Well, it took a week longer than expected, but I finally got a chance to total up the votes from the inaugural SB Nation Pac-10 all-conference awards as voted on by you, the loyal community members of our Pac-10 sites. This should give you a little something to talk about as we wait through the night that seems longer than Christmas Eve.
Before getting on to the winners, here's the break down of respondents so that the results have a little context. I solicited votes from all nine of the SB Nation Pac-10 sites, but as you can see, not all were represented equally (full size here):
Keep that in mind as you evaluate the selections. Also keep in mind that one of the stipulations of participation was filling out a complete ballot. While I didn't exclude all ballots that had missing entries, I did exclude the ones that had more than about 25 percent blank. There actually were about 35 more partial ballots, but my feeling was that if you couldn't be swayed to commit the time to fill out a full ballot, how much thought did you put into the responses that you did give?
So, without further ado ...
Player of the Year
Quincy Pondexter, Washington
Pondexter won pretty handily over the coaches' pick, Jerome Randle, his next closest competitor. Interesting in the voting? California Golden Blogs voters only cast four of their nine votes for their guy. Also interesting - CougCenter voters were essentially split down the middle on Pondexter and Randle, with just one vote going to Landry Fields. UW Dawg Pound voters (predictably) all voted for Pondexter. Also interesting is that Fields really wasn't in the race. I expected something much closer.
- "Fields, Randle, and Pondexter are all crazy close for POY. I went with Pondexter as a counter to my Cal Homeriffic 2nd team selections." - norcalnick, California Golden Blogs
- "PoY was a tough call between Randle and Pondexter. In the end, watching Randle consistently bury 28 footers all year long (against us, anyways) was enough. That and Quincy's a Husky." - jj_fekl, CougCenter
- "While there are some standouts, nobody (team or individual) is stringing together any memorable performances. I gave Pondexter the nod because I've seen him in 20 something games. He's dominant even during his off nights as his all around game is better than the others candidates. Fields was a close second." - B Money, UW Dawg Pound
Coach of the Year
Herb Sendek, Arizona State
Not really all that close here, either. You CGB guys are an interesting bunch. Mike Montgomery got the same amount of votes from you -- two -- as Sean Miller of Arizona.
Defensive Player of the Year
DeAngelo Casto, Washington State
One of two races decided by just one vote, with Casto barely edging out the coaches' pick, Seth Tarver. This pleases me greatly. Believe it or not, this wasn't entirely powered by the CougCenter vote -- just six of 17 voted for Casto.
- "I really have no idea on defensive player of the year, I just know Holiday shut down Thompson and has done well against other top guards in the league." - johnnycougar, CougCenter
- "Every Coug's favorite Venoy Overton faded slightly down the stretch after putting up some quality defensive numbers to start the year. I think Tarver was just outstanding from start to finish." - B Money, UW Dawg Pound
Most Improved Player
Landry Fields, Stanford
I found this fascinating. Typically, the coaches vote for somebody who's not going to be on the first team. You all went for two premier players in Fields and Pondexter, with Fields winning by a singular vote. Interesting that for all the love Klay Thompson receives further down, he only got one vote here.
- "Quincy Pondexter improved hugely upon every weak area of his game. His 3-point shooting and FT shooting were way up, and he willed this team to a couple of wins with his clutch play." - B Money, UW Dawg Pound
Freshman of the Year
Derrick Williams, Arizona
This one was as lopsided as it got, with Williams outdistancing WSU's Reggie Moore by nearly 30 votes. No surprise there.
- "I wanted to give Moore the nod as FOY but he just couldn't overtake Williams." - B Money, UW Dawg Pound
All-Conference First Team
G - Jerome Randle, California
G - Klay Thompson, Washington State
F - Quincy Pondexter, Washington
F - Landry Fields, Stanford
F - Derrick Williams, Arizona
Two points were awarded for a first team vote, one point for a second team vote. Randle (44 first team votes), Pondexter and Fields (43 each) were all near unanimous first team selections. Derrick Williams was a solid fourth, and Thompson rounded out the guards by edging Patrick Christoper by five points.
All-Conference Second Team
The three guards were all pretty solidly in their spots, but there was some disagreement about the frontcourt (which probably says more about the state of big men in the Pac-10 than anything else). Casto and Vucevic barely edged out Theo Robertson and, to a lesser extent, Jamal Boykin. Sorry fellas.
Honorable Mention (five or more points)
Ty Abbott, Arizona State; Derek Glasser, Arizona State; Eric Boateng, Arizona State; Theo Robertson, California; Jamal Boykin, California; Seth Tarver, Oregon State; Roeland Schaftenaar, Oregon State; Jeremy Green, Stanford; Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Washington.
- "I struggled with leaving Glasser out, but ultimately his offense wasn't good enough." - tintin, UW Dawg Pound
- "Man it was hard to pick a 2nd team F/C. This league has no quality size." - norcalnick, California Golden Blogs
- "As far as 2nd team for Klay, regardless of his inconsistencies in league play, he's still THE guy other teams gameplan against." - jj_fekl, CougCenter
- "I'm amazed that I have not listed Klay Thompson anywhere on here. He seemed to be a 'near miss' for every category he was eligible for. That late season slump really killed his overall productivity-- if you had told me this would be my ballot in December, I'd have called you a loon. Ironically, he was hosed by your own criteria, since I think he's in the overall top 10. He's hurt by the fact that the one area of solid depth for the conference is in small forward/swingman types." - PaulThomas, California Golden Blogs
- "It's unreal how guard-heavy the talent in the Pac was this year." - Coug11, CougCenter
- "The C position was not great this year. As a homer I gave the 1st team to MBA. He's been dominant for the final half of the conference slate. I don't think there is a better big man in the conference." - B Money, UW Dawg Pound
All-Conference Defensive Team
I had to fudge a little bit to make this one work, seeing as how there were five guys who clearly were separated from the rest of the pack. Holiday isn't a forward, but he guards forwards sometimes, so that's good enough for me. Again, when you look at last year's all-conference defensive team picked by the coaches, it really is stunning how much the frontcourt play in the conference dropped off this season. People point to a lot of reasons why the Pac-10 is down this year, but this just might be the biggest. Interesting to me that Vucevic was picked all-conference second team, yet didn't make the defensive team, but his strength -- by far -- is defense.
- "I hate Venoy Overton. It killed me to put him on the all defensive team." - jj_fekl, CougCenter
- "Really hard to pick the Defensive awards after Gutierrez and Overton. Interesting that all 5 from last year are gone from the conference." - ConcordTom, California Golden Blogs
All-Conference Freshman Team
The team turns out exactly as the coaches' did. There clearly were four freshman who stood above the rest, and then Lockett edged Abdul Gaddy. (Really? Gaddy?)
- "Don't think I'm being biased with putting Jared Cunningham and Joe Burton in there. They have turned into fantastic players and will only get better as they get older." - ConnorOSU, Building the Dam
- "Except for Reggie Moore, the freshman guards are terrible. The overall weakness of the freshman class is reflective of how down the conference is this year." - tintin, UW Dawg Pound
- "The freshman team is pretty underwhelming, which doesn't inspire much confidence for Pac-10 improvement nationally next year." - norcalnick, California Golden Blogs
- "I don't think my Fandom got concealed completely. I almost put Xavier Thames as All Freshman guard, due to lack of choices. His stats are pretty much the same as Gaddy and Cunningham. Jones has slightly better ppg so meh. Reggie was the only solid choice there, anyways." - jj_fekl, CougCenter
- "I had a hard time with the last guard on the freshman team. The reason I chose X over Gaddy was not because of homerism, but more from their overall numbers. X had his minutes increase and was a better scorer as the season progressed. Gaddy wasn't relied on to score and did fine running the offense, but was overtaken by Overton at times. That spot was almost a coin flip for me." cougfan, CougCenter
- "That all-freshman team is incredibly weak for a major conference. Early defections to the NBA might have skimmed the top off the conference, but the real reason for the weakness is poor recruiting, and the fundamental cause of THAT is coaching turnover. Just three teams have no players on their roster who were recruited by a prior coach." - PaulThomas, California Golden Blogs
One final note. There is not even one Oregon player in here -- the only conference member to earn such a distinction. As diehardoaklandfan22 put it on his ballot: "It sucks that Oregon sucks. Makes me not like college basketball. Which sucks, cuz I love college basketball." Maybe you'll have more luck with Mark Few. (Oops, did I just say that out loud?)
Thanks to everyone who participated! I'll get this out earlier next year so that we can have it tallied up in a timely fashion.