Archive - Jan 2012
New Zealand's Steven Adams making adjustment to basketball in the United States; competes at Hoophall for Notre Dame
Here is our first extended mock of the year. This year's draft promises to be one of the deepest and most talented in years.
Player of the Week:
Damian Lillard, Weber State, PG, Junior, 6-3 195 lbs.
Lillard is the nation’s leading scorer, averaging 25.8 PPG, and is one of the nation’s best shooters as well – 47.8 FG%, 46.7 3P% and 90.7 FT%. He has led Weber State to a 13-3 record, including a 7-game win streak as well. This past week Lillard and Weber State beat Portland State (8-9) and Montana State (7-8). Against Portland State, Lillard finished with 38 points (12-23 shooting), 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 steal. In Thursday night’s game against Montana State, he finished with 17 points (4-14 shooting), 6 rebounds and 3 steals. Lillard is widely considered to be a late first round to early second round NBA Draft prospect. His sharp shooting skills, ball-handling ability and relentless style of play make him the leading candidate for the Big Sky Player of the Year honor and also a candidate for All-American considerations.
O.D. Anosike, Siena, PF, Junior, 6-8 232 lbs.
Anosike leads the nation in rebounding (12.5 RPG) and his performances during this past week of games furthered that standing. Siena (8-8) beat Rider (6-12) and Niagara (6-11) and in both games, Anosike finished with 14 rebounds. Against Rider he poured in 23 points and against Niagara he scored 27 points. For the season he’s averaging 14.7 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 0.6 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.3 BPG and shooting 50.5 FG%. His free throw percentage could definitely use some work; currently it sits at 53.3 percent. Anosike is a bull in the paint and clears space by using excellent “box out” techniques.
Player of the Week
Brandon Paul, Illinois
This was a strange yet wonderful week in the Big Ten, highlighted by Paul’s ridiculous 43-point output Tuesday in a crucial 79-74 home win for the Illini against No. 6 Ohio State. It began a string of head-scratching results, including Minnesota beating No. 7 Indiana at Assembly Hall and Wisconsin getting back on track at Purdue. Illinois’ win put it at a somewhat-surprising 4-1 conference clip while Ohio State fell to 3-2.
But back to Paul. All he did was score 20 more points than his career high and 30 more than his season average coming in (12.1). He outscored Ohio State 15-8 in the game’s final 2:40. It was third-most points ever scored by an Illinois player, and most by any player against Ohio State since 1987. But nearly equally impressive about Paul was his effort on the defensive end. He totaled four blocks, including one late in the second half on Jared Sullinger that had Sullinger staring into the stands in disbelief.
11-of-15 from the field. 8-of-10 from three. 13-of-15 from the free-throw line. He also had seven turnovers, but hey, the Illini won the game. Everybody knew Paul had the talent and athleticism to go off like this, but it’s been missing in his first two seasons. His shots haven’t been falling — he came into Tuesday’s game making just 28.4 of his 3-point shots but wasn’t afraid to keep shooting. He attempts nearly five per game. Will he go 8-of-10 every game? No, but he seems to think it’s possible every time out.
In one game, Paul became Illinois’ leading scorer. He went from ranking third at 12.1 to 13.8. The big question moving forward is if this is a flash-in-the-pan moment or if it will give him the confidence to take over this team.
Draymond Green, Michigan State
The entire Spartans team probably deserves to be on this list, but Green has just been lights-out lately. With two double-double performances this past week, he averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds, dishing out seven assists and turning the ball over just two times. He’s almost averaging a double-double this season at 15.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game as his team won its first four conference games.
By Alex Kaftan
Amedeo Tessitori 6'9" (possibly 6'10" in shoes) 235-245 PF/C 1994-born
By Alexander Kaftan
More top prospects: 2011-12 Citta di Roma Tournament Top Prospects: Part 2
James Birsen 6'9" 205 lbs. SF/PG/PF/SG 1995-born.