It would appear mismanagement of television contracts, embarrassing officiating and one of the worst seasons in conference history is starting to wear off on the coaches. How else can you explain Jerome Randle winning Pac-10 player of the year honors?
Leave it to the Pac-10 to choose wrong twice in the same season. If anyone was going to beat out Quincy Pondexter it should have been Stanford’s Landry Fields.
Lets face it, the award was given to the best player on the best team, not the the player with the best season. So why not just rename it, ‘the best player on the best team award’ and do away with this notion of player of the year.
Gary Payton was one of the best players to ever don the Conference of Champions patch. Eddie House, along with Payton, has an NBA ring while Ed O’Bannon was an NBA lottery pick. But what they share most in common was winning four player of the week honors in a single season. That was the old standard, a standard that earned Payton, House and O’Bannon player of the year recognition.
All Pondexter did was win five player of the week awards, topping them all and certainly topping Randle.
Randle is a nice player, in fact he can be downright dominating. But MVP awards aren’t given out because of free-throw percentage and shooting range.
Pondexter scored more points while taking less shots and the last time I checked that was important. His 54.3 shooting percentage from the field easily shines over Randle’s 44.7. Randle may have hit 40.4 of his three-point attempts, but the 6-foot-6 Pondexter was not far behind with 37.5.
Pondexter finished the season second in the conference in scoring and third in rebounding. Although Randle dished out 4.5 assists per game, his 1.25 assist to turnover ration puts him behind guards Derek Glasser (2.2), Michael Roll (1.8), Malcolm Armstead (1.76), Reggie Moore (1.46), Nic Wise (1.4), Venoy Overton (1.39) and Jarrett Mann (1.37).
Don’t forget that Pondexter was the lone senior and clear-cut leader for Washington (11-7 Pac-10, 21-9), who shook off their road jitters and rattled off nine wins in their last eleven games, including four away from Seattle. Randel’s running mates are perhaps the most seasoned in the nation, with four other seniors to share the load and responsibilities with. The four senior starters all averaged double digits in scoring, while all logging extended minutes.
Like I said, Randle is a nice player and no one knows that better than the Huskies. They haven’t forgot about the 33 points he dropped on them in Berkeley. But apparently Pac-10 coaches forgot about the record-breaking five player of the week awards Pondexter won.
Despite what I feel is an obvious case for co-player of the year honors at the least, Randle still became the fifth Cal Bear to win the award. Just don’t start comparing his season with that of Cal’s former winners. In 1994 Jason Kidd scored 16.7 points, grabbed 6.9 rebounds and dished out 9.1 assists per game. In 2001 Sean Lampley scored nearly 20 points per game while grabbing 7.2 rebounds and dishing out 3.3 assists.
Those are player of the year numbers and so are Pondexter’s 22.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game.