McKinley Wright IV lands third consecutive All-Pac-12 first team honor

Junior guard Eli Parquet earns first team All-Defense

BOULDER, CO - Feb. 8, 2021: ...
BOULDER, CO – February 8, 2021: Colorado’s McKinley Wright IV shoots between Oregon State’s Gianni Hunt and Warith Alatishe during the Oregon State at Colorado men’s basketball game in Boulder on February 8, 2021.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
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McKinley Wright IV is making as big a push as possible to leave as much Colorado basketball history in his wake before he suits up for the Buffaloes for the final time.

On Tuesday, Wright added another accolade to his unparalleled career by earning first team All-Pac-12 Conference honors for the third consecutive season.

Wright is just the third Buffs player to receive three first team all-conference nods during his career, following two long-ago CU heroes in the Big Eight Conference —  Wilky Gilmore (1959, 1960, 1962), and Cliff Meely (1969-71).

Wright was denied the league’s Player of the Year award, which went to USC freshman Evan Mobley. Wright also fell short of his second consecutive All-Defensive first team honor, though teammate Eli Parquet landed on the All-Defense first team. Wright earned honorable mention All-Defense for the third time in his career.

Fourth-year junior forward Evan Battey was an honorable mention All-Conference selection, while forward Jabari Walker earned a spot on the All-Freshman team. Walker is the first CU rookie to land on the Pac-12 All-Freshman team since Wright in 2018.

“I’m proud of Eli,” Wright said. “That’s kind of the role we established him to be in this year, to guard the other team’s best perimeter player. And then when he subs out, I switch on to him. It is what it is. I’m not mad. I know I can defend other teams’ best player. That’s what I like to do at crunch time, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do. I’m going to continue to be a best on the defensive end.”

Wright leads the Buffs in scoring at 15.3 points per game going into CU’s quarterfinal match in the Pac-12 tournament on Thursday (9:30 p.m. MT, ESPN). Wright leads the Pac-12 in assists (5.7) and this season broke the Buffs’ career assists record previously held by Jay Humphries. He also became the first Pac-12 men’s basketball player to record at least 1,700 points, 600 rebounds, and 600 assists in his career.

With Parquet’s honor, the Buffs have landed players on the All-Defense first team in three of the past six seasons — Josh Scott in 2016, Derrick White in 2017, and Wright and Tyler Bey last season. Boyle recently credited Parquet for leading the charge on a couple of impressive defensive performances, first by holding USC’s Tahj Eaddy to a 3-for-9 night in a Buffs win on Feb. 25, then by holding ASU’s Remy Martin to a 1-for-9 performance last week.

Mobley also won the Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards, becoming the first player to sweep the Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, and Defensive Player of the year awards. He leads the league in rebounding (5.8), blocked shots (2.9), and double-doubles (10). He also ranks third in field goal percentage (.582) and seventh in scoring (16.1).

Arizona’s Jordan Brown collected the Sixth Man of the Year award while Stanford’s Jaiden Delaire won the Most Improved Player award. USC’s Andy Enfield won the Coach of the Year award.

“It’s one of those things. (Wright) was honorable mention all-defense, so he got some votes and people saw him,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “I think when you’ve got two defenders like McKinley, like Eli, in your backcourt, it’s hard to get both of them on the first team. That’s just a function of how the voting works. Because usually what coaches will do is vote for one but not the other.

“I think the fact that they both were recognized, it means that other people in the league value them defensively and what they’ve done.”

ALL-PAC-12 CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM

James Akinjo, Jr., Arizona

Timmy Allen, Jr., Utah

Tyger Campbell, R-So., UCLA

Oscar da Silva, Sr., Stanford**

Chris Duarte, Sr., Oregon

Remy Martin, Sr., Arizona State**

Evan Mobley, Fr., USC

Eugene Omoruyi, Sr., Oregon

Ethan Thompson, Sr., Oregon State

McKinley Wright IV, Sr., Colorado***

*Denotes number of All-Pac-12 first team honors.

ALL-PAC-12 CONFERENCE SECOND TEAM

Isaac Bonton, Sr., Washington State

Matt Bradley, Jr., Cal

Tahj Eaddy, Sr., USC

Jaime Jaquez Jr., So., UCLA

Johnny Juzang, So., UCLA

Honorable Mention (at least three votes): Evan Battey, Colorado; Jaiden Delaire, Stanford; Quade Green, Washington; Azuolas Tubelis, Arizona; Noah Williams, Washington State.

ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM

Oscar da Silva, Sr., Stanford

Chris Duarte, Sr., Oregon

Jaime Jaquez Jr., So., UCLA

Evan Mobley, Fr., USC

Eli Parquet, Jr., Colorado

Honorable Mention (at least three votes): Warith Alatishe, OSU; Bryce Wills, STAN; McKinley Wright IV, Colorado.

ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM

Efe Abogidi, Washington State

Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona

Evan Mobley, USC

Azuolas Tubelis, Arizona

Jabari Walker, Colorado

Honorable Mention (at least three votes): Marcus Bagley, ASU; Josh Christopher, ASU; Dishon Jackson, WSU; Ziaire Williams, Stanford

Player of the Year: Evan Mobley, USC

Freshman of the Year: Evan Mobley, USC

Defensive Player of the Year: Evan Mobley, USC

Coach of the Year: Andy Enfield, USC

Sixth Man of the Year: Jordan Brown, Arizona

Most Improved Player of the Year: Jaiden Delaire, Stanford