High Major Player of the Week – Oumar Ballo
Ballo won a close race with Anthony Black and KJ Williams coming in second and third respectively. There is so much more to the Ballo story than him just transferring from Gonzaga two seasons ago and miraculously began to play at a high level. Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd was an assistant at Gonzaga who recruited Ballo out of Mali and when Lloyd got the job at Arizona his prized recruit followed. Ballo played sparingly for Arizona last year, backing up current NBA player Christian Koloko.
This year Ballo patrols the paint with my preseason Pac 12 player of the year in Tubelis and is a starter on one of the most potent offenses in the country. Ballo had a fantastic tournament in Maui and the game that got him the nod for the player of the week was his domination in the Creighton game. Creighton has one of the best defensive big men in the country with Ryan Kalkbrenner and Ballo had one to remember against Kalkbrenner. The season is young but Kalkbrenner is likely the best big man that Ballo will face all season and he went for 30 and 13 against the Bluejays.
Ballo is going to have a huge rest of the season and he can add this award with the actual Pac-12 player of the week award that he won this week. Arizona is going to capture a ton of awards this season and looks to be the best team in the Pac-12, at least early in the season.
Ballo is likely going to capture some more individual awards as the season rolls on. The big man is one of the biggest surprises early on in the season. He was always talented but now with opportunity, he is showing what he can truly do.