Following a successful season in which the team advanced deep into the NCAA Tournament, held a top-10 ranking for much of the season and racked up many individual Pac-12 conference awards, the UCLA Men’s Basketball team recently held its annual year-end banquet at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.
The entire UCLA men’s basketball team was on hand for the banquet, including stand-out freshman Lonzo Ball, who earned the Coach John Wooden Award as the team’s Most Valuable Player.
The 6-6 guard from Chino Hill, CA, also received the UCLA Alumni Association Award for being the team’s assist leader. Ball led the nation with 274 assists, setting the UCLA single-season record. Ball, one of five finalists for the 2017 John R. Wooden Award, which is presented to the nation’s top college basketball player, averaged 14.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in his debut season for the Bruins.
TJ Leaf was named the recipient of the Seymour Armond Memorial Award, given to the team’s “Most Valuable Freshman.” During the season, Leaf averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
Senior guard Isaac Hamilton earned the Elvin C. “Ducky” Drake Memorial Award, which is given to the player who best displays “competitive spirit, inspiration and unselfish contributions.” As a senior, Hamilton averaged 14.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists.
Other awards of note include sophomore guard Aaron Holiday being honored as the Bruins’ “Most Improved Player,” after averaging 12.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. Senior guard Jerrold Smith was this year’s recipient of the UCLA Faculty Athletic Representative Award, which honors players for academic achievement.
UCLA finished the season with a 31-5 record overall. The Bruins advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 3 seed.