Thursday, April 10, 2008

End of the Year Awards

1st Team
G - DJ Augustin, Texas
G - Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis
C - Tyler Hansbrough, UNC
F - Michael Beasley, Kansas State
F - Kevin Love, UCLA

2nd Team
G - Eric Gordon, Indiana
G - Jerryd Bayless, Arizona
G - Stephen Curry, Davidson
C - Brook Lopez, Stanford
F - Luke Harangody, Notre Dame

3rd Team
G - OJ Mayo, USC
G - Jamont Gordon, Mississippi State
G - Derrick Rose, Memphis
F - Shan Foster, Vanderbilt
F - DJ White, Indiana

Player of the Year
Tyler Hansbrough
For a guy that's already a two-time all-american, its pretty impressive when you can say he had his best season yet. His numbers speak for themselves - 22.6 ppg, 10.2 rpg (both career highs) while shooting 54% from the field and 81% from the line. Yes, Beasley did have more impressive numbers, and it was a tough decision, but what Hansbrough did in the seven games Ty Lawson missed during ACC play is what gave him the nod. In those games, Psycho T raised his game to another level, averaging 28.4 ppg and 13.6 rpg. I hate how much of a media darling he has become, but the bottom line is Hansbrough has given everything he's had in every game he's played in Carolina blue.

Coach of the Year
Bob McKillop, Davidson
With all due respect to Drake's Keno Davis, I think what McKillop did at Davidson is more impressive. In his 19 years at the tiny North Carolina school (1,700 students), he has them on the brink of becoming the East Coast Gonzaga, reaching the Elite 8 this year in their second straight NCAA tourney and third consecutive national postseason tournament. The Wildcats overcame a 2-6 start, losing their big time match-ups with UCLA, UNC, Duke and NC State, to finish the season on a 22 game win streak, which included a 20-0 mark in league play and the Southern Conference tourney crown. They then proceeded to beat Gonzaga, Georgetown, and Wisconsin en route to the Elite 8.

Game of the Year
Baylor 116, Texas A&M 110 5 OT
As always, the 2008 college basketball season was full of incredible games, but the game of the year was the one nobody saw. In one of the longest games in basketball history, Baylor outlasted Texas A&M in 5 OT's to win a thriller 116-110. Baylor, playing as a ranked team for the first time since 1969, got 36 points, which included 22 in the overtimes with 11 coming in the final stanza, and eight assists out of Curtis Jerrells and 19 points and 18 rebounds from Kevin Rogers. The high final score says otherwise, but this game was a hard-fought, grind-it-out, defensive battle. Combined, the Bears and the Aggies shot just under 37%, committed 69 fouls, had 8 players foul out, and shot 106 free throws. The loss was A&M's third consecutive, all in conference, while the win helped solidify Baylor's ranking and status as a top team in the Big XII.

Freshman of the Year
Michael Beasley, Kansas State
In a season full of outstanding play by freshman, Beasley was by far the best. He had two games of 30 points and 20 rebounds in his first three, and didn't slow down, finishing the season with averages of 26.2 ppg and 12.4 rpg. Beasley can do everything on the floor - he is a phenomenal offensive rebounder, can finish equally well with either hand, has range to the three-point line, and can score with his back to the basket or facing a defender up. He also led Kansas State to a third place finish in the Big XII and, as an 11 seed, to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. No one thought that a freshman would have a season like Kevin Durant's last year, let alone a better one the very next season.

Defensive Player of the Year
Hasheem Thabeet, UConn
The 7'3" center anchored a Huskies defense that was as good as any in the country. The Huskies led the country in blocked shots for what seems like the 20th straight year, led by Thabeet's 4.5 average, good for third in the country. Thabeet's shot-blocking ability allowed the Huskies to get out and apply pressure on the wings while funneling players to the middle where the big man waited. Thabeet had six games this season with eight or more blocks.

Most Surprising Team
DrakeThe Bulldogs were coming of a 17-15 season where they finished 6-12 in the MVC. They lost four starters, including their top two scorers. But Drake set a school record with 28 wins on the season, including a 21 game win streak, en route to the MVC regular season and Tournament titles and their first NCAA Tournament bid since 1971. They were led by PG Adam Emmenecker, a former walk-on who earned his scholarship just two weeks before the season started but won this year's conference player of the year. Drake was upset in the first round of the tournament by Western Kentucky, but overall it was a great season for the Bulldogs.

Most Disappointing Team
The Terrapins have fallen on hard times since their 2002 NCAA Championship. Maryland was maddeningly inconsistent this year. They beat UNC, but also lost to American and Ohio at home and blew a 20 point second half lead to Clemson in the last game of the regular season, a game which could have put them into the NCAA Tournament. It wasn't for a lack of talent - Bambale Osby and James Gist form a pretty formidable front line, and Greveis Vazquez is talented enough to be a 1st team All-ACC player, but was just as inconsistent as the Maryland team was.

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