SALT LAKE CITY — Three members of the Utah men’s basketball team received recognition in the Pac-12 Conference awards released Monday.
Sophomore Donnie Tillman became the first Ute to win the Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Year Award, senior Sedrick Barefield was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team, and Timmy Allen made the Pac-12 All-Freshman team.
Tillman, who has come off the bench in 16 of Utah’s 30 games this season, averaged 10.3 points and 5.3 rebounds for the Utes. The sophomore has made steady improvement from last season, especially from behind the arc. Tillman made just nine 3-pointers on 28 attempts during his first year with the Utes but has made 43 such shots on 116 attempts this season.
In an interview with the Pac-12 Network, Tillman said his game has changed since his first year on the hill.
“I wasn’t really too confident in my shooting,” Tillman said. “I was a big driver. … But watching other great shooters around me on the team, I just got in the gym every day and worked.”
After starting nine of his team’s first 12 games, Tillman has adjusted well to coming off the bench.
“I’m just really eager on the bench,” Tillman said.” It just gives me a chance to see how the game’s going, where I can attack. I come in with a better mindset; I’m more relaxed in a way because I’ve already watched the game go on. A lot of times I’m just trying to come off the bench and be a spark.”
Barefield, who was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team, ranked fifth in the Pac-12 in scoring this season and led the Utes with 17.2 points per game. The senior also leads the team in assists this season, dishing out 3.8 per game.
Allen, who was one of five members on the conference’s All-Freshman Team, scored 12.2 points per game while posting a 58.3 shooting percentage for the Utes this season, both good for second-highest on the team. The freshman also finished second on the team on the glass this year, hauling in 5.3 rebounds per game.
The Utes will begin play as the No. 3 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament Thursday at 9:30 p.m. MDT.