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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Pac-10 midseason awards

    Best freshman

    Isaiah Thomas,
    Washington guard

    The Pacific 10 Conference expected another crop of Southern California freshmen to write the headlines in wake of Kevin Love and O.J. Mayo from last year’s UCLA and USC teams, respectively. But so far this season, UW shooting guard Isaiah Thomas has made the biggest all-around impact on his team – even beyond the talented Jrue Holiday (UCLA) and Demar DeRozan (USC). Thomas averages 19.2 points per game in conference play, putting him just 0.1 behind ASU’s James Harden. His ability to penetrate and become a playmaker gives Thomas versatility on the offensive end, despite his 5-foot-8-inch build.

    Best Overall Player

    James Harden,

    ASU guard

    It’s no surprise that ASU’s James Harden is regarded as one of the nation’s top players. He leads the conference with 13 20-point performances this season, earning him respect as an NBA Draft lottery pick prospect early in the season. In most mock drafts, Harden sits in the top five spots. Harden leads the Pac-10 with 21.9 points per game, highlighted by a 40-point performance earlier this year against UTEP.

    Best Big Man

    Jordan Hill,

    Arizona forward

    Jordan Hill is the best example of the phrase, “”looks can be deceiving.”” He doesn’t look very strong, he’s always smiling and his mop-like hairdo only accentuates his appearance. But he’d welcome the challenge of any other big man, and in many instances he’d win. His confidence, mixed in with a tireless work ethic, has placed Hill third in the Pac-10 in scoring (18.2 points per game) and first in rebounding (12 per game). Oh, yes, looks can be deceiving.

    Best Guard

    Darren Collison,

    UCLA guard

    If there was a mold of a near perfect, versatile guard on the collegiate level, Darren Collison might fit better than anyone else. In his effort to get to the Final Four for the fourth straight year, Collison averages 14.6 points and is first in the Pac-10 assists (5.2 per game) and free-throw percentage (.944). When a player is able to shine despite having teammates like Jrue Holliday, Josh Shipp and Alfred Aboya, it’s almost scary.

    Best Coach

    Lorenzo Romar,

    Washington

    Over the past few years, the majority of the Pac-10 has taken a more defensive-oriented approach. UCLA’s Ben Howland brought a Big East Conference background coming from Pittsburgh, and ASU’s Herb Sendek came from North Carolina State in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Despite a conference slowdown, the Washington Huskies still run the tempo under Romar’s system, which is averaging a conference-leading 80 points per game. With the arrival of Isaiah Thomas, Romar finally has his missing backcourt piece after the departure of Brandon Roy.

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