As we predicted, Norman Powell has won the PAC 12 player of the week. It is a much deserved award but more than player of the last week, Powell may have saved a season. First from the official release:
- UCLA senior guard Norman Powell has earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors for the second time this season, the conference office announced Monday.
In UCLA's two wins last week, Powell averaged 22.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.5 assists per game. He currently leads the team in scoring with 16.1 points per game, the sixth-highest mark in the conference. Powell also ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with 2.1 steals pergame.
Powell scored a team-high 23 points on 9-for-16 shooting with a 5-for-6 mark from the free throw line in the Bruins' 69-59 win over No. 11 Utah on Thursday. He followed that with a 22-point game two nights later versus Colorado. Against the Buffaloes, Powell shot 7-for-11 from the field and had five rebounds, four assists and five steals in UCLA's 72-59 win.
Through both games last week, Powell shot 59.3 percent from the field, connecting on 16 of 27 shots and making 12 of 14 free throws. Powell was also honored as the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Nov. 24, 2014, marking his first career player of the week award.
While Chris and I have been harping about going inside out, the other change has been making Powell the primary guard. In the last four wins Norman Powell has led UCLA in shot attempts. This is the Senior Norman Powell's team.
Contrast that with the previous seven losses Bryce led us four times to Norman's twice.
If we are going to salvage this season it is going to be because Norman leads us there.
I will add that I think Norman really deserves the Player of the Week award for a completely different reason: leadership. After the Utah win this was written:
Norman Powell was fed up.
It was last week in Eugene, Ore., and the usually mild-mannered senior guard had just watched UCLA's defense fall to pieces, victimized by an onslaught of barely contested Oregon jumpers. After fighting through two dislocated fingers and a bruised hip within the past month, Powell was livid at his team's effort - or lack thereof - and he made no effort to hide it.
"(Oregon was) shooting 75 percent at halftime and that's unheard of," Powell fumed. "That's basically them getting ‘H-O-R-S-E' shots. Nobody in their face, nobody putting pressure on them."
Powell's frustration boiled over into the locker room, where he challenged his teammates. On Thursday, in UCLA's most complete defensive effort of the year, they responded.
Norman earned PAC 12 player of the week for his play on the court and his leadership in the locker room.