Player of the Week
Justin Cobbs, California
Cobbs’ sense of urgency in big games was on display in the Golden Bears victory over #1 ranked Arizona. Time and time again throughout the game he came up with big plays on both ends of the floor when the team needed him most. He’s a playmaker late in the game every time he’s on floor, especially in crunch time when someone needs to step up and take a game winning shot.
In California’s victory over #1 Arizona, Cobbs led all scorers with 19 points (16 in 2nd half) to go along with seven assists and a steal. He shot .462 from the field while also adding a 3-pointer and converting on all six of his free-throws attempted. With the game tied and just seconds to go, the guard stormed down the court and hit the game-winning shot on a fade-away over 7-0 center Kaleb Tarczewski to cap the win for the Golden Bears and end the Wildcats undefeated run. In the overtime loss to Arizona St. the previous game, Cobbs scored 21 points and also added three assists and three steals. He averaged 20.0 points, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals in Cal’s two games this week.
Cobbs is the leader on the floor for the Golden Bears with most of the offense starting with him. He can create opportunities for his teammates and also does a great job attacking the basket, using his body to draw fouls and get to the charity stripe where he’s shooting 81 percent. The senior is leading his team in points (15.7) and assists (6.0, 2nd in conference) per game and has recorded five 20-point games up to this point.
Jahii Carson, Arizona State
Carson continues to stay hot halfway through the conference season. The guard sets the tone for the Sun Devils with intensity, toughness and clutch shot making ability. He has blazing speed in transition allowing him to get in the paint and finish at the rim, where he finishes as tough as anyone in the league. The sophomore has a little bit of trouble when he is forced to use his left hand, but he’s shown improvement as the season progresses.
Carson averaged 26.5 points in Arizona State’s two games and carried his team in the overtime win against Cal. He recorded 29 points and seven assists, getting into the lane and drawing fouls frequently throughout, converting 12-16 attempts. The sophomore guard leads the Sun Devils in points (19.1, 3rd in conference) and assists (4.6) per game. He’s cashed in eight 20-point games this season.
DJ Shelton, Washington State
The senior has really picked up his play over the past couple of games and has become a good all-around player for the Cougars. He’s been more aggressive from the perimeter (5.0 3-point attempts per game last week) and is good at attacking the rim with dribble penetration. The forward also gets a lot of rebounds, which shouldn’t go unnoticed.
In Washington State’s only game this week against in-state rival Washington, Shelton posted a double-double (6th of the season) with 20 points and 18 rebounds. He also added three assists, four steals and a block to help propel the Cougars to victory. The senior leads his team with 8.6 rebounds per game (5th in conference) and also helps out scoring, averaging 9.2 points per game.
Dwight Powell, Stanford
Powell has been knocking down his mid-range jumper more often than he has in recent weeks. Added shooting ability along with his good strength down low can post a problem for opponents defending him each outing. He’s able to finish through contact at the rim and gets into a good rhythm when his jumper is falling for him.
The senior averaged 20.5 points, 5.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds in Stanford’s two games this week. In the teams win against Arizona State, Powell recorded a game-high 28 points along with five rebounds and five assists. He shot .500 from behind the arc (2-4) and converted on 10-12 attempts from the free-throw line. The forward has a great stat line, averaging 14.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.5 steals (leads team) and 1.0 blocks per game. He’s also posted six double-doubles on the season.
Jabari Bird, California
Bird hasn’t been able to return to form since sustaining an ankle injury on December 22 that caused him to miss four games. Upon returning, he’s only scored in double figures once with 12 points back in January in the team’s loss to UCLA. In the Golden Bears two games this week the guard averaged 3.0 points per game on a .309 shooting percentage from the field. He also missed all four of his attempts from the 3-point range and contributed just an assist per game. The freshman came into the season as one of the top prospects in the conference.
Jordan Loveridge, Utah
The sophomore struggled in the Utes only game this week. In the overtime loss to Colorado, he was able to muster up just four points on 2-11 (.182) shooting from the field and he missed all five of his attempts from downtown as well. He also failed to get to the foul stripe, where he’s shooting a solid 81 percent on the season. On the plus side, Loveridge contributed with four rebounds, five assists and a steal. But it was nearly impossible for the Utes to pull out a close win with the hefty amount of shots he was missing.
Top 5 Thieves
1. Jordan Adams, UCLA
Adams leads the Bruins and the conference, averaging 3.0 steals per game. He has good height and athleticism on the wing, which helps him make an impact on the defense end of the floor. UCLA is aggressive on defense regardless of who has the ball. The team is leading the conference, averaging 10.5 steals per game.
2. Delon Wright, Utah
The junior is great a creating turnovers so far this season. He keys things defensively for the Utes and seems to get his hands on everything, whether it’s around the perimeter or close to the basket. Wright leads his team and is second in the conference, averaging 2.8 steals per game.
3. TJ McConnell, Arizona
McConnell is the leader of this stingy Wildcat defense. He sets the tone on both ends of the floor, but does an exception job on the defensive end. The junior leads his team and is ranked third in the conference, averaging 1.9 steals per game. Arizona is first in the conference in scoring defense allowing 56.8 points per game.
4. Kyle Anderson, UCLA
Intercepting passes and plucking opposing ball handlers is just another aspect to add to the sophomore’s repertoire. He’s big for the guard position at 6-9 and uses his size and length to tip passes and cause havoc on the defensive end. Anderson is averaging 1.7 steals per game, good for second on his team and fourth in the conference.
5. Joseph Young, Oregon
Young leads his team and is fifth in the conference, averaging 1.6 steals per game. He’s very active on defense and has quick hands which help leads to turnovers going the other way for the Ducks. Oregon is ranked second in the conference, averaging 8.5 steals per game.