Arizona Basketball has a huge day, earning several Pac-12 honors – Zona Zealots

TUCSON, ARIZONA - MARCH 05: Head coach Tommy Lloyd of the Arizona Wildcats speaks to his team and fans after winning the Pac-12 Regular Season Championship at McKale Center on March 05, 2022 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

TUCSON, ARIZONA – MARCH 05: Head coach Tommy Lloyd of the Arizona Wildcats speaks to his team and fans after winning the Pac-12 Regular Season Championship at McKale Center on March 05, 2022 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

Following a historic season, the Arizona Basketball program had a huge day, earning several Pac-12 Selections and Honors. 

It was a fantastic and historic year for Arizona Basketball as the Wildcats cruised to an impressive 28-3 (18-2) record, racking up several, big wins, and securing a regular-season conference championship.

As a result, the Wildcats are considered to be one of the best teams in the country with a great opportunity to make a deep tournament run and are also on the cusp of securing a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

So naturally, with how well the year has gone for the Wildcats, the postseason conference awards have rolled in for Arizona Basketball.

Making news on Tuesday afternoon, the Pac-12 announced their conference awards and selections, and naturally, because the Wildcats dominated the regular season, they also dominated the day, coming away the biggest victors, earning several major selections.

Pac-12 Player of the Year

Bennedict Mathurin – After a dominant sophomore campaign in which the Wildcats’ wing was second in the conference in scoring, averaging 17.3 points per game, Benn was an easy selection here.

The Canadian native was easily the best player on the best team in the conference, so naturally, he deserved the honor. In addition to his impressive scoring totals, Mathurin also finished the year averaging 5.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

Mathurin is just the ninth Wildcat to be named the Conference Player of the Year!

Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year

Christian Koloko – Had a huge year for the Wildcats, making great strides in his junior campaign as he finished the season averaging 11.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.

However, beyond the offensive progress he made, Christian made a name for himself on defense,  totaling 86 blocks, which led the conference. His 86 blocks are second-most in Arizona history, behind Loren Woods’ 102 blocks in the 1999-00 season.

Because of the impact he had, Christian was an easy choice for the Conference Defensive Player of the Year!

Most Improved Player of the Year

Christian Koloko – In addition to being named the Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Christian was also named the Most Improved Player of the Year, and is the first Wildcat to receive both honors.

Making great strides in his junior campaign, Koloko more than doubled his scoring averages, finishing the season averaging 11.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.

Because of the impact he had, Christian was also an easy choice for the Conferences’ Most Improved Player of the Year!

Sixth Man of the Year

Peller Larsson – One of the better surprises for the Wildcats this year was former Utah transfer, Pelle Larsson. A player that got off to a slower start this year due to injury, Pelle came along nicely towards the end of the season.

Coming off the bench for the Wildcats, Larsson ended the year averaging 7.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game.

He is the perfect spark that Arizona needs night in and night out, and because of his strong play, he is the Sixth Man of the Year and is the second Wildcat to win in the last two years. Arizona’s Jordan Brown won it last year.

John R. Wood Coach of the Year

Tommy Lloyd – DUH! This one was a no-brainer. In his first season as head coach, he accumulated 28 total wins, a record-breaking 18 conference wins, and a regular-season conference championship to top it off.

Granted, Tommy inherited a solid group to do this with, but keep in mind, Arizona was picked to finish in the top half of the conference, and at the end of the day, he still got everyone to buy in early and play cohesively together.

What he did was an impressive feat, and that is why he is the Coach of the Year.

All-Pac-12 First Team

There were several selections on this list, but the only Wildcats to make the All-Pac-12 First Team were the following Wildcats…

  • C – Christian Koloko (Arizona) – Junior
  • G/F – Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona) – Sophomore
  • F – Ąžuolas Tubelis (Arizona) – Sophomore

All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention

There were several selections here, but the only Wildcat to be named an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention was Dalen Terry.

Dalen is the ultimate ‘glue guy’ for the Wildcats as he does several things very well, and while he may have deserved to be a Second-Team selection at the least, brighter days are ahead for him and there are a lot of great things to build off of from here!

Pac-12 All-Defensive Team

Once again, there were several selections on this list, but the only Wildcats to make the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team were the following Wildcats…

  • C – Christian Koloko (Arizona) – Junior
  • G – Dalen Terry (Arizona) – Sophomore