Bennie and the Nets

Pac-12 Player of the Week

Bennie Boatwright, USC

Bennie BoatwrightBennie BoatwrightThe 6’10 senior has been a consistent performer for this Trojan team all season. He scored 19 on 50 percent shooting against UC Davis in a 73-55 victory on December 30th. Boatwright stuffed the stat sheet with eight boards, four assists, and a block as well as converting on three three pointers. On January 3rd, in its first in conference matchup of the season, the Trojans relied on Boatwright again to score 19 leading to a win over Cal. Boatwright was efficient from the floor shooting 50 percent and he shot 2-5 from deep. Anyone 6'10 that can stretch the floor the way this kid does is extremely valuable to a team. Look for this native Californian to carry a heavy load for this USC team moving forward into 2019.

Who’s Hot

Arizona

The Wildcats now find themselves at the top of the Pac-12 standings following a 64-56 victory over the Colorado Buffaloes. The MVP for Arizona was Brandon Williams, who was the offensive force that was able to help topple the Buffaloes in the first in conference matchup for these teams this year. Williams had 14 points as well as six assists. Chase Jeter also contributed on both ends with seven points, eight rebounds, and two blocks. However, this was a team effort if anything. The Wildcats did a great job of sharing the ball having 13 assists in the game compared to Colorado’s seven. This third consecutive win for Arizona makes them 10-4 after the first in conference matchup. Arizona has another tough conference matchup Saturday against the hot Utah Utes. The game could tell a lot about where the two teams are headed this season.

Who’s Not

Luguentz Dort, Arizona State

The Sun Devils were feeling on top of the world after defeating Kansas on December 22nd, but ever since then it has been a struggle for the squad that was as hot as anyone early in the season. The talented freshman from Montreal, Canada, Luguentz Dort had been hot throughout November, but cooled off in the month of December. He really struggled in Arizona State’s matchup against Princeton Saturday, hitting just 1-8 and finishing with 6 points. Dort averages 17.8 points per game this season, but cosndiering he was averaging 22 ppg after the first month, that number isn't quite so impressive. He has averaged just 11 per game over the past 5, on 14-of-59 (23.7%) from the floor. In ASU’s first conference matchup of the season, Dort underachieved and so did his team. In Thursday’s loss to Utah, the 6’4 guard did score 14 points to go with four assists and two blocks, but he shot 5-14 from the field and 1-6 from deep. Keep in mind that Dort is still only a freshman and it is still early for this Sun Devil team that showed so much promise early. Expect a bounceback from both him and the team.

Top 5 Performances of the Week other than Bennie Boatwright

1. Nick Rakocevic, USC

In the Trojans’ first in conference matchup this season, the big man from Chicago helped beat the California Golden Bears 82-73. The 6’11 junior poured in 27 points on 12-14 shooting to go with eight rebounds and a steal. USC is heating up and should continue to do if Rakocevic is able to replicate shooting 85 percent from the field in games, as well as the help he receives from teammate Bennie Boatwright.

2. Sedrick Barefield, Timmy Allen, Donnie Tillman, Utah

Arizona State appeared to be the best team in the Pac-12 until the Utes got a hold of them Thursday night and beat them 96-86. The trio of Barefield, Allen, and Tillman was too much for the Sun Devils to handle. Barefield scored 24 points on 8-15 shooting and 5-11 from downtown, along with 4 boards, six assists, and a steal. Tillman also provided scoring off the bench with an impressive 22 points on 6-11 shooting and an even better 6-8 from deep. Tillman had six boards and five assists as well. Last but not least, Timmy Allen scored 17 in the win over the Sun Devils and added three boards, four assists, and two steals. If these three can keep it up with consistent production, expect Utah to continue to make noise in the Pac-12.

3. Moses Brown, UCLA

With UCLA’s first in-conference matchup Tuesday against Stanford, Brown was able to reinforce his draft stock even more with a strong performance in the 92-70 victory. Brown recorded a double double with 17 points and 10 rebounds on 8-9 shooting. The 7’1 center also recorded a steal and a block in the matchup. With Bol Bol out for the year for Oregon, Brown gets even more shine as a top rim protector and big man in general in the Pac-12. This was a bounceback win for the Bruins so it will be interesting to see if Brown can help them keep it going in the pivotal month of January.

4. Jaylen Nowell, Washington

Nowell did just about everything except sell popcorn for the Washington Huskies in a 84-76 win on New Year’s Day over CSU Fullerton. The 6’4 sophomore guard scored 20 points on 50 percent shooting as well as dish out six assists, grap three boards, get two steals and block a shot. Nowell is averaging 17 points this season and does warrant attention from NBA GM’s. He is a versatile guard with good size who can not only pass it but also penetrate the lane or shoot the deep ball with respectable accuracy at 38.6 percent.

5. Tres Tinkle, Oregon St.

Tinkle has done just about everything for this Oregon State team in his fourth season with the team. In the Beavers’ last matchup on December 29th, the 6’8 forward scored 20 points and made an impressive 11-13 free throws. Tinkle also had eight rebounds, three assists, one block, and one steal. Tinkle is one of the most talented players with size like him in all of the Pac-12, and if he could just improve his three point shooting from almost 29 percent on the season, he just might be the most valuable player in the whole conference.

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