The First Annual "Thrillers"

While watching Championship Week the next few days on ESPN, listen to who the experts pick for their All-American and Best Freshman teams. With Duke Vitale, you can be sure to hear Jason Williams, Jason Williams and probably even Jason Williams. The first-ever "Thrillers", awards handed out to the Pac-10 conference, are designed to offset the East Coast onslaught that is soon to come.

Everyone has an opinion about who should be on the Pac-10's All-Conference team, who should win the Player of the Year award and who the league's best freshmen are. What follows are simply my viewpoints on the issues but for the sake of being unique, they will have their own name: The "Thrillers". Much like the Oscars and the Emmys, albeit not quite as well known. We hope to change that.

Let's get right to it, shall we?

Player of the Year: Sam Clancy, Sr. PF-USC
Freshman of the Year: Salim Stoudamire, SG-Arizona
Coach of the Year: Ernie Kent-Oregon and Lute Olson-Arizona (co-winners)
Newcomer of the Year: Doug Wrenn, Soph. SF-Washington

1st Team-
1. Sam Clancy, Sr. PF-USC. 19.2ppg, 9.8rpg, 1.9stl, 1.4blk, .495FG%, .633FT%
2. Jason Gardner, Jr. PG-Ariz. 20.6ppg, 4.7apg, 1.8stl, .427FG%, .800FT%, .397 3pt%
3. Freddie Jones, Sr. SG-Oreg. 18.6ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.8stl, .528FG%, .855FT%, .362 3pt%
4. Luke Walton, Jr. SF-Ariz. 15.1ppg, 7.4rpg, 6.4apg, 1.8stl, .477FG%, .651FT%
5. Curtis Borchardt, Jr. C-Stan. 17.0ppg, 11.3rpg, 2.9blk, .581FG%, .691FT%, .440 3pt%
6. Casey Jacobsen, Jr. SG-Stan. 22.2ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.6apg, .446FG%, .772FT%, .380 3pt%
7. Luke Ridnour, So. PG-Oreg. 15.1ppg, 4.9apg, 1.5stl, .470FG%, .866FT%, .445 3pt%
8. Jason Kapono, Jr. SF-UCLA. 16.9ppg, 5.4rpg, 2.2apg, .470FG%, .867FT%, .471 3pt%
9. Luke Jackson, So. SF-Oreg. 15.8ppg, 5.2rpg, 1.4stl, .458FG%, .862FT%, .388 3pt%
10. Chad Prewitt, Sr. C-ASU. 17.6ppg, 6.8rpg, 2.3apg, .534FG%, .737FT%, .429 3pt%

Honorable Mention:
*Doug Wrenn, So. SF-Wash., Marcus Moore, So. PG-WSU, Matt Barnes, Sr. PF-UCLA, Philip Ricci, Jr. PF-OSU, Rick Anderson, Jr. PF-Ariz., Joe Shipp, Jr. SF-Cal, Billy Knight, Sr. SG-UCLA, Brandon Granville, Sr. PG-USC, Dan Gadzuric, Sr. C-UCLA, Salim Stoudamire, Fr. SG-Ariz.

All-Freshman Team:
1. Salim Stoudamire, 6-1 SG-Ariz. 12.9ppg, 2.1 rpg, .438FG%, .933FT%, .441 3pt%
2. Errick Craven, 6-2 SG-USC. 12.1ppg, 4.5rpg, 2.3stl, .452FG%, .644FT%, .320 3pt%
3. Channing Frye, 6-10 C-Ariz. 9.6ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.4blk, .586FG%, .762FT%
4. Jamal Sampson, 6-11 C-Cal. 7.1ppg, 6.7rpg, 1.5blk, .444FG%, .527FT%
5. Josh Childress, 6-8 SF-Stan. 7.7ppg, 4.9rpg, .402FG%, .676FT%, .296 3pt%

Honorable Mention:
*Jason Braxton, 6-3 PG-ASU, Will Bynum, 5-10 SG-Ariz., Isaiah Fox, 6-9 PF-Ariz., Erroll Knight, 6-7 SG-Wash., Rory O'Neil, 6-10 PF-USC.

Game of the Year: UCLA 76, Arizona 75, February 14, 2002-Pauley Pavilion.
*Bruin forward Jason Kapono hits a wide-open three-pointer with under ten seconds to play to give UCLA a one-point lead. Arizona's Channing Frye had a shot to win the game for the Wildcats but saw his 10-foot bank-shot rim in and out at the buzzer.

Play of the Year: "Rid to Freddie J."
*Oregon's point guard Luke Ridnour raced down court at McKale Center with one defender in his path to the basket. Instead of trying to score himself, Ridnour threw a pass off the glass right into the waiting hands of Freddie Jones, high above the rim, for a thunderous two-handed dunk.

Performance(s) of the Year:
* Luke Walton's triple-double vs. USC. Walton led Arizona to a blowout of first place USC, 97-80, at McKale Center. The Wildcat junior "point" forward had 27 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, four steals and four blocked shots. It was an virtuoso all-around performance by Walton, who flirted with several other triple-doubles throughout the season.
*Casey Jacobsen explodes for 49 points against ASU. Casey Jakes scored 31 of his NCAA-high 49 points after halftime and made 14 of his 22 shots against the Sun Devils in Maples Pavilion. Jacobsen also scored 41 points in a win over Oregon later in the year en route to winning the Pac-10 scoring title (22.2 points per game).
*Freddie Jones hits two game-winners in L.A. The Ducks' electric senior guard hit a floater in the lane at USC to give Oregon a two-point win with just under a second remaining. Two days later at UCLA, Jones again hit a runner in the paint to secure a 67-64 Oregon win and clinch the Ducks' first outright Pac-10 championship in 57 years.

All of these players, teams and games made the Pac-10 the most exciting and competitive conference in America. And to think, the real season is just beginning…

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