March 4, 2004
As the regular season winds down, it's time to honor the MVPs, diaper dandies and best coaches in the top conferences in America. Part II of my three-part series deals with the Big 12, C-USA, Pac-10 and SEC.
More Awards — Part I: ACC, A-10, Big East, Big Ten | Part III: MAC, MWC, WAC
PLAYER OF THE YEAR — John Lucas | guard | Oklahoma State
COACH OF THE YEAR — Eddie Sutton | Oklahoma State
DIAPER DANDY OF THE YEAR — Drew Lavender | guard | Oklahoma
COMMENT: Lucas has done a brilliant job leading the Cowboys' offense after transferring from Baylor. He's a clutch free-throw shooter and has outstanding range. I give him the nod over Andre Emmett of Texas Tech and Wayne Simien of Kansas. Sutton gets coach of the year since his team wasn't picked in the top four in the preseason poll. Lavender has been the catalyst for the Sooners, who really miss big man Kevin Bookout inside.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Antonio Burks | guard | Memphis
COACH OF THE YEAR — Bobby Lutz | Charlotte
DIAPER DANDY OF THE YEAR — Sean Banks | forward | Memphis
COMMENT: There were a few tough calls here. Burks has run the show for coach John Calipari and proven himself to be an effective floor general. You could make a case for Curtis Withers of Charlotte, Travis Diener of Marquette and Francisco Garcia of Louisville, but Burks is my pick. Lutz gets the call over Calipari and UAB's Mike Anderson. This league has so many outstanding coaches! Banks has performed well for the Tigers, both inside and outside.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Luke Jackson | forward | Oregon
COACH OF THE YEAR — Mike Montgomery | Stanford
DIAPER DANDY OF THE YEAR — Mustafa Shakur | guard | Arizona
COMMENT: Jackson has been a scoring and rebounding force all season. He gets the call over Arizona State's Ike Diogu. Montgomery is an easy choice for coach of the year -- and he may win national honors. Shakur gets the nod over California's Leon Powe.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR — Lawrence Roberts | forward | Miss. St.
COACH OF THE YEAR — Rick Stansbury | Miss. St.
DIAPER DANDY OF THE YEAR — Brandon Bass | forward | LSU
COMMENT: Like Lucas at Oklahoma State, Roberts made an immediate impact upon arriving from Baylor. He's been a dominant performer all season. Stansbury lost lots of talent from last season and still kept the Bulldogs in front in the SEC West. Bass has helped LSU contend for an NCAA berth.
Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit in the 1970s before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979 (he's been an ESPN analyst ever since). Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.