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Mick Cronin, Justin Jackson Win AAC Awards, Kilpatrick Snubbed

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The inaguaral American Athletic Conference Player of the Year will be Shabazz Napier, who deserves a ton of credit for leading a team predicted to finish 3rd in the conference to a strong 5th place finish.

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Mick Cronin is clearly and irrefutably the coach of the year. No one expected this team to have this kind of season. After ugly losses to New Mexico and Xavier no one really expected what transpired to happen, and yet it did. This is the best coaching job of Mick's career, even eclipsing the job that he did with the 2012 team post brawl. A deserving winner.

Likewise for Justin Jackson who has been the best defender on the best defensive team in the conference from day one of this season. It can be breathtaking to watch and Jackson has as much to do with that as anyone else.

As for Sean Kilpatrick losing the Player of the Year award to Shabazz Napier, there is nothing to defend that pick. If it is a team award fine. But UConn was predicted to finish third in the conference and ended up the year fifth, his team was a disapointment this season.

If its about stats be they annalog or advanced its still Sean Kilpatrick. He led the league in scoring, he was also by far the most efficient of the three main contenders for the award on the offensive end. That's not even mentioning his work on the defensive end which has been excellent. This makes no sense in any universe.

I could see Russ Smith getting the award, very easily. He has had a phenomenal close to the season and Louisville is playing the best basketball of anyone in the conference at the moment. I would understand his getting the award. But Bazz getting the nod is baffaling to me. And I say that as someone who genuienlly enjoys watching him play the game of basketball. He just isn't the player of the year in this conference.