Colorado Buffaloes stars Tyler Bey and McKinley Wright were two of ten players named first team All-Pac-12. They were recognized for their season-long excellence and their critical roles in helping the Buffs to 5th place that included an 8-2 run in their final ten conference games.
This is the first time either sophomore has been named to a first- or second-team All-Pac-12 list. Wright, however, was named to the All-Freshman list in 2017-18 for his out-of-nowhere break out as the latest commitment to Colorado’s star-studded 2017 recruiting class. Bey and Wright are two of four underclassmen named to the first team, joined by Jaylen Nowell and KZ Okpala, both of whom may be NBA-bound this year.
Neither player was named to the All-Defense team, though Wright received votes and Bey probably deserved it. Oregon’s Kenny Wooten was named All-Defense despite Bey playing more and having better traditional and advanced stats, but that doesn’t really matter because Colorado is clearly the better team than Oregon and Bey was first team.
Bey ended the year averaging 13.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.0 combined steals and blocks, and was worth 4.0 win shares, according to basketall-reference. He was also Colorado’s best defender on what was the second or third best defense in the Pac-12. His 33% defensive rebounding rate was the second highest in the nation and best in major college basketball. He is also the best litmus test for Colorado basketball — whenever he is on his A-game, the Buffs are likely to win.
Wright finished with 13.0 points, 4.9 assists, 4.8 rebounds and was worth 3.7 win shares. These stats aren’t quite as good as they were in Wright’s freshman year, but these also come with the caveat that Kin was playing through a torn labrum that will require surgery. Wright’s biggest impact on his team is as a leader, both as a floor general and emotional leader. The offense does not function without him creating off the dribble and the defense doesn’t have the same bite when he isn’t locked in mentally.
The full first team goes as follows:
Sedrick Barefield, G, Utah
Tyler Bey, F, Colorado
Bennie Boatwright, F, USC
Zylan Cheatham, F, Arizona State
Robert Frank, F, Washington State
Jaylen Nowell, G, Washington
KZ Okpala, F, Stanford
Matisse Thybulle, G, Washington
Tres Tinkle, F, Oregon State
McKinley Wright, G, Colorado