We are in the final week of AAC action for the 2014-15 season. That means it’s award season. Bearcats Blog is going to give out it’s prestigious AAC awards today. They will be the traditional awards, Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, 6th Man, Defensive Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, and the all league teams. Since these are my awards, I’m going to add in some of my own for good measure. We’ll start with the traditional awards.
AAC Player of the Year – Nic Moore, SMU
Stat line: 13.6 points / 5.8 assists / 2.2 rebounds / 1.3 steals / 2.4 assist : turnover ratio / 40% FGs, 42.3% 3pts, 84.5% FTs
Nic Moore has been the best player on the best team in the league. I don’t think any part of that can be disputed. Moore is 6th in the league in scoring, second in three point percentage and is in a virtual tie with Ryan Boatright in free throw percentage. Moore leads the league in assists and is far and away the leader in assist : turnover ratio among players who average 3 assists per game. When you add in SMU’s success, it’s no contest as to whom the best player in the league has been. And team success does play a large part.
Coach of the Year – Larry Brown, SMU
It’s really hard to pick a winner for this award, so I’m going with Larry Brown. Brown didn’t win this award last season when SMU was a surprise good team. I think he’ll win it this year with SMU pretty much being the best team in the league. Cincinnati was the story of the league last year and received the coach and defensive player of the year awards. I can see the player of the year and coach of the year going to SMU. If I was only going by conference merits, I would probably give the award to Frank Haith. That team is 14-2. If Tulsa wins the league, I’m sure he’ll win the award.
Defensive Player of the Year – Amida Brimah, Connecticut
Stat Line: 60 blocks / 3.8 per game / 15.8 block percentage
Brimah has the best shot blocking percentage in the entire nation during league play. He’s blocking nearly 16% of the oppositions shots while he’s on the floor. That’s rather insane.
Freshman of the Year – Daniel Hamilton, Connecticut
Stat Line: 10.9 points / 9.3 rebounds / 4 assists / 1 steal / 38.8% FGs, 34.5% 3pts, 66.7% FTs
Hamilton is the leading rebounder in the AAC during league play. That was a stat that suprised me. The 17 rebound game against East Carolina may have had a lot to do with it. Hamilton has made the biggest impact out of any freshman in the league. While leading the league in rebounding, he’s also 7th in assists. He’s UConn’s team leader in assists, even over Boatright. There are some strong candidates, but this is Daniel Hamilton’s award to lose.
6th Man – Markus Kennedy, SMU
Stat Line: 11.6 points / 6.2 rebounds /1.4 steals / 1.2 assists / 55.6% FGs, 0% 3pts, 63.9% FTs
Probably the easiest award out of the bunch. Kennedy is 15th in points, 10th in rebounds and has one of the best field goal percentages in the league. Throw in the fact that he’s 7th in the league in steals and this award seems like a slam dunk.
First Team All-AAC
Nic Moore, SMU
Ryan Boatright, Connecticut
Will Cummings, Temple
Shaquille Harrison, Tulsa
Austin Nichols, Memphis
Boatright – 17.6 points / 3.7 rebounds / 3.7 assists / 1.2 steals / 45.1% FGs, 45.3% 3pts, 84.5% FTs
Cummings – 13.4 points / 4.4 assists / 3.2 rebounds / 2.5 steals / 44.9% FGs, 12% 3pts, 76% FTs
Harrison – 13.3 points / 5.9 rebounds / 3.6 assists / 2.1 steals / 45.3% FGs, 17.4% 3pts, 61.8% FTs
Nichols – 14.9 points / 6.6 rebounds /3.4 blocks / 1.5 assists / 52% FGs, 22.2% 3pts, 59% FTs
Boatright has a legitimate case for player of the year. Harrison and Cummings are two of the best thieves in the league while also doing it all for their squads. Nichols has been the best big in the league. He’s second in the league in scoring as well. Ryan Boatright leads the league in scoring by nearly 3 points a game.
Second Team All-AAC
James Woodard, Tulsa
Yanick Moreira, SMU
Corey Allen, Jr, South Florida
Octavius Ellis, Cincinnati
Markus Kennedy, SMU
Third Team All-AAC
Jaylen Bond, Temple
Louis Dabney, Tulane
BJ Tyson, ECU
Danrad Knowles, Houston
Daniel Hamilton, Connecticut
Daniel Hamilton, Connecticut
BJ Tyson, ECU
Adonys Henriquez, UCF
BJ Taylor, UCF
Gary Clark, Cincinnati
I’m Going to Shoot No Matter What Award – Jherrod Stiggers, Houston
In only 15 games, Stiggers has attemped 126 three point shots. That leads the league by 9 over a player who has played 16 games. Out of the qualified 10 players on the AAC site, Stiggers ranks dead last with a percentage of 29.4. He’s not just last, he’s last by over 6%. Stiggers has made 37 three pointers. Avery Woodson of Memphis has also made 37. Woodson would have to miss his next 33 to end up shooting 29.4%.
Please Give This Coach An Extenstion Award – Josh Pastner, Memphis
One thing we all know about Josh Pastner is that he can recruit and he can recruit very well. There really isn’t a fanbase in the league that wouldn’t switch recruiting classes with Memphis. There also aren’t more than a handful of fanbases that would switch coaches so Pastner was their man. There are some coaches in the league who I don’t think are that great, looking at you Donnie Jones, but when it comes to underachieving and not scaring anyone despite gobs of talent, no one does it better than Josh Pastner.
Ugliest Court – UCF
Worst Atmosphere – Houston
These are repeat winners from last season. They will be repeat winners next season as well.
Crazy Stat of the Year – Houston Leads the League in Free Throw Shooting
Houston is next to last in effective field goal percentage. They are 8th in two point percentage, 10th in three point percentage. Yet this team leads the AAC in free throw shooting at 67.9%. The fact that 67.9% leads the league is gross. The only league that has a leader shooting worse is the SWAC.