year award.
You can tell it's been a weak year for the Pac-12 just by looking at these candidates. Only two of these players are likely to be drafted, and none of them are sure things to pan out (by contrast, three of the leading candidates from 2011 are already thriving in rotations for NBA teams). In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to look up and down a Pac-12 rotation and see a surefire pro prospect. That's a pretty shocking revelation for a conference that prides itself on producing professionals in hoops.
Of the ten votes by our Internet writers, five players received first place ballots, and the margin between first and fifth wasn't that much (there was even a three-way tie for second based on our voting methodology). So you have to admit that when Devoe Joseph of the Oregon Ducks gets the win, it's hardly an open-and-shut-case.
The explanation of each voter follows.
Jeff Nusser, CougCenter:
Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: Tony Wroten, the best player on the team that one the conference. Wroten isn't a perfect player yet, but he led the Huskies to the best record in the league and when the game was on the line he stepped up his game, carrying the team many times.
Joey Kaufman, Pacific Takes: This one wasn't exactly easy. The Pac-12 coaches will likely select California's Jorge Gutierrez. Then, there are others who will likely warrant consideration. Washington guard Tony Wroten was arguably the best player on the best team. Oregon State's Jared Cunningham and Washington State's Brock Motum were certainly dynamic but neither exactly won a ton of games for their respective schools. Nonetheless, for POY, I like Motum, who finished second in the conference in scoring with 18.1 points per game, sixth in rebounding at 6.5 per game. And did as much by shooting more than 50 percent from the field. No player meant more to his team than Motum. If the distinction, Player of the Year, goes to the best player in the conference, that's Motum.
awbutler, Pachoops: You know how LeBron always takes heat for not closing things out? Fourth quarter this, fourth quarter that? Merited or not there is something to be said about closing stuff out so while the entire conference collectively made no effort to win it all, DeVoe Joseph went ahead and averaged 17.7 ppg in conference play and 19/3/3 in Oregon's 6-1 close to the season. Plus every shot he hits feels like a back breaker. Did you see that Colorado game?
David Piper, Addicted to Quack: Devoe Joseph--Oregon.
This was a tough pick for me, because no player really stood out as head and shoulders about the rest. A couple of weeks ago, I would have picked Jorge Guiterrez, but the way he played down the stretch with the league title on the line took him out of the running for the award. Jared Cunningham and Brock Motum had really monster statistical seasons, but were unable to elevate their teams above also-ran status, and Tony Wroten is uber talented, but ultimately hurt Washington with all of his turnovers.
By contrast, Joseph saved his best ball for last, and at times absolutely dominated games on the offensive end. No player in the league was more valuable to his team. Given the candidates this year, that's enough for this award.
norcalnick, California Golden Blogs: Devoe Joseph because, briefly, he was the best offensive player on the best offense in the conference.
AndyPanda, Building The Dam: I had no problem with the Pac-12 naming Jorge Gutierrez as the Player of the Year, but was leaning toward Terrance Ross personally. Initially, I was in the Jared Cunningham camp, and not just because I cover him on a daily basis; early on he was the best player in the conference. Gutierrez I felt overtook Cunningham, and I was on him for Player of the Year until late in the season.
Jorge had some struggles late in the going, and for that reason, I was thinking about Tony Wroten. But the Huskies had a couple of bad outings late, and Wroten’s inability to snap them out of that was a factor in those bad games. It cost him the Player of the Year honor as well.
Ross exerted himself at times, and in ways many opponents were very hard pressed to counter. He is a mismatch for most "2"s and "3"s.
In the end, depending on which 5 games you watched, you could make an overwhelming case for any of these players, but you could also find 5 games that would amount to disqualifying them from even being in the conversation.
The bottom line was there was no one who consistently stood out above the rest, and you wouldn’t go wrong with any of them.
Griffin Bennett, Montlake Madness: Terrence Ross - I tried not to be biased when making this pick. Honestly. If there was one player that you could have off of any team, I think it would be Terrence Ross. I thought that player was Jorge Gutierrez until the last three weeks where his output slowed down.
Ross was top 5 in rebounds, top 6 in scoring, and top 5 in FG% by guards during the season. While he didn’t even lead his own team in scoring, everyone can agree that he was the most important player on the team.
In my mind, he won this award by default due to the lack of other candidates. Gutierrez fell apart late, Cunningham and Motum play for a teams in the bottom half of the conference. Wroten wasn’t the best player on this own team and Devoe Joseph is great but is only one dimensional. He can score at a high rate but gets under 4 rebounds and under 3 assists per game. He also was 33rd in the conference in free throws attempted, as well.
Parker Baruh, Ralphie Report: The best player on the best team in the conference is most deserving of this award. Averaging just over 16 points per game and almost 5 rebounds while shooting 45% from the field, Tony Wroten contributed in multiple ways for the Huskies this year.
Avinash Kunnath, Pacific Takes: Although there are more efficient options both offensively and defensively, I'd have to give the nod to Jorge for his all-around game--he was the team's second best passer, the best mid-range shooter, an effective rebounder and of course their best defender.
It wasn't a strong year for the conference (I doubt Jorge wins this if you place him in any other year), but there weren't really any other strong candidates. Ross and Wroten alternated good performances, Joseph didn't come on hot until late, and Motum was a good player on a mediocre team.