Archive - Dec 2011
Player of the Week
Keith Appling, Michigan State
Appling, the Spartans’ 6-foot-1 point guard, was told by coach Tom Izzo to be more assertive offensively before Wednesday’s game against Indiana. It paid off in a big way as Appling took over in the second half during a 20-0 Michigan State run that gave the Hoosiers their first loss, 80-65. Of Appling’s career-high 25 points, 19 came in the second half.
Appling has always been given high marks for his defense, and he brought that side of his game Wednesday as well, making a highlight-reel block on Victor Oladipo’s fast-break layup with 1:56 remaining that kept the Hoosiers from coming within seven. (Watch the block here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYlY4CN6Uok)
The Detroit native out of Pershing High School has started to understand what Izzo demands from his point guards. He’s nearly tripled his assists, (3.6 to 1.3 last year), doubled his point output (12.1 to 6.4 last year) and is his shot attempts per game have nearly doubled. He’s already surpassed his assist total from last year despite averaging just five more minutes per game this season.
One of the best on-ball defenders in the Big Ten is suddenly a legitimate threat to run you out of the gym. He’s not afraid to drive to the basket and gets to the free-throw line nearly five times per game. He’s 21-of-22 in the past two games and 29-of-33 (87.8 percent) in the past five.
Meyers Leonard, Illinois
The 7-foot-1 sophomore center has posted double-doubles in the past three games, including a 20-point, 11-rebound performance Tuesday in the Illini’s 81-72 win in double overtime against Minnesota. He now has five double-doubles this season after not having one in his first 36 college games. He’s looked impressive going to the hoop on the dribble and being available for ridiculous alley-oops near the basket. He still needs to cut down on the turnovers, though, as he’s given the ball away more than three times per game in the past four, including five against the Gophers.
William Buford and Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
Sullinger had 17 points and 14 rebounds as the Buckeyes might have seriously damaged Northwestern’s psyche with a 87-54 blowout on Wednesday. Sullinger went 7-of-11 from field and hit his third 3-pointer of the season. He only played 22 minutes because of foul trouble. Him and Deshaun Thomas each had four offensive rebounds as Ohio State posted a 48-28 rebounding edge.
Buford went off for 28 points and nine rebounds against Northwestern, hitting 5-of-7 3-pointers and 5-of-5 on free throws. The ultimate lead-by-example senior hasn’t missed a free throw since Nov. 25, making his last 21. He’s the conference’s fifth-leading scorer at 16.6 points per game, has scored in double figures in 12 of 14 games and is third at 86.3 percent from the free-throw line. His 2.2 assist-to-turnover ratio can’t be overlooked, either.
Player of the Week
Alex Young, IUPUI, SG, Senior, 6-6 212 lbs.
This hopeful first round NBA Draft prospect has led IUPUI (6-8) to four consecutive victories, including a 97-88 win over Valparaiso (8-5) this past week. In that game, Young finished with 27 points (8-19 shooting), 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. He played efficiently and took good shots throughout the contest. For the season, Young sits at 20.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.3 SPG and 1.0 BPG on 42.0 FG% and 82.8 FT%. His three-point shooting ability could use some improvement (33.3 3P%), but Young is playing excellent basketball right now.
Wesley Witherspoon, Memphis, F, Senior, 6-9 210 lbs.
Witherspoon has found his name under this label twice so far this season, mainly due to his tendency to disappear in games and not live up to his potential. Entering the season Witherspoon was widely viewed as a potential second round NBA Draft prospect, but his draft stock has plummeted significantly through 11 games this season as he is producing 5.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.0 SPG and 40.9 FG% for Memphis (6-5). As a sophomore in 2009-10, Witherspoon scored 12.5 PPG and as a junior his scoring declined to 9.0 PPG. This year his scoring has declined further to 5.7 PPG. There is no doubting his athletic ability or his potential to affect opponents on the defensive end of the court; however, his most recent performances have left scouts asking for more. In Memphis’ past four games, Witherspoon has averaged 2.3 PPG and 2.5 RPG.
December 29, 2011
Welcome college basketball fans, hope you got some good action in last night, because there was a lot of it! We had a couple of teams get their first loss, while a couple more kept their records unblemished. We will start off with a game that had a large number of NBA scouts in the house to top off our NCAA Daily:
#6 Baylor Off To Best Start In School History After Beating #15 Mississippi State
(Matt Stevens/Columbus Dispatch)
By Alexander Kaftan
54 Virtus Roma-63 Fenerbahçe Istanbul
Player of the Week
I don't know how many of you foresaw the Virginia Cavaliers cracking the top-25 AP rankings this season, but it actually happened last week. Point guard Jontel Evans, sophomore Joe Harris and sharp-shooter Sammy Zeglinski are all doing their part in this unexpectedly strong start to the season, and deserve their due credit. However, there is little doubt that the MVP of the 11-1 Cavaliers (currently the best record among ACC teams) is super-senior Mike Scott. The star power forward for Virginia has been particularly hot as of late, averaging 22.3 points per game over the last week, including a 33 point outburst against Seattle on Wednesday. In fact, he's scored a total of 50 points in his last two games, in a combined 52 minutes. More impressive than that, however, is his efficiency over his last five games. Scott is shooting 81.0% from the floor in the month of December. That is not a typo. He's made 34 of the 42 shots he's taken this month. He's also made both of his three-point attempts and 84.8% of his free-throws. With these kind of numbers, it's no wonder the Cavs are surging. While he can't play like this forever, Virginia seems like they could be just as competitive of a team in conference play this year. They have great size, good depth and a ridiculously efficient double-double machine in Mike Scott. They'll play at home against Miami on January 7th, and then get tested at Duke on the 12th.
Glen Rice Jr
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets won't be very intimidating to anybody in the ACC, but Glen Rice Jr. is quietly having season that teams should be taking note of. The 6'5" guard (and son of former NBA all-star, Glen Rice) is averaging 20.0 points on 56.5% shooting with 10.5 rebounds in his last two games. He's primarily been known as a defender during his career at Georgia Tech, but with Iman Shumpert having left for the NBA, we're getting to see Rice take on more scoring responsibility. What's really impressive is that this new role hasn't changed the way he approaches the game. He hustles, plays hard, attacks the glass and is a dynamic defender regardless of whether he's the first option on offense (like this season) or just a role-player off the bench (like in his freshman campaign). So regardless of how successful his team is over the next two seasons, you should expect to hear Rice's name in NBA draft discussions. There will always be room for players like him on a roster.
December 27, 2011
Welcome college basketball fans, hope you all had a fantastic Christmas! I know mine was filled with a lot of NBA action, which was just incredible to have back. There were not to many college basketball games that went on in the mean time, but I still have some solid news for you in this edition of NCAA Daily:
Player of the Week
Brad Beal, Florida
Beal has often been the best player on the court for the 11th ranked Gators, despite relatively unspectacular shooting for his standards. His versatility at 6'3, strength and defensive aptitude have been early season calling cards. He's now starting to heat up from the perimeter- a scary proposition for Florida's SEC opponents. Beal connected on 11/22 from the field and 7/12 three-pointers last week in wins over Mississippi Valley State and in-state rival Florida State for 17 PPG. He continues to rebound the rock at a fever pace, adding two more 6 board efforts to his 6.3 season clip. The thievery has not halted either with a 3-steal game versus FSU. His 36% from deep and 70% from the FT line will assuredly take an upwards spike as the year progresses. Thursday at Rutgers is the next test for Beal and the Gators.
Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
The Bulldogs have reeled off 11-straight W's and stand atop the SEC at 12-1. Moultrie has been the catalyst. He notched his 4th consecutive double-double in impressive fashion during an 82-67 win over Northwestern State, scoring 24 points (8/11 FG & 8/8 FT), grabbing 14 rebounds (a ridiculous 11 offensive boards) and handing out 4 helpers. Other than block shots, the UTEP transfer has done EVERYTHING. He's no longer playing in a hurry, and as a result his athleticism and motor on the interior have been accompanied by efficiency: 18 PPG, 12 RPG, 58% FG, 88% FT and 1 SPG. Dee Bost is the Bulldogs engine, but Moultrie is the anchor.
Gerald Robinson, Georgia
Georgia's number one playmaker continues to play solid ball. In home triumphs over Mercer and Furman he averaged 16.5 points on 52% FG (11/21) and 9/10 FT makes. He dished out 9 assists against 4 turnovers, a ratio far superior to his 3.4:2.8 season mark. Robinson shoots 80% from the free throw stripe and is clearly at his best when attacking, yet for whatever reason phases in and out of aggression. The Bulldogs and their inept offense would greatly benefit from more opportunities at free points.