College basketball players tend to let their foot off the gas pedal around Christmas time, distracted by the looming break and the opportunity to put hoops on the back burner for a couple days.
Azuolas Tubelis isn’t like most players.
The 6-foot-11 junior averaged 20 points and nine rebounds in Arizona’s win over Montana State and Morgan State last week, and in doing earned himself Pac-12 Player of the Week honors.
#Pac12MBB Player of the Week, presented by @Nextiva: Ąžuolas Tubelis ⬇️— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) December 26, 2022
Full release ➡️ https://t.co/WeZWHgJnem#RunWithUs | @ArizonaMBB pic.twitter.com/qgWnHnh5H4
This is the second such honor for Tubelis, who previously won the award in February 2022. Tubelis is the Wildcats’ second winner this season, joining Oumar Ballo, who was honored in November for his performance at the Maui Invitational.
Tubelis posted 14 points and nine rebounds in Arizona’s 85-64 victory over Montana State last Tuesday. He followed that up Thursday with a 26-point outing on 9-10 shooting along with nine rebounds in the Wildcats’ 93-68 win over Morgan State.
Tubelis steal & slam!— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) December 23, 2022
https://t.co/LyaRG3eJZF #Pac12MBB | @ArizonaMBB pic.twitter.com/GVgS1RQFxs
Tubelis even stepped back for a pair of 3-pointers in the Montana State victory, displaying his increasing versatility.
“Zu is really coming on, and he’s so consistent,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said after the Morgan State game. “And he scores in different ways, and to make a couple of threes today, and he’s handsy on defense, he gets out in transition. He’s hitting the offensive glass. I love where he’s at, and I think he’s gonna gonna continue to improve.”
Tubelis is one of six players in the country to average at least 20 points (20.1) and eight rebounds (8.7) per game.
Arizona is the first Pac-12 men’s basketball team to have multiple POW winners this season.