All Conference Midseason Report

Everyone is talking about who will make what post-season tournament out of this conference, but there has been little discussion of the individual accolades to come. We took a poll of nine of our most hoops savvy staffers at <i>The Bootleg</i> to get a look at who would make the All Conference team of top ten players. The results are not too surprising, though one preseason All American missed the cut, and one three-time Pac-10 first team honoree just barely tied for the final spot.

F Joe Shipp (Sr) leads the conference in scoring at 21.1 ppg, and is one of just four players in the league to score in double figures in every outing this year.  After three years of up and down play, this much-heralded player from Los Angeles has blossomed in his senior season.  Averaging more than 53% from the field, and one of the conference's leading three-point shooters at 42.5%  Also hitting the boards with success against some bigger defenders, grabbing 6.4 rebounds per game.  The front-runner for Pac-10 player of the year right now, and also the only unanimous selection in this midseason poll.
(photo: AP Susan Ragan)

F/C Ike Diogu (Fr) is the only freshman on this list, and is unquestionably the top newcomer to the conference this year.  Many would argue he is the top big man in the Pac-10, regardless of class, with his fourth best scoring (18.5 ppg)and top 10 rebounding (7.2 rpg).  He can shoot out to three-point land, but physically just pounds opposing forwards into submission in the paint.  Good post moves and great body control, though it's scary to recognize that he is getting better as this year goes along.  Another just-miss for unanimous support, pulling down eight of nine votes.
(photo: AP Michael Conroy)

PG Jason Gardner (Sr) is the engine that makes Arizona go, and that should count for a lot when the Wildcats are the top team in the conference and for several weeks been rated #1 in the country.  He has added a lot of muscle to his frame and taken the ball at defenders with greater frequency this year, though his stats might suffer due simply to the incredible wealth of talent on the roster.  Averaging 14.6 ppg, just good enough to get the 10th spot on the conference scoring list, as well as 5.3 assists on a very high scoring team, second only to Ridnour.  Leading role on the leading team alone makes him a no-brainer for this list, and he indeed received eight of nine votes, though his shooting percentages are very suspect for this prominent point.
(photo: AP John Miller)

F Luke Jackson (Jr) is the "other Luke," with a load of preseason accolades but some very hit-and-miss performances this year.  Top 10 in scoring (16.8 per game) and top 15 in rebounds (6.3 per game), but like the other Luke he piles on points from three-point land (40.6%) and the free throw line (87.3% with more than five attempts per game).  Earned a load of respect last week with his famed stitches-be-damned performance in L.A., helping him to grab eight of nine votes in this poll. Not what what the Eugene media machine made him out to be before the season, but plenty good for this list.
(photo: AP John Klicker)

F/C Philip Ricci (Sr) carried a somewhat "soft" reputation last year, despite his oversized bullish-looking frame, but he has grabbed the role of top rebounding dog this year in a conference that seems a little poor on true big men.  Stanford's Justin Davis had led the Pac-10 on the boards before his MCL injury and subsequent difficulties when he returned to action, but Ricci currently holds the pole position at 8.9 per game.  The junior college transfer has also lead the somewhat surprising Beavers with 17.2 points per game, currently in the top 10 in the conference.  Another player with near-unanimous support, pulling in eight of nine votes.
(photo: AP Chris Pietsch)

PG Luke Ridnour (Jr) is unquestionably the top point guard in the conference, leaving all others in the dust in assists (6.7 per game) and scoring (19.3 per game).  He honestly is the real deal, and could very well be one of the top points selected in this coming June's NBA draft.  Very athletic while under control, he makes plays consistently when he drives to the basket.  Also a great pull-up shooter out to three-point range, in the top 10 in the conference in made treys.  For a guard, he does a fantastic job getting to the free throw line, where he currently owns a make streak of 43 in a row, one of the best in conference history.  Pulled in eight of nine votes, which has set off a vigorous and unpleasant internal investigation at The Bootleg.
(photo: AP Thomas Boyd)

F/C Amit Tamir (So) made a big splash his freshman year, and has not disappointed in this his sophomore campaign.  Averaging 17.2 per game from the floor while cleaning up the boards at 6.7 rebounds per game.  One of the most effective threats from inside and outside in the conference, Tamir leads Cal and is top five in the league at 47.4% three-point shooting.  If this combo threat looks and plays beyond his years, that's because he is 23 years old and played professionally in Israel before coming to Cal.  Garnered eight of nine votes in this poll
(photo: AP Paul Sakuma)

F Josh Childress (So) has broken out this year and been the most consistent performer on the conference's most surprising team.  Childress is the lowest scoring (14.1 ppg) player among the top nine vote recipients, but his versatility and lethal abilities at all spots on the floor make him one of the most dangerous and feared in the conference.  He has also been a monster on the boards, having just passed teammate Justin Davis for second in the conference at 8.1 per game.  Eight double-doubles on the season, including five in his last seven games - Childress is stepping up when needed the most.  Stanford's top vote-getter in this poll, earning seven of nine nods.
(photo: AP Julie Jacobson)

G Errick Craven (So) is one of the bright spots on a somewhat disappointing

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