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Harden named Pac-10 Player of the Year

March 09, 2009

ASU sophomore guard James Harden has been named the 2008-09 Pacific-10 Men's Basketball Player of the Year, becoming the third Sun Devil to win the honor.

Senior Jeff Pendergraph was named to the 10-man first-team. He earned all-freshman honors in 2005-2006, honorable mention in 2006-2007, third-team in 2007-2008 and first-team this season.

In other honors handed out by the Pac-10: Washington guard Isaiah Thomas was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year; USC junior forward Taj Gibson has been named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year; Washington senior guard Justin Dentmon has been named Pac-10 Most Improved Player of the Year and Lorenzo Romar of Washington is the Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced Monday.

The duo of Harden and Pendergraph has led ASU to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1979-80 and 1980-81 as ASU was 21-13 last year and is 22-8 this season. The Sun Devils swept UCLA for just the third time in its 31 years of Pac-10 play and posted 11 conference wins for just the second time in the past 14 seasons, as it tied with Cal for third in the league.

ASU will take on Arizona at noon Thursday in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament.

In a vote of the Pac-10 Coaches during their meetings last spring, the league restructured the All-Conference honors from three teams of five players each, to a 10-player first team and a five-player second team.

Harden, a first-team selection last year, is averaging 20.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.1 rebounds per game and is shooting 50.4 percent from the field and has 16 20-point games.

Pendergraph is averaging 14.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game while shooting 66.5 percent from the floor and 77.2 percent from the foul line.