UCLA’s Lonzo Ball is Pac-12 freshman of the year and one of three Bruins on first team
Lonzo Ball came away with UCLA’s biggest haul during the start of what figures to be a busy awards season for the Bruins.
The point guard was selected the Pac-12 Conference’s freshman of the year and first team All-Pac-12 in a vote of conference coaches revealed Monday. Teammates Bryce Alford and TJ Leaf joined Ball on the 10-player first team after helping UCLA tie a school record with 28 regular-season victories, 13 more than last season.
USC sophomore Chimezie Metu was picked as the conference’s most improved player and made the second team after more than doubling his scoring and rebounding averages from his freshman season.
Oregon junior forward Dillon Brooks, whose late-game heroics the Bruins know well, was selected player of the year and Arizona’s Sean Miller was the coach of the year for the third time in his eight seasons in Tucson. Oregon’s Jordan Bell was the defensive player of the year after helping the Ducks tie Arizona for the Pac-12 regular-season title.
Ball’s 241 assists eclipsed Gary Payton’s previous Pac-12 freshman record of 229 and he is on pace to become the conference’s first player since Jason Kidd in 1993-94 to average at least 14 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Ball is also one of 15 finalists for the Wooden Award that goes to the nation’s top player.
Joining the trio of Bruins on the first team were Brooks, Washington’s Markelle Fultz, Utah’s Kyle Kuzma, Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen, Cal’s Ivan Rabb, Stanford’s Reid Travis and Colorado’s Derrick White.
UCLA junior center Thomas Welsh and USC junior point guard Jordan McLaughlin received honorable mention consideration for the all-conference team. Leaf was also a member of the all-freshman team.
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