Archive - Jan 2012
Player of the Week
The Maryland Terrapins have won seven games in a row, and even though the opposition hasn't been great during that stretch, playing undefeated basketball for over a month should earn you a little recognition. Explosive scorer Terrell Stoglin has been doing most of the work so far this season, but help may have finally arrived, and it's in a 7'1" Ukrainian package. Freshman center Alex Len has finished serving his mysterious ten-game NCAA suspension, and is playing extremely well. In his first three career games, Len is averaging 14.0 points on 78.9% shooting along with 8.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. He also looks comfortable from the stripe, shooting a respectable 66.7% on 18 attempts. It's been suggested that Len could be a first-round pick when he decides to leave Maryland and it's not hard to see why. He's a more than decent athlete for a plus-seven footer. While he's raw offensively, he runs the court well and displays good instincts around the rim. Maryland is a lot more exciting with Len in the post, and he'll fit in well with Stoglin and Pe'Shon Howard (who also returned to the team recently). Other teams can no longer sleep on the Terps.
Wake Forest is not likely to be challenging for the ACC championship this season, but they are much-improved from a season ago, and a lot of that is forward Travis McKie. McKie has polished his offensive ability, not having to rely so much on his athleticism anymore (though he still scores a lot of points off of cuts and transition opportunities). He's clearly more comfortable than he used to be on the perimeter, where he makes 1.1 threes per game on 39.0% shooting (up from 0.5 threes made on 30.4% shooting in 2010-2011). But unlike many players who become better outside shooters, McKie is still a physical player on both ends of the court. He uses his strength a lot better when posting up smaller players, and aggressively pursues contact. He's shooting more free-throws per game (5.9 attempts this year), and it has improved his efficiency across the board. Over the course of his sophomore season, he's averaging 17.9 points per game and he should only get better in time.
Player of the Week:
Eli Carter, G, Rutgers
Carter gets the nod based solely off his performance against Florida, where he lead his 9-point underdog Scarlett Knights in a double OT win over 10 ranked Florida. It was a gutsy effort by Carter, who lit up the Gators for 31 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and only 2 turnovers in 46 hard fought minutes. Carter was prolific off the dribble, making plays both for himself and his teammates. He stepped up and drained a game-tying three in the closing seconds of the first overtime, and has emerged as Rutgers' top scoring threat in his freshman year. He followed his career best game against Florida with a 23 point, 5 steal line in a loss to South Florida.
Jerian Grant, 6'5 G, Notre Dame
Prospect alert. He showed true pro potential in his 15 point, 9 assist game against Pittsburgh, posing as a 6'5 combo guard who can beat you off the dribble or stroke it from deep. With good length, size, range and versatility, Grant has emerged as one of the budding prospects in the conference.
Fab Melo 7'0 C, Syracuse
Melo put up a 12 point, 10 block 7 rebound game against Seton Hall, and finished with 12 points, 6 blocks and 5 boards against DePaul. It's amazing what one year of adjusting and conditioning can do for a 7 foot defensive game changer. He's the anchor of one of the most devastating and swarming defenses in all of college basketball.
Sean Kilpatrick 6'4 G, Cincinnati
He's hit at least four three-pointers in three consecutive games, including five in Cincy's three-point win over Pittsburgh. Cincy has been tough since the brawl, and Kilpatrick's emergence as a first or second option is a large reason why.
Russ Smith 6'0 G, Louisville
He's averaging 20 a game on almost 15 shot attempts over his last five games. He plays 150 miles per hour, and generally is forced to considering his teammates' inability to create themselves. If down 1 with 10 seconds, Russ should get the call for Louisville.
Mo Harkless 6'8 F, St. Johns
He went for 32 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks in a blowout over Providence. Harkless' length, athleticism, activity level and ability to be effective without having to demand the ball extend the list of potential suitors for him at the next level.
Jeremy Lamb 6'5 SG, UConn
18 for his last 33 from downtown (54%). Keep letting them fly my man. Lamb has first overall pick potential with star-like qualities based on his overall package. He just has to assert himself and gain the mentality of a high volume scorer.
Co-Players of the Week
Anthony Davis & Michael Kidd Gilchrist, Kentucky
Same player recognition, different week. The pair of freakish freshmen continue to carry the load as the remainder of the Wildcats fight their way through a mid-season slump. In a seven-point victory over Louisville on Saturday, the two combined for 10 of the team's 17 field goal makes (rest of team 7/37), 21 of 32 free throw makes, 42 of 69 points and 29 of 49 rebounds. Davis shattered season-high FT marks converting 12/13, while Kidd-Gilchrist snatched 19 boards from the SF position. In a week that also included a W over Lamar, Davis averaged 14 points, 11.5 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. MKG compiled 21 points per game, 12.5 rebounds and 16 FT makes. Kentucky opens up conference play on Saturday the 7th versus South Carolina. The night in, night out rigors of the SEC will test the mental and physical fortitude of UK's freshmen. No more cupakes to reserve strength.
Lance Goulbourne, Vanderbilt
Last season Goulbourne waited until mid-January to turn on the jets. This year he's found his stride in late December. In a startling road demolition of 14th ranked Marquette, he scored 13 points (4/5 FG), grabbed 16 rebounds, swiped 3 steals and swatted 3 shots. His defensive effort held Jae Crowder to 4/13 shooting, and the Golden Eagles shot only 32% as a unit. Over his last three contests he's putting up 14 PPG on 74% shooting (17/23), 10 RPG and 2+ SPG. When healthy and on his A game, Goulbourne puts up some beastly numbers.
By Alexander Kaftan
69 Stella Azzurra-50 Dnipro
Happy Holidays NBADraft.net community. It's time for Conference play out West to get under way and the Pac 12 is wide open with some solid but unspectacular teams all vying for the inaugural Pac 12 crown. No one has the right to feel particularly confident about their current resume as it stands that will be presented to the selection committee come March. It's an up for grabs conference, and with that said, let the games begin.
Player of the Week
Tony Wroten, Washington Huskies
Wroten has taken it up a notch in the month of December and will be heading into the new year with a lot of momentum as both a Pac 12 player of the year candidate and a climbing NBA prospect for the upcoming draft. These past 5 games, he has averaged over 22ppg and 5 rebounds. He has taken up even more of a score first mentality and shown rising aggressiveness attacking the defense over showcasing traditional point guard duties. He gets to the rim at will and has an excellent ability to get his defender off balance with a series of herky jerky moves before exploding into the paint and using his long stride and length to cover ground quickly. His jumper is still a weak spot and the turnovers haven't slowed down, but there are few basketball players on the college scene who have the overall skill set Wroten possesses.
Lazeric Jones, UCLA Bruins
Jones got off to a horrible start to begin the season but has bounced back in a big way establishing himself as the hands down most important member and go to guy for the Bruins. He has the swagger of a player who truly believes he is the best guy on the court and is unafraid to take the big shots. His ability to create and pull up off the dribble has always been there, it's just been a matter of consistently knocking shots down which Lazeric has been doing lately. In UCLA's 7 games in the month of December, Jones has averaged 18 points and shot 56% from the field and 58% from three. But maybe even more impressive is that, despite the Bruins relying so heavily on him to create offense, he has turned the ball over only 3 times total during those 7 contests protecting the rock and making sound decisions.