CJ Elleby picked up where Robert Franks left off at Washington State, leading the Cougars in both scoring and rebounding this season.
The standout sophomore followed in Franks’ footsteps again on Monday, joining his former teammate to become the second WSU player in as many years to earn All-Pac-12 First Team recognition when the conference announced postseason awards.
The Seattle native was one of two Cougars recognized, joining senior guard Jervae Robinson, who earned Pac-12 All-Defensive team honorable mention.
Elleby makes the jump to First Team after being named to the Pac-12’s All-Freshman team in 2018-19. The forward improved his scoring average, from 14.7 points per game to 18 this season, and grabbed 7.8 rebounds per game after averaging 7.1 as a freshman. Elleby’s scoring average ranked fourth in the conference, and his rebounding average was seventh.
The Cleveland High School graduate tested the NBA Draft waters following his productive freshman season, but elected to return after professional scouts and coaches encouraged him to focus on his defense. Elleby didn’t take the advice for granted, totaling 1.7 steals per game – third-best in the conference – and 53 on the season. He had just 33 steals as a freshman.
Elleby also managed 25 blocks after 18 last season and committed just 68 turnovers, as opposed to 96 in 2018-19.
In the Cougars’ lone road Pac-12 win, Elleby scored 21 points to lead WSU past Washington and become the third-fastest player in program history to reach 1,000 career points. His career-high 34 points also came against the Huskies, in a 79-67 win at Beasley Coliseum earlier in the year.
Robinson was key in WSU’s defensive turnaround, helping the Cougars hold teams just under 70 points per game (69.7) after the 2018-19 team allowed opponents to score 78.7. The Aurora, Colorado, native was a lockdown defender from the perimeter as WSU limited opponents to 32% from the field – the fifth-best mark in the conference.
In year one under head coach Kyle Smith, WSU held the opposition to four points under the national average (102.4) in points per 100 possessions, at 98.4.
The Cougars turned opponents over on 21 percent of their possessions, and the 15.1 turnovers per game they forced were good enough for third in the Pac-12. Robinson finished his final regular season with 26 steals while grabbing 3.1 rebounds per game.
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