BALL, LEAF SELECTED AP FIRST-TEAM ALL-PAC-12
Ball secured Pac-12 Player of the Year honors by The Associated Press
UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball has been selected the Player and Newcomer of the year on the All-Pac-12 men’s basketball team, as announced Tuesday by The Associated Press.
Ball and classmate TJ Leaf were named first-team All-Pac-12 selections, while senior Bryce Alford was among five players listed to the second team.
Joining Ball and Leaf on the first team included Washington’s Markelle Fultz, Oregon’s Dillon Brooks and Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen.
Alford, Derrick White (Colorado), Kyle Kuzma (Utah), Ivan Rabb (California) and Jordan Bell (Oregon) earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors.
Ball has led the nation in assists per game (7.8) while averaging 14.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per game for UCLA. The freshman guard from Chino Hills, Calif., finished the regular season ranking ninth in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage (55.5%) and sixth in three-point field goal percentage (42.4%). Ball is on track to become the first Pac-12 player to have averaged at least 14 points, seven assists and six rebounds since Jason Kidd accomplished that feat as a sophomore at California in 1993-94.
Leaf, a 6-foot-10 forward from El Cajon, Calif., has averaged 16.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Leaf has started in 30 games for the Bruins and currently ranks seventh in the Pac-12 in scoring and eighth in rebounding. Leaf, along with Stanford’s Reid Travis and Utah’s Kuzma, are the only players in the Pac-12 among the league’s top-10 leaders in both scoring and rebounding.
Alford, a 6-foot-3 guard from Albuquerque, N.M., enters the Pac-12 Tournament as UCLA’s top scorer (16.5 ppg). He also ranks first in the Pac-12 in three-point field goal percentage (45.4%) and is the league’s sixth-leading scorer. Alford has made a school-record 104 three-pointers this season and has tied for the UCLA all-time lead in three-point field goals made (317). With one more three-pointer, he will own the UCLA career record – previously set by Jason Kapono, who starred at UCLA from 2000-03.
Arizona head coach Sean Miller was named the AP’s Pac-12 Coach of the Year.
UCLA (28-3, 15-3 Pac-12) returns to action in the quarterfinal round of the Pac-12 Tournament on Thursday evening. The Bruins, the No. 3-seed in the tournament field, will face the winner of Wednesday night’s first-round contest between No. 6-seed USC and No. 11-seed Washington. Game time is 8:30 p.m. at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.