We’ve moved to basketball (just in time for the start of the new season, of course) on Pac-12 Fridays, doing the same kind of thing we were just doing with football: examining the Players of the Year in both the Conference of (real NCAA) Champions and its Midwest partners, the B1G. Yes, we know there is a league merge of sorts coming up, but in the study of sports history, we don’t have to concern ourselves with that just yet. So, in the meantime, enjoy our hoops marathon of retrospection … it’s always fun!

2021 Pac-12 PoY: Evan Mobley, F, USC (original); McKinley Wright IV, G, Colorado (revised)

Oregon won the regular-season title, and Oregon State won the tournament title. Meanwhile, USC, Colorado, and UCLA contended with the Ducks, as the PoY vote went to Trojans forward Evan Mobley (6.9 WS). Other candidates from contending teams include Buffaloes guard McKinley Wright IV (5.9), Ducks G Chris Duarte (4.7), and Bruins guard Jaime Jaquez, Jr. (4.5). But Mobley and Duarte had teammates with 4-plus WS marks, too, meaning we’re looking more closely at the other two.

UCLA had three players overall named to the All-Conference squads, first and second team, while Wright was the only Colorado player selected. With the Buffaloes finishing third in the regular season and reaching the conference tournament finals against the Beavers, we have to look at Wright as being the PoY in the Pac-12. He carried a significant load for his team, which reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016.

His overall numbers: 15.2 ppg, 5.7 apg, 4.3 rpg, 1.1 spg in 32.6 mpg. Colorado posted a 14-6 record in league play, and overall, the team was 23-9 for its best winning percentage since 1969. There’s a lot to be said in there for Wright’s efforts.

2021 B1G PoY: Luka Garza, F, Iowa (original, confirmed)

The B1G sent 9 teams to the NCAA tourney, but in a season plagued by Covid cancelations, Michigan and Illinois were the two best teams, followed closely by Iowa. Hawkeyes F Luka Garza (6.9 WS) was voted the PoY, as Fighting Illini center Kofi Cockburn (5.5) was the next-best player in the league. The Wolverines placed three different players on the conference’s second team, while Garza and Cockburn were first-squad selections, along with Illinois G Ayo Dosunmu (5.1).

Iowa also placed G Joe Wieskamp (4.1) on the second team, so that does lower Garza’s overall impact a little bit, but it’s clear that both Illinois and Michigan had more top-shelf talent to work with toward their successful seasons than the Hawkeyes did. Therefore, we will confirm Garza’s award for the following stats: 24.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.7 apg, and 1.6 bpg in 31.5 mpg. Iowa led the conference in scoring offense (83.7 ppg) and was second in point differential (11.0 ppg), thanks primarily to Garza.