The regular season is wrapped up and it is time to give out the award for the Player of the Year in the Pac-12 (Which I finally have gotten used to saying. It only took an two entire sports seasons.) It seems to be down to two players, Terrrence Ross from Washington and Jorge Gutierrez of California. Here is the problem with that. Those two are good players, but the main reason they are the front runners is because of team success.
I am getting more and more of a beef with individual awards being based on team success. It even leaks into the “Who is the better player” debates. “Is Jordan better than LeBron? Well, Jordan has rings.” That argument is ridiculous. A championship is the ultimate team accomplishment. The opposite side of that is that an individual award shouldn’t be based on team success. I have gone off on this numerous times and could write a book on it. Well, not a book but like 300 words. I have other things to do. So, I won’t go any further with this discussion.
Sticking to who should get the the Pac-12 player of the year, here are my candidates, in no particular order (wink).
Brock Motum – This dude is the only thing going on in Pullman lately. He has put the Cougars on his back and has pretty much went HAM in every single game. In a game earlier this season against Arizona State, Motum had 34 of WSU’s 67. That’s right. Motum 34 points, the rest of the Cougs 33. WSU did lose the game 71-67. With team result influencing people’s opinion, everyone should just ignore this game. Dumb! On Saturday evening with 9 minutes to go in the second half against USC, Motum had 27 and USC had 26. He was beating them by himself. Motum is second in the league in scoring, sixth in rebounding and eighth in field goal percentage. Probably the most efficient player in the conference. Although, he takes too many threes for 6’11″ guy.
Terrence Ross – If this guy could find some consistency, this wouldn’t even be a debate. Ross makes spectacular plays on the regular. Against Marquette, he had a 360 alley-opp dunk, that even as a Coug, I got excited for. Ross might be the most balanced player in the Pac-12. He can rebound and score with great success (Borat voice). Ross is fifth in scoring in the Pac-12 and fifth in rebounding.I am pretty sure Ross will get a lot of national spotlight during the NCAA tourney. That is if UW can win a couple games and he can find consistency.
Jared Cunningham – I wanted to put this guy first (not that this are in a particular order, as stated earlier) but outside of scoring he just do enough with the rest of his game to the leader in this debate. Cunningham does lead the league in scoring. His assists might be down because the rest of Oregon State’s squad can’t hit the broad side of a barn (old school cliche). He does the lead the Pac-12 in steals by almost half a steal a game. He, like Motum, is pretty much all the team has for leadership and scoring. I bet his back is pretty sore from carrying the team.
Maurice Jones – This guy deserves some credit. USC has been through the grinder this year. Six starters have gone down and there is like one scholarship athlete still alive on the squad. For anything to come out positive from this team is damn near a miracle. This guy needs to get a lot of praise and recognition for his performance this year.
Jorge Gutierrez – All I keep hearing is that Gutierrez should be the POY. He is only in the top 10 in one of the major statistical categories, assists. Points, rebounds and steals he isn’t in there. Coaches keep saying he should get the award based on leadership, saying he is such a great leader on the team and the team would be lost without him. Well, I guess the real Player of the Year on that squad is Mike Montgomery, I’m sure he is the best leader on the team. Can’t really give the coach a player award. I mostly put Gutierrez on here just to put him on blast. I will say this though, I love his hair. I seriously only wanted his hair in his photo. Just his hair no face or head.
No one else really – The conference as a whole is down this year. There are other players worth mentioning. I will quickly recap who they are and why they aren’t on the list. Kyle Fogg, can’t make a jumper. Tony Wroten, can’t make a free throw or a jumper. Allen Crabbe, best player on his team but no one talks about him. DeVoe Joseph, not sure how your team or you are good.
Voters will just select someone off one of the top teams in the conference and give the award to him. I will argue that is harder to have a good season on a team with less talent than a team loaded with talent. No matter who wins it, I am just ready for the tournaments to start. That’s right I love them all, NCAA, NIT, CBI and the CIT. I honestly had to Google on Bing the last one.