Following the 2022-23 regular season, the Pac-12 named all their award recipients with Arizona Basketball seeing several winners and snubs!
Well, the 2022-23 regular season for Arizona Basketball has officially come to a close after the Wildcats split weekends’ action against USC and UCLA. And naturally, the Pac-12 Conference has announced its award winners following the conclusion of the season.
Overall, the Wildcats did fairly this year with representation in the conferences’ award selection(s), especially when you consider the talent they lost, as three key players were selected in the 2022 NBA Draft.
However, despite finishing second in the conference overall and totaling 25 wins (14 in the conference), Arizona did see several snubs in the conference award selections.
And we look at the representation of Arizona Basketball in the Pac-12 Conference Performance Awards.
Arizona not only had the two best big men in the conference, but they also have one of the best big men duos in the country this year!
Unfortunately, with the stiff competition in the Pac-12 this year, neither Azuolas Tubelis, nor Oumar Ballo was selected as the conference player of the year. Instead, perhaps not too surprisingly, Jaime Jaquez Jr. (UCLA) walked away with that award this year!
Despite Zu being one of few players in conference history to lead the Pac-12 in both scoring and rebounding with 19.9 points and 9.2 rebounds respectively, it wasn’t enough, especially as the Bruins ran away the regular season conference title, comfortably.
So who were the biggest winners for Arizona?
First up is Ballo! Seeing an increased role in 2022-23 as he averaged 13.9 points and 8.6 rebounds, the redshirt sophomore was named the conference’s Most Improved Player of the Year, and deservedly so!
Also, big winners for the Wildcats were Tubelis and Ballo who were named First-Team All-Conference selections after the impressive seasons they had.
Beyond that, Courtney Ramey was an honorable mention for Second-Team All-Conference, meanwhile, Kylan Boswell was an honorable mention for the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team.
So who were the biggest snubs for Arizona?
Call me a homer if you will, but Tubelis got snubbed. Sure, you could make plenty of arguments justifying Jaime’s selection, and please, this is by no means me denigrating the year he and UCLA had.
However, to me, it is a bit cliche to name the best player on the best team, especially given the supporting cast Jaquez has.
Zu had a bit of an unprecedented, doing what few others have ever done, and it is not like he led the conference in scoring and rebounding by playing on a bad team, but I digress.
Beyond that, Kerr Kriisa was also snubbed. The junior point guard led the conference in assists and ranked 11th overall in three-point shooting, connecting on 38.2 percent of his attempts.
Despite all of that, Kriisa couldn’t even sniff an honorable mention from the conference!
Where does Arizona Basketball go from here?
Following their tremendous regular season, the Wildcats will now turn its focus towards March as Arizona is back in action on Thursday when they take on the winner of Utah/Stanford. Should the Wildcats win their Thursday matchup, the Conference Tournament semifinals will begin on Friday!