National player of the year candidate Poeltl earns fourth weekly award
SAN FRANCISCO - UTAH’s national player of the year candidate Jakob Poeltl recorded the 11th and 12th double-doubles of his sophomore campaign to earn his fourth Pac-12 Conference men’s basketball Player of the Week award of the season as voted upon by media who cover the league.
In victories at UCLA and USC, the Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy candidate and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year finalist averaged 22.0 points on 64 percent shooting (18-28), 12.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.5 blocks as UTAH (21-7, 10-5) became the first Pac-12 team this season to complete two road sweeps in conference play.
The 7-0 forward/center from Vienna, Austria went for 15 points and 11 rebounds as UTAH secured its first win at UCLA since 1961 on Thursday, then matched a career-high versus a Pac-12 opponent with 29 points along with 13 boards and a career-best four steals as the Utes ended USC’s 16-game home win streak on Sunday.
Poeltl’s four Player of the Week selections this season tie the second-most in one season in conference history (Eddie House in 1999-00, Ed O’Bannon in 1994-95, Gary Payton in 1989-90), trailing only Quincy Pondexter’s five awards in 2009-10. His four career selections are tied for the 14th-most in league annals. He is the Pac-12’s leader in field goal percentage (.668) and is second in scoring (18.1 ppg), third in rebounding (9.0 rpg) and seventh in blocked shots (1.4 bpg).
With just two weeks and 22 games remaining in the regular season, the Pac-12’s top 10 teams are separated by only four games, marking the second-smallest separation between as many teams in any league standings in the nation behind only the SEC (4 games, 11 teams).
This week’s 12-game slate is highlighted by a potential showdown for first place when No. 22 UTAH hosts No. 9 ARIZONA on Saturday at 12 noon on ESPN.
2015-16 PAC-12 MEN'S BASKETBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK