The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Rice and Jones win awards as Cougars reach top-25

Cougs are ranked for first time in more than a decade
Myles+Rice+dishing+the+rock+through+traffic+to+a+cutting+Isaac+Jones+for+a+wide+open+dunk%2C+Jan.+6%2C+in+Pullman%2C+Wash.+
BRANDON WILLMAN
Myles Rice dishing the rock through traffic to a cutting Isaac Jones for a wide open dunk, Jan. 6, in Pullman, Wash.

No. 21 WSU men’s basketball (20-6, 11-4 Pac-12) is on a tear, winning 10 of their last 11 games. Following two double-digit wins at home, the Cougs have finally received the respect of the AP Poll, and have jumped from unranked to No. 21 in the country. Isaac Jones and Myles Rice were awarded for their contributions to last week’s wins, making history and putting Rice within reach of even more.

This is the first time Cougar basketball has been ranked in 302 weeks of play, last seeing the AP Top 25 in the 2007–08 season. WSU was ranked as high as No. 4 that year, but dropped to the same spot that they now sit, No. 21, in the final poll.

Jones scored 18 points per game last week, drawing seven fouls while putting up 21 against Cal and scoring 15 on Stanford. For his efforts, he was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week. It is his second this season, tied with Utah’s Branden Carlson for the season lead.

Rice averaged 19.5 points last week, scoring 25 against Cal and 14 against Stanford. Rice was rewarded for his play with a conference record fourth-straight and seventh overall Pac-12 Freshman of the Week award. He is now tied with the conference record in total F.O.T.W. awards. With three weeks left in what could be the last season of Pac-12 hoops ever, Rice has the chance to pass Evan Mobley for the most in history.

Rice already made history this week with the help of Jones, becoming the first pair ever to sweep the awards multiple times. The Cougs are also now the only team to ever have two awards sweeps in the same season.

Jones is not the favorite for Player of the Year just yet, but with a strong last few weeks, he could put himself in that conversation. The fifth-year player scored his 1,000th career point in the Stanford game on Saturday and is having his best season in his final year of eligibility.

Rice, on the other hand, is the leading candidate for Freshman of the Year. Averaging nearly 16 points, 3.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game on the season, Rice is the only high-major freshman to lead his team in points, assists and steals.

The next chance for the two awardees and the top-25 Cougs to show what they can do is at No. 4 Arizona. The Cougs beat then-No. 8 Arizona in Pullman earlier this year, the second win of the 10-1 stretch they are still on. This time, they will be in Arizona on national television with a chance to climb even further.

That game will tip off 8 p.m. Saturday at Arizona. Fans can watch on FS1.

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About the Contributors
HAYDEN STINCHFIELD, Evergreen sports co-editor
Hayden Stinchfield is a senior in Criminology from Washougal, WA. He is considered by some experts to be the greatest to ever spot birds. Hayden began working at the Evergreen in fall 2022, and became Sports Co-Editor in summer 2023.
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.