WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – Conference champion Arizona was rewarded for its efforts with a total of 10 Pac-12 postseason honors on Monday in an announcement by the league office.
Junior guard Nick Johnson was named Pac-12 Player of the Year, forward Aaron Gordon was named Freshman of the Year and Sean Miller was named John Wooden Coach of the Year, marking the first time in program history that Arizona captured all three superlatives in the same season.
Johnson and Gordon were named first-team All-Pac-12, while junior T.J. McConnell earned second-team all-league honors. Johnson and McConnell were named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson joined Gordon on Pac-12 All-Freshman Team.
The Wildcats’ 10 honors were more than double the next-highest amount in the conference. UA now has nine first-team All-Pac-12 selections under Miller, including two in each of the last three seasons. With two All-Freshman Team selections, Arizona has now placed seven players on that squad since Miller took over in Tucson.
Also named a first-team Sporting News All-American on Monday, Johnson leads Arizona in scoring (16.1) and ranks second on the team in assists (2.8) and steals (1.2). He is shooting 43.9 percent from the floor and 76.6 percent from the free throw line, averages a career-high 4.0 rebounds per game and has a 1.56 assist-to-turnover ratio.
The Gilbert, Ariz., native has reached the 20-point mark a team-high 10 times on the season, and became the 48th member of UA’s 1,000-point club in mid-January.
He was the Most Outstanding Player at the NIT Season Tip-Off, and has been named a semifinalist for the Naismith Trophy and a finalist for both the Wooden Award and Robertson Trophy.
Johnson is the eighth Arizona player to earn Pac-12 Player of the Year accolades, and the second in Miller’s five-year tenure (also Derrick Williams in 2011). The selection to the All-Pac-12 first team was the first of his career.
Gordon is the seventh Arizona player to be named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, and joins Williams (2010) as players to do so under Miller’s direction. He leads Arizona with an average of 7.8 rebounds and eight double-doubles this season, both tops among Pac-12 freshmen.
He also ranks second among Pac-12 freshman in scoring (12.3) and field goal percentage (.486), as well as third in blocks (0.8). His 241 total rebounds on the season are the most by a freshman under Miller and currently rank fourth on Arizona’s freshman chart.
The San Jose native is one of six national finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award, and was named to the NIT Season Tip-Off All-Tournament Team in November. He has scored in double figures 23 times on the year and has 10 double-figure rebounding games.
McConnell was named to the All-Pac-12 second team and the Pac-12 All-Defensive after leading the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.02) and ranking third in both assists (5.5) and steals (1.8) per game. He averages 8.3 points on .452 shooting, and has led UA in assists 26 times in 31 games this season.
The Pittsburgh, Pa., native enters the postseason needing 11 assists to move into 10th place on Arizona’s single-season chart.
Hollis-Jefferson earned his All-Freshman Team nod after finishing the regular season ranked in the top eight among Pac-12 freshmen in seven different categories. He leads Arizona with an 11.2 offensive rebound percentage, and has averages of 8.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game this season.
The Chester, Pa., native has a pair of double-doubles and has scored in double figures 13 times on the year. He currently ranks fifth on UA’s freshman blocks chart (31) and 10th on the freshman rebounds list (172).
Miller’s Pac-12 Coach of the Year honor is his second in the last four years, and the ninth overall for the Arizona program.
Since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, Miller has guided the Wildcats to a 108-31 (.777) record, marking both the most wins and the best winning percentage in the Pac-12 over that time. Arizona has captured two regular-season conference titles, made a pair of Sweet 16s and advanced to an Elite Eight during that time frame, as well.
Miller’s 2010-11 Arizona squad is the only Pac-12 team to reach 30 wins (30-8) or advance to the Elite Eight since the beginning of that season. Arizona’s win at Colorado on Feb. 22 was its 25th of the season, marking the third time in Miller’s tenure that the Wildcats have reached the 25-win mark.
In that same timeframe, the rest of the Pac-12 has combined to produce just four 25-win campaigns. Miller’s 2010-11 Arizona squad is the lone Pac-12 team to win 30 games since he arrived in Tucson to start the 2009-10 season.
UA is also the first Pac-12 team to attain the No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press poll since January 2006, spending a program-record eight-straight weeks in the top spot this season.
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