There’s no exact halfway point to the Pac-12 season because some teams play their rival at different times in the conference season. UW and Wazzu have squared off twice already which means they’ve each played 8 games while USC and UCLA have their first meeting this week and have each played 10.
Nonetheless, this is as close to the halfway point as it gets. This is where most people would just list the conference awards but instead we’re going to focus on the all-conference teams. Barring an injury or FBI intervention, Deandre Ayton is going to win both Pac-12 player of the year and freshman of the year. That makes awards talk boring. Coach of the year is likely between Bobby Hurley and Mike Hopkins pending the finish each has while Matisse Thybulle is favorite for defensive player of the year.
Now I think we can all agree that the Pac-12 royally screws up their all-conference teams. There are 5 players on the basketball court at a time. How in the world can you then have a 10 person all-1st team? It doesn’t make any sense. I understand that you want to give out participation trophies but if I want to know who the best center in the conference was I should be able to look at the all-conference 1st team and figure it out.
We’re doing this NBA style. An all-conference 1st team, 2nd team, and 3rd team with 5 players on each team. And each team has to seem like it should be able to play on the court at the same time. We’re not putting 5 point guards or 5 centers on one team. But if we play two ball handlers next to each other who are capable of also playing off the ball occasionally then that’s fine.
Pac-12 All-Conference 1st Team
Jordan McLaughlin, USC- Sr, 6’1, 185
12.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 7.7 apg, 47.1% FG, 42.7% 3pt, 74.1% FT
McLaughlin leads the conference in assists and is 2nd in steals. He’s been overshadowed on USC for years but he’s the engine for a team that’s 2nd in the conference.
Tra Holder, Arizona State- Sr, 6’1, 180
19.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 3.9 apg, 42.1% FG, 40% 3pt, 84.7% FT
Holder is having a year reminiscent of Andrew Andrews in his senior season as a do it all combo guard for an upstart Sun Devils team. He’s 4th in the conference in scoring and 6th in steals.
Allonzo Trier, Arizona- Jr, 6’5, 205
19.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.2 apg, 53.2% FG, 40.2% 3pt, 85% FT
Trier leads the conference in scoring and unsurprisingly is probably the most complete offensive player in the Pac.
Reid Travis, Stanford- Jr, 6’8, 245
19.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.5 apg. 52.2% FG, 27.5% 3pt, 66.3% FT
Travis is 3rd in scoring and 8th in rebounding in the Pac-12. He’s not really a long range shooter or shot blocker but he’s incredibly physical and wears teams down.
Deandre Ayton, Arizona- Fr, 7’1, 260
19.5 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 1.8 bpg, 61.9% FG, 34.6% 3pt, 75% FT
Ayton is a basketball prodigy who can do everything on a basketball court at a high level except pass. He’ll go at latest #3 in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Pac-12 All Conference 2nd Team
Aaron Holiday, UCLA- Jr, 6’1, 185
19.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 5.3 apg, 46.4% FG, 40.7% 3pt, 83.2% FT
Holiday is basically the same guy as last year he’s just playing an extra 10 minutes per game with the departure of Lonzo Ball. But UCLA counts on him and he’s been up to the task.
Jaylen Nowell, Washington- Fr, 6’4, 190
16.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.6 apg, 49.4% FG, 32.3% 3pt, 80.5% FT
This may be a homer pick but Washington deserved a 2nd team player given their start so far to conference play and Nowell has been their best player.
George King, Colorado- Sr, 6’6, 225
14.3 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.0 apg, 47% FG, 40.7% 3pt, 74.6% FT
King is doing yeoman’s work for the Buffs as the 3rd leading rebounder in the conference at just 6’6 and also a better than 40% outside shooter.
Tres Tinkle, Oregon State- Jr, 6’8, 220
17.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 3.5 apg, 46.5% FG, 35.4% 3pt, 87.4% FT
Tinkle is top-10 in the conference in scoring, rebounding, and steals while being able to score from all 3 areas of the court. It’s no wonder OSU won just 5 games without him last year.
Chimezie Metu, USC- Jr, 6’11, 225
16.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.7 bpg, 51.3% FG, 38.5% 3pt, 76.4% FT
Metu has gotten exponentially better during his time at USC and should end up a 1st round draft pick as a premier shot blocker capable of knocking down a jumper.
Pac-12 All Conference 3rd Team
Payton Pritchard, Oregon- So, 6’2, 195
15.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.6 apg, 47.3% FG, 41.5% 3pt, 81.4% FT
Pritchard was the lone returning starter from last year’s Final 4 team and has been the brightest spot for the Ducks in what has been a disappointing season.
Shannon Evans, Arizona State- Sr, 6’1, 172
16.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.2 apg, 38.8% FG, 39% 3pt, 84.2% FT
I gave Nowell the edge over Evans for 2nd team but he probably deserves to be higher as the co-pilot alongside Tra Holder of an offense ranked in the top-10 nationally.
Robert Franks, Washington State- Jr, 6’7, 225
17.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.2 apg, 47.8% FG, 42.5% 3pt, 87.2% FT
This was the 15th spot and I agonized whether the Cougars struggles should keep Franks off this list. But he’s been the most improved player in the conference and risen from a bench player on an awful team to showing up on draft boards in 1 year.
Bennie Boatwright, USC- Jr, 6’10, 227
15.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.1 apg, 42.8% FG, 36% 3pt, 71% FT
When Boatwright is on it’s hard to imagine there are many better players in the conference. I considered dropping him since he’s missed 4 games due to injury but am probably a little biased since he always goes off against the Huskies.
Thomas Welsh, UCLA- Sr, 7’0, 255
12.6 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 47.9% FG, 39.1% 3pt, 81.1% FT
Welsh barely meets the criteria for a rim protector but he’s 7’0 and is a great rebounder while serving as an elite mid range shooter and an above average one from deep.
Pac-12 All Conference Honorable Mentions
These are all of the players who I considered as well. The last spot came down to Robert Franks along with Justice Sueing, Troy Brown, and Matisse Thybulle. I opted for Franks’s shooting but the other three have been better defensively. If Matisse were shooting closer to 40% from deep than 30% then I think he earns the last spot. You may notice there are exactly 5 freshman either above or below. Luckily, that makes it easy to say there’s the all-freshman team: Wright, Nowell, Sueing, Brown, and Ayton.
McKinley Wright IV, Colorado- Fr, 6’0, 185
14.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 5.4 apg, 44.4% FG, 31.5% 3pt, 76.8% FT
Justin Bibbins, Utah- Sr, 5’8, 150
14 ppg, 3 rpg, 5.1 apg, 47.1% FG, 45.3% 3pt, 85.1% FT
Justice Sueing, California- Fr, 6’7, 209
14.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.5 apg, 46.6% FG, 34.5% 3pt, 69.1% FT
Troy Brown, Oregon- Fr, 6’7, 215
11.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 3.1 apg, 44.5% FG, 29.4% 3pt, 78.6% FT
Matisse Thybulle, Washington- Jr, 6’5, 200
11.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.8 apg, 43.4% FG, 30.7% 3pt, 69% FT
Noah Dickerson, Washington- Jr, 6’8, 225
14.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.0 apg, 56.7% FG, 74.2% FT
Marcus Lee, California- Sr, 6’11, 225
12.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.9 bpg, 58.5% FG, 61.3% FT