Count Ben Howland among those who weren’t happy when the Pac-12 announced its conference awards yesterday.
“I was just really disappointed, miffed, stunned that Jordan Adams wasn’t on the all-freshmen team,” the UCLA coach said. “I couldn’t believe it. I felt hurt, sad, stunned, miffed.”
He’s not alone. The exclusion of UCLA’s freshman had many crying foul, including Arizona coach Sean Miller. The least touted member of the Bruins’ recruiting class quickly became the team’s most valuable player — especially while Co-Freshman of the Year Shabazz Muhammad missed three games and worked his way back into shape.
The 6-foot-5 guard became the first freshman in program history to start his career with four 20-point games. He made 33 straight free throws, 10 shy of Darren Collison’s school record. He finished the regular season as eighth in the Pac-12 in scoring and first in total steals.
Adams said he expected to make the all-freshmen team, but wasn’t bothered by the snub.
“I’m not mad at it, but it will fuel me,” he said.
Howland — who added that he was happy for Muhammad, Larry Drew II and Kyle Anderson’s spots on All-Pac-12 teams — said he weighed winning more heavily when put in his ballot. It was why his five votes for freshmen included Arizona center Kaleb Tarczewski, who was also an honorable mention.
“I take the voting for these kids very seriously, and wait until the conference is completely over,” Howland said. “Some people are only putting in their ballots before the conference is even complete, which I don’t relate to. That being said, I thought that was really an injustice.”