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Properly Buff'ed Up

Player of the Week

Askia Booker - Colorado

Askia BookerAskia BookerI haven’t mentioned Colorado much this year, they seem to be a middling team in the Pac-12, especially with their injuries. One of the shining lights for the Buffaloes has been their senior guard, Askia Booker. Agent Zero had himself a game against USC Thursday night, 43 points three assists and steals in triple overtime. Booker did have six turnovers but 43 points in a college game is nothing to pass over. Colorado also won their other game this week against Washington St. in a blowout. The senior chipped in 21 points and four assists. Booker’s NBA aspirations are tough to gauge, he is a shooting guard in a point guards body. If Booker could show some better passing ability, maybe an NBA team would give him a look, it just seems unlikely. Regardless, Booker is a fun player to watch and is the main stimulant for the Buffaloes offense.

Who’s Hot

Anthony Brown - Stanford

The Cardinals are playing excellent basketball and Brown just keeps impressing me with his offensive efficiency. The senior just seems to pick his spots, never pushing the boundaries of what he can or cannot do on the court. In an impressive win against Washington, Brown scored 23 points on only nine shots. The senior shot 15 free throws making 12! He also chipped in seven boards and three blocks. All around games like this from an “unsung” hero are why the Cardinals are playing so well. I’ll end this the same way I ended last week’s section, Brown should be getting more of Chasson Randle’s shots.

Who’s Cold

Jordan Loveridge - Utah

Loveridge was supposed to be the second foil to Delon Wright but the junior forward has been incredibly inconsistent when he plays. Loveridge is basically a spot of shooter, he doesn't get to the line much and isn't much of a passer either. Loveridge was terrible in Utah’s loss against UCLA. Three points, one for eight shooting and only four rebounds. Loveridge somehow put up these numbers in only 20 minutes of game time because he was in foul trouble! The junior is only shooting 41 percent from the field for the year as well. If Utah is going to win the Pac-12 they need everyone on the team to start stepping up, especially Loveridge.

Jordan McLaughlin - USC

It has been a bad week for Jordans in the Pac-12 with the freshman from USC showing up on the cold list. I mentioned that McLaughlin had the chance to raise his stock in Pac-12 play but he somehow lowered it. The freshman was bad this week against both Colorado and Oregon State. Against Colorado, McLaughlin shot 3-13, against Oregon State, 2-11. The freshman had seven assists in both games which is at least an improvement from last week, but it does not make up for missing almost every shot you take. McLaughlin is only shooting 35 percent from the field for the year. The freshman should really stay in school and find a jump shot.

After watching UCLA stomp Utah on Thursday, I decided to make my top 5 list on the most infuriating things in the Pac-12 list this year, by a player or a team.

Top 5 Most Infuriating things in the Pac-12 this year.

1. UCLA at home vs UCLA away.
UCLA is a completely different team at home. Just this week the Bruins beat 11th ranked Utah at home without the game ever in doubt. UCLA played with an energy Thursday night that I rarely see from this team. Last Saturday at Oregon the Bruins played uninspired ball the entire day letting up an astonishing 46 points at the half and that is just this week! There are more examples of how much better UCLA is at home. Now this can be said for many teams, yet the play just doesn't seem as drastic as the splits for UCLA. Coach Steve Alford has to figure out how to inspire the Bruins at home or they will be in danger of missing the NCAA tournament.

2. Delon Wright’s passivity

I touched on Wright’s inability to stay engaged for the entire game last week, but he has to demonstrate that he will try in every game, no matter how easy or difficult. Wright is clearly the leader of the Utes, if he does not seem engaged how do you think the team will react? The senior basically initiates the entire Ute offense and I understand that this can get tiring, but he cannot take plays off, especially if he wants to be drafted in the first round. Against UCLA on Thursday night, Wright never seemed like he was interested. Yes, he finished with 15 points but he had four turnovers and two assists, which is an incredible rarity for a player like Wright. I really want to see the senior become more aggressive, get to the rim and draw some fouls. If Wright starts to look for his offense more, I can see the rest of the Utes moving around and playing with more energy, only then can they possibly beat Arizona.

3. Tyrone Wallace in Pac-12 play

Wallace was one of my favorite players going into Pac-12 play. The junior had found a three point shot, he was rebounding like a maniac and even playing some defense! Ever since Pac-12 play, something must have happened to Wallace. The junior’s shot has seemingly left him, and he was turning the ball over an incredible amount. Wallace and the Bears finally got a win against Washington State Thursday night with Wallace scoring 26 points. Hopefully he has gotten his mojo back and will continue to look for his own shot and drive to the rim. An aggressive Wallace is good news for Cal, lets hope he keeps it up.

4. Joseph Young taking every single shot he looks at.

Young is that player in pick up basketball no one wants to play with, he has never seen a shot that he doesn't like. The senior is shooting 43 percent on the year, which isn’t a terrible number overall but he is shooting a career low percentage from three. Oregon is a really fun team to watch! They run, they shoot and they occasionally play some defense. Young just seems to only want to shoot, he only averages three assists a game and has taken an incredible 321 shots the entire year! That is 97 more than the second place player, Dillon Brooks. If Young was making, say 50 percent of these shots it would be great, but the simple point is he shouldn't be taking all of these shots. No winning team is a one man show, if Young involved his teammates more and maybe not take every.single.shot. the Ducks could win some more games in Pac-12 play.

5. Washington’s Offense

The Huskies themselves are infuriating to watch, especially when they are on offense. You know when you play pick up basketball and everyone is just looking at each other and has no idea what to do? That’s what Washington does every time they are on offense. Everyone is waiting for someone to make a play or Nigel Williams Goss to break down the defense. The Huskies are ranked 134th in the nation in points per game. Offense in basketball really isn't that difficult. You can make a cut, have some off-ball picks, run a pick and roll, get the ball inside for a post-up or kick-out pass etc. Coach Lorenzo Romar is at fault. When a team is stagnant on offense and just cannot find point, their coach has to find ways to get easy shots, not just focus on defense the entire time. Lets hope the Huskies find their offense and turn this around before it’s too late.

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