ASU’s Carson shares Pac-12 freshman honor
Arizona State point guard Jahii Carson shared Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors with UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad in voting of conference coaches.
Carson and Muhammad were also named to the 10-player all-conference team and five-player all-freshman team. Player of the Year Allen Crabbe heads the team, which includes two players each from Arizona, UCLA and Colorado.
“My dream just came true with being one of the best freshmen in the conference,” Carson said.
“Shabazz is so great and has meant so much to the conference, to be right there with him is amazing. I just try to go out there and play the best and help my team. I don’t care about any accolades or anything. It’s a goal, but the goal is more coming into the season and how well I want to play in the season. I just try to play the best basketball I can.”
Arizona is represented by senior forward Solomon Hill and senior guard Mark Lyons.
The remainder of the all-conference first team includes guard Spencer Dinwiddie and forward Andre Roberson of Colorado, guard Larry Drew II of UCLA, forward Dwight Powell of Stanford and forward E.J. Singler of Oregon.
Roberson was named Defensive Player of the Year, and Powell was selected Most Improved Player.
The Coach of the Year is Oregon’s Dana Altman.
Crabbe, a 6-foot-6 junior, becomes the third Player of the Year from California in the past four years, joining 2012 winner Jorge Gutierrez and Jerome Randle from 2010. He leads with Pac-12 in scoring with an average of 18.6 points per game while also averaging 1.2 steals and 6.0 rebounds.
Carson joins three previous Sun Devils to be named Freshman of the Year: Ike Diogu (2003), Jamal Faulkner (1991) and Byron Scott (1980). He has played more minutes that anyone in the conference (37.0 per game) and ranks third in assists (5.0) and fourth in scoring (17.7). Muhammad, a 6-6 swingman, averages 18.3 points, 3.7 assists and is shooting 41.7 percent from 3-point range.
“Obviously, Jahii has had a brilliant first year for us. We put a lot on his plate. We’ve asked him to do everything for us and I couldn’t be happier. Couldn’t be prouder of the way he has handled everything as a freshman,” Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said.
Arizona’s Hill is a repeat selection. He averaged 13.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Lyons is Arizona’s leading scorer with a 14.9 average.
ASU senior forward Carrick Felix was a second-team selection along with UCLA’s Kyle Anderson, California’s Justin Cobbs, Washington State’s Brock Motum and Washington’s C.J. Wilcox. Felix and teammate Jordan Bachynski were named to the All-Defensive Team, along with Colorado’s Roberson, Stanford’s Josh Huestis and Oregon’s Arsalan Kazemi.
“It’s a great accomplishment. Over the past two years, just everything I have gone through, my teammates having my back and coaches having confidence in me. It will be better at the end of the day, after the Pac-12 championship. I think people just finally noticed because coach Sendek was in a man defense and it just made it easier.,” said Felix, a beneficiary of ASU’s switch from a zone to a man-to-man.
“Don’t know that we have ever had any better leadership,” Sendek said of Felix.
Bachynski enters the Pac-12 tournament with 113 blocks. He needs three more to set a conference record.
The All-Freshman Team consists of Carson, Muhammad, Anderson, Colorado’s Josh Scott and Oregon’s Damyean Dotson.