Tommy Lloyd, Bennedict Mathurin earn top honors in Pac-12 year-end awards
The Arizona men's basketball team won five Pac-12 awards, with sophomore Bennedict Mathurin named conference Player of the Year and head coach Tommy Lloyd named Coach the Year.
When the Pac-12 Conference released the men's basketball honors for the 2021-2022 season Tuesday, it was no surprise that the Arizona Wildcats nearly won them all.
Of the six major awards the conference hands out, Arizona won five, including sophomore Bennedict Mathurin being named Player of the Year and head coach Tommy Lloyd being named Coach the Year.
Junior Christian Koloko was named Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player of the Year, and Pelle Larsson brought home Sixth Man of the Year accolades.
Mathurin and Koloko were also part of the 10-player All-Pac-12 First Team, along with Azuolas Tubelis. Dalen Terry earned an All-Pac-12honorable mention and was named to the All-Defense Team, along with Koloko.
Lloyd has guided the Wildcats to a 28-3 overall record in his first season as head coach, and Arizona became the first team in Pac-12 history to win 18 conference games in a season. Lloyd is the third Arizona coach to be named Pac-12 Coach of the Year, joining Lute Olson – a seven-time winner of the award – and Sean Miller, who won it three times.
Mathurin, who hails from Montreal, is the ninth different Arizona player to be named Pac-12 Player of the Year and the first since Deandre Ayton in 2018. It is the 10th time an Arizona Wildcat has been named the conference's top player, making Arizona the leader of Pac-12 schools. Mathurin has already been named a second team All-American by The Sporting News and College Hoops Today. He is also one of five finalists for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award and a finalist for the Naismith Trophy and the Wooden Award.
As a result of being named Pac-12 Player of the Year, Mathurin is now eligible to be inducted into the Ring of Honor at McKale Memorial Center.
Koloko is the first player in Pac-12 history to win Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player of the Year in the same season and just the second player to ever win both in their career. He is also the first Wildcat to ever win both awards.
Tubelis was a consistent force throughout the season and finished among the top 10 in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage to earn first team honors. The Lithuanian posted averages of 2.4 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.8 blocked shots overall for the season.
Larsson, who transferred to Arizona after playing his freshman season at Utah, came off the bench in 18 out of 20 conference games. He displayed tremendous versatility and guarded nearly every position defensively.
Terry, also a sophomore, made major contributions as a do-it-all player for the Wildcats. The Phoenix native ranks 13th in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.88), fifth in the conference in assists per game and 10th in steals in Pac-12 play.
On the Arizona women's basketball team, Cate Reese was named to the 10-member All-Pac-12 First Team, Sam Thomas received an All-Pac-12 honorable mention and was named to the All-Defense Team, and Helena Pueyo earned an honorable mention for the All-Defense Team.
The men's basketball team's first game in the Pac-12 Tournament will take place Thursday at 1 p.m. in Las Vegas.
A version of this story originally appeared on the Arizona Athletics website.
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