By Jeff Faraudo
Friday, March 23rd, 2012 at 1:19 am in Basketball.
My annual All-Bay Area team is headed by a strong-willed guard who grew up on foreign soil.
The nod goes to Saint Mary’s junior point guard Matthew Dellavedova, who led the Gaels to the West Coast Conference regular-season and tournament titles.
Here’s the full lineup:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Dellavedova earns the spot over Cal’s Jorge Gutierrez simply because he elevated his team to greater heights. The Aussie floor leader averaged 15.5 points and 6.4 assists, collecting WCC Player of the Year honors. He was at his best in the big games, averaging 22.7 points in three games vs. conference rival Gonzaga.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Randy Bennett has built Saint Mary’s into a mid-major power, and for the first time the Gaels swept the WCC regular-season and tournament crowns. They won four of five games against Gonzaga and BYU and finished with 27 victories — the program’s fifth straight season of at least 25 wins.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Stanford guard Chasson Randle averaged 13.9 points and shot 43.8 percent from the 3-point line. He was consistently unafraid to take the big shot, and scored at an 18.5 ppg clip over the final eight games. He prevails here over Cal forward David Kravish (6.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Saint Mary’s forward Brad Waldow (8.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg).
– Matthew Dellavedova, Saint Mary’s: Nine games of 20 points or more and 13 games with seven assists or more. The best player on the best team in the Bay Area.
– Jorge Gutierrez, Cal: The senior guard from Mexico slumped at the finish, but meant everything to a team that contended for the Pac-12 title until the final minutes of the regular season. Gutierrez averaged 13.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists. Was the Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
– Rob Jones, Saint Mary’s: The senior forward averaged 15.0 points and 10.8 rebounds, assembling 20 double-doubles. The Gaels don’t get it done without him.
– Harper Kamp, Cal: Smart and tough, the senior forward was an underrated frontcourt defender who turned up his offense over late in the season, averaging 15.o points over the final 13 games on a team with virtually no depth.
– Wil Carter, San Jose State: If this one surprises you, consider that the senior forward avearaged 16.0 points and 9.6 rebounds over the final 17 games. Included was a 21-point, 20-rebound performance against Hawaii.
– Aaron Bright, Stanford: Tsophomore guard has flourished as a sixth man, averaging 18.7 points on 75% from the 3-point arc in the Cardinal three-game run to the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden.
– Justin Cobbs, Cal: Provided the Bears a big lift at point guard, contributing 12.6 points and 5.0 assists per game.
– Angelo Coloiaro, USF: The senior forward averaged 14.2 points and 6.0 rebounds for a team that won 20 games.
– Allen Crabbe, Cal: First-team all-Pac-12 pick led the Bears at 15.2 points per game, but shot just 33.7 percent over the final eight games.
– James Kinney, San Jose State: Averaged 15.8 points and had 10 games of 20 or more.