Pac 12 Blog
Player of the Week
Jorge Gutierrez, California Bears
Over the past week, Jorge Gutierrez averaged 15.5 ppg and 4.5 rpg and has once again established himself as the heart and soul of the #23 ranked Bears as well as a strong candidate for conference player of the year. Despite a respectable 4-1 record, it was a down week overall for Mike Montgomery's team as they were embarrassed by Missouri in a match up that really stung for the Pac 12 as a whole, looking to get a quality win. But don't blame Gutierrez for the disappointing outcome as he has been rock solid as expected and will look to lead the team back into the good graces of hoops analysts around the nation.
Team of the week
The Cardinal were expected to be a solid but unspectacular squad this season. However, they have jumped out of the gate and looked as impressive as any team in the Pac 12 with a 7-1 start to the year. They had an opportunity to send a message that they were a team to look out for with their NIT championship game match up versus the 5th ranked Syracuse Orangemen. The boys from Palo Alto California hung right with their Big East foes, leading.for the majority of the game before wilting over the final minutes getting outscored 15-3 to finish the game and eventually losing by a score of 69-63. But it wasn't the type of loss to hang your head about, and they earned a lot of respect along the way.
Keala King, Arizona State Sun Devils
After a slow start to the season, 6-4 combo guard Keala King has come on strong in his last 2 games vs Wake Forest and Depaul averaging 23.5ppg and 6.5rpg while connecting on 14-22 field goal attempts. Keala is an intriguing player with his versatility and willingness to create off the dribble either for himself or his teammates. If he continues his play of late, he and junior SF Trent Lockett will combine to make of the more dangerous duos out West.
Reeves Nelson, UCLA Bruins
I promise this slot will not become a weekly Bruin futility of the week award. But for the second straight week, I have to go with a UCLA player here and it has more to do with the off the court issues then his play on it. Reeves was suspended briefly for a poor attitude to start the year but after meeting with coach Ben Howland, and subsequently having the suspension lifted, there was hope around campus things might change for the Junior big man. However, the honeymoon didn't last long as he immediately missed the teams flight the very next day prompting a half game suspension. Coach Howland has recently stated that Reeves has lost his starting job indefinitely as he has continued to show character issues in practice. It is clear that Nelson is a very talented individual, but his coach is losing patience with him.
Top 5 Point Gaurds
Aaron Bright, Stanford
Bright is leading a very patient and well balanced offense that emphasizes ball movement and hitting the open man as opposed to focusing on feeding any one individual player. He is connecting on 54% of his field goals and 53% of his three point attempts. Stanford's PG play has turned 180 degrees from last season when it was one of the Cardinal's weak spots.
Maurice Jones, USC
Jones leads the Trojans at 16 ppg and is the focal point of the opposition nightly. He is more of a gunner then you would normally like from the PG position, but considering the Trojans lack of offensive firepower, Jones's aggressive scoring approach is best for the team.
Abdul Gaddy, Washington
Gaddy is averaging a modest 10 ppg and 5 apg, but he brings a nice dose of patience and ball movement to a squad full of aggressive score first mentalities. An excellent passer, he sees the court well and doesn't get caught up in over-dribbling.
Tony Wroten, Washington
Wroten is a dynamic game changing type who is the best pro prospect on this list. He is a wizard with the basketball threading needles through tight spots but must mature in his shooting and decision making as he currently averages more turnovers then assists. Another year or two of college seasoning would be highly beneficial before he considers leaving for the pro's.
Josh Watkins, Utah
Watkins is a strong bulldog type PG who attacks the paint and has excellent one on one shot creating ability. He is a bright spot for the rebuilding Utah program. He is currently averaging 19 ppg and 5 apg while shooting just over 50% from the field which is extra impressive considering the weight of the offense is on his shoulders.
-The Pac 12 has done itself few favors in the eyes of the national media failing to grab a major victory from a highly ranked opponent in the early going with Cal's loss to Missouri being the most embarrassing. But all is not as bad as some might think. There are five teams currently at one loss (Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Cal) and Arizona is playing solid despite not living up to it's top 25 billing to start the season.
-DeWayne Dedmon sustained a stress injury to his right foot and is out 4-6 weeks. While he hopes to be back in time for Conference play, one can't help but shudder at the idea of foot problems associated with young big men.
-Freshman SG Jabari Brown decided to transfer from Oregon after just 2 mediocre games for the program. Brown was being hailed as one of the top freshman in years for the Ducks and second year coach Dana Altman's first top tier recruit. But Brown struggled out of the gates recording just 12 total points to go with 11 turnovers in 2 games while shooting 27% from the field. He will be enrolling at San Diego State.
-Colorado just recently finished their brand new practice facility that allows the team to no longer have to share gym time with any of the other School sports programs. This has the players very excited, a few of which commented about how great having around the clock 24 hour access to the facility in order to get shots up has been. The coaching staff also noted that the new gym has helped with recruiting where Colorado has a top 25 ranked class coming in next year.
Great Post LL Perez..
Washington is my Sleeper Final Four Pick...
I know alot of Bruin fans have to be really disappointed after going into the season with high hopes for the team...And watch the team go through poor guard play,poor defensive play ,weight issues with some players and off the court problems...
thanks for the compliment rudeboy. And yes, while the air has been sucked out on the season for ucla fans, the great thing about college basketball as opposed to it's football counterpart is that there is always a chance to grow and recover and make the tournament.