Player of the Week
Bol Bol, Oregon
It is not the first time the 7’2 center is deserving of Pac-12 Player of the Week this season. Bol led the Ducks to their second straight win Wednesday after it edged out San Diego 65-55. After a 20 and 10 game on December 8th in a 23 point win over Omaha, Bol kept it going against the Toreros stuffing the stat sheet as he always does. He scored 20 points efficiently on 9-14 shooting and two for three from downtown. He also added nine rebounds, four blocks, and a steal. A particularly impressive stat for a center like Bol is that he has made at least two three point attempts in each of the Ducks last four matchups with 40 percent being his lowest. That is simply unheard of for a player at his size.
If Bol Bol can continue to put on a clinic scoring from just about anywhere on the floor as well as protect the rim and act as a defensive anchor for the his team, the Ducks can go as far he can take them. The freshman has had a hefty load both offensively and defensively, to carry all season long so far but he is embracing it and exceeding expectations. Watch for Bol to remain among the top players listed on the mock for the remainder of the season.
The Buffaloes won their sixth straight game Tuesday and it was a close one that required a second half comeback led by McKinley Wright IV and Tyler Bey. A hot start for New Mexico at home made it tough for the Buffaloes but the team never wavered and was able to complete a comeback and hold on for their sixth win in a row behind McKinley’s 12 points and eights rebounds as well as Tyler Bey’s 14 and 11 rebounds. The two guards were coming off impressive performances from December 8th as well in a win over UIC. McKinley had 21, nine assists, and six rebounds to go with three steals. Bey also recorded 15 points and 15 rebounds as well as two steals. The versatility of the athletes on this Colorado team as well as their grit to battle back and win tough road games, such as the New Mexico game, have tremendously helped the duo of McKinley and Bey lead this team to the conferences’ best record so far at 8-1.
After falling to a legit fifth ranked Nevada team by 12 on December 1st, the Trojans found themselves a more devastating loss Friday at home against TCU. The Horned Frogs throttled USC 96-61. The combination of TCU cracking down on defensive assignments and USC having a poor shooting night was the theme of this game. The Horned Frogs shot 50 percent from the floor while holding the Trojans to only 32 percent. The Horned Frogs also had six of its players score in double figures. It is unlikely that USC can bounce back against a hot, 8-1 Oklahoma team defending its homecourt Saturday.
Top 5 Freshman in the Pac-12 other than Bol Bol
1. Luguentz Dort, ASU
The 6’4, 215 pound guard from Montreal Canada has led this Sun Devil team to a 7-1 record to start the season. The team’s first loss of the season came Friday against a 6th ranked Nevada team despite the 24 point effort by the freshman. While also averaging two steals per game, Bobby Hurley and the Sun Devils have found themselves one of the most effective, two way freshman guards in the country.
2. CJ Elleby, WSU
Elleby has been a problem for opponents of Washington State all season long. In each of his last four games he has scored at least 18 points with 50 percent being his worst shooting night. In addition to his efficient scoring ability, the 6’6 forward also averages 7.9 rebounds and three assists per game to go along with persistent defensive efforts. While also having the ability to shoot the three, Elleby will have no weaknesses to his game if he limits turnovers.
3. Moses Brown, UCLA
The 7-footer from Queens, New York must be mentioned among the top freshman in the Pac-12 as well as the whole country. Brown has served as a strong physical presence inside for UCLA with his superior rim protecting ability and rebounding. Brown has recorded at least one block in every single game for the Bruins so far this season. As long as he is in the game, UCLA will always have a defensive edge against anyone they are facing.
4. Brandon Williams, Arizona
Williams has shown in his freshman season that he is capable of affecting a game in a number of ways for the Arizona Wildcats. The 6’2 guard from Los Angeles has shown he can penetrate the defense and get to the foul line but also take and make the deep shot. He has recorded double digit rebounds in a game this season as well as up to eight assists in a game. Williams will do whatever his team needs him to do that given game
5. Louis King, Oregon
Although King did not see the floor until just this week, he clearly has the makings of an extremely athletic, versatile forward in the Pac-12. The 6’9 freshman has shown that he can make the deep shot at a high rate. In his first game in his college career, he was able to convert on three of his four three point attempts, which is an impressive debut nonetheless. Oregon should look to King much more as the season progresses as he size and shooting ability act at the perfect compliment to teammate, Bol Bol.
Pac-12 Power Rankings
1. Arizona State Sun Devils
2. UCLA Bruins
3. Oregon Ducks
4. Colorado Buffaloes
5. Washington Huskies
6. Oregon State Beavers
7. Washington State Cougars
8. Arizona Wildcats
9. Stanford Cardinals
10. Utah Utes
11. USC Trojans
12. Cal Golden Bears