Wildcats recognized in Pac-12 Conference honors
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The University of Arizona men’s basketball team has been awarded five out of the six major Pac-12 awards following the end of their regular season play.
The awards, voted on by conference coaches, include sophomore Bennedict Mathurin being named Player of the Year and head coach Tommy Lloyd being named the Coach the Year.
Mathurin, Christian Koloko and Azuolas Tubelis were also part of the 10-player First Team All-Conference team. Dalen Terry earned honorable mention status and the All-Defensive Team included both Terry and Koloko.
The only major award a Wildcat player did not win was the Freshman of the Year award, which went to Harrison Ingram from Stanford.
The Wildcats won the Pac-12 Conference by three games. Their first game of the conference tournament is set for Thursday, March 10 at 1 p.m. MT.
A list of Wildcat Pac-12 honorees is as follows:
Azuolas Tubelis, So., F, - First Team All-Conference
Tubelis was a consistent force throughout the season and finished ninth in the conference in scoring (14.1) in Pac-12 play in addition to 10th in rebounding (6.11) and seventh in field goal percentage (53.1%) to earn first team honors. He scored in double figures 13 times – four times with 20 or more, including 32 against Utah - and added three double-doubles. The Lithuanian also posted averages of 2.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.8 blocked shots overall for the season.
Bennedict Mathurin, So., G, - Player of the Year, First Team All-Conference
Mathurin, from Montreal, is the ninth Arizona player to be named Pac-12 Player of the Year and the first since Deandre Ayton in 2018. Overall, it’s the 10th time that a Wildcat has been named the conference’s top player, which leads all Pac-12 schools. In Pac-12 play, Mathurin ranked second in scoring (17.25), sixth in 3-point field goals made per game (2.1), eighth in 3-point field goal percentage (38.5%), 12th in minutes played (31.98), 15th in assists (2.7) and 18th in rebounding (5.2). He has already been named a second-team all-American by The Sporting News and College Hoops Today in addition to one of five finalists for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award and a finalist for the Naismith Trophy and the Wooden Award.
As a result of being named Pac-12 Player of the Year, Mathurin is now eligible to be inducted into the Ring of Honor in the McKale Center.
Christian Koloko, Jr., C, - Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year, First Team All-Conference, All-Defensive Team
Koloko is the first player in Pac-12 history to win Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player of the Year in the same season and only the second player to win both in their career (Tyler Bey – COLO). He is also the first Arizona player ever to win both awards. This year, Koloko led the Pac-12 in blocked shots (49) in conference play and also finished sixth in rebounding (7.1) and third in field goal percentage (60.3%). Last year, he averaged 5.5 points and 4.7 rebounds in Pac-12 play.
The last time Arizona had three players named to first team all-conference was 2014-15 (Hollis-Jefferson, McConnell, S. Johnson). The only other time Arizona has had three on the all-conference team was 1999-2000 (Gardner, Woods, Wright).
Dalen Terry, So., G, - All-Defensive Team, Honorable Mention All Pac-12
Terry, also a sophomore, averaged 7.6 points but added 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists while shooting 50.0% in league games from the floor as a do-it-all player for the Wildcats. The Phoenix native ranks 13th in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.88), fifth in the conference in assists per game and 10th in steals in Pac-12 play. He was named the captain of Seth Davis’ All-Glue Guy team that was announced on Monday, March 7.
With the two honorees on the all-defensive team, Arizona has had a player selected 11 times, which leads the conference.
Pelle Larsson, So., G, - Sixth Man of the Year
Larsson, who transferred to Arizona after playing his freshman season at Utah, came off the bench in 18 out of 20 conference games to average 7.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 rebounds while displaying versatility to guard nearly every position defensively. He shot 47.1% in league play and 79.6% from the free-throw line.
Tommy Lloyd, - John R. Wooden Coach of the Year
Lloyd, who is in his first season as a head coach, has guided the Wildcats to a 28-3 overall record and became the first team in Pac-12 history to win 18 conference games in a season. He is the third different Arizona coach to be named Pac-12 Coach of the Year and the first since Sean Miller in 2016-17. It’s also the third time in the last four years that a coach in his first season in the Pac-12 has won the Coach of the Year honors (Hopkins – WASH; Cronin – UCLA). The last time a first-time head coach won the Pac-12 Coach of the Year award was Tony Bennett at Washington State in 2006-07.
Copyright 2022 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.