The end of the Pac-10 Conference season is nearing its completion. Every year after the end of conference play, we here at the Bench like to give out our annual awards called the Benchies to the best, worst and other players in the Pac-10. No red carpet here, no fancy Vera Wang gowns or paparazzi at this award show. But Angelina Jolie is here to present the awards to our winners for the 2009 Edition of the Benchies. Cue up the orchestra, let's get started!
Freshman of the Year: Isaiah Thomas, Washington
This is a close one to call between him and Klay Thompson but it really comes down to one thing: Thomas has helped his team win more than Thompson. On paper the differences aren't great. Thomas averages just under two more points a game and the rest of the statistics are nearly the same. But Thomas has helped vault the Huskies to an unexpected share (at least) of the Pac-10 Title. Perhaps next year Thompson can be the Sophomore of the Year.
Unexpected Season Performance of the Year: DeAngelo Casto, Washington State
While the Bench expected Casto to see some playing time and make contributions at times, Casto came into games, played his heart out and played incredibly fierce defense. Casto also could block with the best of them and when he had an opening, throw down with the best as well. Casto fans should give Cougar fans a reason to cheer until his Senior Day many moons from now.
Worst Facial Hair of the Year: Chase Budinger, Arizona
The guy looks like a hobbit who went through a dramatic growth spurt. Between the blondish curly hair on the top of his head and the disgusting patch of hair on his chin, Budinger looks like he should be followed by an old wizard and Liv Tyler at all times. Either that or he should have the body of a horse and make a cameo in a Harry Potter clip.
Coach of the Year: Craig Robinson, Oregon State
How can you not vote the man who turned Oregon State completely around the best coach in the conference? Granted they had some rather unforgivable losses at the beginning year to teams like Yale and Howard but they have played solid basketball in conference and look be turning the corner at just the right time going into next year. A big round of applause to the Beavers and Craig Robinson.
Best Nikola: Nikola Dragovic, UCLA
Facts need to be faced when it comes to Washington State's Nikola Koprivica: he hasn't been the same since his knee injury two years ago and he is an inconsistent shooter at best. Dragovic scored a career high against WSU in their first match-up and nearly got their when the Cougars visited Pauley Pavilion.
Player of the Year: James Harden, Arizona State
The man is absolute beast, averaging over 20 points a game. Granted he gets held to well below his average many times a season but he can single handedly effect the outcome of a game. It continues to marvel everyone how his team cannot win more games than they do. Then we recall the rest of the team stinks the high heaven.
There nothing good about who you two are or what you do. Both of you are absolute jerks and have no respect for any opponent you play. By the way Venoy, my roommate still has the gum you threw at him when you played at Beasley. You want it back? Fair warning: it has been dropped in old cans of beer and on the bathroom floor.
Biggest Disappointment: UCLA Bruins
As a team, the Bruins were fully expected to win the conference title and perhaps even run away with it. But the Bruins have faltered at times this season and the Huskies easily kicked them out of first place. Come on now UCLA, we all know you're better than that.
Best Footwear: USC Trojans
They wear Ronald McDonald shoes! How can you not absolutely love their kicks?
Best Moment: Taylor Rochestie, Washington State, 2/28/2009 vs. Arizona State
Need I say more?
Last Week: 5-4
Oregon is so cute, thinking they can go to Los Angeles and win.
UCLA 71, Oregon 53
Here's a dandy. Too bad Oregon State isn't that great on the road.
USC 67, Oregon State 59
Here's another dandy for you. Devils need to rebound to try and give Jeff Pendergraph a nice send off on Senior Day.
Arizona State 64, Cal 58
Should Arizona win? Yes. Will they? You bet. Stanford won't sneak up on them like they did to State.
Arizona 69, Stanford 57
Can I go another way on this?
Washington State 60, Washington 57
Pac-10 Tourney Winner: California Golden Bears
Dunderhead of the Week: Bruce Pearl. The man was wearing a white undershirt on the sideline for Tennessee's game against the Gamecocks. Bruce: you get paid plenty of money. Invest in a nice blazer.
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