Archive - 2012
Player of the Week
Justin Hamilton, LSU
A new face emerges at the top of the page, as the Tigers big man put forth two dynamic efforts against stellar competition. In two games versus Virginia and Mississippi, Hamilton averaged 22 points on 18/26 shooting (69%), 12.5 rebounds (5 offensive), 3 blocks and 1.5 steals. His 16-rebound explosion on Saturday against Ole Miss was a career-high, and the Rebels don't lack for size on the frontline.The 6'11 260 pounder was utilized in a more finesse role during his two seasons in Ames, but he's thriving at LSU mixing it up on the interior. Hamilton has been essential to the Tigers 11-4 (1-0) start. Games at Alabama and at Arkansas this week will assuredly test his valor.. and foot speed.
John Jenkins, Vanderbilt
The conference's leading scorer at 20.3 PPG, Jenkins hit 10 of 18 treys in two games this week and 21 of 35 over a four-game stretch. The good news is he's shooting 46% on the year on nearly 9 attempts per game. The bad news is his overt reliance on the three-point shot is back with a vengeance. In that same four-pack of games he's attempted just 13 two's and 5 free throws. A leopard can't change his spots. His specialty has earned him a spot at #25 in our 2012 mock.
Kenny Gabriel, Auburn
Gabriel is making ignoring his accolades an impossibility, putting up wild numbers week after week. The electric 6'8 forward recorded the first triple-double in Auburn history, scoring 24 points (11/13 FG), notching 13 boards and swatting 10 shots versus Bethune Cookman. He also added 2 three's, 3 assists and 4 steals. He continued his statistical barrage at Florida State with 3 blocks and 2 steals, albeit in a 29-point defeat. The senior has the look of a developmental league project.
Player of the Week
Truck has been brilliant as of late, scoring at least 25 points in three of West Virginia's last four games (prior to UConn). He's been instrumental in the team's success, acting as a true veteran lead guard who could be counted on for needed production. In the three games that Bryant scored 25, 29 and 34, West Virginia beat Georgetown, Rutgers and Villanova respectively, all in convincing fashion. He's been a terror off the dribble, even getting to the line an impressive 35 times in the past four games.
With Bryant playing at a high level, West Virginia is really one of the better teams in the conference. Veteran groups who can rebound, defend and get scoring production from their guards are excellent Cinderella candidates come March. Look out for the Mountaineers.
He's averaging 21 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game over his last five, playing more aggressive following the departure of Nurideen Lindsey. Harrison is fun to watch because of his energy and ability to score, and has emerged as St. John's go-to guy on offense.
Why is Wayns stock dropping? He failed to record an assist in Villanova's embarrassing loss to South Florida. Sunday he finished with 3 assists and 6 turnovers against DePaul. If he doesn't improve his efficiency as a facilitator, there won't be many suitors for the ultra-quick yet frustrating point guard.
Top Five Freshmen
1. Andre Drummond
Visions of his potential have begun to flash, as Drummond is adjusting to his positioning on the floor. If given just a few inches of room, he'll use his explosiveness to launch himself at the rim, elevating high above the cylinder and throwing down with unstoppable power. He's using his body under the boards and making his presence know defensively, altering shots at the rim and swatting others. With a soft touch, quick feet and ideal physical tools, Drummond has the chance to become the most dominant interior force in the country. He scored 20 points on 9-11 in a good comeback win against West Virginia, while grabbing 11 boards and blocking 3 shots. Look for him to continue to improve with every game.
It is just around the mid-way point of the college basketball season, so many have started to make lists of the best players in certain categories at the half way mark. Came across this list of the best freshmen in the nation thus far and I have to say it is not too shabby. Kentucky had what many considered the nations best incoming freshman class and they have the two players atop the list.
One might think the return of Jim Calhoun would spark a resurgence in a #8 Connecticut Huskies squad filled with talent. Well, on Saturday, Rutgers made sure that did not happen with a 67-60 win at the Louis Brown Center in Piscataway, New Jersey. With this loss and a previous game loss to Seton Hall, it is the first time since 1969 that the Huskies have lost to both Jersey schools in the same season. Jim Calhoun, making his return to the sidelines after a NCAA mandated three game suspension, was clearly underwhelmed with his teams performance.
Frank Martin is certainly looking like a NCAA Coach of the Year candidate to me, as his K-State Wildcats handed the Missouri Tigers a convincing 75-59 loss. It was the Tigers first loss of the year, to a Kansas State team with fairly low expectations going into this season. The Wildcats dominated the contest defensively, with a 36-22 rebounding advantage while holding the Tigers to 32.7% FG.
Lately, I have been noticing a few people on the NBADraft.net Message Boards saying, "When will West Virginia get some love?". Well, I have tried to give them some for some solid early season play, but they earned a whole lot by ending Georgetown's 11 game win streak with a 74-62 victory. WVU senior guard Truck Bryant had a game high 25 points, upping his impressive average on the year to 18.4 ppg.
This was yet another case of a top 25 team getting upset in a road contest, but I also wanted to give some love to an Arkansas team that seems to be playing some solid basketball. Mike Anderson left Missouri to take the head coaching job for the Razorbacks and is developing a similar stable of rapid fire guards. This became omnipresent in Arkansas' 98-88 SEC opening win over Mississippi State.