Archive - Feb 2011
What drives Darius Morris? Memories of an important high school friendship inspire the Michigan guard
We have a shake up at the top of the Power 16 following Ohio State’s first loss of the season. However, the new look at the top might not be what you anticipated. We reevaluated our thought process around the rankings and focused on body of work to determine a pecking order. You could clearly make an argument for any of the top four teams to be #1, but here’s how we see it…
Player of the Week
Jordan Hamilton, Texas
Hamilton's formula for success is rather simple: He plays the games and hits the shots and grabs the rebounds. When he arrived on campus last season, the sophomore came with baggage that included not having played his final season of high school. He took some time to adjust and most deferred, never really looking comfortable or well adjusted last season. Now, he's the frontrunner for Big 12 Conference player of the year.
Hamilton wins player of the week by default, to a degree. He's the best player on the best team, and it's tough to pick between Kansas' Morris twins or to give the award to LaceDarius Dunn, who scored 50 points in two games this week but went 11-of-26 from the field in a loss to Texas.
No one is playing better than Texas right now, largely because of unbelievable team and individual defensive efforts. But it's Hamilton carrying the load on offense, and without him, his shooting and his rebounding, this team would be far from a national championship contender.
Team of the Week
The 24-1 Jayhawks seem poised to rise to No. 1 this week in the polls, and while Texas has a legitimate gripe after beating Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., on Jan. 22, it's tough to argue with what the Jayhawks have done in February.
This month, their closest game has been a 17-point win against an excellent Missouri team, and they've gained "revenge" with blowouts against Iowa State and Nebraska, two teams that played Kansas closer than expected earlier this season.
The last three wins have been without Josh Selby, who has thrown the Jayhawks out of rhythm at times even prior to his injury. Marcus Morris has 38 points and 19 rebounds this week, while his brother, Markieff Morris, has posted 30 and 18, along with 10 assists.
Player of the Week
Hardy’s coming off back to back 30 point games, one of which helped the Johnnies knock off their fourth top 13 team this year. Hardy poured in a career high 33 in a rout over Connecticut, knocking down five three pointers and hitting all 8 of his free throw attempts. He’s averaging 26.5 points in his last four games, and with wins over Duke and Connecticut, he’s helped make St. John’s relevant in what looked to be a throwaway year with ten seniors on the roster.
Ben Hansbrough, G, Notre Dame – No doubt Hansbrough’s feelin it. Kid’s averaging 24 a game over his last five, including back to back 25 point games this week in wins over Rutgers and Louisville.
Marshon Brooks , G, Providence – We’re getting to the point where he’s becoming unguardable in the college game, scoring 43 points on 17-28 shooting at Georgetown. Brooks has great length, ideal size and the polished offensive skillset that allow him to score 43 points in 40 minutes. He’s taken over as the conference’s leading scorer, and is quietly creeping up draft boards as a first round no brainer in my opinion.
Kyle Kuric, G, Louisville – Kuric is shooting the lights out this season, most recently going for 28 points on 9-14 in an overtime loss to the Irish. If you haven’t seen his dunk in this game, check it out… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfz_2HCGybQ . For those of you who watched and are unfamiliar with Kuric, your computer screen wasn’t malfunctioning… he really is white.
Jonathan Mitchell, F, Rutgers – Mitchell is averaging over 23 a game over his last three. Oh yeah, and he converted a 4 point play as time practically expired to beat Nova’ by 1. No big deal.
Player of the Week
Much has been said about Nolan Smith during this season. Ever since Kyrie Irving's injury, Smith has been the primary ball handler for the Duke Blue Devils, and in doing so, he's dispelled any concerns about his ability to play the point guard position at the college level. In fact he’s even put himself in contention for the National Player of the Year award. He's leading the ACC in both points per game (21.5) and assists per game (5.5), a feat that has never been done before in the ACC. This past week, Nolan Smith also showed that he can get it done when it counts. Against their arch-rivals, the North Carolina Tar Heels, Smith helped Duke rally back from a 14 point halftime deficit to win the game 79-73. Smith scored a career-high 34 points (22 in the second half) on 13-23 shooting. Duke needed this kind of performance from him, as teammate Kyle Singler was struggling from the field (only 10 points on 3/17 shooting). This shows the kind of leadership ability that Nolan Smith has. His knack for stepping up in big games will serve Duke well in March, and his well-rounded skill-set will certainly place him in 1st round discussions as we approach the draft season.
Jeff Allen continues his strong play. Outside of Malcolm Delaney he is the most important player on the Virginia Tech roster. He's a strong low-post scoring presence (13.2 PPG), an active and aggressive rebounder (10.0 RPG) and a solid defender (1.3 SPG, 1.0 BPG). In fact, Allen is the active ACC leader in career steals, rebounds and double-doubles. In his last four games, Allen has averaged an impressive 19.0 points on 53.4% shooting and 13.0 rebounds. That includes a 25 point, 19 rebound outburst in a loss against Boston College last week. The fact that the Hokies lost the game, despite Allen's performance actually showcases a lot of their weaknesses. They don't have much of a bench (0 points off the bench), they depend too much on Allen, Delaney and Erick Green and their lack of outside shooting (Delaney was the only player who made a three). These issues, coupled with injuries might end up keeping Jeff Allen and his team from reaching the NCAA tournament yet again.