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What Arizona players would have won Hoophall Awards?

This year was the first year of the Hoophall Awards. If they were around in past years, how many would Arizona have? And how many other jerseys would be retired at Arizona?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

This year was the first year of the Hoophall Awards. These five awards (named after Bob Cousy, Jerry West, Julius Erving, Karl Malone, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) are awarded to the best player in the nation at each position (point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and center, respectively). Stanley Johnson won the first Julius Erving Award, given to the best small forward in the country. Importantly, this is a national award, and winning a national award like this is a prerequisite to having your jersey retired at Arizona.

Stanley's win got me thinking -- what if these awards were around in the past? How many would Arizona players have won? And how many more players would have their jerseys retired? So I went back and looked to see what other Arizona players might have won the Hoophall Award at their position.

An Honor Just to be Nominated

Some very good players at Arizona would be good enough to be nominated for an award, but would be very unlikely to win it. Here are some of those guys:

Aaron Gordon, 2014 Karl Malone Award: Jabari Parker wins this one easily, but Aaron Gordon does at least garner a nomination and finishes either second or third (behind Cleanthony Early).

Jordan Hill, 2009 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award: Jordan Hill would just be happy to be one of the five finalists for this award. Tyler Hansborough runs away with this hypothetical award, with DeJuan Blair and Hasheem Thabeet also finishing ahead of Hill.

Jason Gardner, 2002 Bob Cousy Award: I like Jason Gardner, but Jason Williams (the Duke version), Dan Dickau, and Juan Dixon all are better candidates.

Luke Walton, 2002 Julius Erving Award: One of the more unique players in Arizona history, but not good enough to beat Mike Dunleavy Jr.

Chris Mills, 1993 Julius Erving Award: Despite winning Pac-10 Player of the Year, Mills would lose to Calbert Cheaney and Grant Hill. And even if Mills were nominated as a power forward (possible, given that Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was nominated as a power forward this year and that Mills dabbled at power forward), he would lose out to Rodney Rogers and Glenn Robinson.

Steve Kerr, 1988 Bob Cousy Award: No chance Kerr wins this -- Gary Grant wins convincingly -- but Kerr at least finds himself nominated in a group that includes Rod Strickland, Sherman Douglas, and David Rivers.

Bob Elliott, 1976 and 1977 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award: Bob Elliott was pretty much the reason I did this. I really wanted to find out that he would have won this award and that his jersey would therefore be eligible for retirement. I was wrong. Kent Benson (who led Indiana to its undefeated season and national championship in 1976) would win in both 1976 and 1977. Sorry, Bob -- I tried.

Clear Second Place

Of all the losers, these players would have come in first in that group:

Salim Stoudamire, 2005 Jerry West Award: There is no universe where Salim Stoudamire beats J.J. Reddick for this award. Sad but true. Salim finishes in second place.

Jason Gardner, 2003 Bob Cousy Award: Jason Gardner was very good. But T.J. Ford was even better in 2003 and, in fact, won both the Naismith and the Wooden. Gardner easily secures second place, at least.

Khalid Reeves, 1994 Bob Cousy Award: This one hurts. Khalid Reeves was a beast, averaging 24.2 points per game in 1993-94. But Jason Kidd nearly averaged a triple double, with 16.7 points, 9.1 assists, and 6.9 rebounds per game. Reeves is edged out for the Bob Cousy by Kidd just like Reeves was edged out by Kidd for Pac-10 Player of the Year.

Coin Flips

These players might have won the Hoophall Award at their position, depending on how the other players were nominated, how the voters felt about them, and blind luck:

Derrick Williams, 2011 Karl Malone Award: Derrick Williams might have won this award, but it would depend on how the committee nominated players. Jared Sullinger probably wins if he is nominated as a power forward, but if Sullinger is nominated as a center, Williams wins the Karl Malone Award. It also helps that this award is given after the tournament is over because Derrick Williams' tournament performance would only increase his chances of winning:

Jason Terry, 1999 Bob Cousy Award: This was a great year for point guards, really. In the NBA draft later that year, four point guards were selected in the top ten. Jason Terry and Andre Miller would both be strong contenders for this award. I'd bet on Terry, but it's very close.

Sean Elliott, 1989 Julius Erving Award: This was Sean Elliott's best year, but he might not have won the Julius Erving Award. Danny Ferry and Sean Elliott split the national player of the year awards, and both played the same position, so this one could go either way.

Retroactive Award Winners

These great players join Vince Young (2005 Heisman Trophy) and Todd Gurley (2015 Heisman Trophy) as Hypothetical Major National Athlete of the Year award winners:

Nick Johnson, 2014 Jerry West Award: Nick Johnson was a first team All-American in 2014 and won Pac-12 Player of the Year. His closest competition would be Nik Stauskas. Johnson would've been a lock to win this award.

Miles Simon, 1998 Jerry West Award: The 1998 season ended with a disappointing loss to Utah, but that Arizona team was arguably the most talented in school history. Miles Simon was, along with Mike Bibby, a first team All-American, and Michael Dickerson also brought home All-American honors. This win would have made Simon eligible for jersey retirement.

Mike Bibby, 1998 Bob Cousy Award: Mike Bibby was the Pac-10 Player of the Year and a first team All-American. He is a shoo-in for this award. Of course, Bibby's jersey is already retired, but this is still another piece of hardware for Arizona basketball.

Damon Stoudamire, 1995 Bob Cousy Award: Damon Stoudamire was co-Pac-10 Player of the Year and a first team All-American. Most importantly, he was the only point guard on the All-American first team. Randolph Childress, another point guard who found his way into coaching, finishes second.

Sean Elliott, 1988 Julius Erving Award: Note that this is not the 1989 season (when Elliott won national player of the year awards), but the year prior. The competition at the small forward position just wasn't as great in 1988. Like Bibby's, Elliott's jersey is already in the rafters, so this doesn't change much.

So what's the net effect? If these awards were around in the past, Nick Johnson, Miles Simon, Damon Stoudamire, and possibly Derrick Williams would all have their jerseys retired. But because those awards were not around back then, those players' jerseys are not going to be retired. Stanley Johnson was lucky enough to come around after these awards were created, so he can have his jersey retired. It's almost as though the jersey retirement rules are arbitrary and stupid and should be changed.