Player of the Week
Kyle Anderson, UCLA
The sophomore is basically a walking double-double. Of the Bruins 20 games this season he has recorded a double-double in 11 of them, also sprinkling in a triple-double on November 22. He’s almost a sure bet to get one each game, if not come as close as possible by being a rebound or an assist shy. His 11 double-doubles are the most on his team and in the Pac-12 this season.
Anderson posted his 10th and 11th double-doubles of the season in the Bruins two home wins this week. He ended the game with 13 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and two steals in the win over Stanford. The guard-forward then put up 17 points, 12 rebounds and five assists the following game in the teams win over Cal. He averaged 15.0 points, 9.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game in the two victories.
Anderson plays at his own speed and slows the game down when he is running point for the offense. He continually sets up his teammates, but also gets in the lane for tough buckets if he doesn’t like what he sees in the defense. He’s averaging close to a double-double on the season with 15.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game. The sophomore is the only player in the conference to rank among the top 5 in assists (1st), rebounds (4th), and steals (4th) per game.
Nick Johnson, Arizona
Johnson is the best all-around player on this undefeated Wildcat squad. He scores, rebounds, passes, defends and is also a great free-throw shooter (.798 FT%, leads team). He’s truly a multi-dimensional player that’s involved in almost everything that happens on both ends of the court. In the Wildcats win over Utah, he scored 22 points shooting .500 from the field, while adding four rebounds and two assists. He now has seven 20-point games on the season. The junior guard and leading candidate for Pac-12 Player of the Year averaged 20.0 points per game in the team’s two wins this week.
Jahii Carson, Arizona State
Carson leads the Sun Devils in both points (18.4) and assists (4.6) per game. He does an excellent job attacking the rim, where he picks up most of his points. For being 5-10, he finishes strong at the rim with defenders that are much bigger then him blocking the basket. He also gets to the free-throw line frequently where he is shooting .722.
After a two game losing streak, Carson helped the Sun Devils bounce back with two wins against pretty good opponents in Utah and Colorado. In the teams win over Colorado he dropped 18 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists and a steal. The sophomore helped his scoring output by going 7-10 from the stripe in the game. Carson has six 20-point games on the season and has eclipsed 1,000 points in his college career, now with 1,015.
Royce Woolridge, Washington State
The junior struggled this week as the Cougars lost both of their games against Oregon State and Oregon, extending their losing streak to four games. He totaled just six points on the week shooting .225 (2-9) from the field. In the teams loss to Oregon he was only able to get one of his five shots to drop, adding two points from the free-throw line for a total of four points on the game. Washington State has really struggled without their leading scorer Davonte Lacy due to injury. They haven’t been able to find someone who they can run their offense through, averaging 49.2 points without him in the lineup.
TJ McConnell, Arizona
I’m not sure if cold is the right tag to apply to McConnell after the week, more like not the McConnell standard. He is the set-up guy for the Wildcats, but he’s also been an efficient shooter throughout the season when he decides to shoot. However, his production dipped slightly in Arizona’s wins over Colorado and Utah.
The junior averaged 3.5 assists per game, below his season average of 6.0 on the season. He also lost his efficient touch shooting the ball with a .211 (3-14) field-goal percentage over the two games. In the game against Utah he shot poorly from behind the arc, making just 1-5 and committed four turnovers. The Wildcats are going to need McConnell back on his A game with tough road matchups against Stanford and Cal in their next two games.
Top 5 Award Contenders
Nick Johnson, Arizona
Johnson is a candidate for the Wooden Award and the Oscar Robertson Trophy. He provides great leadership on a team that is mostly comprised of freshman and sophomores. Also, he never backs down during crucial moments in the game, always taking the big shot or playing solid defense with the game on the line.
The junior leads the Wildcats in scoring, averaging 16.7 points per game. He has seven 20-point games on the season and has been the MVP of the undefeated Arizona team.
Kyle Anderson, UCLA
Anderson is on the list of players up for the Wooden Award. He’s the most important player on this Bruins team at this point in the season. He’s improved as a better all-around player on offense this season and the offense runs through him whenever he’s out on the court.
The sophomore leads the conference in double-doubles with 11 and has also chipped in seven 20-point games on the season. He’s leading the Bruins in rebounds (9.0) and assists (6.7) per game and is shooting efficiently with a .514 field-goal percentage.
Aaron Gordon, Arizona
Gordon is a nominee for the Wooden Award, which recognizes the nation’s top player, Oscar Robertson Trophy, also recognizing the nation’s top player and the Wayman Tisdale Award Midseason Watch List honoring the nation’s top freshman.
The forward is great on defense, he constantly turns opponents away that are trying to attack the basket. Offensively, he creates scoring opportunities by crashing the paint and dunking the ball a ton. His effort and energy is there every game and although he has struggled of late, he's still been an important piece to Arizona's undefeated season thus far. The freshman is averaging 12.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.
Joseph Young, Oregon
Young is the final member of the Pac-12 nominated for the Wooden Award. The junior is leading his team in scoring, averaging 17.6 points per game, which is also fifth in the conference. He’s a pure scorer on this offense; he can take it into the paint and get fouls or knock down the shot from behind the arc.
The Duck guard has notched seven 20-point games thus far. He gets to the line often throughout the game and converts efficiently at the foul stripe, shooting .871 (3rd in conference). Young is ranked fourth in the conference with 38 3-pointers on the season, averaging 2.0 3-point field-goals per game.
Sean Miller, Arizona
Miller isn’t getting much attention as coach of the year, but he’s done a lot to get the Wildcats where they are now. Arizona is filled with underclassmen and Miller has done a good job with the rotation to allow them to flourish on both sides of the court. Nick Johnson and TJ McConnell help fill out the roster and provide leadership each outing. The best aspect of this team is that nobody tries to do too much. Each player has a role and they make sure to do their part each time they step on the court. In his fifth season as coach of the Wildcats, Miller has coached a talented team to an undefeated record so far (20-0) and Arizona is ranked #1 in the nation.