UCLA sweeps 2023 Pac-12 basketball season honors, earns big-dog status

The voting for the coach of the year in any league or conference is often decided based on the player of the year. In other words, if Team A has the player of the year, Team B will often win the coach of the year voting. One team had the better players, the other team had the better coach who did more with less.

This year in Pac-12 men’s basketball, that did not happen. One team had the best player … and the best coach … and the best freshman … and the best defensive player.

UCLA won the Pac-12 by four games over Arizona and USC. The Bruins went 18-2 in the conference. Arizona has a very good team, but only one of its players, Azuolas Tubelis, had any real chance to win a major end-of-season award. In the final month of the season, UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez clearly outplayed Tubelis by a large margin. Tubelis was the leader in the POY race entering February, but that changed drastically over the next five weeks.

Jaquez earned Pac-12 Player of the Year honors, which enabled UCLA to sweep the four cornerstone awards. Mick Cronin as coach of the year was always obvious, as was Jaylen Clark for defensive player of the year and Adem Bona as freshman of the year.

UCLA went 4 for 4. The Bruins are in position to get a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament next week.

Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire