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Pac-12 men's basketball awards predictions

Coach Herb Sendek talks with the media about the beginning of the 2014-15 ASU basketball season.

Coach Herb Sendek talks with the media about the beginning of the 2014-15 ASU basketball season.


Freshman guard Tra Holder drives to the basket against Arizona, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. The Sun Devils defeated the Wildcats 81-78. (Ben Moffat/The State Press) Freshman guard Tra Holder drives to the basket against Arizona, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. The Sun Devils defeated the Wildcats 81-78. (Ben Moffat/The State Press)

Monday, the Pac-12 Conference will announce its postseason awards in men's basketball. It's been a season of parity in the conference, but, once again, the Arizona Wildcats will clean up on the award circuit. These are my projections for who the coaches will choose as the award winners for this season.

All-Pac-12 First Team

Andrew Andrews, G, Washington

Askia Booker, G, Colorado

Chasson Randle, G, Stanford

Delon Wright, G, Utah

Joe Young, G, Oregon

TJ McConnell, G, Arizona

Josh Hawkinson, F, Washington State

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, F, Arizona

Stanley Johnson, F, Arizona

Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah

Pac-12 All-Freshman Team

Tra Holder, G, ASU

Kevon Looney, F, UCLA

Stanley Johnson, F, Arizona

Jordan Bell, F, Oregon

Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah

Pac-12 All-Defensive Team

Delon Wright, G, Utah

Gary Payton II, G, Oregon State

TJ McConnell, G, Arizona

Eric Jacobsen, F, ASU

Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah

Pac-12 Player of the Year

TJ McConnell, G, Arizona

In a tight race, the senior guard from Pittsburgh gets the slight edge to become the second Arizona guard in a row to win the award. While team success should be taken lightly, the best player should be able to lead his team to the best record, which McConnell did. His efficient play on both ends of the court and in clutch situations led Arizona to the top of the conference. McConnell led the Pac-12 in assists and assist/turnover ratio and was third in steals, providing Arizona with more offensive opportunities than most other teams.

Pac-12 Freshman of the Year

Stanley Johnson, F, Arizona

Johnson started the year as the odds-on favorite to win the award and he did more than enough this season to be the second Wildcat in a row to bring it home. Johnson finished in the top-15 in the conference in points, rebounds, free throw percentage and steals and led the Wildcats in scoring 14 times. The "Stanimal" has been the best freshman from wire to wire and should be a unanimous selection.

Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year

Gary Payton II, G, Oregon State

Payton II took a Beavers team that was supposed to finish dead last in the conference and made them a competitive team for most of the season before losing six of their last seven games. The struggles were definitely not on the defensive end, however. Oregon State gave up an average of 59.9 points per game, good for third in the Pac-12 behind Arizona and Utah, in large part due to Payton II leading the Pac-12 in steals and being a force on that end of the floor.

Pac-12 Most Improved Player of the Year

Josh Hawkinson, F, Washington State

The clear-cut winner for this award is Hawkinson. In his freshman year, he averaged a shade over a point and a rebound and a half per game in 180 total minutes. This year, Hawkinson has played over five times the minutes and has been infinitely more effective. He led the conference in rebounding and was in the top-10 in blocks. He led the league by a wide margin with 19 double-doubles and averaged one with 14.5 points and 10.8 rebounds.

Pac-12 John Wooden Coach of the Year

Coach Herb Sendek talks with the media about the beginning of ASU basketball season, ASU’s first game is on Nov. 14 against Chicago State. (Photo by Mario Mendez) Coach Herb Sendek talks with the media about the beginning of ASU basketball season, ASU’s first game is on Nov. 14 against Chicago State. (Photo by Mario Mendez)

Herb Sendek, ASU

While he isn't likely to win, Sendek deserves credit for the job he did this season with the Sun Devils. ASU's top three scorers from 2013-14's NCAA Tournament team are gone and most of the roster was new. The Sun Devils struggled early on, but kept improving as the season went on, finishing fifth in the conference, four spots higher than they were projected.

Reach the reporter at mtonis@asu.edu or follow @Tonis_The_Tiger on Twitter.

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