Pac-12 Weekly Honors: Week TwoPosted by AMurawa on November 21st, 2011
Before we get to this week’s Pac-12 honors, let’s spend a minute on the dishonors. It has pretty much been an awful week around the conference. The week started with USC losing a heartbreaking double-overtime game to Nebraska and Washington State getting scorched by Gonzaga freshman Kevin Pangos. There was preseason all-conference player Reeves Nelson skipping practice and getting suspended at the start of the week followed up by UCLA dropping its second straight home game of the year this time to Middle Tennessee State the same night that Arizona State lost to WCC afterthought Pepperdine. Colorado dropped its first two games of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off before bouncing back to claim seventh place in the tournament. USC lost another tough one, this time to San Diego State on Thursday before coming back on Saturday night and dropping one of the ugliest games ever to Cal Poly, a game in which the two teams combined to post a 31.5 effective field goal percentage and commit turnovers on 20% of the possessions. Arizona faded down the stretch of the Coaches vs. Cancer Championship while Utah got embarrassed by Boise State and then dropped one to Montana State as well. Washington got lit up by St. Louis Sunday morning, and then Sunday afternoon it was announced that highly-regarded Oregon freshman guard Jabari Brown had left the team in a huff. In short, this was a bad, bad, bad week for Pac-12 basketball.
But still, there have got to be some bright spots, right?
Team of the Week
Oregon State – The good news starts here. After knocking off Texas Saturday night in a thrilling overtime game in the semifinals of the Legends Classic, the Beavers are now one of just three remaining undefeated Pac-12 teams. Behind a stellar career-high performance from junior guard Jared Cunningham (a name you will be reading again after the jump), the Beavers proved that their first three wins over less than stellar competition did indicate that this team had turned a corner and become a much more stable team than last year’s maddeningly inconsistent squad. Aside from Cunningham, sophomore forward Devon Collier has made a quantum leap, displaying an improved offensive game that was only hinted at last season. With junior center Joe Burton’s versatile skill set (10.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 6.3 APG, and 1.8 SPG) and a host of solid role players (junior center Angus Brandt had 14 points and three three-pointers in the Texas game, while sophomore point guard Ahmad Starks has been filling the stat sheet as well), this Beaver team could be one to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
Player of the Week
Jared Cunningham, Jr, Oregon State – All Cunningham did this week was set a career-high of 35 points in OSU’s ten-point win over Hofstra on Wednesday and then improve upon that with a 37-point outburst on Saturday night, willing his team to an overtime win over Texas. Despite receiving a split lip from Longhorn guard J’Covan Brown near the end of regulation, Cunningham scored 15 points in the final eight minutes of play. Cunningham did most of his damage from the line, getting to the charity stripe 23 times and converting 20, but he also displayed an improved jump shot and a well-rounded game, adding nine rebounds and three assists in his 43 minutes of action.
Newcomer of the Week
Carlon Brown, Sr, Colorado – It wasn’t necessarily a successful week for the Colorado basketball program with a disappointing 1-2 record in Puerto Rico, but Brown, a transfer from Utah did everything he could to keep the Buffs in their games. Brown earned a reputation with the Utes as an excellent athlete whose jumper (and shot selection) rarely was able to keep up with the rest of his game, but in Puerto Rico this weekend, Brown had it going. He shot 20 of 38 from the field (including 4 of 11 from deep) on his way to averaging 17.3 points per contest and came up big in the finale, scoring 23 points, grabbing six rebounds, and handing out four assists in helping the Buffaloes salvage seventh place out of an otherwise wasted weekend.