Four Cougs Earn Pac-12 Honors
SAN FRANCISCO – Ahead of the upcoming conference championship tournament, the Pac-12 Conference announced the postseason awards with Washington State earning four spots among the recipients. Senior Isaac Bonton led the way earning Second Team honors while sophomore Noah Williams took home honorable mention recognition. The Cougs freshmen bigs were recognized for their excellence with Efe Abogidi earning All-Freshman honors while Dishon Jackson took home All-Freshman Honorable Mention recognition. All four Cougs were first time recipients of All-Pac-12 postseason honors.
After taking over the reins of the Cougars' offense, Bonton proved himself one of the elite scorers in the Pac-12 as he finished the regular season fourth in scoring at 17.6 points per game despite being hampered with injuries for much of the season. With the ability to score in bunches, the Portland native dropped 20 or more eight times in Pac-12 play including averaging 23.2 ppg against the top-3 teams in the conference standings. In addition to his own scoring, Bonton finished the regular season fourth in the conference in getting his teammates involved after dishing out 4.0 assists per game. Outside of this offense, Bonton was one of the league's best perimeter defenders finishing the year No. 1 in steals per game at 1.9 and third in total steals with 39 despite playing just 20 contests on the year. In Pac-12 play, he was even more dominant posting a 2.2 steals per game average while nabbing 31 steals, one short of the top spot despite playing in six less games than the overall leader.
Breaking out in his second year, Williams was arguably the conference's most improved player as the defensive specialist turned into one of the league's most dangerous two-way players. Throughout his exploits, Williams would earn the team's lone Pac-12 Player of the Week award while also being named the national player of the week after posting the most prolific scoring weekend in program history scoring 72 points against Cal and Stanford. In all, the Seattle native finished the regular season leading the team in total points with 370 while scoring 14.2 points per game, 14th in the conference and an eight-point jump from his freshman season. He finished the regular season with four 20+ point games that included two 30+ point games and the team's first 40-point game in the last decade. Defensively, Williams led the way with a league-best 41 steals while also drawing a team-best 11 charges. His durability showed after finishing as one of just two Cougs to have started and played in all 26 games on the season.
The 13th Cougar since 1983-84 to receive all-freshman honors and first since CJ Elleby three years prior, Abogidi burst on the collegiate scene and established himself as one of the best young big men in the country. In his first season of collegiate basketball, the young forward showed off his reliability as he joined Williams as one of two Cougars to start and play in all 26 games in the regular season. His 26 starts ranks as the sixth most starts by a freshman in program history. On the court, Abogidi became the first Coug rookie to earn Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors since the award was created in 2019-20 after becoming just the second freshman in program history to record three-straight double-doubles. He ended the regular season ranked fourth in the Pac-12 in rebounding at 7.3 per game while defensively finishing fifth in blocks per game with a WSU freshman record 1.3 per game. On the offensive end, Abogidi averaged 8.9 points per game while going for double-figures in 12 contests. At the line, Abogidi was one of the best in the Pac-12 shooting 81.9%, a WSU freshman record and the seventh best mark in program history.
Joining his classmate as one of the top young players in the Pac-12, Jackson quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the post on both ends of the court. Pushing his way into the starting lineup at the start of Pac-12 play, Jackson started 12 games while playing in 23 in his inaugural season. Excelling against the best, Jackson put together some of his best games against the Pac-12 Player and Freshman of the Year, Evan Mobley, as he posted a pair of career scoring nights with 14 on the road and 18 at home in Beasley. In total, he finished Pac-12 play averaging 7.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.1 blocks per game in 19 contests. Overall, Jackson came on defensively to climb the WSU freshman record books ending the regular season tied for sixth on the freshman top-10 blocks list with 22 while his 1.0 bpg is ranks fourth.
The Cougars continue their season as they enter the 2021 Pac-12 Tournament as the No. 9 seed and take on No. 8 Arizona State, Wednesday, March 10 at 1 p.m. at Las Vegas's T-Mobile Arena.