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Dusan Ristic named Pac-12 Player of the Week

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It’s the first time the 7-footer has ever won the award — and it’s well-deserved.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 27 Utah at Arizona Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After a stellar homestand against the Mountain schools, Dusan Ristic has been named Pac-12 Player of the Week, it was announced Monday afternoon.

The senior center averaged 19.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 16-of-19 (.842) in the Arizona Wildcats’ wins over Colorado and Utah.

It’s the first time Ristic has ever won the award.

“If you go through it, the impact that he’s had, how consistent he’s played, Dusan is probably one of the top 15 players in our conference,” head coach Sean Miller said. “And he’s having a great senior year, which you always hope to see.”

Ristic is the third Wildcat to collect the conference weekly honor and the team’s fourth nod this season (Allonzo Trier: Nov. 13, Deandre Ayton: Dec. 4, Jan. 1).

Ristic had 15 points and eight rebounds when Arizona defeated Colorado, 80-71, on Thursday. Then he registered a career-high 23 points in Saturday’s 74-73 win over Utah.

The big man had not made a 3 all season entering that game, but drained all three he attempted against the Utes, including one that put Arizona up 72-68 with 1:48 left.

Ristic called it the best game of his career.

“I don’t know what to say right now,” he said afterward. “It’s an amazing feeling.”

Ristic is averaging career-highs in points (11.1) and rebounds (6.6) this season.

Against Utah, he became the 52nd member of Arizona’s 1,000-point club and the 28th player in program history to score at least 1,000 points (1,003) and grab 500 career rebounds (546).

“I don’t have a lot of games left in McKale,” he said. “I have a few more and I’m just trying to give my best every game

“Every coach in our conference would love to have him,” said Miller, who had lots of other good things to say about the big man.

Ristic has won 106 games at Arizona, placing him just five shy of becoming the winningest player in Arizona history, a mark currently held by Matt Muehlebach and Kaleb Tarczewski at 110 wins.

Ristic is hoping to break that record before his Arizona career ends. And do a lot more.

“I usually talk to Parker (Jackson-Cartwright) and we talk about how this is our last chance here, our last chance to make something big here, to fill our goals, to go to the Final Four and compete for national championships,” he said.

“We don’t have a lot of games left so we just try to give 100 percent every game and now that we’re coming to the home stretch we have a little extra.”


Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire