Arizona's Caleb Love wins AP Pac-12 player and newcomer of the year in first season with Wildcats

Tue, Mar 12, 2024
NCAAB News (AP)

Arizona's Caleb Love wins AP Pac-12 player and newcomer of the year in first season with Wildcats

Caleb Love had quite a first season at Arizona.

Love was named The Associated Press Pac-12 men's college basketball player and newcomer of the year on Tuesday by a panel of media members who cover the conference. Washington State's Kyle Smith was named coach of the year.

Love spent his first three seasons at North Carolina, making a name for himself by hitting big shots during the Tar Heels' run to the 2022 national championship game.

Wanting a new challenge, Love opted to transfer to Arizona, where he implored coach Tommy Lloyd and his staff to coach him hard. Love fit perfectly into Lloyd's team-first philosophy, playing within the framework of the offense while still asserting himself as the Wildcats' go-to player.

The 6-foot-4 guard helped lead No. 6 Arizona to the final Pac-12 regular-season championship and a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Love led the Wildcats and was the Pac-12's fourth-leading scorer with a career-best 18.7 points per game. He had the best shooting season of his career at 43% and helped Arizona in many other ways, averaging 4.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.9 steals per game.

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Smith ushered in a breakthrough season at Washington State. Picked to finish 10th in the preseason poll, the Cougars were one of the biggest surprises in college basketball.

Washington State swept the season series with a sweep of Arizona, including a 77-71 victory at McKale Center. The Cougars moved into the AP Top 25 for the first time in 16 years at No. 21 on Feb. 19 and are No. 18 heading into this week's Pac-12 Tournament. Washington State finished the regular season 23-7 and its 14 Pac-12 wins match the program's most in a conference season.

FIRST TEAM

u-Guard - KJ Simpson, Colorado, Jr., 6-2, 189, West Hills, Calif.

Guard - Caleb Love, Arizona, Sr., 6-4, 205, St. Louis.

Guard - Jaylon Tyson, Jr., 6-7, 215, Plano, Texas

u-Forward - Keion Brooks, Jr., Washington, 6-7, 210, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Center - Oumar Ballo, Arizona, Sr., 7-0, 260, Koulikoro, Mali.

-u-unanimous selection.

SECOND TEAM

Guard - Jordan Pope, Oregon St, Soph, 6-2, 165, Oakley, Calif.

Guard - Boogie Ellis, USC, Sr., 6-3, 190, San Diego.

Guard - Myles Rice, Washington State, freshman, 6-3, 180, Columbia, S.C.

Forward - Isaac Jones, Washington State, Sr., 6-9, 245, Spanaway, Wash.

Forward - Branden Carlson, Utah, Sr., 7-0, 220, South Jordan, Utah

INDIVIDUAL HONORS

Player of the year - Caleb Love, Arizona.

Coach of the year - Kyle Smith, Washington State.

Newcomer of the year - Caleb Love, Arizona.

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All-Pac-12 voting panel: Bruce Pascoe, Arizona Daily Star; Michelle Gardner, Arizona Republic; Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News; Pat Rooney, BuffZone.com; Andrew Quinn, KREM and KSKN Television; Brenna Greene, KOIN TV.

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Get poll alerts and updates on AP Top 25 basketball throughout the season. Sign up here. AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball

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