Monday, March 5, 2012

Romar wins coach of the year; Four other Huskies honored

By Kshell

The Pac-12 awards were handed out today and you saw plenty of Washington Huskies on the list. Toping the list is Lorenzo Romar winning his third coach of the year award(had won in 2005 and 2009). Terrence Ross who just missed out on winning player of the year was named first-team all pac-12. Tony Wroten who also barely missed out on player of the year was also named first-team all pac-12, as well as freshman of the year and first-team all freshman team. C.J. Wilcox was named honorable mention all- pac-12 and Aziz N'Diaye was named first team all defensive team. This was a big day for coach Romar and those four Huskies as they were the regular season champions.

I felt Terrence Ross was snubbed for player of the year. How Jorge Gutierrez of California won over Ross is a joke. Still Ross who was first-team all tournament team last year joins Nate Robinson, Tre Simmons, Brandon Roy, Jon Brockman, Justin Dentmon, Quincy Pondexter, Isaiah Thomas and Matthew Bryan-Amaning as the only Huskies in the Romar era to be first team all conference. Along with his teammate Tony Wroten who was also named today. For the year Ross is averaging 15.3 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.3 steals, and 0.9 blocks. He is shooting 45.4% from the field, 36.2% on three pointers making 1.8 a game and 74.7% on free throws. This year in 30 games Ross scored in double figures 27 times. He also recorded six double-doubles. He scored over 20 points five times this year including his best game of the year in a comeback effort against the cross state rivals Washington State Cougars . In that game Ross was named Pac-12 player of the week as he scored 30 points on the Cougars making six three pointers and grabbed a career high 14 rebounds. That week against the Cougars and cross city rival Seattle University Ross was named player of the week averaging 21.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 2.0 steals and 1.0 blocks. Ross had a terrific season and was rewarded with a first-team all conference selection just like his teammate Tony Wroten.

Tony Wroten joins Terrence Ross on the first-team all Pac-12 team. He becomes the first ever Huskies player to be named first team as a freshman. He also ran away with the freshman of the year award joining Isaiah Thomas as the only guy to win that award in the Romar era. He was named first-team all freshman team joining Jon Brockman, Spencer Hawes, Isaiah Thomas and C.J. Wilcox as the only Huskies to be on that team in the Romar era. Wroten like Ross was in consideration for player of the year and I felt he had a better year than Gutierrez who probably won due to being a senior. This year Wroten is averaging 16.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG and 3.7 APG. He is also averaging 2.0 steals per game while shooting 45.0% from the field. Wroten won Pac-12 player of the week in the first week of conference play when the Huskies swept the Oregon schools. Wroten lit up the Oregon State Beavers in his first conference game as a Husky scoring 26 points and grabbing nine rebounds. That week Wroten averaged 21.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 4.5 APG and 1.0 steals per game. Wroten was also big time against the Arizona Wildcats which featured a famous dunk over Angelo Chol. This year Wroten scored double figures in 27 out of 30 games, he also scored over 20 points in 10 games. He dished out over five assists in nine games and grabbed over five rebounds in 16 games. He recorded at least one steal in 26 of the 30 games as well. No Husky has made quite the immediate impact that Tony Wroten has made this season.

C.J. Wilcox who like Wroten was named first-team all freshman team last year. This year Wilcox was honorable mention which considering he is the only guy coming off the bench named all pac-12 that is impressive.  For the season Wilcox is averaging 13.9 PPG, 3.3 rebounds per game. He is shooting 43.3% from the field, 41.2% on three pointers making 2.3 a game and 85.7% on free throws. He is also filling up the stat sheet averaging 0.9 steals and 0.7 blocks per game. Wilcox played in 27 of the 30 games this year making 12 starts. He started the year off with a bang scoring 22 points in a win over Georgia State Panthers as he named Pac-12 player of the week that initial week. Wilcox in three games averaged 19.3 PPG and 4.7 RPG. He made 3.7 three pointers that week as well. In another game which I saw in person he lit up the the Oregon Ducks drilling six three pointers off the bench. For the year Wilcox scored in double figures 19 of 27 games played. Wilcox scored more than 20 points in five games. Wilcox made at least one three pointer in 22 of 27 games. He made multiple three pointers in 18 of 27 games. Wilcox scoring off the bench especially on a team lacking three pointers was critical why Wilcox was named honorable mention all Pac-12.

Aziz N'Diaye was named first-team all Pac-12 defensive team. N'Diaye was the man in the middle this year averaging 8.2 PPG, 7.6 RPG and 1.1 blocks per game in only 23.5 minutes per game. No game felt N'Diaye's defensive pressence more than the Huskies 79-70 win over the Arizona Wildcats on senior day . In that game N'Diaye scored eight points but pulled down 12 rebounds while blocking four shots. For the year N'Diaye played in 28 games making 26 starts. In those 28 games he pulled down double digit rebounds in seven games. He recorded at least one block shot in 16 games. He had multiple block shots in seven games. For a big guy he also averaged 0.5 steals per game picking up a steal in 12 games including multiple steals in three games. N'Diaye really helped the Huskies in the paint this year with his rebounding and shot blocking ability. That is why the coaches rewarded N'Diaye with a first-team all pac-12 selection on the defensive team.

The Huskies were picked preseason to take fourth in the conference and won the conference outright. For the third time in his career Lorenzo Romar has received the coach of the year award. Romar had to overcome losing Isaiah Thomas(16.8 PPG, 6.1 APG, two-time first team all Pac-10, two-time Pac-10 tournament MVP), graduation of Matthew Bryan-Amaning(15.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.1 steals and 1.5 BPG. First team all pac-10, most improved player, first-team all defensive team), Justin Holiday(10.5 PPG,5.2 RPG, all defensive selection), and Venoy Overton(6.0 PPG, 3.3 APG and 1.2 steals. All defensive selection). If that wasn't bad enough Romar also lost senior captain Scott Suggs(7.4 PPG, 45% on three's at 1.6 a game). Add it all up Romar lost 56 points per game from his roster last year. His current starting lineup has one senior who came off the bench some for a freshman. He has four freshman in his rotation and two sophomores of his nine players he plays. Romar lost a ton of talent, had an extremely young team who was immature at times yet did better than last season in conference play. Facts are it was going to be Ross winning POY and some other coach for coach or Romar and some other player. I'd rather seen Ross win POY but Romar winning his third coach of the year award is impressive. Starting in 1976 the only coaches to win three coach of the year titles are Lute Olsen(won seven), Mike Montgomery(won four), George Raveling(won three) and now Lorenzo Romar who has won three. Romar, Montgomery(yet to win at Cal) and Olsen only ones to do it at the same school. Romar has put his name up there with the conferences legends.

Overall, this was a good day for the Pac-12 regular season champions the Huskies saw their coach honored and four players honored. You can't win every award and maybe this snub will spark a fire under Ross. I know two years ago Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas outplayed Jerome Randle in that championship game. Hopefully that will happen again as Ross and Wroten have something to prove to the rest of the coaches. Those four players honored today weren't part of the sweet 16 roster from two years ago. That is how much turnover has taken place for the Huskies the last two years due to graduation and Thomas leaving early. Romar has kept the program moving along without missing a beat. This is a good day for the Huskies and hopefully on Saturday night this week will have improved even more.

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