Colorado still isn’t getting much attention from national voters in the weekly AP Top 25 poll, despite analytical rankings that have the Buffaloes slotted among the nation’s best.
At least voters for the weekly Pac-12 Conference awards are taking notice of the surging Buffs. On Monday, CU point guard McKinley Wright IV was named the Pac-12 player of the week, while Jabari Walker became the first CU player to win the league’s freshman of the week honor.
It is the first time the Buffs have swept the two honors since the Pac-12 instituted the freshman of the week award prior to the 2019-20 season. The dual honors arrived on the same day the CU women’s team also swept the Pac-12 weekly awards, with Mya Hollingshed winning the player of the week award and Frida Formann receiving the freshman of the week honor after the Buffs upset No. 1 Stanford on Sunday.
For Wright, his player of the week honor added yet another accolade at the end of a memorable week for the Buffs’ senior floor general.
It began last Monday with a victory at Utah, where the Buffs had not won in their previous eight visits. Wright posted his least impressive individual performance among CU’s three wins last week, going 2-for-8 with nine points and one rebound.
However, Wright tallied four assists — the final three of which he recorded during a game-changing, 15-0 Buffs run to open the second half. Those four assists pulled Wright into a tie with Jay Humphries for CU’s career assists record. Wright shattered that record in style at home against Cal in his 112th career game, the same number of games Humphries played for the Buffs in the 1980s.
Against Cal, Wright went 4-for-8 with 13 points and a career-high 12 assists, moving into the top 10 of CU’s all-time scoring list while posting the eighth double-digit assist game of his career, tying Humphries for the most in program history. It was Wright’s 13th career double-double and his eighth double-double via points and assists, which also is a team record.
Wright finished his big week with 14 points and eight assists during Saturday’s win against Stanford. It was the third player of the week award this season for Wright and the fifth of his career. He already owned the most conference player of the week honors in program history — only Chauncey Billups and Askia Booker won three during their careers — and he is the first CU player to win three in the same season.
Walker began his breakout week at Utah, helping to keep CU afloat during a slow start by coming off the bench to post the first double-double of his career, going 5-for-8 with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Walker was even better against Cal, going 9-for-13 with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Against Utah and Cal, Walker went a combined 5-for-5 on 3-pointers.
Walker added 11 points and eight rebounds against Stanford, finishing the week 18-for-30.
While the Buffs swept the Pac-12 weekly awards, CU still fell short of joining the national top 25 in the latest AP poll released on Monday. The Buffs garnered a season-high 148 points in the vote, 52 points higher than last week, but CU still was slotted unofficially at No. 27 as the second team among others receiving votes — despite beginning the day Monday ranked seventh in the NET and 13th at KenPom.com.
Through Sunday’s games, the Buffs still led the nation in free throw percentage (.846). CU also leads the Pac-12 in scoring defense (62.2) and ranks second in the league in 3-point percentage (.366)…Although Oregon was idle last week due to coronavirus issues, the Ducks moved up one spot to No. 21. UCLA moved into the AP poll at No. 24.