Arizona’s Sean Miller named Pac-12 coach of the year
Arizona’s Sean Miller was named the Pac-12 Conference John R. Wooden Coach of the Year in voting by conference coaches. Freshman Lauri Markkanen was a first-team selection on the 10-player all-conference team.
In addition to Miller, the other top award winners were Oregon junior forward Dillon Brooks, player of the year; UCLA guard Lonzo Ball, freshman of the year; Oregon junior forward Jordan Bell, defensive player of the year; and USC sophomore forward Chimezie Metu, most improved player.
The Coach of the Year honor is the third for Miller in eight seasons at Arizona. Only Lute Olson (seven) and Mike Montgomery (four) have won the award more times. He led a freshman-laden Arizona team to a share of the regular-season conference title with a 16-2 record, overcoming a season-ending injury to Ray Smith and a suspension that kept leading returning Allonzo Trier sidelined for more than half the season.
Brooks averaged 17.9 points per game in conference play for Oregon, which shared the regular-season title with Arizona. He is Oregon’s fifth player of the year, joining Joseph Young, Luke Ridnour, Terrell Brandon and Ron Lee.
Ball broke Gary Payton’s conference freshman record for assists, averaging 7.8 per game. He’s second in the conference in steals (2.0), averages 14.9 points and 6.2 rebounds while helping UCLA climb to No. 3 in the national rankings.The last Pac-12 player to average at least 14 points, seven assists and six rebounds was Jason Kidd in 1994.
Oregon’s Bell ranks among the league’s top 10 in rebounds (7.9, 10th), steals (1.4, eighth) and blocked shots (2.1, fourth).
USC’s Metu more than doubled both is scoring (6.4 to 14.4) and rebounding (3.6 to 7.6) averages.
UCLA has three players on the 10-member All-Pac-12 first team: Ball, senior guard Bryce Alford and freshman forward T.J. Leaf.
The rest of the team includes Brooks, Markkanen, Washington freshman guard Markelle Fultz, Utah unior forward Kyle Kuzma, California sophomore forward Ivan Rabb, Stanford junior guard Reid Travis and Colorado senior guard Derrick White.
Arizona has two players on the second team: Trier and senior guard Kadeem Allen. ASU senior guard Torian Graham earned honorable mention.
Allen also earned a spot on the all-defensive team. Markkanen was joined by teammate Rawle Alkins on the all-freshman team.
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