These are no Siskels and Eberts, but a handful of Pac-12 beat writers had the best – or worst? – view of what was one rotten men’s basketball season. Jeff Faraudo of the Oakland Tribune (Cal), Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic (Arizona State), Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune (Utah), Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune (Washington) and Tom Kensler of the Denver Post (Colorado) join the Daily News’ Jon Gold for a roundtable discussion on what doomed the conference…and what it can do to fix itself.
4) Who should’ve won conference player of the year?
Jon Gold:: No brainer – Gutierrez.
Jeff Faraudo: Despite rough games at Colorado and Stanford to end the season, Gutierrez was the right choice.
Doug Haller: : Although Ross had some unstoppable stretches, Tony Wroten is the Player of the Year. In a key game against Arizona, the Wildcats couldn’t keep him out of the lane or off the offensive boards. I asked Kyle Fogg about it after the game and the Arizona guard simply shrugged and said, “He’s a pro.”
Bill Oram: Before Sunday my vote would have gone for Gutierrez, hands down. And if you consider the body of work throughout the season, I still think that was the right choice. Gutierrez was harmed by the fact two of his worst games of the season came at the very end of the year, when his team really could have used him. I recognize that this is a big piece of making a “player of the year.” But Gutierrez bailed his team out of so many jams, and diffused so many situations, that I don’t think he deserved to be bumped from the spot. I wouldn’t have complained, however, if Washington’s Terrence Ross or Joseph won. I suspect Joseph was dinged because he was ineligible for the first three weeks of the season following his transfer from Minnesota. Not sure that’s fair, particularly considering he led Oregon to an unexpected run throughout the Pac-12 schedule.
Ryan Divish: I have no problem with Gutierrez being the player of the year. I can understand why the coaches chose him and their reasons behind it. But I guess I would have chosen Terrence Ross. He was the best player on the best team in the league. Yes, having Tony Wroten helped him. But Gutierrez had Justin Cobbs and Allen Crabbe. Ross carried the Huskies in about four games, and saved them from losses to UCLA, WSU, Stanford and even Utah.
Tom Kensler: I didn’t have any problem with the selection of Gutierrez. But strong consideration should have been given to Oregon State’s Jared Cunningham, who leads to conference in scoring and steals.