Tournament time also means awards time. With postseason play looming around the corner, the 14 finalists for the Oscar Robertson Trophy were announced.
Not surprisingly, the bulk of the finalists hail from the ACC. But it was a refreshing surprise to see the lone representatives from some of the other conferences, particularly Utah’s Delon Wright as the stand alone member of the Pac-12 on the list of trophy finalists.
It didn’t hurt that the finalists were announced before Wright tallied 12 points with five rebounds, four assists and three steals and blocked shots in the Utes 83-41 spanking of ASU. But it certainly adds to his stock on a list of NCAA finalists.
ESPN’s recap of Thursday’s game called the senior “Mr. Versatility” and pointed out that isn’t the first game where Wright has been all over the court. The LA native made a Fox Sports list back in August for best players for the 2014-2015 season. Sure enough he’s leading the pack averaging 14.2 points and 5.3 assists a tilt.
Pretty stats help but they aren’t everything, and Wright has translated those production numbers from paper to reality, which is what has catapulted him into his own sense of identity — outside of being Portland Trail Blazers’ “Dorell’s younger brother.” He was named as the “catalyst” in a Grantland account on what has lifted Utah hoops back into the competitive circle, which is evident when you watch him on the court night after night.
What’s left to raise Wright’s stock with the USBWA in the hunt for the Oscar Robertson trophy?
Let’s start with how he rises to the occasion when Utah hosts No.7 Arizona on Saturday. A highly-anticipated rematch between the top two teams in the conference whose first game stood up to the adrenaline rush of some of the NCAA’s finest? Sounds like a perfect time for Wright to take charge.
*Section Photo credit to Ethan Miller, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Russ Isabella, USA Today Sports