T.J. McConnell continues to show his value each game and Sean Miller believes that his senior point guard is currently the front runner for the Pac-12 Player of the Year.
“I said this before, in the three years that he has been here, the year he was out he was extremely valuable because he practiced every day against our team,” Miller said.
“Last season and this season you can make the argument that no player we have recruited in our seven or eight recruiting classes has been more impactful towards winning than T.J. McConnell.”
Despite how important McConnell is, he is not getting NBA attention, which Miller believes is a mistake.
“He does it in all facets of the game and he does it every day,” Miller said. “He is the only guy nobody talks about playing in the NBA. I have no idea why he can’t play in the NBA. I know he can.”
As well as McConnell has been playing on offense as of late, his success defensively is what stands out.
“He is playing at a very high level,” Miller said. “He is continuing to be more aggressive. On defense, he is where he is supposed to be on every possession.
“He can do it guarding the other team’s point guard or off the ball. Rondae is the same and it is those two guys that I believe set the tone for the defense.”
Against Oregon State, McConnell put together one of the best defensive performances in school history.
“You could come to a lot of games in McKale for the next 50 years and very seldom will you see a player have eight steals in one game,” Miller said. “And he played only 30 minutes. He was dominant on the defensive end.”
Miller’s opinion of McConnell isn’t necessarily biased either, as Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle speaks highly of him as well.
“T.J. McConnell is my player of the year,” he said. “He is everything to this team. He got into our guys and got physical with them.
“He got a lot of deflections, and I think caused some frustration, not just for Gary, but for multiple guys. I give credit to him."