Now halfway through conference play, where are we at in the Pac-12 Player Of The Year race?
The Pac-12 Player of the Year debate is in full swing, with undefeated Washington’s Jaylen Nowell and Oregon State’s Tres Tinkle as the 1A and 1B favorites for the award. To look forward to this years vote, it’s important to take a look at past recipients and how they got there.
The last fourteen seasons have ended with the conference player of the year award given to a player on a top-four team. The last time someone won the award on a team outside of the top-four was 2004-2005, when Ike Diogu earned the honor on a sixth-place Arizona State squad.
With the award evidenced as hinging on team success, the field has been narrowed down significantly. The best example of this is Robert Franks. Franks leads the Pac-12 in scoring with 21.4 points per game, but plays for a 1-8 Washington State team near the bottom of the standings. It wouldn’t be crazy for Franks to find himself on the first team all-conference, but he likely won’t be looked at for Player of the Year awards.
While there’s a whole lot of basketball left, it should be noted that if the season were to end today, Washington would be joined by the Arizona State Sun Devils, the Oregon State Beavers and the USC Trojans as the top four seeds in the Pac-12 tournament, all earning a first-round bye.
Here’s my list of the top five midseason candidates for Pac-12 Player of the Year: