Archive - 2011 - Blog entry
Big East Player of the Year Prediction: Jeremy Lamb
His spaghetti arms look chiseled, and his game is more complete. Dribble-dribble step back jumpers mixed with explosive takes to the rack, Lamb has put together a package that offers primary scoring tools. He scored 30 in Connecticut's opener, shooting 11-17 on 5-8 from behind the arch. Lamb and UNC's Harrison Barnes are the best perimeter forwards in the country, and should both be in contention for the prestigious National Player of the Year award.
If you didn't catch the opener, you didn't catch this... Jeremy Lamb Goes Airborne
God'sgift Achiuwa, 6'8 PF, St. Johns
He didn't miss a shot in the opener, going 6-6 from the field and 9-9 from the stripe. He showed impressive rebounding abilities, and should give St. Johns a true interior presence they otherwise wouldn't have.
Eric Atkins, 6'1 PG, Notre Dame
Atkins scored a career high 27 in Notre Dame's first game, showing impressive quickness and a cleaner stroke from outside. The Irish will need someone else to step up alongside Abromaitis, so this surge is a good sign.
Travon Woodall, 5'11 PG, Pittsburgh
Tra dropped 25 points and 10 assists on Albany Friday night, showing a thorough combination of playmaking and scoring. Woodall will have a more full-time role in the backcourt this season, and should allow Ashton Gibbs to play off the ball where he's more effective.
Dominic Cheek, 6'6 SG, Villanova
Cheek took advantage of his playing time, hoisting up 15 shots and converting on 9. He scored 27 points, hitting five 3 pointers. Cheek should continue to get double digit shot attempts in an offense that's missing a go-to guy.
Player of the Week
Pierre Jackson, Baylor
The extremely talented, and extremely touted Baylor basketball team opened their 2011-12 season against Abilene Christian on November 1st and came away with a convincing 81-54 win. While it was definitely expected that the Bear team pushed the lowly Wildcats around, it was a very promising debut for former Junior College All-American Pierre Jackson. While the Baylor team comes into this season stacked with superior frontcourt talent, their have been question marks as to who will step up and man the point guard position. It seems that those doubts have been put to rest for the time being with the debut of Pierre Jackson. In 23 minutes of action, the junior filled the stat sheet with 16 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals. If he can continue to be a steady, all-around productive point guard for this team, there is no telling just how far they may go in March.
Thomas Robinson, Kansas
In a tune-up game for the start of the regular season, the Kansas Jayhawks thrashed Fort Hays State 101-52, behind the strong play of the 6'8" 240 pound power forward. In just 28 minutes of action, the junior accumulated 22 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocks. This is a great sign for Kansas fans. With all of the offseason drama surrounding the team involving Tyshawn Taylor and company, the team needs their most talented player to step up if they have any shot at bringing home an eighth-consecutive Big 12 title. Thomas Robinson did just that, showing the rest of the Big 12 the potential nightmare they must account for in the low block when they are playing against the Jayhawks. Expect a huge season coming from the junior big-man.
Thomas Gipson, Kansas State- 14 points, 7/11 FG, 6 rebounds, 2 assists
Ricardo Ratliffe, Missouri - 21 points, 10/16 FG, 9 rebounds, 2 steals
Rodney McGruder, Kansas State
The 6'4" junior shooting guard is expected to be the leader on a young Kansas State team this season. He has the potential to dominate games but has a tendency to disappear at times and let his teammates shoulder the load. In their exhibition game against Fort Hays State, he started the season on a sour note. He only registered 6 points for the Wildcats, while struggling from the field, shooting 2/8 FG and 2/5 3PT attempts. He did have 5 rebounds, showing the versatility he is capable of on a nightly basis. He needs to be more assertive for the Kansas State team if they are going to finish in the upper-half of the Big 12 this season.
ACC Player of the Year
Player of the Week
The most valuable player from the Big East tournament was guard Kemba Walker, who helped Connecticut knock off four top 20 teams in five days. Walker, who averaged 26 points throughout the week, put on arguably the most impressive stretch of performances this tournament has ever seen, tantalizing opponents with a team strapped on his back. It truly looked as if the Huskies were playing with an NBA player, as he torched opposing defenses despite being targeted like he was Jason Bourne. His game-winner against Pittsburgh was legendary, seemingly tying Gary McGhee's shoelaces together with his mind before electrifying the Garden crowd with a picturesque step back jumper.
First Team All-Big East
Kemba Walker, G, UConn
He was great in Maui to start the year, he was great in New York City to end it. No player has had a bigger impact toward his team's success than Walker, who became the team's leader and go-to scorer from game one of the season. Walker's 23.5 points, 4 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals per game doesn't quite tell the whole story, but will no doubt earn him votes for National Player of the Year.
Ben Hansbrough, G, Notre Dame
The Big East player of the year had a memorable senior season, averaging 18.5 on 44% shooting from downtown. With his strong late play down the stretch, he's put himself in the draft day conversation. One of the toughest players in the country, he'll have plenty of eyes watching him over the next week or two, or three.
Marshon Brooks, SG, Providence
Brooks came out of nowhere to average 24.8 points and 7 rebounds per game, finishing second in the nation in scoring. It wasn't until he scored 52 points against Notre Dame that his name would make headlines, but if you followed him throughout the season you'd know how spectacular he was on a nightly basis against the most elite competition.
Ashton Gibbs, G, Pittsburgh
Gibbs' steady play all season was a primary reason for Pittsburgh's season-long stay atop the rankings. He averaged 16.7 points per game on an eye-popping 48% from downtown.
Dwight Hardy, G, St. Johns
Also named the conference's most improved player, Hardy's rise from inconspicuous to featured was exciting to watch. His 26 point effort in a win over Duke at the Garden seemed to have started the run, one that followed with a 33 point game in a win over Connecticut, a 28 point game in a win at Marquette and a 34 point game in a win at Villanova. Hardy finished the year averaging 18 points per game.
Player of the Week
Singler entered the season as a potential National Player of the Year candidate. The reigning Final Four MVP didn't quite live up to those expectations. His stats across the board failed to increase between his junior and senior years. In fact his points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and three pointers made per game all decreased from a year ago. Still his experience, energy, versatility and leadership earned him a spot on the All ACC 1st Team. It is also this collection of intangibles that powers Duke during the postseason. In Duke's first game in the ACC tournament, Singler scored 29 points on 10/15 shooting (9/9 FT), and pulled down 9 rebounds against Maryland. He has a shining track record in important games, which bodes well for the Blue Devils as they look to win a very competitive ACC tournament. They'll face Virginia (one of the only teams to have beaten Duke this season) on Saturday and (should they win) face the winner of Clemson vs. North Carolina on Sunday. The importance of Kyle Singler is only intensified now that Duke's leading scorer, Nolan Smith, is questionable for today's game with a toe injury.
Player of the Week
Player of the Week
Player of the Week
Players of the Week
Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis
I haven’t seen a more badass tandem of white guys representing the Irish since The Boondock Saints. The duo combined for 60 points on 16 three pointers in a 21 point beat-down on Villanova- one of those beatings where you can’t even recognize the victim. The Wildcats had no answer for Hansbrough and Abromaitis, who were shooting over defenders as if they were manikins in Baby Gap. Hansbrough finished with 30 points, 10 assists and 5 steals on an evening where his family, including Tyler, watched from the stands on a memorable Senior Night in South Bend. Both players averaged about 26 points per game on the week, and helped the Irish earn their fifth win over a top 25 team.
Dwight Hardy, G, St Johns
Hardy had a big 34 points in a double-digit win over Villanova, scoring mostly from the free throw line and behind the arch. As a 6’2 shooting guard, Hardy’s chances of success at the next level are slim, but he's still managed to pull off one hell of a senior year. Hardy will join Hansbrough, Kemba Walker and Marshon Brooks as possible candidates for conference player of the year.