The Utes were picked 8th in the preseason poll in the Pac-12 by the media, which you may have heard over the last couple of weeks. Well, the Utes finished with the 3-seed and a first round bye after Coach Krystkowiak rallied the troops after a pretty shaky season. Sure, the Pac-12 was down, maybe in a historically bad fashion, but the Utes did what they needed to do to put themselves in a great position going into the Pac-12 tournament.
After a solid season in the league, there were several Utah players that got postseason honors from the league.
First, senior guard Sedrick Barefield was named to the first team All-Pac-12 team after averaging 17.2 points per game, while scoring 18.7 points in Pac-12 Conference games. His 17.2 points per game average ranked fifth among players in the league. Sed came to campus after transferring from SMU with three years to play, and he opened up his career with a bang, dropping almost 40 points. It has been a bit of an up and down career for him, but he really put together a nice season campaign, and was a flame thrower from three point range for much of the season. He will be remembered as one of the best three point shooters in school history, and shot the Utes back into many games not only this season, but over his career.
Second, Utah freshman Timmy Allen was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshmen team. Allen was one of five named to the team, after averaging 12.2 points and 5.3 rebounds. Allen ranked second on the team with a .583 shooting percentage and ranked third with 25 steals. Allen is Utah’s first-ever player to be named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman team, which is crazy to me considering the likes of Jakob Poeltl, Kyle Kuzma and some others. Allen needs to continue to work on his jump shots, and his ball skills around the rim, but the ceiling is high for this young man as a member of this team, and I can’t wait to see what he develops into over the coming years.
Lastly, Donnie Tillman was named the Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Year. The surprised me, not because Donnie didn’t deserve it, but because I still view Tillman as a starter. Donnie came off the bench in 13-of-18 Conference games and 16-of-30 games overall, providing 10.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in nearly 27 minutes per contest for Utah. Tillman really had a strong open to the season, and finished nicely too, but he seemed to hit a bit of a wall in the middle of the season, really when Barefield caught fire. He will be a corner stone of the program next year, with him and Timmy Allen, as well as Both Gach, providing a talented trio of guys to look forward to. He just needs to continue refining his game, because he can be a tough matchups for some fours and even some threes out there. I expect Tillman to be back as a full time starter next year, helping to lead this team back to the top of the conference.