JuJu Watkins named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year

Erik-McKinneyby:Erik McKinney03/05/24


USC’s JuJu Watkins has been named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year for the 2023-24 college basketball season. As if there was any other option.

The 6-foot-2 guard earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors a record 14 times this season. That was accomplished in 17 weeks of basketball.

From the Pac-12 Announcement: Watkins led the Trojans in scoring 25 times this season. Watkins’ 751 points this year ranks 10th in Pac-12 history and third in USC history, boasting the most points by a Trojan in a single season since 1985-86 when Cheryl Miller scored 805. The guard has 12 30-point performances this season, including a 51-point outing at then-No. 4 Stanford to set a new USC single-game record. Watkins’ 27.8 points per game trails only Iowa’s Caitlin Clark (32.3 PPG) nationally, and is the second most in league history (Washington’s Kelsey Plum – 31.7 in 2016-17). Watkins becomes the sixth Pac-12 Freshman of the Year to hail from USC, and first since Alissa Pili in 2019-20.

Watkins leads the Trojans with 57 made three-pointers and 69 steals, and ranks second with 7.2 rebounds per game, 43 blocks and 92 assists. She’s also been phenomenal at the free throw line this season, making 85.4% of her shots and hitting nearly as many free throws as the next three Trojans have taken combined.

Watkins was also named to the five-member All-Pac-12 Freshman Team and the All-Pac-12 team, which features 15 total players, including fellow Trojan McKenzie Forbes. USC’s Rayah Marshall was named All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention.

Both Watkins and Marshall were named All-Pac-12 Defensive Team Honorable Mention. All three guards to make that team were either second or third-time members, and either fifth-year or graduate students.

Watkins and the Trojans will next play on Thursday in the Pac-12 Tournament when they take on the winner of Arizona and Washington. USC is ranked No. 5 nationally and is being projected by ESPN as a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. But the Trojans could still log wins over potential No. 1 seeds Stanford and UCLA in the conference tournament and put themselves in the discussion for a spot on the top line.

You may also like