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Huskies' C.J. Wilcox named to Pac-12 second team
Washington senior C.J. Wilcox and Washington State's Brock Motum — whose teams will meet in the first round of the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament Wednesday — were named second-team all-conference.
Seattle Times staff reporter
C.J. Wilcox walked out to practice Monday afternoon at Alaska Airlines Arena bleary eyed, coughing and wearing a walking boot.
"Right now I'm not too good, but I'll be ready by the time the game comes," said the Washington junior, who is battling a cold and has dealt with a troublesome left foot injury for nearly five weeks. "I'm a little nervous with the four-games-in-four-days thing as far as my foot goes. Other than that, I'm ready to go."
However, Wilcox didn't look like someone ready for a long run at the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament.
No. 6 seed Washington faces No. 9 Washington State at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in a first-round matchup of cross-state rivals.
The game pits Wilcox against WSU senior forward Brock Motum, the Pac-12 Player of the Week. Both sharpshooters were tabbed all-Pac-12 second-team picks by conference coaches Monday. They were the only players on their teams given a postseason award. Ten players were named to the first team, five to the second team.
"I'm happy for C.J.," UW coach Lorenzo Romar said. "Last year he wasn't able to make the all-conference team. This year he was. I definitely think it's deserving.
"A couple of games where he didn't shoot the ball as well may have cost him to be on the first team. ... I thought in January he was playing like a potential player of the year (candidate)."
In the past 11 games, Wilcox has converted 12 of 58 (20.7 percent) three-pointers. His scoring average has fallen to 16.8 after it was 18.5 before UW's first meeting with WSU on Jan. 5.
The Huskies believe Wilcox is tired.
"He's one of our leading rebounders, he's second in blocked shots," Romar said. "We're asking him to score and he's doing all of that playing a lot of minutes.
"I just wonder if he's been worn out a little bit. With a shooter, if your legs aren't there that makes it very difficult to be consistent. So that could be an issue."
Romar's advice to Wilcox: Keep shooting.
"Sometimes when they don't go in, it can get to you," he said. "I haven't seen C.J. just clanking bricks up there. He's close around the rim. They just haven't fallen with regularity."
Other Pac-12 winners: California's Allen Crabbe was player of the year, Colorado's Andre Roberson the top defensive player, Stanford's Dwight Powell most improved, UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad and Arizona State's Jahii Carson shared the top freshman honor and Oregon's Dana Altman was coach of the year.
Colorado provided blueprint last year
Colorado's run to the inaugural Pac-12 tournament championship last year should inspire every team that plays Wednesday.
The Buffaloes stumbled into the postseason, losing three of their final four regular-season games. Without a conference tournament title, they were bound for the NIT.
Seeded sixth, Colorado became the first team in league history to win four games in four days, including a 53-51 victory over Arizona in the championship game.
The win gave the Buffs an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament, where they toppled UNLV in the first round, highlighting an amazing postseason reversal.
"It goes to show you that it is a new season," Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. "Everybody is 0-0. It's a great testament to what our players did.
"I don't foresee that it can't happen again, whether it's Colorado or some other team in our league that doesn't get one of their top four seeds."
The top four Pac-12 tournament seeds receive a bye into the quarterfinals. Since the start of the conference tournament in 1987, a team seeded fourth or higher has won 12 of 15 titles.
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.