Carlson named Pac-12 freshman of the week

Ryan Kostecka

It's been a long time coming for Utah and Branden Carlson. 

After graduating high school in 2017 and taking his two-year LDS mission, Carlson has struggled to get his feet back underneath after the extended break. While he's shown glimpses of how special he can be at practices, and even more scarcely in games, Carlson had yet to put together a full-game showing this season.

That all changed on Thursday night against Stanford when Carlson was sensational, finishing with 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocks in leading the Utes to a 64-56 overtime victory.

"Sometimes I'm more reserved," Carlson said Thursday night. "Definitely, coaches want me to alter shots and block them. Tonight I was really more comfortable going after them."

Because of that performance, Carlson was named the Pac-12 freshman of the week, as announced by the league office on Monday.

“I just came in ready to play, ready to help our team get a 'W' after we had two tough losses in LA,” Carlson said. “Me, myself, as well as my teammates came here ready to contribute and ready to play our roles.”

This Carlson's first time winning the award, the and second Utes to take home the honor. Rylan Jones won it a few weeks ago, while sophomore Timmy Allen has been named the player of the week. 

Utah hits the road this weekend to face Oregon State and Oregon. Tipoff against Oregon State is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday in Corvallis.