He wasn’t named the coach of the year by the league, but Coach K was named as the Pac-12 Coach of the Year by the AP last week. Mike Hopkins was named the Coach of the Year by the league, and while he was a worthy candidate, I think Larry was a no brainer pick. The Utes were picked 7th in the preseason poll for the Pac-12, and they ended up finishing 3rd, and they did it without any NBA prospects, like the last few seasons. This may have been Larry’s best coaching job since joining the program. This team was truly lacking a major go to guy, outside of maybe Justin Bibbins, and played as a team better than I have seen in a couple of seasons. When they were connected, they were so fun to watch, which is Coach K’s way to play. The staff said throughout the season that this team was so much fun to coach, and if you compare that to last season, it was obvious. Last years team, who had an NBA player on it, had a lot of hero ball and didn’t really have a point guard who would facilitate and make plays for their teammates. Obviously, Bibbins was a major key to fixing that.
Another great move by Coach K and the staff in the latter part of the season was to play a bunch of zone against teams. That really threw a lot of the other teams off, and that’s really when the Utes started to roll and made the run for the 3-seed in the league. Honestly, this was about as good of a season as you could ask for, given the roster and expectations. Yeah, the bad losses to UNLV and USC were ugly, but this team rallied behind the coaches, and Coach K did a great job getting everything rolling.