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Arizona basketball: Wildcats freshman Stanley Johnson named Pac-12 Player of the Week

Two big wins gives Arizona the Pac-12 Player of the Week

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Wildcats freshman phenom Stanley Johnson was named the Pac-12's Player of the Week after his two performances against the Colorado Buffaloes and Utah Utes this past week.

This is the second time Johnson has won the honors. The first time was the week of the Maui Invitational, where he was also named that tournament's MVP.

"I think the important thing to realize about Stanley is he's a freshman," head coach Sean Miller said on Monday. "He's 19 years old, and although there's a lot expected of him and he has high expectations of himself, he's a very essential and talented player in our program."

"But every time here early on that he's done something for the first time, it is in fact the first time, and that's never to your advantage as a player," Miller added. "So the more games that he's gotten under his belt and the more experience, to his credit I think he's learning. I think he's a smarter player. He knows what to expect more. And when you watch him play, I think things happen within the framework of our team play easier for him right now than ever before. You want him to be consistent in his performance as well, but he did play two very good games against Colorado and Utah."

Johnson averaged 20 points, 8.5 rebounds, and two steals per game in the games at home against the mountain schools this past week. Those are all up from his season averages of 14.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.6 steals. The only other freshman in the power conferences averaging those numbers is Jahlil Okafor of Duke.

"Stanley has really bought in and been all in, and it shows by the way he's been playing and by the way the team's been playing," T.J. McConnell added. "I'm tough on him, and he told me to be tough on him, and that's what I'm going to do. Negative or positive, he takes it, and just uses it as motivation, and he's been playing great."

"He's pretty much elevated his game to another level these past couple games," the senior point guard continued. "And it's evident by his numbers and by the way we've been playing."