After a long and incredible season, we have come to the final awards for the alpha dogs of this 2011-12 NC-Double-Eh season. If you were following us here all season, some of the names - well actually all the names should be familiar to you and the awards no-brainers. Now if you haven't been following us all year, get educated on who was the best Canadians in the NC-Double-Eh this season ...
NC-Double-Eh Player of the Year
Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure
Was there really any doubt that Andrew Nicholson would the NC-Double-Eh Player of the Year? Really? In a season that saw him not only get nominated as a pre season Wooden and Naismith candidate, he also was named Atlantic-10 Conference Player of the Year after leading the St. Bonaventure Bonnies to a 20-12 record, the best team record in over 10 years, and an improbable win over Xavier in the A-10 Tournament to get into the NCAA Tournament. He led the conference in scoring for the second straight year while also placing in the top 10 in rebounding (2nd), field goal percentage (4th), blocked shots (4th), offensive rebounds (10th) and defensive rebounds (2nd). Nicholson was nothing short of spectacular all season earning not only immense publicity for the resurgent Bonnies program but also for himself in the process outside of Olean and a few close family and friends. We, at the Can Ball Report, have been extolling the virtues of Nicholson and though we were initially leery of him getting a spot in the annual NBA Draft, it's all but a lock now for him to be picked up by some team. The only question will be if he can work his way into the middle of the first round between now and June.
Runner Up – Devoe Joseph, Oregon
NC-Double-Eh Rookie of the Year
Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga
When a freshman comes out in his second game and drops 9 threes, he may have had it going for him that night. Well, Kevin Pangos had it going all season long. Having earned the starting job early, he played with great poise and the savvy of a vet leading the point for Gonzaga. Though he did have his off games, he was still one of the three vital parts of the Bulldogs offense each game. Pangos was named the conference Newcomer of the Year as well as an all conference first team selection for he efforts. He was the team’s leading scorer as well as assist man and these numbers placed him among the top ten in the West Coast Conference leaders in both categories putting him 9th and 7th respectively. He also placed in among the statistical leaders in steals (9th), free throw percentage (3rd), 3PT field goal percentage (5th), threes made per game (2nd), assist-to-turnover ratio (6th) and minutes played (7th). He helped lead this season Zags into the NCAAs and can only look to a brighter sophomore campaign.
NC-Double-Eh Defensive of the Year
Robert Sacre, Gonzaga
When it comes down to it, there was no other Canadian that could have been named the Defensive Player of the Year other than Rob Sacre. Despite his erratic offensive game, he was always the anchor of the Gonzaga defense and he was able to protect everything from the paint to the perimeter if needed. His 7-foot frame not only bodied up with the bigs but also was also quick enough to stay close with the quicker players. He was named the West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year and we will so honor him that way also. He was among the league leaders in defensive rebounds (7th) and blocked shots (2nd) while also placing in several offensive categories.
Runner Up – Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure
NC-Double-Eh Most Improved Player of the Year
Nik Cochran, Davidson
Nik Cochran had a great junior season and it showed. He was moved to a full time starter and he was given more of the ball handling duties and he was able to flourish in his new role for Davidson this year. Always a good shooter, he scored when given the option and his overall average difference was about two points but his biggest improvement came in in his team play. He had doubled his assist average from the previous season and his total assists this season was more than his previous two combined. He also stepped up on the defensive end doubling his steal total from last season and all this was done with only 10 more minutes a game. The Wildcats romped through the Southern Conference going 25-8 overall including 16-2 in conference play on their way to the NCAA Tournament. Now I’m not saying that Cochran was the sole reason for that but you have to admit that his marked improvement as a player seems to coincide with it.