Norman Powell wins his third Pac-12 Player of the Week nod

Norman Powell dunks during a 77-63 win over Long Beach State on Nov. 23, one day before he won his first-ever Pac-12 Player of the Week honor.  (Stephen Carr/Staff)

Norman Powell dunks during a 77-63 win over Long Beach State on Nov. 23, one day before he won his first-ever Pac-12 Player of the Week honor. (Stephen Carr/Staff)

Norman Powell has earned yet another Pac-12 Player of the Week award, making him the only player in the conference to do so three times this season.

UCLA’s senior guard scored a career-high 28 points in Sunday night’s 72-67 win over Washington State, hitting a key 3-pointer with 1:34 left as well as 4 of 6 free throws in the final 41 seconds. Four days earlier, he scored 24 in a blowout of Washington.

This was arguably the best statistical two-game stretch of his career, one that saw him shoot 61.8 percent from the field and average 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals. Without his performance against the Cougars, the Bruins’ likely would have slipped off from bubble team to NIT-bound.

Powell also won the conference’s top weekly honor on Nov. 24 and Feb. 2. His third nod moved him past Cal’s Tyrone Wallace and Arizona’s Stanley Johnson, who have both been named Pac-12 Player of the Week twice this season.

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Norman Powell earns second Pac-12 Player of the Week honor

In the midst of a career stretch, UCLA’s Norman Powell has been named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the second time this season.

The senior guard has scored 68 points on 56.1 percent shooting in his last three games, the first time that he has ever strung together three consecutive efforts of at least 20 points. He did this by rediscovering his penchant for attacking the lane — scoring efficiently despite hitting just one of six 3-pointers during the same stretch.

Still the Bruins’ best on-ball defender, he totaled seven steals in wins over Utah and Colorado, as well as nine rebounds and five assists.

Powell had been previously named the conference’s weekly MVP on Nov. 24, after he combined to score 47 points in wins over Nicholls State and Long Beach State. Freshman forward Kevon Looney also won Pac-12 Player of the Week on Jan. 12, making UCLA the only school to have three such honors this season.

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UCLA forward Kevon Looney named Pac-12 Player of the Week

After the best weekend of his UCLA career, true freshman Kevon Looney earned his first Pac-12 Player of the Week honor.

The rangy 6-foot-9 forward helped the Bruins break their five-loss streak with a dominant effort in Thursday’s double-overtime win over Stanford. In the 86-81 victory, Looney poured in an absurd line: 27 points, 19 rebounds, three assists and a block. He was the first UCLA player to have that many points and rebounds in a game since Ed O’Bannon in 1994.

His follow-up effort against Cal on Sunday wasn’t bad either. Looney led UCLA with 15 points in the 73-54 win, and also chipped in seven boards, two assists and two steals. Continue reading

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Eric Kendricks named Butkus finalist, Pac-12 Player of the Week

Eric Kendricks’ stellar season is garnering more and more recognition. UCLA’s senior linebacker became a Butkus Award finalist on Monday, and also picked up his second Pac-12 Player of the Week honor.

Kendricks is the second Bruin in as many years to be named a finalist for the Butkus Award, given each year to college football’s top linebacker. No UCLA player has ever won the Butkus; All-American linebacker Anthony Barr lost out to Alabama’s C.J. Mosley last season.

This year, Kendricks’ stiffest competition is likely Washington linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha, who has 23.5 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks. Kendricks has the edge in tackles (128 to 63) and interceptions (three to zero), but has just seven tackles for loss and two sacks. Continue reading

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Ka’imi Fairbairn named Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week

UCLA kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn was named Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week after making three field goals in the Bruins’ 44-30 win at Washington.

The total tied a career high for the junior, who has been nearly automatic inside of 35 yards but spotty from outside 40. Against the Huskies, however, he nailed a 46-yarder with 8:30 left in the game to give UCLA a three-score lead. His teammates gave him a resounding vote of confidence during the timeout before the attempt.

Fairbairn is the Bruin to earn a Pac-12 Player of the Week honor since Sept. 29, when quarterback Brett Hundley and defensive back/kick returner Ishmael Adams were picked on offense and special teams.

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Brett Hundley, Ishmael Adams named Pac-12 Players of the Week

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley and defensive back Ishmael Adams both earned Pac-12 Player of the Week nods on Monday, marking the second time this season that two Bruins have won on the same day.

Hundley was named the conference’s top offensive player following his big performance in UCLA’s 62-27 win over Arizona State. The redshirt junior threw for 355 yards and four touchdowns on just 23 pass attempts, and finished the game with just five incompletions — none of which came in the second half.

He also rushed for 72 yards and another score, all while wearing a protective brace over his injured left elbow.

“It’s a little concern — not too much,” Hundley said of the brace on Monday. “Obviously, the more I practice with it the more comfortable I feel. Obviously, it adds a bigger piece of weight to your arm. It distributes weight a little different. But at the same time, you practice with it and it’ll be fine.” Continue reading

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Jerry Neuheisel named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week

Jerry Neuheisel earned something that’s eluded even Brett Hundley this season: Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week.

UCLA’s backup quarterback was voted the conference’s top performer after lifting the Bruins past Texas with his unlikely heroics, throwing a 33-yard touchdown to Jordan Payton with three minutes left. Neuheisel finished the 20-17 win with 178 yards and two scores on 23-of-30 passing.

The status of Hundley’s injured left elbow remains fuzzy as UCLA enters its bye week.

Cornerback Ishmael Adams, who set up Neuheisel’s touchdown pass with a 45-yard punt return, was voted Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week. He totaled 62 yards on three punt returns and also returned a kickoff for 14 yards.

Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson won defensive player of the week after returning an interception and a fumble for touchdowns in the Huskies’ 44-19 win over Illinois.

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UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week

After a star performance in UCLA’s 28-20 win over Virginia, linebacker Eric Kendricks was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week.

The senior recorded a game-high 16 tackles against the Cavaliers, but also made two more highlight plays: forcing a fumble that turned into a 75-yard touchdown return for safety Randall Goforth, and taking back a pick-six of his own a few minutes later.

Despite all that, he didn’t seem satisfied.

“I left a lot of stuff on the field,” Kendricks said Monday. “I can improve every week. I made a lot of little rookie mistakes. … If you watch the film, you’d see that I made some key mistakes in the pass game as far as drops and stuff like that, so I’m gonna get back to it.” Continue reading

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