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If Only Howland Could Keep Players for More than a Year

Larry Drew II and Shabazz named to first teams, Kyle second and Jordan gets honorable mention

Shabazz Muhammad and Larry Drew II are first team All PAC 12
Shabazz Muhammad and Larry Drew II are first team All PAC 12

It is kind of frightening when you think about the following: UCLA has four players that made some All PAC 12 squad or another, and none of them have played more than a season for UCLA. Start with looking at the all PAC 12 team, UCLA's two players both had played one year for the Bruins while 6 of the other 8 members of the all PAC 12 squad had played multiple years with their teams. The other two who only played one year on their squads both have asterisks after their names. ASU's Jahii Carson, actually red-shirted last year and the other player, Mark Lyons, was a transfer to Arizona recruited to his original team by Arizona's coach when he was coaching there.

But enough about Howland. I am tired of talking about him. Let's talk about the four players who received recognition.

The surprise. In a year with a lot of unpleasant surprises it bears repeating how good Larry Drew II has been and how no one, except maybe Howland, expected it. The official blurb says it all:

Drew II, a 6-foot-2 guard from Encino, Calif., has averaged 7.3 ppg and a conference-leading 7.7 assists per game. He has established UCLA's single-season assists record (239), logging the sixth-highest single-season total in Pac-12 history. Drew II also leads the conference in assist turnover ratio (3.3).

We scoffed at Larry Drew II being indispensable before the year, yet he set the assist record with no asterisks (he did not even need extra tournament games to set it) and was all PAC 12. He played more minutes than any Bruin in recent memory. And at the end of the year he even became a dangerous three point shooter if you left him alone. Thank you Larry!

The one who earned it the hard way. Shabazz was always a one and done and at times was hard to like as you watched him leak out and not box out on the defensive boards and not pass on a 2 on 1 break. But on the other hand, he started the year watching from the bench as Flea did the national anthem with a "Free Shabazz" t-shirt and was likely going to miss a lot more than the three games he did miss if it weren't for a blabbing boyfriend and a LA Times reporter. His surreal season continued as he overcame injuries in the summer, getting fat, catching pink eye so bad one eye almost swelled shut, having the flu in another game, and playing a couple games on a bad ankle. Say what you want about him but the kid never stopped working on offense, most people forget he finishing eighth in the conference in offensive rebounding.

Two days after UCLA won an outright Pac-12 title, Shabazz Muhammad became the eighth player in program history to win Pac-12 Freshman of the Year - sharing the honor with Arizona point guard Jahii Carson.

The star swingman, who ranked third in the Pac-12 with 18.3 points per game, is the first Bruin to win since Kevin Love in 2008.

The Most Unique UCLA Player?!? According the UCLA roster he is a guard. According to the UCLA roster he is taller than fellow freshman Tony Parker and heavier than either of the power forward/Center Wear twins. It was fun to watch the second USC game where he played Center briefly to probably become the first player in UCLA history to play all five positions on offense during a season. Kyle is not the best, but he is dam good and there is not another like him:

Anderson, a 6-foot-9 guard from Fairview, N.J., has averaged 9.9 ppg and a team-leading 8.9 rpg in all 31 games. He is the only Pac-12 player to rank in the top-10 in rebounding (8.9) and assists (3.7), and he has logged a 1.7 assist turnover ratio, the fifth-highest mark in the conference.

It is also worth noting that Kyle was first team All Freshmen and Second Team All PAC 12.

How can he still be overlooked? I am a bit angry right now, how the heck can Jordan Adams not be on the all-freshman team? Arguably he is now the most complete player on the UCLA team. He has even had to take the role of defense stopper for UCLA in PAC 12 games.

I guess the people who voted for the teams are like UCLA fans (including me) at the beginning of the year that overlooked Adams. Adams was just the fourth guy in the class to start the year. He was the other guy from Georgia and was even second fiddle to Tony Parker.

But he is definitely the fan favorite now. Whether he is shutting down Allen Crabbe or going 16-16 from the free throw line to save our bacon in the UCI game, Adams has done it all for the Bruins this year. Shame on the PAC 12 for not putting him on the all-freshmen team but instead honorable mention.

Classmate Jordan Adams has earned honorable mention accolades. . . . Adams, a 6-foot-5 guard from Atlanta, has averaged 15.2 ppg and 3.8 rpg in all 31 games, making 25 starts. He has scored in double figures in 23 contests and ranks second on the team and eighth in the conference in scoring (15.2 ppg).

Of course even UCLA forgets to include him on the cumulative mention.

UCLA is the only Pac-12 team to have at least three players listed on the 10-person first team and the five-man second team. UCLA, Arizona and Colorado are the only schools to have two players named as first-team selections.

Just imagine how good this team could be if Howland could keep players around for a bit. Thank you Larry and Shabazz for this season. Please stay Kyle. And Jordan thanks for staying a Bruin, we will not ignore you next year.