Archive - Jan 2012
Player of the Week
Faisal Aden, Washington State Cougars
No team had a better week than the Cougars as they held court against the Conference's top 2 teams in Cal and Stanford. Senior SG Faisal Aden led the way offensively scoring 24 vs Cal on 9 of 12 shooting and then followed that up with 33 against Stanford on 10 of 17 shooting. The talented guard has shown flashes of offensive brilliance in the past but is prone to inconsistency with hot streaks intertwined with cold shooting streaks making him an unreliable player. It is for this reason that Aden comes off the bench in a spark plug type role while rarely seeing 30 minutes of action. But when he's on, like he was this past week, the Cougars are a tough team to beat.
Travis Wear, UCLA Bruins
Travis continues to improve and plays a very well rounded game showcasing both a decent outside shot and soft touch in the paint. He needs to improve his toughness and get stronger, but there is a very solid skill set in place for the sophomore big man to continue to develop. Over his past 5 games, Travis has averaged 17.6 points on over 69% shooting from the field. He and his brother David provide solid building blocks going forward for a disappointing Bruins squad.
Stanford was arguably the Pac 12's best squad in the Non Conference slate and looked like a team that would have a very good shot at winning the Pac 12 and being one of the few teams in the Conference to put together a solid enough resume to earn an at large bid if they came up short of the tournament title. However, even at a respectable 5-3 in conference record, they just haven't looked particularly impressive. All 3 of their losses have been by double digits and they have narrowly escaped some tough games vs UCLA, Oregon State and Utah that could have gone either way. The Cardinal need to continue to work the ball inside out and start knocking down open jumpers.
After spending a good deal of time as the #2 team in the nation behind Syracuse, Kentucky capitalized on Cuse's loss to Notre Dame to move up to the top spot in the latest Associated Press Poll. The Wildcats finished with 61 out of 65 votes, with two each going to Missouri and Syracuse who follow them respectively. Ohio State and Kansas round out the top 5. Baylor slid to 6th after picking up their first two losses of the season last week in games against #2 Missouri and #5 Kansas.
Player of the Week
Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee
It’s taken Stokes a whole three games to earn his keep amongst the Vols. The 18-year old freshman has acclimated remarkably well to the college game after graduating from high school a semester early, and he’s attacking college basketball’s biggest names without hesitation. In an upset victory of 13th ranked Connecticut, Stokes made his first start with 16 points (6/10 FG), 12 rebounds and 2 blocks in 29 minutes. He poured in 10 of his 16 in the second half, outplaying Andre Drummond who finished with 6 points, 9 boards and 3 turnovers. Earlier in the week he scored 11 points (5/9 FG) and grabbed 8 rebounds (plus a block and steal) in an overtime loss at Georgia. Not a bad early impression from the well-schooled 6’8 270 pounder. Stokes’ 6/14 from the free throw line won’t cut it, however, as he’s likely to get there with great frequency. A road matchup with Vanderbilt and Festus Ezeli is on deck.
Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
Moultrie continued his machine-like season with another pair of double-doubles this week. He played the full 45 minutes in a 78-77 overtime victory at Vanderbilt, finishing with 21 points, 14 boards and 4 steals as the Bulldogs won in Memorial Gymnasium for the first time since 2004. Moultrie also went for 10 points, 12 rebounds and 3 steals in a road loss at in-state rival Mississippi.
Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt
It took nearly two months to get healthy and shake the rust off, but Ezeli has finally found his form. He averaged 12 points on 55% shooting, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks against Alabama and Mississippi State. His importance to the Commodores cannot be understated. He forces double teams, opens up space for a loaded perimeter attack and cleans up mistakes on D.