Norman Powell (4) goes for a steal during UCLA’s 77-63 win over Long Beach State on Nov. 23. Powell finished the regular season leading the Bruins in points (16.3) and steals (60), and was named to the All-Pac-12 first team. (Stephen Carr/Staff)
Norman Powell blossomed into UCLA’s go-to option in his final season as a Bruin, and was rewarded with a spot on the All-Pac-12 first team. The 6-foot-4 guard led his team in scoring, steals and free throw attempts, and ranked third in rebounds and assists.
Powell was also a conference all-defensive honorable mention for the second year in a row. UCLA had landed multiple players on the All-Pac-12 first team in three of the last four seasons.
Freshman Kevon Looney, who averaged 12.3 points and 9.5 rebounds, didn’t make the 10-member first team but earned a second-team nod. Sophomore point guard Bryce Alford was an All-Pac-12 honorable mention, rounding out a relatively unsurprising showing for the Bruins in the postseason awards.
The big shocker came in Joseph Young winning Pac-12 Player of the Year, becoming the first Oregon player to do so since Luke Ridnour in 2003. Young led the conference with 19.8 points per game, but isn’t as well-rounded a player as Arizona’s T.J. McConnell or Utah’s Delon Wright — two players who were the presumptive frontrunners for the league’s top individual honor.
It certainly helped Young’s case that Oregon won nine of its last 10 games to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament. Head coach Dana Altman was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons.
When you gather together every Pac-12 coach into one room, a few good moments are bound to materialize. Here are some of the best quotes from Thursday’s Pac-12 Media Day, held at Pac-12 Networks studios in San Francisco.
— Arizona ran away with media votes in the preseason poll, taking 21 of 23 first-place votes. UCLA and Colorado finished second and third, respectively, each taking one of the two remaining votes.
Buffs guard Spencer Dinwiddie didn’t agree with that projection: “We don’t view Arizona as the top, the cream, and everybody else in the rest. We view ourselves as the cream and everybody else can fight for the rest of the spots.” Continue reading →
» Stanford“traded” Twitter handles with Syracuse, giving up @SUAthletics in exchange for a local goods package that includes a crate of oranges.
“Obviously we’re thrilled to activate @GoStanford as our official Twitter handle and pull off this dynamic trade,” said Bernard Muir, The Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics at Stanford. “From a branding standpoint, this trade makes sense for both schools. We held both accounts – the social media equivalent to having two starting quarterbacks, and we wanted to derive as much value fun as possible. We expect great things from our new starter, @GoStanford, and wish @SUAthletics good luck in a new home.”
» Oregon continues its run as basketball’s Transfer U. Last week, the Ducks added Houston transfer Joseph Young, a 6-foot-3 guard that led the Cougars with 18.0 points per game as a redshirt sophomore. If he isn’t granted a waiver, he will only be eligible for the 2014-15 season.
» Oregon State running back Storm Woods, on his team’s 31-27 Alamo Bowl loss to Texas: “I’ve watched it more than 10 times by myself, honestly. It haunts me still, and it fuels me but at the same time, I have to let it go.” Continue reading →
Without shooting guard Jordan Adams, UCLA couldn’t do enough to beat Oregon for the Pac-12 tournament championship. As Adams sat at the end of the bench with a broken right foot, the Bruins lost 78-69 and failed to put together one strong, late rally.
UCLA cut the Ducks’ to two points with 12 minutes left to go on a 3-pointer by Larry Drew II, but proceeded to give up a 6-0 run over the next 90 seconds. It went the rest of the way down between six and 12 points — save for a 19-second stretch that saw the deficit shrink to four.
Oregon won its first tournament title since 2007. No team has won both the regular-season and tournament championships since the Bruins did so in 2008.
— UCLA’s seed for the NCAA tournament will likely drop due to Adams’ absence. The NCAA selection committee often account for injuries in their decision, and the Bruins being without their second-leading scorer could weigh heavily. In 2000, top-ranked Cincinnati missed out on a No. 1 seed when Kenyon Martin broke his leg. In 2009, St. Mary’s missed the tournament despite 26 wins because point guard Patty Mills hadn’t shaken off rust after breaking his hand. Continue reading →
Two days after UCLA won an outright Pac-12 title, Shabazz Muhammad became the eighth player in program history to win Pac-12 Freshman of the Year — sharing the honor with Arizona point guard Jahii Carson.
The star swingman, who ranked third in the Pac-12 with 18.3 points per game, is the first Bruin to win since Kevin Love in 2008. Muhammad also made the 10-man all-conference first team with senior point guard Larry Drew II, while freshman point forward Kyle Anderson was a second-team selection.
Muhammad and Drew both generated some talk for the conference’s Player of the Year Award, but that went to Cal guard Allen Crabbe. Oregon’s Dana Altman won Coach of the Year, and had his Ducks positioned for a conference title before losing the last two games of the season.
Muhammad and Anderson also made the All-Pac-12 Freshman team, but guard Jordan Adams missed the cut for the five-man list. He averaged 15.2 points per game, eighth best in the conference, and was an honorable mention for receiving at least three votes.