Undercover of the Night

Pac-12 Player of the Week

Robert Franks, Washington State

Robert FranksRobert FranksAnother West Coast player whose exposure is minimized on a national level due to playing for a lesser televised team that plays a good deal of their games after everyone on the Eastern time zone has hit the sheets.

After a 24 point, 11 rebound, and three block performance in a win Saturday over Delaware State, the leading scorer in the Pac-12 kept it going against Cal State Northridge. Franks scored 22 on 8-14 shooting lifting the Cougars to a 4-1 record. The 6’9 senior has been doing it all for this team this season, even more so than last year.

Outside of leading the Cougars and conference in scoring at 26.8 ppg, Franks has helped his team in so many ways. He has been efficient shooting over 56 percent from the field in addition to his 8.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists per game. He affects the defensive side of the ball as well averaging a block and steal a piece.

If Franks can keep up the tremendous production, the rest of the Pac-12 oughta watch out because he could potentially be the most unstoppable player in the conference. That, combined with the fact that this Washington State team has multiple other players who can score the ball as well as play disruptive defense will be something to keep in mind as teams plan to slow down Robert Franks.

Who’s Hot

CJ Elleby, Washington State

The 6’6 freshman from Seattle had 23 points and 11 rebounds on 8-12 shooting off the bench for the Cougars in their win over Cal State Northridge Tuesday. Elleby contributed two blocks in the effort as well in what could perhaps be looked at as a breakout game for the freshman forward. His previous career high before this game was only and came at the beginning of the season in back to back games. If these type of numbers become the norm for Elleby, Washington State could become a scary team with the talents of Robert Franks and Isaiah leading the way.

Who’s Not

Utah Utes

The Utes fell to the Northwestern Wildcats 79-57 Sunday marking the team’s third loss of the season. The Utes gave up 21 turnovers and only shot 31 percent from deep compared to Northwestern’s 48 percent. The senior, Sedrick Barefield seemed to be the only one on the Utah squad who could get anything going offensively as he shot 3-4 from deep and went a perfect 6-6 from the foul line. With a Kentucky matchup on the road coming up, coach Krystkowiak and the Utes could be in for a rough stretch over the next couple of weeks

Top 5 Teams in the Pac-12

1. Oregon Ducks

Bol Bol and Payton Pritchard have been playing at a very high level all season but they are not the only reason that the Ducks are the only team in the top 25. Other than those two guys, Oregon plays six other players at least 17 minutes per game. Having a team this deep and always having fresh legs in the game is helping the Ducks in the short term as well as long term. Although this team suffered an early season loss to Texas Southern, don’t panic just yet. Oregon couldn’t execute at the end of the game, turned the ball over, and ultimately lost by five. The Ducks have an opportunity to bounce back Saturday against an undefeated Houston team.

2. Arizona State

The Sun Devils are the only remaining undefeated team in the Pac-12 conference and that is for a number of reasons. It starts with freshman guard Luguentz Dort’s 23 points per game along with 7.8 rebounds. Arizona State earned its fifth win in its undefeated season Wednesday over Nebraska-Omaha. Multiple different players for this team step up each and every game. This game it was sophomore forward Kimani Lawrence with 18 points, four rebounds, five assists to go along with two steals and two blocks. It will certainly be fun to see how long the Sun Devils can keep this undefeated streak going.

3. UCLA Bruins

The Bruins remain one of the top teams in the Pac-12 despite its back to back losses to Michigan State and then North Carolina. To be fair, not only is UCLA without Shareef O’neal, the sidelined freshman, they lost to teams that were nationally ranked at eleventh and seventh. Wednesday the Bruins were able to bounce back against Hawaii in a 19 point victory. Junior guard Prince Ali had a season high with 23 points on an impressive 9-11 shooting and an even more impressive 5-6 from downtown. Jaylen Hands and Moses Brown should continue to carry a heavy load for this team moving forward.

4. Washington Huskies

The Huskies may have suffered two losses already this season but one of them was against an eighth ranked Auburn team and the other was to Minnesota by only two points in Vancouver. The duo of Jaylen Nowell and Noah Dickerson is high powered and they combine for 34.7 points per game this season and both guys shoot over 52 percent from the floor. The Huskies saw an unlikely hero in a Tuesday night win over Eastern Washington when senior forward Dominic Green scored 25 points on 9-13 shooting. He only averaged five points his junior year but if Green along with other guys on this team can put up efficient performances like that one, the Huskies could be quite dangerous for the rest of the conference.

5. Colorado Buffaloes

The trio of Namon Wright, Lucas Siewert, and McKinley Wright IV all averaging at least 12 points per game to go along with Tyler Bey’s superb rim protection, the Buffaloes are looking like one of the stronger teams in the Pac-12. Colorado defeated Portland 93-69 Wednesday night to capture its fourth win of the season. McKinley Wright IV scored 22 on 7-11 shooting in the win as he and Siewert led the way for the Buffaloes. It is no question this team possesses multiple players who can penetrate the lane and get to the foul line as the team made 23 free throws to Portland’s nine.

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