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Arizona’s Christian Koloko, Bennedict Mathurin make cut for national awards

christian-koloko-bennedict-mathurin-watchlist-naismith-jerry-west-awards-arizona-basketball Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images

Christian Koloko and Bennedict Mathurin are still in contention for two of college basketball’s most prestigious individual awards.

On Tuesday Koloko was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, while Mathurin was named one of five finalists for the Jerry West Award, given to the nation’s top shooting guard.

Koloko is the only Pac-12 semifinalist for the Naismith award. UCLA’s Johnny Juzang joins Mathurin as a finalist for the Jerry West Award.

Koloko is averaging 2.9 blocks and 7.3 rebounds as a junior, his 82 blocks fifth-most in single-season school history. The 7-foot-1 center has recorded at least one block in every game this season and ranks 10th in the nation in blocks per game. According to, Koloko is 19th nationally in block percentage (11.23).

Koloko is also a premier rebounder, having recorded double digits in boards in six games this year.

Mathurin has emerged as one of the top wings in the country, averaging 17.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists as a sophomore. He has scored in double figures in 25 of Arizona’s 28 games.

The 6-foot-6 native of Montreal ranks 49th on KenPom in offensive rating among players who are involved in at least 20% of possessions used.

Mathurin and Koloko are also in the running for Pac-12 Player of the Year, along with teammate Azuolas Tubelis. The award will be announced next week.