Between midterms, spring break, and my computer going on the fritz it has been three weeks since the last time I jumped on here and posted a blog entry. The last of which doesn't even quantify as being a legitimate blog entry. Arizona's second-half meltdown against West Virginia was merely iconic for their season, and to give analysis of it would only be shooting a dead horse. I don't think I want to go over the disappointing (by Zona standards) season that the 'Cats have stumbled through this year, especially the NCAA Tournament. Myself, and probably most other UofA fans, are sick of hearing about how they stunk it up in D.C., the fact they didn't even belong there, and so much more.
Unlike many UofA fans, I'm not quite ready to turn the page on this season and start looking forward to incoming freshman Brandon Jennings. Before I can do that I have to roll back the clock for the season and hand out my team awards. I could hand out some awards like the "porceline throne awards" for royal screw-ups like K.O's use of timeouts, his inability to utilize his assistants, develop the bench, or inability to draw up an effective play for a final shot... but I will refrain. This is about the great things that Arizona did this season.
Most Valuable Player: Jerryd Bayless - Jerryd Bayless brought phenomenal talent to the Zona, but also an insatiable desire to win. He was a lightning quick guard that could knock it down from just about anywhere and create his own shot.
Most Improved Player: Nic Wise - Last year Wise saw seldom minutes off the pine. This year he was a staple on an Arizona team that was plagued by injuries. Wise started the year averaging nearly as many turnovers as assists, and didn't score on a consistent basis. By the end of the year, this team couldn't operate properly without him. His A/TO ratio ballooned to 2.2, and nearly 5.0 over the final 7 games, all while managing to dump in nearly 10 a game.
Key Role Player: Bret Brielmaier - I know he was injured for 1/3 of the year and missed 13 games. But Brielmaier was the guy that always sacrificed for the team. He wasn't much of a scoring threat, or a defensive prodigy, but he was likely the hardest working guy on the hardwood. Between taking charges, getting a timely rebound, diving on the floor, or making the right pass, no job was too small. When you put him in the game you knew exactly what to expect: hard-nosed physical play combined with a strong effort, and consistently smart decisions. He was Arizona's intangibles factor. *remember this isn't someone who is a elemental part of the offense or a primary defensive player (Hill & Budinger don't qualify)
Play of the Year: Jerryd Bayless - There were some great plays this year, but there is only one I can truly remember. Jerryd Bayless leading the fast break against Fresno State, passing the ball between his legs to Jamelle Horne for an easy dunk. It took watching the play in slo-mo twice to fully appreciate the beauty of that play. If it weren't for FSN replaying the fast break three times it probably would've just looked like a routine play. Absolutely amazing!
Defensive Player of the Year: Jawann McClellan - Yeah, I can think of some times where he got absolutely burned this year, but game in and game out he was drawing tough defensive assignments. Often matching up with guys taller than him, and holding his own. McClellan was a great weak-side shot blocker, but also had a handful of great on-man blocks. It was nice to see his leaping ability return for his senior season.
**Hill loses out on this award because of his propensity to commit stupid fouls in bunches.
Freshman of the Year: Jerryd Bayless - Was there any doubt? Win team MVP as a frosh, you get the frosh award too, obviously! Not to mention the only competition was Jamelle Horne, who was inconsistent, and Zane Johnson, who was playing with a handicap coming in halfway through the season.
UofA Message Board Awards
Pac-10 Pick 'em Winner: KDeezy - Nicely done KDeezy, and you didn't even need those UofA/Stanford or UCLA/Stanford picks either!!
Best Non-UofA Fan Poster: Cougfan in Tex - Dbacksfan414, Duckbill30, and a few others are right there with him, but Tex always had god insight with an earnest desire to talk about all sides of the coin. It also helps that we didn't have to hear it from Tex that WSU beat us this year like we did from the other fans. lol
Classic Video Post Winner: Zona Cats 55 for videotaping his television set during the Arizona/Fresno State game to provide video evidence of the play of the year. Yeah, I found it, and nearly fell out of my chair when I realized what I was watching!
Funniest Poster: Roverfish - There were TONS of great posts by a lot of people, but the ones I remember sticking out the most were some of Roverfish's, especially on Bob Elliot. I remember nearly falling out of my chair a couple of times. Priceless.
For those of you great posters on the UofA message board, I'm not leaving you out 'cuz you guys aren't worthy, but I had to come up with something else to hand out besides mentioning ZonaCats55's youtube video! lol