Player of the Week
[player: Brandon Ashley] – Arizona
Ashley didn’t have the best of weeks. It just didn’t seem right to give player of the week to someone who isn’t on Arizona. The Wildcats all but clinched the Pac-12 title this week with wins over Utah and California. The game against Utah was particularly sloppy, but it was a defensive struggle that was still enjoyable to watch. The junior forward only scored seven points against the Utes but he was able to impact the game in other ways, something I always look for. Ashley had three blocks and was just seemingly everywhere on the court demonstrating his athletic ability to its fullest. The California game was a different story. Ashley was the best player for the Wildcats and was a human torch in the first half. The junior tied his career high with 21 points while only playing 26 minutes. Ashley also added six rebounds two assists, a block and a steal. The Wildcats put away the Golden Bears rather early and look like they are playing their best ball of the year.
[player: Delon Wright] – Utah
Wright was his usual self this week, but Wright’s usual self is better than most players. The senior guard had 18 points, eight assists and rebounds in Utah’s victory against Washington St. The game was rather sloppy, but Wright was able to pull the Ute’s together and get them the win. Utah may have lost at home against Arizona, but Wright still played pretty well. The guard had 17 points with five rebounds and assists. Wright was also everywhere defensively, contributing three blocks and causing [player:Stanley Johnson] fits on the offensive side of the ball. Wright only shot 3 of 10 from the field but got to the free-throw line more than enough, sinking 10 of 12. The more I watch Wright the more the lack of a three point shot bothers me. The player of the year candidate threw up some absolute bricks in the Arizona game. Wright needs to fix his shot before he enters the NBA or he will have a difficult time creating a shot.
[player: Elgin Cook] – Oregon
Maybe Cook read my post last week. The junior forward was more assertive and helped the ducks to two victories this week over Oregon St. and Stanford. Cook had 17 points and five rebounds on 7 of 12 shooting against Oregon St. The junior had an even better game against Stanford. Cook had 21 points on 7 of 10 shooting. The forward shot six of eight from the free throw line and also had another five rebounds. Games like this are huge for the Ducks. As I wrote last week, if they get the ball inside more their three point shooting will only get better. I’m sure [player:Joseph Young] is already excited to get more open looks.
[player: Stanley Johnson] – Arizona
Johnson truly showed his age against Utah this week. Playing in front of probably the most hostile crowd he has seen all year, Johnson shot 3 of 19 from the field. For everyone without a calculator thats .147 percent. To his credit Johnson still scored 12 points and had 11 rebounds, but it was the defensive lapses that were really bothering coach Sean Miller. Johnson was actually benched for [player: Gabe York] for the end of the game. The freshman has played well above his age this year and games like this are bound to happen, it was just frustrating to see Johnson not put forth 100 percent effort on defense. I understand that players have bad shooting nights and that’s fine! Johnson had problems this week because his bad offensive performance leaked into his defense. Lets hope Johnson continues to play up to his potential and doesn’t get discouraged from playing defense anymore.
[player: Nigel Williams Goss] – Washington
Williams-Goss may have been playing through an injury against Colorado, yet he was still pretty bad. The sophomore only had eight points and six rebounds with a measly one assists. It’s okay if a player is hurting, but shouldn’t Williams-Goss be looking for his teammates more? If the guard was hurting that badly, he should have sat out. This is a lost season for the Huskies and honestly he is only giving scouts more chances to pick his game apart. I hope Williams-Goss is icing that ankle right now, he has to start playing better.
The Pac-12 Tournament is rapidly approaching, here’s what I’m looking forward to in the tournament.
Top 5 Things To look forward to in Pac-12 Tournament
1. Arizona & Utah playing defense
When both teams played this weekend I was really surprised Arizona got to 63 points. Both teams have incredible defensive talent. Wright is a star guard and can lockdown anyone on the court but TJ McConnell has been massive for the Wildcats. Watching Arizona sprint around the perimeter and defend is really fun to watch. Athletic teams like Utah and Arizona always have an easier time playing defense, both should perform well in the Pac-12 tournament.
2. [player: Joseph Young] getting hot
Nothing is more entertaining than when a volume scorer catches fire from the field. I will bet anything that Young will just go full inferno at least once in the Pac-12 tournament. The guard will hit an array of acrobatic shots or maybe just four threes in a row. I am definitely looking forward to watching Young and the Ducks play in the Pac-12 tournament.
3. [player: Chasson Randle] doing [player: Chasson Randle] things
I have made it known that I’m not the biggest fan of Randle’s play, but I can still enjoy watching him play. Barring a Pac-12 tournament title the Cardinals will not be making the NCAA tournament. This could be our last chance to see Randle play in a truly meaningful game. The guard has an incredible first step and has the chance to cross up any player. Hopefully Randle doesn’t struggle and shows us what he can really do on the basketball court.
4. UCLA’s wackiness
The Bruins are the most inconsistent team in the Pac-12. Some games they look like the best team in the country. On others, UCLA looks like they can barely beat a high school team. [player: Norman Powell] fluctuates from a dominant scorer to a player that can barely get it into basket. I still think [Kevon Looney] should get the ball more. Maybe if the Bruins get the ball into the paint they should become more consistent. I’m sure that there will be more wacky games in the Pac-12 tournament, UCLA will be involved in at least one.
5. The Upsets
Upsets are part of tournaments. There is always a team that catches fire at the right time and will most certainly upset a couple of teams. Underdogs are always the most fun to root for and really one of the reasons why same many people watch tournaments. The appeal of a weaker team beating a powerhouse is always worthwhile to tune in to the game. Heres to watching some upsets and the tournament giving us some surprises.