FROM PULLMAN -- As surprises go, this isn't one. At all. Faisal Aden has been named Pac-12 Player of the Week after averaging 28.5 points per game in wins over Stanford and California. And in the process, Aden and Brock Motum join a pretty exclusive WSU group. Read on.
You knew as soon as Jorge Gutierrez's 3-pointer missed at the buzzer on Saturday that Aden had this award locked up. Just as a reminder, here were his stats for the weekend — 28.5 points per game (33 and 24), 19-29 from the field (9-12 on Saturday) and 19-20 from the free throw line. He also averaged 3.5 rebounds and had two assists and two steals.
Aden is the second Cougar to win the award this year. The other was Brock Motum on Dec. 12, after he scored 27 points in a win over Santa Clara and 12 more in a win over Idaho.
Which got myself — and some astute Twitter followers — thinking. When was the last time the Cougars had two different players win player of the week in the same season?
I was a little surprised to learn that not only did it never happen in the Klay Thompson era — Thompson won it twice in each of the last two seasons but no other Cougar player did — but that it didn't happen for any of Tony Bennett's tournament teams, either. Daven Harmeling won it twice in the 2006-07 season, but nobody else on that team did.
So, to find an achievement equal to Motum and Aden, we go back to the 1994-95 season, when Donminic Ellison and Mark Hendrickson won the award two weeks apart in January. Before them, Bennie Seltzer and Hendrickson both won it in the 92-93 season, Neil Derrick and Seltzer won it in the 91-92 season, and Dwayne Scholten and Joe Wallace each won it in the 86-87 season, with Wallace winning it twice.
That makes Aden and Motum the fifth WSU duo to win player of the week in the same season since the award's inception in 1983-84.