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PAC 12 Conference Honors: Kyle Anderson was Robbed*

Kyle loses player of the year.

Kyle Anderson leaves UCLA fans smiling.
Kyle Anderson leaves UCLA fans smiling.
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

10-46.  That is what Nick Johnson shot from the field in Arizona's three losses.  In other words, it can be credibly argued that PAC 12 MVP Nick Johnson shot the Wildcats out of the game in there three losses.

Kyle Anderson shot 43-87 in the UCLA losses he played in.  Kyle actually upped his scoring averages in the losses, averaging over 16 points a game.  Actually it is impossible to blame any of UCLA losses on Kyle. . . except one.   Kyle definitely cost UCLA the Oregon game when he was suspended.  That can't be argued and if that blot on his record cost him the MVP award versus Nick Johnson, I guess I can understand that a bit.

That game showed the importance of Kyle.  UCLA's starting point guard was out and for one game UCLA replaced his scoring and assists but could not replace his rebounding; losing the rebounding battle by 12 after beating Oregon on the boards in the first game between the two teams.

As one of the best writers to cover the PAC 12 wrote:

Player of the Year: UCLA's Kyle Anderson. All the versatile sophomore did was put together one of the best all-around seasons in conference history. (Yes, you read that right: Conference history.) Anderson not only averaged 15.2 points in league games, he added 8.7 rebounds (sixth in conference), 6.6 assists (first) and 1.65 steals (fourth). Very few players have ever produced at that level in so many categories.

Also considered: Arizona's Nick Johnson.

\Kyle is one of a kind.  For the Bruins, Kyle was first in minutes, assists, blocks, rebounds, and second in steals, points and three point percentage.  Kyle is not just a leading PAC 12 player but a leader in the country making the cut for the final fifteen on the Wooden Watch list.  Maybe this ESPN story sums up Kyle:

10. Kyle Anderson, UCLA: "Slo-mo" has numbers that are kind of crazy. He's averaging 14.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game on 49 percent shooting from the field and from 3. That is exactly the kind of game the 6-foot-8 Anderson's unique skill set promised when he entered college a year ago. It took him a little bit, but he got there this season. He does it all.

In a fitting mistake, as of Tuesday morning, the ESPN article links to the wrong Kyle Anderson .  Kyle just does not get the respect he deserves.  Overshadowed by the Shabazz circus last year and a coach that could not commit to the concept of a 6'9" inch point guard, Anderson has put together truly a memorable season.

When you think of all the greats at UCLA it is hard to think of another player like Kyle.  Sure there were a number of players better and more dominant than Kyle.  I am not arguing that.  But UCLA had more than one great big man (Kareem/Walton), a number of great shooters (Goodrich/Miller), point guards (Hazzard/Edny), power forwards (Wicks/O'Bannon) to name just a few but never has UCLA had another player like Kyle.

The ironic thing is looking at the list of UCLA great ones, Kyle may be the worst pure athlete of the group.  His body is not bad in that he is tall with long arms as shown by for the first time in UCLA history that the starting point guard in the first game of the season (Kyle Anderson) was taller than the starting center (Tony Parker).  But he is not fast or a great leaper. Yet he was second in steals and first in blocks.

On a personal note, I could never agree with those who said they can't stand watching UCLA this year.  I always enjoyed watching Kyle and wrote about it here last year.  I have been watching UCLA basketball long enough to know that he is very special and it was a joy to watch him.  He will be sorely missed.

Thank you Kyle.  You may not have won the PAC 12 Player of the Year but you were the UCLA MVP and were a truly memorable player in UCLA history.