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Player of the Week

Stanley Johnson - Arizona

Stanley JohnsonStanley JohnsonThe freshman from California had himself a week. Playing in three straight days in the Maui Invitational is no easy feet, yet Johnson made it seem easy with three solid performances, even saving his best game for last. Johnson has shown a great ability to get to the rim, averaging 6.5 free throws a game. The Fullerton native needs to work on his jump shot and defensive rotations, but that certainly will come with time. Johnson's best performance this week came against number 15 San Diego State, where he stuffed the stat sheet with 18 big points, nine rebounds, three steals, a block and an assist in a two point Wildcat win. Johnson will definitely appear on this list again, seeing that he is only realizing his potential.

Who's Hot

Kevon Looney - UCLA

Even with the two losses UCLA suffered to both UNC and Oklahoma, Looney is quickly showing that he will be a force in the Pac-12. The freshman from Wisconsin is an absolute beast on the boards, averaging 10.6 rebounds for the week, but he has also shown tremendous athleticism on the defensive end of the court. Looney had six blocks and four steals in the week and seemed to be everywhere on the court against Oklahoma. The freshman still needs to work on his offensive game, namely jump shooting, but when this happens Looney will be a force to deal with.

Tyrone Wallace - California

Wallace has always shown flashes of NBA talent, and if he continues playing like he has the past week, some NBA team will find a spot for him. The junior's main knock has been offensive efficiency, but he has raised his field goal percentage every year. Wallace does everything for the Bruins leading the team in rebounds and assists while still scoring 16 points a game. The junior from Bakersfield struggled from the field against number 10 ranked Texas and number 23 Syracuse, but he still managed to contribute to his team in different ways. It is always interesting to see what a player does when his shot isn’t falling and Wallace only seems to try harder to affect the game in different ways. Wallace should continue to get some NBA looks if he can continue to stuff the stat sheet and improve his offensive efficiency.

Who's Cold

Norman Powell - UCLA

When any team is struggling against a solid opponent they normally lean on their senior leader, Powell just could not answer the call this week. Even with his good game against Long Beach State, Powell struggled against fifth ranked UNC and Oklahoma, both of which UCLA lost to. Powell shot below forty-five percent in both games and had five turnovers against UNC. He also seemed extremely tentative against Oklahoma, not getting to the free throw line once! The senior also didn't make a three in either game, and while UCLA as a whole is great from downtown, Powell needs to start hitting some threes if he wants to succeed in the NBA.

Brandon Ashley - Arizona

In all honesty the junior from Arizona has been terrible in the last two games. Ashley struggled against both San Diego State and Kansas State in just about every way. The forward only grabbed five rebounds in each game and had a horrifying six turnovers against Kansas State. Ashley has gotten some buzz about going to the NBA, yet he seems just uncomfortable with the ball in his hands. Ashley has to improve his face-up game and must learn how to dribble in traffic if he wants any hope in becoming a high draft pick.

Top Five Things Pac-12 Fans Will be Grateful for Watching This Year

With the season just starting it does seem a bit unfair to put such emphasis on such a few amount of games for players to make an impact on their NBA value. In honor of Thanksgiving I will talk about things Pac-12 fans should look be thankful for this year.

1. Rondae Hollis Jefferson being everywhere

Hollis-Jefferson plays like a man possessed, every.single.night. The sophomore does everything he possibly can to help Arizona win. Wether he is defending the teams best scorer, crashing the boards, or getting a huge dunk, Hollis-Jefferson seems to have at least one incredible play every game. His all out hustle is just inspiring to watch and makes you wonder why other players don't have his drive. Every time Arizona is on just watch Hollis-Jefferson for a couple of minutes, if you can even keep up!

2. Watching UCLA play

Despite not being able to score above 65 points against both Oklahoma and UNC, they are still ranked 10th in the league with 89.2 points per game! Points are awesome, they are what fans come to watch, and UCLA has quickly become a really fun team to follow with head coach Steve Alford at the helm. Not only do they play fast and shoot early and often, they also have some pretty awesome players to watch. Alford's son, Bryce Alford leads the team in both points and assists. Clooney and Powell, both mentioned above, have NBA potential. They also have two players on the all-name team in Wanaah Bail and Gyorgy Goloman. Lastly, the great Bill Walton calls the Bruin's games and continues to be a pleasure to listen to. Watching UCLA is a joy and something that everyone should be thankful for.

3. The Upperclassman

Freshman and sophomores usually get a ton of media coverage but there are some upperclassman in the Pac-12 that deserve attention this year. Delon Wright from Utah is a bull both with the ball and defending it, and leads a surprising Utah team. Tyrone Wallace was already mentioned but he is worth mentioning again. Wallace plays for a good Bears squad, he always seems to find open players and rebounds as well as any seven footer in college. Stefan Nastic and Kaleb Tarczewski both anchor defenses and are awesome to watch. Even though upperclassman don't get the attention, watch out for them during the course of the year.

4. Watching Oregon play

To start, the Duck's basketball court is awesome and unlike anything else in college basketball. Not only is the court really something else the team's offense is a hurricane. The Ducks average 24 threes a game so far, which is roughly a third of their total shots. Seven players have made a three so far and it really just looks like everyone has the green light. They have a 20 point scorer in Joseph Young but still have other go-to scorers like Dillon Brooks and Elgin Cook. If you enjoy watching shooting, Oregon is your team this year.

5. A hotly contested Pac-12 title this year.

Arizona is ranked number three to start the year, but they certainly do not look unbeatable. UCLA should eventually find their groove on offense and California looks like a team primed for a leap. Washington and Oregon are extremely fun to watch and Utah has some exciting players as well. Just watching any sort of college basketball is exciting, but the Pac-12 should be something else this year.

Tim Alvarez is a student at Penn State majoring in broadcast journalism. You can reach him at [email protected].

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Tyrone Wallace is a Bear, not a Bruin

Tyrone Wallace plays for the Bears, not the Bruins!

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