Archive - Jan 2, 2011
Player of the Past Two Weeks
Michael Dixon, Missouri
Playing on a very guard-heavy Missouri Tiger basketball team, the junior is doing his best to make his presence felt. The 6'1" Kansas City native is the current front-runner for national Sixth Man of the Year award. In a victory over William and Mary on December 18th, he exploded for 30 points on 13-19 from the field. He also shot an efficient 3-7 from three-point land. Against nationally ranked Illinois on the 22nd, he helped Mizzou stay undefeated by contributing 18 points, four assists, and two rebounds, while sinking an impressive 10-12 free throws. On almost any other team in America, Michael Dixon would be a starting guard. That shows you exactly how dangerous and deep Missouri's guards are this season.
Rodney McGruder, Kansas State
The Kansas State Wildcats are off to an impressive start this season at 10-1. If they can get consistent play from their 6'4" star shooting guard, it could be another banner year for K-State. The junior showed off his impressive offensive arsenal in a 77-60 victory over Long Beach State this week. He scored 28 points on 10-11 shooting from the field, as well as 2-3 from 3-point range and 6-7 from the free-throw line. He pulled down six rebounds as well for the Wildcats, and was the steadying force the young team will be relying upon all season. He tends to disappear in some games, but from here on out, Kansas State can't afford for such a talented player to be so inconsistent.
Player of the Week
The Florida State Seminoles are looking like the second best team in the ACC this season, and a large portion of their success goes to the remarkable offensive improvement of 6'9" forward Chris Singleton. The past two seasons Singleton has been held back by a poor shot-selection, an inconsistent jumper and an abysmal free throw shooting percentage. This season he's managed to boost his three point shooting percentage from 29.7% to a very respectable 38.8%. Even more impressively, he’s raised his free throw shooting percentage from 49.6% to 76.8%. Singleton is taking full advantage of his newfound shooting ability; not by taking more jump shots, but by forcing the defense to play closer to him. This gives him the opportunity to use his outstanding quickness and athletic ability to attack the basket more aggressively, awarding him with more free throw attempts (an area he conveniently doesn't suck at anymore). Defensively, Singleton is still the same player. He uses his length, athleticism, strength, instincts and tenacity to force the opposition into tough shots. In his Christmas Day game against Baylor, Singleton did a fantastic job limiting Perry Jones to 4 points and 4 turnovers in 31 minutes. Singleton is rebounding and blocking shots at a very high rate for someone who projects to be a wing player at the next level. He's also second in the ACC at steals with 2.4 per game. Chris Singleton was a likely first rounder last season as a defender/athlete, and his willingness to work on other areas of his game is something that an NBA team in the lottery could fall in love with.
Miami (FL) Hurricanes
Miami is playing Duke this Sunday, so this is their chance to prove that they mean big business. I like the makeup of their roster, and while I don't believe that they are the best team in the ACC, I do believe that they are capable of putting a nice scare into the team that has yet to be scared this season. Miami has a strong backcourt with Malcolm Grant and Durand Scott to go along with a LARGE frontcourt with Reggie Johnson and Adrian Thomas. Miami's only loses this season have come from quality teams (Memphis, Rutgers, Central Florida), and they project to match up well against ACC competition. Expect Miami (FL) to enter the postseason (in a few months) on a high note.