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UW's Brooks, Johnson Receive All-Pac-12, Sixth Man Rewards

The pair of Huskies were singled out for their exceptional play.
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Keion Brooks Jr., having one of the finest seasons in University of Washington basketball annals, on Tuesday was named as a first-team All-Pac-12 selection, while Koren Johnson, maybe deserving of a starting role for half of the schedule at least, was picked as the Sixth Man of the Year by the conference.

The 6-foot-7 Brooks, a graduate senior forward from Fort Wayne, Indiana, who is playing in his second season with the Huskies after his transfer from Kentucky, enters the Pac-12 Tournament averaging 21.3 points per game, which leads the league in scoring and ranks him 13th nationally, and 6.8 rebounds.

Brooks has scored 20 points or more this season on 23 occasions, which is a UW school record and the most in the conference this season.

One of five finalists for the Julius Erving Award, which is given to the nation's top player, Brooks was one of 10 players chosen to the All-Pac-12 first team after receiving second-team accolades a year ago. He similarly was in the running for conference Player of the Year honors, which went to Arizona guard Caleb Love, the North Carolina transfer.

Ironically, Johnson finished the regular season as one of the Huskies' starting guards, making his fourth game-opening appearance of the season in a 74-68 win at Washington State. However, he claims the Sixth Man award because he did not start more than a third of his games.

The 6-foot-2 sophomore guard from Seattle is just the second UW player to receive the Sixth Man accolade, joining guard Al Moscatel, who accepted it in 1986.

Johnson enjoyed a sensational final month of the regular season, averaging 18.7 points and 4.2 assists while shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range over seven games. He averages 10.9 points and shoots 43.7 percent for the season.

With a UW coaching change already announced, whereas Mike Hopkins will lose his job once the season ends, a new Husky leader will need to make it his top priority to keep Johnson in Montlake. The guard no doubt will have plenty of suitors.

As far as a new coach goes, Washington State's Kyle Smith has been name-dropped as a possible Husky target and rightly so. He was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year.

On Wednesday, the eighth-seeded Huskies (17-14 overall, 9-11 league) will open conference tournament play against No. 9 USC (14-17, 8-12) at noon at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

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