Was Williams robbed?

Marcus Williams was passed over for Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors. Although I thought he was the clear-cut winner, it did not come as a shock. There were a number of other talented freshmen. The more I looked into it the more arguments I could find for a few different rookies.

I still think Williams deserved the award. Not only did he lead all Pac-10 freshmen in scoring, but he was one of the most consistent players on the Arizona roster. If one player in the freshman class was a "star" it was Williams.

The two knocks on Williams was that he was not among the leaders in the Pac-10 in any category and that he was a "quiet" player. He could score 17 points in a game, but you were almost surprised by the end of the night to find out he was one of the leading scorers.

The winner was UCLA's Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. While I thought Williams had a better season, it is hard to argue with Mbah a Moute. He was the best freshman on the best team and was a huge factor in the Bruins success. While he may not have starred for the Bruins, he did lead them in rebounding and shot over 50%.

While some saw Mbah a Moute as a more one-dimensional player when compared to Williams, you can argue that the Bruin did that one thing as well as any one in the conference. Mbah a Moute trailed only Leon Powe and Matt Haryasz in rebounding and led the league in field goal percentage. While his offensive game may not have been as diverse as Williams, he was extremely effective when he tried to score.

Of course, there were three other talented freshmen who could have laid claim to the award.

ASU's Jeff Pendegraff had as much star power and influence on his team as anyone. The only problem was that his team just wasn't very good. Pendegraff averaged 11.1 ppg and 6.2 rpg, but you can argue that he'd be hard pressed to match those numbers on a better ball club.

The one player who made a late run at the award was Washington's Justin Dentmon. Dentmon made great strides at point guard and really helped solidify the spot for the Huskies. In the last nine games, including an eight-game win streak, Dentmon has averaged 9.0 ppg and 2.6 apg, not great numbers but he has made key plays and has been at his best in close games.

Jon Brockman has had a really solid season for the Huskies. The big man has averaged 9.0 points and 6.9 rebounds a game, while shooting .524 from the field. All of these numbers are solid, but compared the Mbah a Moute they aren't good enough for ROY consideration. Another thing that hurts Brockman is the hype he came in with. He was thought to be an instant impact player, and while he had a very nice season, he did not dominate like some thought he could. That being said, the future is very bright for Brockman.

In the end it comes down to Williams and Mbah a Moute. There is no doubt that Mbah a Moute is the superior rebounder and that is exactly what the Bruins wanted out of him. He did an unbelieveable job shoring up the front line. Offensively Williams was superior. In the Pac-10 season both players eclipsed their season long scoring averages. Williams averaged 13.8 ppg in Pac-10 play, while Mbah a Moute averaged 9.4. Williams was held under 10 points four times, but just once under nine points a game. Mbah a Moute was held under 10 points eight times, with four of those being under eight points.

So was Marcus Williams snubbed? Not really. While I would still have voted for him, you can't really argue and say Mbah a Moute was undeserving.

Most Wildcat fans would take Williams in a heartbeat, but my guess is that Bruin fans would not be too keen to trade their guy either.


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