Player of the Week
Sophomore Jordan Williams just continues to evoke high-praise from the powers that be (I'm referring to myself here). The meaty Maryland center has been curb-stomping his opponents all season long, and last week was no exception. In his last two games he's averaged 25 points on 69% shooting to go along with 13 rebounds per game. Using a combination of power and skill, Williams' back-to-the-basket game is simply overwhelming at this level of competition. His affinity for devouring smaller players in the post has earned him the Spanish nickname "Monstruo Deliciosa". Besides his new nickname, there really isn't much more to say about "Monstruo Deliciosa" that hasn't been said already. If he focuses on improving himself over the next few years and shows a commitment to staying in shape, then we're looking at a very nice NBA prospect down the road.
After a somewhat mundane start to the season, we're finally beginning to see what CJ Leslie is truly capable of. In his last three games the combo forward is averaging a very respectable 13.3 points on 45% shooting, 12.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. With his remarkable athletic tools, the freakish leaper can take advantage of lesser competition like he is right now, though some wonder if he's going to be capable of having this kind of success come tournament play this January. Leslie fits the "tweener" label to a T. At about 6'9" with a 7'2" wingspan, he has adequate size and length for the power forward position, but lacks the bulk, only being listed at about 205-210 lbs. He's athletic enough to play small forward, but is still somewhat raw in terms of shooting, ball handling and passing. Leslie shows a lot of potential in these areas, but doesn't yet excel in any of them. This versatility gives him a high ceiling, but also draws comparisons to former NBA players Darius Miles and Julian Wright.
Free Throw Shooting
There wasn't a lot of ACC action this week, so it really wouldn't be fair to criticize any one player for having an off-night in their only game. So I, being the crafty blogger that I am, have decided to criticize several players. A lot of these top NBA prospects here in the ACC have a big red flag hanging from their sorry faces. I call it "The Red Flag of Injustice". These players aren't taking advantage of the easiest opportunities that are being granted to them. I'm talking to you Jordan Williams (54%), you CJ Leslie (50%), you Reggie Bullock (44%), you Mason Plumlee (42%) and especially you John Henson (AKA Super Noodle Boy) (34%). These foul-shooting (get it?) prospects are all projected NBA draftees, but unless a player can provide a Shaquille O'Neal or Dwight Howard type of impact, then most NBA coaches have a problem giving significant minutes (particularly minutes down the stretch in close games)
to players who are unreliable from the supposed "charity stripe". Granted, all the listed players are underclassmen, so they still have a chance to improve this monstrosity. I mean, look no further than Chris Singleton's evolution (50% last season, to 74% this season).
Top 5 Athletes in the ACC
1. DeQuan Jones - The boy can soar, and he has some high-profile victims (John Wall anyone?) who would testify to that effect. Jones’ high-flying theatrics are the #1 reason to watch the Miami Hurricanes this season.
2. CJ Leslie - He's very green, but his leaping ability and quickness make him a threat at the collegiate level.
3. Chris Singleton/Michael Snaer - I just couldn't decide. Here are two bona fide athletes who combine their natural talent with a tenacious desire to annoy shooters.
4. Mason Plumlee - For his size, Plumlee sure can get up for some NBA Jam-esque dunks.
5. John Henson - Maybe he's less athleticism and more length; either way, he can get up like nobody's business.
Get it? Foul-shooting? Foul meaning bad. Foul shots meaning free-throws. Get it? GET IT?!... In a huge blow to the Virginia Cavaliers, the super productive Mike Scott underwent arthroscopic ankle surgery on his left ankle on Thursday. No word on how long he's going to be out... Speaking of devastating injuries, boy-wonder Kyrie Irving may miss the entire season with his toe injury. If he does, there's a good chance we'll see him don a Duke uniform again next season... Harrison Barnes had himself a nice 19 point, 10 rebound, 2 assist game last Saturday against Long Beach State. Barnes and The Tar Heels play the Texas Longhorns this Saturday in what should be an interesting game... As you can probably tell, I get a twisted pleasure from giving players new nicknames. Please enlighten me on any catchy nicknames you have for ACC players right down there in the comments section. I’ll be eagerly awaiting.