Leon Powe Named Team MVP
April 11, 2006
BERKELEY - Sophomore forward Leon Powe, who led the Pac-10 in both scoring and rebounding in 2005-06, was named California's Most Valuable Player at the men's basketball team's awards banquet Tuesday night.
In addition to Powe, other honors were given to:
Best Defensive Player - Richard Midgley
Most Improved Player - Ayinde Ubaka, DeVon Hardin
Most Unselfish Player - Nikola Knezevic, Eric Vierneisel
Hustle Award - Alex Pribble
Outstanding Freshman - Theo Robertson
Academic Achievement - Ivan Kovacevic
Coaches Award - Richard Midgley
Powe, who also was selected Cal's MVP as a freshman in 2004, averaged 20.5 ppg and 10.1 rpg to become just the sixth player ever to pace the conference in both categories. Named a second-team All-American by the Associated Press, the U.S. Basketball Writers and ESPN.com, he was chosen to the All-Pac-10 team for a second time in 2006.
In addition, the 6-8 Powe was voted Most Outstanding Player of the Pac-10 Tournament after setting a tournament record with 20 rebounds in the quarterfinals vs. USC and scoring a tournament-record 41 points against Oregon in the semifinals.
Ubaka earned All-Pac-10 honors after pouring in 14.5 ppg, up from 6.1 ppg as a sophomore in 2005. His 61 three-pointers this past year tied for the third highest in school history, while the 6-4 junior guard rated among the league leaders in both free throw shooting (3rd, 83.3%), minutes (2nd, 37.29 mpg) and assists (7th, 3.84 apg).
Hardin, an honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick as a sophomore, ranked fifth in the Pac-10 in rebounding, pulling down 6.6 boards per game. He was also fourth in the conference in blocks (1.55 bpg), with his 48 total blocks rating fifth in the Cal season record book. The 6-11 center, who was named MVP of the Golden Bear Classic in November, averaged 7.3 ppg and shot a team-high 49.7 percent from the floor.
Knezevic, a freshman guard, and Vierneisel, a sophomore forward, both played key roles as reserves, and greatly increased their contributions down the stretch. Pribble, a third-year walk-on guard who earned a scholarship prior to the 2005-06 campaign, appeared in 24 games during the year.
Midgley completed his career with 1,176 points - ranking 20th on the Bears' all-time list - and his 183 three-pointers are second on the Cal career chart. As a senior this past season, he averaged 8.6 ppg and connected on 49-of-127 three-pointers (38.6%) as the lone senior in the Bears' regular starting lineup.
Cal completed the 2005-06 season with a 20-11 record and placed third in the Pac-10 with a 12-6 mark. The Bears also earned their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance under head coach Ben Braun, earning a No. 7 seed in the Atlanta Regional.