Standout trio from CU men’s basketball reaps All-Pac-12 honors

  • Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Senior George King from the Colorado men's basketball team was named to the 2018 All-Pac-12 Conference second team.

  • Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer

    Colorado guard McKinley Wright was named to the 2018 Pac-12 All-Freshman team.



Over the past five years, the sight of George King hoisting endless sets of 3-pointers and free throws following each and every Colorado basketball practice has been a program staple.

On Monday, with King’s CU career nearing an end, all that hard work reaped a commendable honor for the Buffaloes senior.

King and freshman McKinley Wright were among those honored Monday in the league’s annual postseason awards, with King landing on the All-Pac-12 second team and Wright earning a spot on the All-Freshman team. Wright also received honorable mention honors in the all-league and all-defensive team voting.

Additionally, senior Dom Collier was the co-winner of the Sixth Man of the Year award, an honor the Pac-12 is recognizing for the first time this year. The awards are determined through a vote of league coaches who are barred from voting for their own players.

“The great thing about these awards is they don’t have anything to do with their coach, because it’s really voted on by other coaches in the league,” CU coach Tad Boyle said. “You’re getting the ultimate respect when you earn the respect of your opponents. It’s a true honor to be recognized.

“If you ask me, those guys would trade those awards for an opportunity to play in (the NCAA Tournament), which is what we’re going to Vegas to try and do. That’s what we need to shoot for.”

King, a senior shooting guard who was tasked with manning a frontcourt spot for the Buffs during much of the season, leads CU with a career-best eight rebounds per game. He ranks second on the team in scoring (12.8 points per game) and has recorded a career-best 21 blocked shots.

King becomes CU’s third second team All-Pac-12 selection since joining the league for the 2011-12 season, a list that includes Carlon Brown (2012) and Askia Booker (2015). King enters CU’s Pac-12 Conference tournament opener against Arizona State on Wednesday afternoon ranked 16th all-time in program history in rebounds (670), 20th in scoring (1,263), and fifth in made 3-pointers (177). He also ranks second in CU history with career 3-point percentage of .399.

King won the league’s Most Improved Player award in 2016 after emerging from a redshirt season to lead the Pac-12 with a .456 3-point percentage.

“It’s nice to be able to have a little accolade before I exit out of here,” King said. “It would be even better if we can go out and win four games in four nights.”

Wright’s 5.7 assists per game ranks third in the Pac-12 in league games, and his 159 total assists has surpassed the Buffs’ previous freshman record of 143 set by Chauncey Billups in the 1995-96 season. Wright leads CU in scoring at 14.2 points per game and leads all Pac-12 freshmen with a 1.8 assists-to-turnover ratio.

Wright is the 12th CU player to earn all-freshman team honors and the third since the Buffs joined the Pac-12 (also Spencer Dinwiddie in 2012, Josh Scott in 2013). Wright was joined on the Pac-12 All-Freshman team by Arizona’s Deandre Ayton, Stanford’s Daejon Davis, Washington’s Jaylen Nowell, and UCLA’s Kris Wilkes.

Arizona’s Deandre Ayton swept the league’s Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards, while first-year Washington coach Mike Hopkins was named the Coach of the Year.

All-Pac 12 first team

Deandre Ayton, Fr., Arizona

Justin Bibbins, Sr., Utah

Noah Dickerson, Jr., Washington

Tra Holder, Sr., Arizona State

Aaron Holiday, Jr., UCLA

Jordan McLaughlin, Sr., USC

Chimezie Metu, Jr., USC

Tres Tinkle, So., Oregon State

Reid Travis, Jr., Stanford

Allonzo Trier, Jr., Arizona

Player of the Year: Deandre Ayton, Fr., Arizona

Coach of the Year: Mike Hopkins, Washington

Defensive Player of the Year: Matisse Thybulle, Jr., Washington

Sixth man of the Year: Dominique Collier, Sr., Colorado and Remy Martin, Fr., Arizona State.

Most Improved Player: Robert Franks, Jr., Washington State

Freshman of the Year: Deandre Ayton, Arizona.

All-Pac-12 second team

David Collette, Sr., Utah

George King, Sr., Colorado

Payton Pritchard, So., Oregon

Dusan Ristic, Sr., Arizona

Thomas Welsh, Sr., UCLA

Honorable mention (at least three votes): Rawle Alkins, Arizona; Shannon Evans, Arizona State; Robert Franks, Washington State; Jaylen Nowell, Washington; Dorian Pickens, Stanford; McKinley Wright, Colorado.

Pac-12 All-Defensive Team

Deandre Ayton, Fr., Arizona

Aaron Holiday, Jr., UCLA

Jordan McLaughlin, Sr., USC

Matisse Thybulle, Jr., Washington

Kenny Wooten, Fr., Oregon

Honorable mention (at least three votes): Chimezie Metu, USC; McKinley Wright, Colorado.

Pac-12 All-Freshman Team

Deandre Ayton, Arizona

Daejon Davis, Stanford

Jaylen Nowell, Washington

Kris Wilkes, UCLA

McKinley Wright, Colorado

Honorable mention (at least three votes): Troy Brown, Oregon.

Pat Rooney: or