CU men’s basketball notes: McKinley Wright IV a finalist for Bob Cousy Award

Senior point guard closing on unprecedented mark in Pac-12

BOULDER, CO - Dec. 16, 2020: ...
Colorado senior McKinley Wright IV was named one of 10 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award as the top point guard in the nation. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Tad Boyle has said on many occasions there’s not another point guard in the country he’d rather have than McKinley Wright IV.

Even according to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, few in the nation compare with Wright. On Monday, the Naismith Hall of Fame, organizers of the Bob Cousy Award, named CU’s senior leader as one of 10 finalists for the annual honor, awarded to the top point guard in the nation.

It is the second consecutive year Wright has been named to the Cousy Award’s list of 10 finalists. Oregon’s Payton Pritchard won the honor last year, and Wright is the only Pac-12 player among the 10 finalists this year.

The finalists list will be trimmed to five in February, and the winner will be announced April 9.

Wright is coming off another memorable performance for the Buffs, shaking off a knee injury that kept him on the sideline for the final 13 minutes, 54 seconds of the first half to help lead the Buffs to a 70-59 comeback win Saturday night at Washington State.

To the Buffs’ credit — and perhaps an encouraging sign going forward — the rally began while Wright was sidelined, getting back in the game with a 14-2 first-half run that featured a combined 11 points from fourth-year junior Evan Battey and senior D’Shawn Schwartz.

However, once Wright returned to start the second half, with the Buffs trailing by seven, the comeback really took off. Wright contributed a jumper and an assist in an 8-2 CU run that opened the second half. Wright scored all 12 of his points, grabbed all seven of his rebounds, and recorded four of his five assists during the second half.

Wright became the 10th CU player to surpass the 1,600-point mark and got one step closer to becoming the first Pac-12 player ever to collect at least 1,600 points, 600 rebounds, and 600 assists in his career. Wright already is the first player in CU history to reach 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists and only the fifth Pac-12 player to reach those marks, a club that includes Pritchard, Luke Walton (Arizona), Pooh Richardson (UCLA), and Ron Lee (Oregon).

Wright goes into the rematch against WSU Wednesday at the CU Events Center (7 p.m., ESPNU) with 1,606 points, 593 assists, and 580 rebounds.

The other nine finalists for the Cousy Award are Baylor’s Jared Butler, Creighton’s Marcus Zegarowski, Florida State’s Scottie Barnes, Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs, Illinois’ Ayo Dosummu, Louisville’s Carlik Jones, Minnesota’s Marcus Carr, Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham, and Collin Gillespie of Villanova.

Schedule update

The Pac-12 on Monday announced its latest round of tipoff times and TV information for the coming weeks.

Tip times finally were announced for next week’s CU home games against the Arizona schools, with the Feb. 4 date against Arizona State set to tip at 9 p.m. in order to air on either ESPN2 or ESPNU. The Arizona game on Feb. 6 will begin at 6 p.m. and, as previously announced, will air on FOX Sports 1.

The following week, the Buffs play another weekday afternoon game at 3 p.m. MT at Stanford on Feb. 11. Though it is not official, that game (to air on ESPNU) is likely to be played in Santa Cruz, where the Cardinal has played all its home games so far. CU completes the Bay Area trip at Cal on Feb. 13 with an 8 p.m. MT tipoff on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.

Bey honored

Jamal Bey is starting to make a name for himself beyond just being Tyler Bey’s cousin.

Bey enjoyed a big game against his cousin’s old team last week, and on Monday the junior guard from Washington was honored as the Pac-12 player of the week.

Bey went 5-for-8 overall and 2-for-3 on 3-pointers in the Huskies’ 84-80 win against Colorado last week, their first victory in Pac-12 play. UW needed just one more game to net another league win, as Bey went 10-for-11 overall and 4-for-4 on 3-pointers with a career-high 28 points in an 83-79 win against Utah on Saturday. Bey also recorded five rebounds and four steals against Utah and went 6-for-7 at the free throw line in the two games last week.

Bey was averaging just five points per game through UW’s first eight games but has averaged 15.3 points over the past six games.

USC’s Evan Mobley won the freshman of the week honor for the second consecutive week and the fifth time overall after averaging 18.5 points and 10.5 rebounds during the Trojans’ two-game road split at Cal and Stanford.