Player of the Week
Branden Carlson (Utah)
Carlson dropped his career high in a seven-point victory over Wake Forest. He scored 31 points on 12-20 shooting from the field and 4-7 shooting from deep. Carlson also recorded five blocks to help lock down the paint for the Utes. He followed this up with a 17 point, 8 rebound performance against #6 Houston. Even though they lost, Carlson was the team’s second leading scorer and tied for the most rebounds on the squad. Utah sits at 3-2 on the season. He raised some eye brows among NBA scouts and has put himself on the draft radar for the 2024 draft with his long distance shooting display in a big game against Wake Forest.
With the first round NCAA Tournament loss in the back of their minds, the Wildcats have come out hot. Arizona is 4-0 and won an impressive game in their second matchup of the season against the Duke Blue Devils. They suffocated Duke on defense, holding them to 43.1% shooting from the field and 34.8% from the three-point line. On the offensive side of the ball, Arizona has been an impressive watch. As a team, they’re shooting 52% from the field, 40% from three and 74% from the free-throw line. The impressive start has moved them to #3 in the rankings.
Tristan da Silva (Colorado)
After a great season last year, Silva has picked off right where he left off. He’s averaging 17 points, 4 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game with great efficiency. His last two games have featured scoring numbers of 21 and 17 while Colorado picked up both wins. The Buffaloes are 3-0 this year and ranked #25 in the country behind Silva and [KJ Simpson].
The Trojans are coming off of an embarrassing loss to UC Irvine and throughout the first three games of the season, their numbers haven’t been all that impressive. USC is shooting 27% from three which is below average and 45% from the field which is average at best. Although Boogie Ellis has been solid thus far, his efficiency is also something that’s a bit lacking. It’s early so there shouldn’t be too much worry but if this trend continues, #16 USC could be unranked sooner rather than later.
Top 5 Freshman in the Pac-12
Isaiah Collier (USC)
Collier was a consensus top three recruit in the high school class of 2023 and has not disappointed to start the season. The 6’5” point guard is averaging 20 points and 4 assists per game through three contests while shooting 50% from the field. He just received Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors and should be one of the premier players in the conference this year.
Andrej Stojakovic (Stanford)
The son of NBA sharpshooter Peja Stojaković has had a great start to the year for the Cardinal, averaging 13 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. In his last two outings for Stanford, he had an efficient 18 points. The most impressive part of this start has been his ability to get good shots. He’s shooting 45.7% from the field and 42.9% from three on over five attempts per game. He’s also limited his turnovers to only 1.3 a game, something freshman typically struggle with. If everything keeps going the way it is, he might be following in his father’s footsteps.
Cody Williams (Colorado)
Williams was a high recruit coming out of highschool and has been solid for the Buffaloes to start off the year. His 6’8”, 190 pound frame allows him to score at the basket and open opportunities up on the outside. Through two games, he has averaged 10.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists on 53.8% shooting from the field. He fits nicely alongside Tristan da Silva and KJ Simpson.
Kwame Evans Jr. (Oregon)
The 6’9”, 220 pound freshman should come in and help one of the biggest wildcard teams in the Pac-12. He was a consensus top 20 high school basketball player in the class of 2023 and is the fourth highest recruit in Oregon history. He was also selected as a Mcdonald’s All-American in highschool. He hasn’t started the season out great, averaging 5 points and 7 rebounds on 28.6% shooting from the field but he should pick it up as the season goes on.
Ilane Fibleuil (UCLA)
Fibleuil came over from France where he played in a multitude of big games, including the FIBA U17 World Cup in Malaga, Spain where he played very well. He was listed as a top 50 recruit in the class of 2023 and joins a UCLA team that lost a lot after last season. He’s already playing 14 minutes a night and even though the production isn’t quite there yet, the projection on this kid looks good.