March 7, 2011
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - University of Washington senior Matthew Bryan-Amaning was named the Pac-10's Most Improved player and also earned first team All-Pac-10 honors, while junior Isaiah Thomas earned first team All-conference honors and C.J. Wilcox was named to the All-Pac-10 Freshman Team, Commissioner Larry Scott announced Monday.
Bryan-Amaning (London, England/South Kent Prep [Ct.]) leads the Huskies in rebounds (8.3 rpg), field goal percentage (56.4%) and blocks (50) and is second on the team in scoring (16.0 ppg). He ranks fourth in the conference in rebounding, sixth in scoring, second in blocks per game (1.7) and sixth in field goal percentage.
"Matthew, for him to be the most improved player in the conference, voted by the coaches, just shows his tremendous improvement and development," UW coach Lorenzo Romar said Monday. "He definitely deserved it, he played as well as any of the top three big men in the league this year."
The 6-foot-9 forward is second all-time in UW shot blocking history (154) and tied a school record with 7 at Arizona. He is just the second Husky to ever record 100 blocks and 100 steals in his career.
Bryan-Amaning entered the season averaging just 6.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in his career. He upped his averages of 8.8 points per game in 2010 by 7.2 points -- among the top five jumps in scoring from last year among all Pac-10 players.
He was also named honorable mention on the All-Defensive Team, validating his growth into one of the conference's most formidable forces at both ends of the floor.
"It just shows a lot of hard work. Coaches put a lot of effort into helping me become a better player," Bryan-Amaning said. "I've come along ways since freshman year."
For Thomas, it is the third time he has been named to the all-conference team. He joins Chris Welp (1985-87), Eldridge Recasner (1988-90) and Jon Brockman (2007-09) as the only UW three-time honorees.
"I think it's great. He deserves it, no doubt," Romar said. "If we could have done a better job as a team he could have been in there for player of the year as well."
Thomas (Tacoma, Wash./South Kent Prep [Ct.]/Curtis HS) leads Washington with 16.3 points per game (4th among Pac-10 players) and has scored double figures in 27 of 30 games this season. He leads the conference with 5.6 assists per game and his total of 168 ranks as the second-most all-time by a Husky in a single season. Additionally, Thomas has an assist to turnover ratio of 1.9 (168 assists/87 turnovers), which ranks third among conference players.
As usual, Thomas had bigger goals in mind on Monday - two days before Washington (20-10) leaves for Los Angeles and its opening game in the conference tournament Thursday night against Washington State.
"It's an honor, but we're trying to win bigger and better things, trying to win a Pac-10 championship," Thomas said.
Thomas is also a mid-season candidate for both the Wooden and Naismith awards, plus he is one of 10 Cousy Award finalists.
Wilcox (Pleasant Grove, Utah/Pleasant Grove HS) averages 7.6 points and is second on the team in 3-point field goal percentage (39.4%). He ranks 7th in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage and is 7th with 1.8 3-point makes per game. It is the 13th time a Husky has been named to the All-Freshman team.
Romar called Wilcox's 24 points - all in the second half - that sent the Huskies past UCLA last week one of the most impressive performances in UW history. It came after Wilcox had a staph infection in his hip in January, and then sustained a concussion.
"It was kind of unexpected with all those mid-season injuries and everything, but it happened. When I got the text it was a really good feeling," Wilcox said. "I texted all my family and got congratulated by them, so it just feels really good."
Holiday was a 2010 first team all-defensive member who often guarded the opponent's top offensive player this season. He ranked 10th in the conference in steals and is tied for 9th in blocked shots.
Ross averages 7.2 points per game and is fourth on the team with 7.9 points in conference-only action. He scored in double figures seven times during conference play, including 25 points vs. Oregon on Jan. 6.
Arizona sophomore Derrick Williams was named Pac-10 Player of the Year, USC's Marcus Simmons was Defensive Player of the Year, Cal's Allen Crabbe Freshman of the Year and Arizona's Sean Miller was Coach of the Year.