With a freshman leading the way, the Colorado men’s basketball team pulled off the unthinkable over the weekend, defeating two top-15 teams in less than 48 hours.
On Monday that freshman, point guard McKinley Wright, was rewarded for the Buffaloes’ big surge by being named the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Week.
“My hard work is paying off to be able to be Pac-12 Player of the Week,” Wright said. “There’s a lot of good players in this league, so to be able to be Player of the Week is huge for me.”
Wright was the catalyst for the Buffs’ wins against then-No. 4 Arizona State and No. 14 Arizona, sharing the team lead with 19 points in the overtime win against the Sun Devils before adding 16 points in the victory against Arizona.
Wright went 13-for-26 from the field in the two victories and also converted 9 of 11 free throws. Wright dished out five assists against Arizona State and posted the third double-double of his young career by recording 10 assists against Arizona.
Heading into this week’s games at USC and UCLA, Wright leads the Buffs in scoring (16.2) and assists (5.3) while ranking second in rebounding (4.8). Wright is shooting .477 from the field and also leads CU with 19 steals. His assists average ranks as a tie for second in the Pac-12 amid some company the Buffs will see this week. Wright is tied with UCLA’s Aaron Holiday, while USC guard Jordan McLaughlin leads the league at 7.9 assists per game.
Wright is the first CU player to win the Pac-12 weekly honor since Derrick White during the week of Dec. 12 last season. He is the sixth different CU player to win the award since the Buffs joined the league in the 2011-12 season, joining a group that includes White, Askia Booker (three times), Josh Scott (twice), Carlon Brown, and Andre Roberson. Wright is the first CU player to win the honor as a freshman.
“When I came here, I just wanted to come here and do whatever I could to help this team win,” Wright said. “Coach Boyle told me as a freshman I’d have an opportunity to help this team from the start. He’s going to give me the keys to the car. I took it and I ran with it and I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help this team.”