Pac-12 Honors: Week 13Posted by AMurawa on February 6th, 2012
Team of the Week
Arizona – This was a complete and total no-brainer. The Wildcats, who up until this weekend had shown themselves to be a fairly mediocre team with plenty of different flaws, went on arguably the toughest road trip in the conference this year and came away with a pair of solid wins. Senior guard Kyle Fogg took this team by the reins and simply would not let them lose. Against California on Thursday night, he hit a three with 1:10 remaining that put the ‘Cats ahead for good, then protected that lead by coming up with a great block, hustling across the court from off of his own man to get a finger on a three by Allen Crabbe and help preserve the win for his team. He came back Saturday and led his team’s best defensive performance of the year, helping to hold Stanford to just a 27.8 effective field goal percentage. Arizona still sits two games back of conference leader Washington, but they’ll get their crack at them in two weeks, meaning that although the Wildcats need some help, they’re still very much alive in the race for the conference title.
Player of the Week
Joshua Smith, Sophomore, UCLA – This is the 13th time I’ve had to pick a POTW for the conference this year, and this is the first time I’ve waffled back and forth all day Sunday over who to pick. The nod goes to Smith, but Arizona’s Kyle Fogg certainly has just as much of a right to this spot as Smith does, and that’s before even considering Washington State’s Brock Motum (25.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 67.2 eFG%) or Colorado’s Andre Roberson (11.5 PPG, 13 RPG, 4.5 BPG). Smith earns this award on the basis of his first set of really dominating performances this season, hitting 77.3% of his field goal attempts in UCLA’s split with the Washington schools on his way to 21.5 points and seven rebounds per game. Smith played 48 total minutes on the weekend, including 26 in a loss to Washington, his most minutes played this season. After struggling with abysmal conditioning early in the season, Smith showed an energy and a stamina this weekend that is a testament to the work he has put in over the past couple months to get into reasonable basketball-playing condition.
Newcomer of the Week
Askia Booker, Fr, Colorado – Booker’s numbers on the weekend are very good: 46 minutes, 32 points, 50% from the field, 14-of-15 from the line, 111 boards, five assists and four steals. But, per usual, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Booker harassed opposing guards on both ends of the court repeatedly this weekend, forcing tempo for the Buffaloes and providing his team with ready-made injections of energy at key times. The freshman out of Los Angeles may be just 6’1”, 160 pounds, but his astounding leaping ability and prodigious heart helps him play bigger and bolder than players of larger physical stature. And combined with fellow freshman guard Spencer Dinwiddie, Booker should help provide a platform for future successes in Boulder.