The season is almost at the halfway point, and the Pac-12 has already experienced many highs and lows.
Arizona is undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the country. Colorado has wins over two teams in the top 10 . Utah is a surprise with 12 wins and is one of seven teams with double-digit wins.
Jabari Bird, projected as one of the top freshman in the conference, is out for Cal with a serious ankle injury. Apart from Arizona and Colorado, no other Pac-12 team has pulled off a big upset win, and the Wildcats look like the only serious contenders for a national championship. Over two-thirds of the conference’s games have been at home so the conference is widely untested in hostile environments.
Here are the Emerald’s choices for Pac-12 midseason accolades:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Kyle Anderson (G/F) – UCLA: The Bruins sophomore has made huge strides under first year head coach Steve Alford and is threatening a near triple-double average on the season (15.1 points per game, 8.9 rebounds per game and 6.6 assists per game). He’s the one of two conference players ranked in the top 15 in points, rebounds, assists and steals per game. It’s because of Anderson’s hot start that UCLA has been able to maintain a high-level of play and sprint out of the gates to a 12-2 overall record while being 1-0 in conference play. The 6-foot-9-inch guard/forward is capable of playing anywhere on the court and has excellent vision for someone his size.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Tad Boyle – Colorado: This was a tough choice because Sean Miller (Arizona), Steve Alford (UCLA), Dana Altman (Oregon) and Larry Krystkowiak (Utah) are all deserving of this honor but Boyle gets the nod. The reason Boyle is the coach of the year up to this point is because he has two of the conference’s biggest wins and, after losing the nation’s second-leading rebounder (Andre Roberson) from last year’s team, the Buffaloes have still been an improvement. While Colorado has gotten both of its big wins at home, the Buffaloes have shown it’s a team with depth that has a killer instinct, particularly in Askia Booker, who put up 27 points in the victory over Oregon and hit a game-winner against Kansas.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Aaron Gordon (F) – Arizona: The Wildcats’ high-flying freshman has proven that he is worthy of an NBA lottery pick by doing a little bit of everything for Arizona. There was no questioning Gordon’s athleticism entering college and his offensive game was already pro-ready but it’s his defense that has been big for Arizona. The Wildcats boast the top defense in the Pac-12 and Gordon is a reason for that by consistently using his quickness to defend guards or his length and height to defend forwards.
PAC-12 FIRST TEAM
Jordan Adams (G, UCLA): 18.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.6 apg, 3.5 spg, 51% field goals, 38% three-pointers
Kyle Anderson (G/F, UCLA): 15.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 6.6 apg, 1.7 spg, 54% field goals, 50% three-pointers
Aaron Gordon (F, Arizona): 12.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.0 bpg, 51% field goals, 37% three-pointers
Nick Johnson (G, Arizona): 16.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.5 apg, 0.9 spg, 48% field goals, 37% three-pointers
C.J. Wilcox (G, Washington): 20.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.1 spg, 45% field goals, 41% three-pointers
Delon Wright (G, Utah): 14.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 5.6 apg, 2.5 spg, 68% field goal, 29% three-pointers
Joseph Young (G, Oregon): 19.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.4 spg, 53% field goal, 44% three-pointers
Follow Ryan Kostecka on Twitter @Ryan_Kostecka