Although Shabazz and Anderson were named First Team Pac-12, it is really hard to choose among the top three Bruins freshman for the entire season so far.
Shabazz was the leading scorer at 18.1 per game. He shot .417 from three, which adds weight to his .450 shooting percentage. Shabazz gave away quite a few points at the free throw line shooting .715. Shabazz averaged 5.1 rebounds a game. Shabazz was the team's go to guy down the stretch and he attracted a lot of defensive attention, leaving other players open.
Adams was the second leading scorer at 15.1 per game. He had a higher shooting percentage overall, .456, but only shot .309 from three. He was our go to guy at the free throw line, shooting .838. He had 3.8 rebounds per game. He lead the team with 67 steals, compared with only 22 for Shabazz. Given UCLA's horrible traditional defense, steals by Adams, Anderson (56) and Drew II (46) were a big reason for a successful regular season. Adams had 54 assists to Shabazz' 24 and 39 turnovers to Shabazz' 45. Adams had 11 blocks to Shabazz' 3 blocks. A decent case could be made that Adams actually contributed more to the team, but at minimum it is a close case.
Anderson Shot .429 and an abysmal .182 from three. He averaged 9 pts. per game. He really improved at the free throw line, shooting .739 for the season. Anderson's greatest strength was as a rebounder, averaging 8.9 and leading the team. Without Anderson's rebounding, we would have been a .500 team in Pac 12 play, IMO. He had 111 assists, twice as many as Adams. He was also a great team leader and a warrior, just like the other two.
Anderson fares a little worse to me compared to Shabazz and Adams, but isn't so far behind that reasonable minds could not differ on him.
Overall, these three freshman played great, especially at the offensive end. Unlike many on Bruinsnation, I enjoyed the season because our players played hard, giving everything most every game. They logged incredible minutes and were worn down by the end of every game. However, you could tell that they loved the competition. They are gamers, all three.
The team lacks the quickness to be a good defensive team, and it is incomprehensible that Parker didn't get more PT because they lack a defensive stopper and rebounder most of all. I wonder what this team would have been like if AVI had 192 minutes and Parker had 705 instead (reversing their minutes.) If Josh Smith had been developed and retained OMG.
This team plays poor to mediocre defense every game. Sometimes they make it up with steals. They have really good hands on defense, and the referee's don't seem to call "reaching in" fouls any more. Unless they shoot a high percentage, they lose. This means as soon as they face a good defensive team, the are more likely than not to lose. Even a bad shooting night against a mediocre defense puts them in peril of losing. For that reason, I can't see them winning the Pac12 Tournament or going far in the NCAA's. However, I am rooting for 8 consecutive games where they just can't miss a shot and a make run to the national title. Strange things happen, like Ed O'Bannon going unconscious from the middle of the Pac10 season - through the tournament in 1995. (Ed shot .286 from 3 in 1994 and .433 in 1995.)
We are in the tournament. I have something to look forward to. It would be better if we had a realistic shot, but the U.S. beat the Soviets in 1980, so I can "keep hope alive." Go Bruins.