The top freshman in the Pac-10?
Last season Washington’s Isaiah Thomas started slowly, but by the third game he’d found his stride and ran away with the conference’s top award for freshmen.
Many believed the Huskies would win the award again this season with McDonald’s high school All-American Abdul Gaddy.
However, the early favorites are …
Arizona’s Derrick Williams and Washington State’s Reggie Moore, the former Rainier Beach and O’Dea High standout.
Like Thomas, Williams, a 6-8 forward, started slowly before breaking out in the third game of the season when he finished with 25 points and eight rebounds in 32 minutes against Wisconsin.
He’s scored at least 10 points in all but two games this season and had a career-best 28 against UNLV.
Williams is averaging 14.0 points and 6.1 rebounds in 25.2 minutes per game.
“Clearly he has to be one of the better freshmen in the country and one of the best in the Pac-10,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “He means a lot to our team. He’s done two things in the first nine games of his career are amazing; he shot 21 free throws against Wisconsin and broke a school record. When you consider so many great players that have played here it says a lot about Derrick’s talent. And to do that against a program like Wisconsin in Maui makes it even more meaningful.
“And he also scored more than 25 points against a very good UNLV team. … He’s one of our teams best players and he’s really scratching the surface, just knowing the game. He’s not someone that played basketball for a long period of time.”
Moore, a 6-2 guard, notched is first double double (16 points and 10 rebounds) last Saturday in WSU’s 75-68 win over Air Force.
He’s averaging 13.5 points, 4.5 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 2.3 turnovers in 29.3 minutes per game.
Moore was the Associated Press 3A State Player of the Year as a senior at Rainier Beach. He led the Vikings to a 29-1 record and a state championship.
“I’m as pleased with Reggie as anybody on the team,” coach WSU Ken Bone said. “Here’s a young man, he’s a freshman coming playing right around 30 minutes a game. His assist-to-turnover ratio (1.96) is by far better than anyone else’s in the program and he has the ball in his hands a lot.
“So for him after 10 games to only have 23 turnovers at the same time distributing the ball, shooting 86 percent from the line, averaging around 13 (points) per game. I’m just really pleased with what he’s been able to accomplish.”
Other Freshman of the Year early contenders: Gaddy; Arizona State guard Trent Lockett; Arizona forward Solomon Hill; UCLA center Reeves Nelson; Washington State guard Xavier Thames; Oregon forward E.J. Singler; Arizona guard Lamont Jones; Oregon forward Jamil Wilson and Oregon State guard Jared Cunningham.