Contact CU Independent Assistant Sports Editor Justin Guerriero at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @TheHungry_Hippo.
The annual Pac-12 Conference awards were handed out on Monday night in San Francisco, starting with the naming of the conference’s best players and the first and second All-Pac-12 teams.
Senior forward Josh Scott was named to the first team, achieving the feat for the second time in his career at the University of Colorado.
Utah’s Jakob Poeltl took home the conference’s Player of the Year award. He averaged 17.5 points per game, which was good for second in the league. Poeltl was also a force to be reckoned with defensively, and he snagged an average of 9.1 rebounds per contest.
Poeltl’s teammate Brandon Taylor won the Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors, having maintained a 3.4 GPA in his senior year. He averaged 9.6 points per game and led the Utes in average assists and steals per game, as well.
Colorado’s own George King was honored with the Most Improved Player of the Year award. The redshirt sophomore guard from San Antonio, Texas has been a crucial asset for the Buffs in their NCAA Tournament-bound season.
He joins Andre Roberson as one of the only Buffaloes to win a major Pac-12 award. Roberson took home the Defensive Player of the Year award for the 2012-13 season.
As a freshman, King played in 27 games for Colorado, but did not have a large impact, averaging only 1.5 points per game. King redshirted last season, and this year emerged as a consistent scorer and long-range threat for the Buffs. He lead the Pac-12 with a .453 conversion rate from beyond the arch.
King averaged 13.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, helping the Buffs win 21 games in the regular season, which tied the all-time record for wins by a men’s basketball team at CU, a mark hit by the 1996-97 and 2013-14 squads.
Colorado junior forward Wesley Gordon garnered an Honorable Mention for the All-Defensive team. He averaged 7.6 rebounds and 2.1 blockes per game, and filled in nicely for Scott when he was injured.
California’s Jaylen Brown took home the Freshman of the Year award. Brown led all Pac-12 freshmen with 15.3 points per game, helping the Golden Bears to a 22-win season.
History was made Monday night in San Francisco when Oregon State’s Gary Payton II won the Defensive Player of the Year award for the second consecutive season, becoming the first player in conference history to win back-to-back awards in that category.
Oregon head coach Dana Altman earned another Coach of the Year award. Having won the award in three of the past four seasons, Altman led the Ducks to a 25-6 record and a conference title. Oregon has won at least 20 games in each of Altman’s six seasons as head coach in Eugene.
With the end of the regular season, head coach Tad Boyle and the Colorado Buffaloes begin Pac-12 Tournament play this Wendesday as the tournament’s fifth seed. They will play Washington State at 3:30 pm, and the game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.