Allen Crabbe may be the Pac-12's leading scorer, but he doesn't believe that's why he was named Pac-12 Player of the Year on Monday.
Crabbe averages 18.6 points per game, but it was his realization that he doesn't need to score that turned him into more of a complete player this season.
"I realized it doesn't really matter if I score," Crabbe said Monday, just a few hours after learning he had been named the conference's top player for the 2012-13 season. "It's a team effort. I trust in my teammates to make plays. I just tried to find ways to get them involved."
Indeed, when the Bears became less dependent on Crabbe to score, they became better. During the final 11 games of the regular season, in which Cal went 9-2, Crabbe scored more than 16 points just three times. Twice, he didn't even reach double-digits, and both times those games ended up as victories.
"I'm happy or Allen," Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. "He came in as a highly touted freshman and worked himself up to being the conference leading scorer. But now he's doing other things. He's been drawing everybody's best shot all year long. He's had to work really hard to get anything done."
Crabbe is the third Cal player to be named Pac-12 Player of the Year in the past four seasons, joining Jerome Randle in 2010 and Jorge Gutierrez last year.
"I realized all the hard work I put into the offseason really does matter," Crabbe said. "I feel like I'm really blessed to be in this situation to be considered the MVP of this conference. I want to thank my team for sticking with me through my hardships. They've always been there to pick me up. I wasn't able to do this alone. And I want to thank the coaching staff for believing in me. I thank all of them for being there and trusting me."
In addition to Crabbe earning Player of the Year honors, teammate Justin Cobbs was named to the All-Pac-12 second team. Cobbs was disappointed to be left off the all-conference team last year, but now that he's on the second team, he has his sights set on more.
"I'm blessed to make the second team," Cobbs said. "At the same time, I want to reach the higher goal and make first team. There's room for improvement. I have to keep working. It's not a negative thing. I'm blessed to make second team. At the same time, now I have work to do."