Archive - 2012
A short week ago, I said I believed that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was the best freshman at the nation at the halfway mark. Since than, Kentucky's other player in the running for the award, Anthony Davis, has already re-taken the lead. After an incredible 27 point and 14 rebound performance against Arkansas, Davis has leapt over the freshman wall with a vengeance. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist still is a fantastic freshman, but Anthony Davis has been a menace in SEC play and has rightfully moved to the top of my (and I am sure many others) rankings of the top first year guys in the nation.
After his massive showing against Baylor yesterday, it seems like Thomas Robinson has separated himself from the pack in the NCAA National Player of the Year race. Kansas lost twins Marcus and Markieff Morris to the NBA and had a number of key freshmen denied eligibility by the NCAA. Still, led by the powerful PF Robinson, they have remained one of the best teams in the nation and have gotten off to a 5-0 start to possibly win their eighth straight Big 12 title.
It was a huge contest at Allen Fieldhouse on Martin Luther King Jr. Monday as two top 10 Big 12 rivals were on display. Baylor had won their first 17 contests and wanted to make a statement that they were amongst the elite by keep a perfect record with a major road victory over Kansas. Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson both had huge performances to make sure Kansas kept the inside track for an eighth straight conference title in a 92-74 beatdown.
Player of the Week
Annihilated. Devastated. Obliterated. Adjectives used to describe Florida State's TV-MA massacre of the #3 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. The Seminole's Saturday slaughter caught a few of us off-guard, as the team had been struggling through the season up to that point. Unlike many teams, FSU lacks a real go-to scoring option, instead relying on a balanced team effort to compete for wins. The victory over one of the top teams in the nation was not only made possible by the teamwork, physicality and defense of the Seminoles, but also Deividas Dulkys. The 6'5" senior guard erupted for a career-high 32 points (as many points as he scored in his previous nine games combined), leading his team to a 90-57 win at home against the Tar Heels. He made 12 of his 14 shots from the floor, 8 of 10 from behind the arc and had four assists with four steals to top off his brilliant performance. Also impressive was the fact that Dulkys made 28 three-pointers in a row during the shootaround prior to the game. Yeah, he was pretty hot and it will probably have been the biggest performance of his career when everything is said and done. I wouldn't count Florida State out of consideration from the ACC tournament this year if they stay hot (they've won three in a row). The team projects well in the ACC due to their excellent size and defense, and simply need more offense to play up to their potential.
What's that? Oh, he's a seven-foot freshman playing for Boston College. Yeah, they're still playing in the ACC. No, seriously. They've even won two games in a row. Pick your jaw up off the floor, reader; they had to win at some point. Clifford scored 15 points in each of the narrow victories over Clemson (final score of 59-57) and Virginia Tech (61-59). He's averaging 9.8 points on 59.2% shooting and 5.3 rebounds on the season; maybe not groundbreaking numbers, but solid for a freshman regardless. As an offensively-skilled center, he could be a key piece in the Eagles' rebuilding effort along with fellow frosh Partick Heckmann and Ryan Anderson. And they really are rebuilding, perhaps contrary to their current winning ACC record (2-1, tied for second in the standings).
Player of the Week
Evan Fournier, Poitiers, G, 1992, 6-5
The young French guard had two great week-ends: two weeks ago, in the defeat against Cholet, he played 24 minutes and scored 17 points, grabbed 4 rebounds and gave 3 assists. In his last game he played against Paris-Levallois and scored 25 points, (12-22) shot 10/16 from two points and 2/6 from the arc, in 33 minutes on the court. Fournier is having an amazing season, his third in the French top league, and is scoring over 13 points, with 3 rebounds and 2 assists per game; he has also been selected for the French All Star Game, in which he scored 14 points. Fournier is a complete player, he’s a good rebounder and can score in many ways; probably, his only defect is his outside shooing consistency, that appears too much inconsistent (he is shooting 11/54 from long range). With two more seasons at the highest level in Europe, he will be definitely ready for the NBA.
Nikola Mirotic, Real Madrid, PF, 1991, 6-10
Despite being chosen by the Minnesota Timberwolves (traded to Chicago) in the last draft with the 23rd pick, Mirotic has decided to stay another year in Europe to improve, and it appears that he made the right choice. After a great U20 European Championship, in which his team won the title and he won the MVP trophy, Mirotic is having a great season. In the last two games, he averaged 13.5 ppg, on 8/13 from two points and 2/4 from threes; but Mirotic showed his improvements in the Euroleague: against Maccabi and Partizan, he scored 26 points with 8 rebounds against Maccabi, and against Partizan he scored 21 points and grabbed 8 rebounds, and was named Euroleague Week-8 MVP.
Player of the Week
Anthony Davis, Kentucky
Davis takes down POW honors for the third time this season. His breakout 27 point (10-12 fg) 14 reb, 7 block effort against Arkansas looked effortless. His offensive efficiency and game-wrecking defense simply never take a night off, and along with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist he continues to carry his inconsistent teammates. In two road victories this week at Auburn and at Tennessee, he scored 16 PPG on 13/19 shooting, grabbed 7 RPG, blocked 8 more shots and swiped 5 steals (exceptional hands for a big, 1.6 SPG). In 72 minutes of composite court time he did not turn the ball over. Davis leads the country in blocked shots at 4.6 per contest, and is 7th in FG percentage at 64.3%. UK will face an upgrade in the talent of their opposition this week, as Arkansas and Alabama head to Rupp.
Murphy Holloway, Mississippi
After missing three games with a sprained ankle he suffered against MTSU, the Rebels energizer bunny returned with his trademark vengeance. Boasting a double-double on the year (10.6 & 10), Holloway added two more DD’s to his tally in a home win over Arkansas and 2OT road loss at Auburn. He averaged 15 points on 13/19 field goals, snatched 12.5 rebounds per game including 5.5 offensive boards, 2 steals and a block. Holloway logged 46 hard fought minutes against Auburn, five more than any other Ole Miss starter. The Rebels are still a jumbled mess, but seem to have improved cohesion since the dismissal of Dundrecous Nelson from the program.
Player of the Week
Jordan Theodore, Seton Hall
I would love to have a friend like Theodore. He's become one of the best sharers in the conference, consistently fulfilling his duties as a senior point guard.
Theodore has been averaging 18 points and 8.8 assists over his last five games. He has defined the term "floor general", wisely picking and choosing when to score and distribute with great efficiency. His leadership and poise have helped transform Seton Hall from being a break on the schedule to an unpleasant matchup.
He leads the Big East in dishes at 7.4 per game.
Vincent Council PG, Providence
Council was fantastic against Louisville, slicing through their pressure defense for 15 points and 14 assists, turning it over just twice in 40 minutes. He added 8 boards in one of the most complete performances given from any point guard in the conference this year.
Maalik Wayns PG, Villanova
Though Nova lost, Wayns had a career night against Cincinnati, finishing with 39 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists and only 2 turnovers. Wayns has improved as a scorer, but remains questionable as an orchestrator. 39 points from your point guard is never a good sign.
Kevin Jones PF, West Virginia
Another day at the office for Jones. 24 points, 14 rebounds in a cakewalk over Rutgers. Man does he look good.
Player of the Week
Thomas Robinson, Kansas
The junior is continuing his dominating season. It's safe to say that nobody in America can stop the man-child. This week, he had another set of dominating contests against Big 12 opponents. In an 11 point victory over the Oklahoma Sooners, the 6'9" power forward scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Jayhawks. Against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Wednesday, he erupted for 19 points and 12 rebounds while shooting 8-11 for a blistering 72% from the field. As it stands, he is the leading candidate for the James Naismith National Player of the Year award. He is averaging 17.6 points and 12.1 rebounds per game.
Pierre Jackson, Baylor - The Baylor Bears are rolling through their schedule. They aren't winning pretty, but they are winning, and that's all that matters. One of the main reasons for their undefeated season so far is 2011 Junior College All-American Pierre Jackson. The 5'10" point guard doesn't start for the Bears, that distinction goes to A.J. Walton, but he is always in the game when it matters. He has incredible athleticism for a point guard, reminding some of NBA player Nate Robinson. Last Saturday, in a win over Texas Tech, he filled the stat sheet with a line of 19 points, seven assists, six rebounds, and three steals. Then, in a showdown with Kansas State, he helped the Bears stay undefeated by compiling 10 points, 11 assists, five rebounds, and two steals. The Las Vegas native is having a sensational junior season.