Pac-12 Player of the Week
Tyler Bey, Colorado
The 6’7 junior has been the catalyst for this Colorado squad so far this season. He is averaging just under a double double on the season to start the season with 15 points per game to go with 9.7 rebounds per game. Bey had a nice outing against San Diego on November 16th scoring 14 points on 57 percent shooting to go with 10 boards. Bey has also got it done on the defensive side of the ball recording three blocks and two steals.
In Monday’s matchup between the Buffaloes and UC Irvine, Tyler Bey had a similar performance to the previous game being productive on both ends of the ball. The Colorado junior poured in 16 points to go with seven boards and three assists. Defensively, Bey showed just what a problem he can be for opposing teams’ offenses as he recorded an impressive six steals against UC Irvine. There is a rather small sample size of Bey so far this year having played only three games but if he keeps up this level of production, then it is a step forward from last season where he scored just under 14 points per contest. His exceptional rebounding ability helps separate him as well. He did not have this type of production last year on the defensive side of the ball so if he keeps this up this season, keep your eyes on Tyler Bey and this Colorado team.
The Cardinals are currently 6-0 on the season so far and appear to show no signs of slowing down. Stanford had a convincing victory last Tuesday over Maryland Eastern Shore 76-55. Jaiden Delaire and Oscar da Silva were the main reasons Stanford was the better team on this day. Delaire had 21 points on 7-10 shooting to go with two steals and two blocks, a strong performance for the sophomore forward. Oscar da Silva had 16 on 5-8 shooting with four boards and three assists, also a nice game for the junior forward. Stanford was able to hold Maryland Eastern Shore to 38 percent shooting from the floor while Stanford themselves shot 54 percent.
Stanford had another convincing win Thursday against William and Mary Tribe winning 81-50. This time, freshman guard Tyrell Terry was the MVP for the Cardinals with a strong all-around performance with a double double. He had 21 points and 10 boards to go along with three assists and three steals and he did it on 72 percent shooting from the floor. The theme was the same with this Stanford win as they held the opponent to just 36 percent shooting from the floor. If Stanford keeps up this intensity on defense, they might stay undefeated for quite a while.
Cal Golden Bears
Cal had to play back to back days and losses came from both matchups. First, Cal had the honor of playing the top ranked in the nation, Duke Blue Devils Thursday, who defeated the Pac-12 team 87-52.. Not one player on the Golden Bears could even score in double figures in this game. The Duke defense held Cal to just 36 percent shooting from the field and forced 15 turnovers.
Cal had to face another ranked team the following day which was the Texas Longhorns. The sophomore guard, Matt Bradley was the only one to get anything going for Cal and the only player to score in double figures. He actually had a nice game scoring 22 and grabbing six rebounds. He impressively sunk all 11 of his free throws. Nonetheless, Cal needs other guys to step up and produce if this team wants to bounce back. Maybe this was just a tough stretch of the schedule for them having to face Duke and then another ranked opponent the very next day but it is clear that the Golden Bears have some work to do to turn things around.
Top 5 Freshmen in the Pac-12
1. Zeke Nnaji. Arizona
While he didn’t come into Arizona with as much hype as the guard tandem of Nico Mannion and Josh Green, it has been Nnaji that has had the greatest impact on the team and proven to be the steadiest performer. With a non-stop motor, he’s been a relentless force on the glass on both ends of the floor as well as a reliable scoring option on the block. If he can continue to play as strong as he has started the season out, he will be in the running for not only freshman but conference player of the year honors, and potentially cement himself as a first round pick.
2. Nico Mannion, Arizona
Mannion has already shown just how dynamic and exciting of a player he can become. He is only scoring 13 points per game here in his freshman year at Arizona but he is also dishing out 4.4 assists and shooting over 52 percent from the field. He shoots 47 percent from 3-point range through five games. The 6’3 freshman can score in a multitude of ways and appears to be one of the most talented rookies in all of the Pac-12. Watch out for Arizona to grow as a team and Mannion to grow as a player along with it.
3. Isaiah Stewart, Washington
At 6’9, 250 lbs. Stewart is already a major handful for opposing defenses before you even take into account his skillset. The Washington freshman averages just under 16 points per game along with 6.6 rebounds on 59 percent shooting. Last Tuesday against Maine, Stewart had 16 points, nine boards, and four blocks on 50 percent shooting. He didn’t slow down the following game either scoring 18 against Montana on 71 percent shooting. It is simple, when Stewart plays like this, the Huskies pick up a win.
4. Onyeka Okongwu, USC
At 6’9, 245 lbs., Okongwu is a beast of a forward for the Trojans and is having a very strong to the start of the year. The freshman is averaging 18 points per game and just under nine rebounds shooting over 60 percent from the field. That is not to mention his defensive prowess he has displayed so far this season averaging three blocks and a steal per contest. A two-way player like this with the size like this young man is a hot commodity in college basketball, especially the Pac-12 conference. If Okongwu can develop offensively some more, he can hurt the opponent in a number of ways.
5. Tyrell Terry, Stanford
This 6’1 freshman guard is a major reason why Stanford has been able to remain unbeaten thus far through the early part of the season. He averages 15 points per game on 52 percent shooting from the field to go with four boards and three assists. In his last game, Terry scored 21 points on 72 percent shooting and 10 boards as well as three assists and three steals. If he is putting up strong performances like these this early in his freshman season, expect to see him take it to another level before the season is over.
5. Rylan Jones, Utah
Jones had a bit of a breakout performance for the Utes Friday against Ohio. The 6’0 freshman scored 17 points on 60 percent shooting from beyond the arc. He also was able to add three boards and four assists. If Jones can improve as a defender and work on his deep shooting, he can play a big role for this Utah team. Having a guy who can either start or come off the bench and make big shots is always needed, especially in the competitive Pac-12 conference.