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Buffaloes’ Walker, Battey named All-Pac-12

Colorado’s duo of big men were honored in the conference’s all-conference teams

NCAA Basketball: Arizona at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Jabari Walker, Evan Battey and K.J. Simpson were each named to one of the Pac-12’s postseason all-conference teams. Walker was first team All-Pac-12, Battey second team and Simpson All-Freshman.

Jabari Walker had a tremendous sophomore season, growing from an energy big to a legit offensive star. He improved seemingly every game and finished his season on an absurd hot streak, averaging over 17 points and 11 rebounds as the Buffs won seven of their final eight games. Constantly attacking the rim for layups and free throws, Walker was impossible to guard once he started making threes and staying out of foul trouble. If the Buffs had been better, there would have been an argument to name him Pac-12 Player of the Year.

Evan Battey didn’t put up the same stats as his teammate — he did average a career high 12 points per game and shot 52% on threes (!) — but his outsized impact on and off the court earned him a spot on the second team. Battey just being on the floor makes his teammates so much better. He opens up the floor with his shooting, sets the meanest screens this side of Andre Kelly, clears the paint for Walker to grab those rebounds, and secures the paint with his girthy presence. And we all know how great of a leader and teammate he is.

K.J. Simpson was an easy choice for the All-Freshman team, even if this freshman class was probably the weakest class in recent Pac-12 history. Simpson’s stats were solid — 8 points, 2 assists and 2 rebounds in Pac-12 play — but his positive impact is more intangible, particularly his energy, on-ball defense and his facilitation of the offense. That last part has really helped the other guards on this team, mostly Keeshawn Barthelemy, who is better when he’s focused on hunting his own shot.

The women’s basketball team was similarly represented in last week’s Pac-12 honors. The Buffs finished 4th in the conference and are a virtual lock for the NCAA Tournament. Their star forward, Mya Hollingshed, was named first team after averaging more than 14 points and 7 rebounds per game. Freshman guard Kyndill Wetta was named All-Freshman and All-Defense, as she terrorized opposing guards off the bench. Senior transfer Quay Miller was Sixth Woman of the Year (an easy choice for voters), as she was a constant spark plug with her combination of shooting, passing and intelligent defense.