Player of the Week
Jaime Jaquez Jr. (UCLA)
The last week of Pac-12 regular season games saw many players step up and have noteworthy performances to cap off the year. None were quite like Jaime Jaquez Jr.. In a 77-66 win against the Washington Huskies, Jaquez Jr. did the scoring and the rebound grabbing for his team. He went off for 30 points coupled with snagging 9 rebounds in 36 minutes of play (the most for any player on the Bruins). This was followed up by a huge win days later against the USC Trojans. In a 75-68 win, he once again led the Bruins to a win, this time with an all-around great performance. 27 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in 34 minutes of play capped off this last week for Jaquez Jr. and he couldn’t have gone out any better. This heating up style of play for him couldn’t have come at a better time as he is an integral part of UCLA’s squad and will be needed come tournament time.
Benedict Mathurin (Arizona)
Benedict Mathurin has become a regular on this part of the blog and for good reason; the sophomore is a straight bucket. In Arizona’s last slate of games, they went 3-0. This 3-0 week started off by beating USC 91-71, solidifying Arizona as the best team in the Pac-12. Mathurin had 19 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 6 assists, an all-around great performance to run the Trojans out of the gym. Two days later, the Wildcats beat Stanford 81-69 where Mathurin once again went off. He had 24 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists to lead Arizona over the Cardinal and once again proved he’s the best player on the squad. In an 89-61 win against California, he slowed down a bit but still had a solid game. 13 points and 6 rebounds in 27 minutes of play were Mathurin’s stats and the blowout certainly gave him a much-needed break. Arizona is the Pac-12 champion after this undefeated week and capped off an insane season.
Terrell Brown Jr. (Washington)
In what was likely the last regular season week for this senior guard, Terrell Brown Jr. showed out. He scored 20+ in his last three games for the Huskies and helped them go 2-1 to end the year. In a loss to UCLA on Monday, Brown Jr. was the only competent player on the Huskies, scoring 20 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. Only two other players scored in double figures and he led the team in scoring by 6 points. On Thursday, he had his best game of the week to lead Washington over a borderline tournament squad in the Oregon Ducks. Brown Jr. scored 24 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, and dished out 4 assists all while playing 40 minutes. It’s safe to say he left it all on the court for this game. On Saturday in the last regular season game for Washington, he once again had 24 points and led the Huskies to a win over Oregon State. Brown Jr. has had one of the most impressive years in terms of scoring amongst the NCAA and will surely go down as one of the best players in this year’s Pac-12 conference.
This week, USC played both top teams in the Pac-12 (Arizona and UCLA). A win against either one could have solidified themselves as a top 2 finisher in the Pac-12 and a real threat come tournament time but instead, they lost to both in some ugly games. On Tuesday, the Trojans got smacked around by the Arizona Wildcats, losing 91-71. There really weren’t any positives to be taken from this game as they went down early and never clawed back into the contest. Flash forward to Saturday and they once again lost to UCLA, 75-68. In such high stake games, it’s clear that USC can’t show up when needed and this certainly hurt their tournament seeding come Sunday night.
Oregon State Beavers
Now that the season is over, it’s safe to say the most disappointing team was easily the Oregon State Beavers. They finished 3-27 after having an amazing tournament run and fooled everyone into thinking that they were a real tournament contender come March. In their last week of the regular season, they had three winnable games and lost every single one, losing to Washington State twice and Washington once. This team was abysmal and certainly will have to reevaluate and recruit some prospects if they want to be in tournament contention again.