Askia Book It
Player of the Week
Askia Booker, Colorado
Booker has stepped up his play and has been contributing a lot to the Buffs’ offense over the last couple of games. He continues to show up in big games and shows his confidence to take the big shot when the game is on the line. His early season shooting slump appears to be a thing of the past.
In the conference opener against Oregon State, the junior guard posted 13 points along with four rebounds, two assists and four steals. He was perfect from the free-throw line, converting all six of his attempts. The following game, Booker’s big game ability was on display again as Colorado pulled off an upset victory over undefeated #10 Oregon. He recorded a career-high 27 points shooting .500 (8-16) from the field and .833 (10-12) from the stripe. His seven rebounds were a season-high and he also added four assists and a steal. This was his first 20-point game of the season.
Booker averaged 20.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.5 steals in the Buffs’ Pac 12 home wins last week and will be crucial to the team’s success in conference play. He’s averaging 13.6 points and 1.4 steals per game.
Brandon Taylor, Utah
Taylor had a career night in the Utes victory over Oregon State. He scored a career-high 23 points (7-9), 15 of which came from behind the arc for another career-high (five 3-pointers) and he also added eight assists on the night, another career-high. The sophomore guard is usually pressed with guarding the opponent’s top offensive player, but he contributed on both ends of the court in the teams win over the Beavers. He shot 1.000 from the free-throw line over the course of the week, raising his season average to .893 and hasn’t missed a free-throw attempt in his last five games. Taylor is currently averaging 11.7 points and 4.3 assists per game, with his assists total ranking him seventh in the conference.
Nick Johnson, Arizona
In the Wildcats game against conference foe Washington, Johnson put up 24 points for his fifth 20-point game of the season. He also added four rebounds, four assists, and two steals to his stat sheet total. Seven of his points came from the free-throw line as he shot .875 (7-8) from the stripe on the night.
Johnson has been the backbone of this undefeated Arizona squad with conference play just underway. He leads his team in scoring; averaging 16.0 points per game and does a great job defensively even though it rarely shows up in the box score at the end of the game. His activeness on the defensive end constantly changes the flow of the opponent’s offense. The junior guard is a confident shooter with good consistency to create offense.
Angus Brandt, Oregon State
In the Beavers two losses over the week Brandt only combined for a total of nine points between the two games. His scoring output for the week was way below his average of 11.5 points per game. He’s shooting efficiently from the floor with a .543 field-goal percentage, but was unable to get anything going in first two conference games of the season. Colorado and Utah are playing pretty good basketball right now so that could be related to his dip in production this past week.
PeShon Howard, USC
Coming into the game against UCLA, Howard was averaging 10.2 points per game but failed to record a single point in the blowout loss. He ended the game with 0 points and three turnovers and he’s now failed to score in the team’s last two outings. The senior guard is doing a good job distributing the basketball, averaging 4.2 assists per game but the Trojans do a lot better when he is contributing by scoring the ball as well. He is shooting .377 from the field and needs to start taking better shots to get back on track.
Top 5 Shot Blockers
1. Jordan Bachynski, Arizona State
Bachynski leads the nation, averaging 4.9 blocks per game. In the Sun Devils two games this past week he posted six and five blocks as he continues to prove that he is the best shot blocker in the nation. The senior can block shots and finish at the basket, which gives Arizona State a chance to contend in the Pac 12.
2. Omar Oraby, USC
The 7-2 center from Egypt has been playing well this season with extended playing time. He’s second in the conference, averaging 2.7 blocks per game. Foul trouble reduced his minute’s last game against UCLA as he was only able to come out of the game with one block. He’s averaging a full block more than last season’s 1.5 blocks per game.
3. Josh Huestis, Stanford
Huestis has taken a lot of pressure off of Dwight Powell on the defensive end this season. He’s averaging 2.5 blocks per game and his shot blocking ability has made it tough for opponents to penetrate the defense with both him and Powell down low. The senior forward has been a better all-around player for the Cardinal this season.
4. David Kravish, California
The junior forward is averaging 1.6 blocks per game, ranking him fourth in the conference in the category. Kravish has always been a pretty solid defender for the Golden Bears and this season is no different. He’s really stepped up with opponents attacking him more this season because of the strong play of Richard Solomon down low along with him.
5. Devon Collier, Oregon State
Collier has been one of few bright spots on this struggling Beaver team this season. He’s improved his game in all aspects, but his shot blocking ability has really taken a giant step forward. His 1.6 blocks per game have him ranked fifth in the conference and is a big step up from his 0.9 blocks per game last season.