Archive - Jan 2012 - Blog entry
Player of the Week
Moe looks to be turning a corner after going for 30 and 13 in a loss to Duke.
Harkless has the potential to be really, really good. He’s got power forward size and small forward length, athleticism and mobility. Moe’s becoming more comfortable operating on the perimeter, showing impressive footwork and body control attacking the rim.
He made West Virginia look like a bunch of silly old men, lighting them up for 23, 13 and 3 blocked shots in a 16 point beatdown at the Garden. With promising shooting mechanics we can only expect steady improvement from the 18 year old combo-forward.
Harkless clearly has top five pick potential, and could maximize his stock by staying for college year number two.
Gorgui Dieng C, Louisville
This kid needs some love. Pitino doubled his playing time and Dieng has doubled his production, averaging 10 points, 9.7 rebounds and a league leading 3.4 blocks a game.
Dieng is moving well on the interior, and does a nice job of anticipating and reacting off the ball. During Louisville’s three game winning steak he’s averaging 12 points, 13.6 boards and 4 blocks a game, which is becoming an every night line for the 6’11 center from Senegal.
Like Syracuse’s Fab Melo, Dieng is the rim protector and anchor of the Louisville interior, only he doesn’t have the surrounding weapons of the Orange defense and attack. Without Dieng, the Cardinals would not be the threat that they present to other talented and more skilled offensive teams.
Player of the Week
Draymond Green, Michigan State
The Spartans’ leader shook off a rough outing Jan. 17 at Michigan by spurring his team to consecutive home wins the past week: 83-58 against Purdue and 68-52 vs. Minnesota. The latter earned coach Tom Izzo his 400th win, 86 of which Green has been around for during his four seasons.
The 6-7, 235-pound, agile bruiser put up 22 points, 14 rebounds and six assists on 9-of-11 shooting against the Gophers. It got Green back on the double-double track after his first two-game stretch of single-digit points. It was his first 20-point outburst since Jan. 10 vs. Iowa and fourth of the season. He collected double-digit rebounds for the sixth consecutive game. Green, who averages 10.4 per game, is nearing Trevor Mbakwe’s 10.5 average last season – the highest in the Big Ten since Reggie Evans’ monstrous 11.1 per game in 2001-02 for Iowa.
As Green goes, so goes the Spartans. They’re an undefeated 9-0 when Green scores more than 14 points.
Brandon Richardson, Nebraska
The Huskers senior was flat-out deadly on Thursday night in Iowa City, hitting 6-of-7 from downtown and 9-of-10 shots overall, pretty much single-handily leading Nebraska to a 79-73 win against the Hawkeyes. Along with a career-high 25 points, Richardson, a 6-foot senior guard from Los Angeles, added six rebounds, five assists, two steals and just one turnover for a highly-efficient outing.
Iowa’s lethargic defense probably had a bit to do with his offensive explosion, but Richardson took advantage for one of the most impressive performances in the league thus far. It came just four games after he was held scoreless Jan. 15 at Wisconsin in an ugly 50-45 loss. Richardson hadn’t scored in double figures since Jan. 7 at Illinois, and was averaging just 4.8 points in his previous four outings. Even more surprising was his 3-point proficiency, as he came in shooting just 12-of-40 (30 percent) from beyond the arc this season and was only a 29.4 percent shooter from there for his career. He had only hit the 20-point plateau only once before, and his six rebounds also tied a season high.
Player of the Week
Mike Moser, UNLV, PF, Sophomore, 6-8 195 lbs.
Moser continued his excellent play this season by posting two double-doubles this past week. In those two games, UNLV beat Boise State (10-9) and New Mexico (16-4). Moser’s inside presence against Boise State was not hard to notice as he gathered 21 rebounds and scored 18 points. UNLV only won by five points, but Boise State did not have an answer for keeping Moser off the glass. UNLV’s big win over New Mexico placed UNLV firmly atop the Mountain West Conference with San Diego State. In that game, Moser finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Through 22 games Moser is averaging 14.2 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.8 BPG, while shooting 47.0 FG%.
Travis Bader, Oakland, SG, Sophomore, 6-4 180 lbs.
It’s difficult to argue that any player has been scorching the nets more than Bader, who posted 37 points yesterday in Oakland’s (12-11) victory over South Dakota State (16-6). He shot 12-18 from the field, including an incredible 10-14 from three-point land. Keep in mind that Bader came off the bench in that game. In Oakland’s three games prior to South Dakota State, Bader finished with point totals of 17, 21, and 21. Expect Bader to see some more playing time and sneak his way into the starting lineup.
Player of the Week
I'll do Barnes and the rest of Tar Heel nation a favor by not mentioning what happened in Florida State a week and a half ago (they lost by 33 points... whoops), but will say they recovered nicely by defeating the Hokies at Virginia Tech by a score of 82-68. Harrison Barnes was the biggest reason for the quick turnaround, as he scored a season-high of 27 points -- nine of which during a decisive 19-0 second-half scoring run by his team. The super sophomore is in the midst of a season that has seen his numbers improve across the board. He was criticized for his poor efficiency last season, as 42.3% shooting from the floor and 34.4% shooting from behind the arc were mediocre for somebody who would have been considered at the very top of last year's draft. This year he's shooting 48.4% from the floor and 43.6% from outside. These stark contrasts stem from several different factors, including his higher confidence, improved shot-selection and tighter handle. It's clear he put a lot of work in during the offseason and it's really playing off. This is scary to think about, but he still has a lot of room to get even better. It's no wonder he's considered a lock for the top-five during this year's draft.
While center Reggie Johnson was recovering from an ACL injury sustained over the summer, transfer student Kenny Kadji was breaking out for his team. The 6'11" junior left Florida for Miami, and is receiving enough minutes to show off the impressive ability that he has. He collects a lot of rebounds and blocks due to his size alone, and has a surprisingly refined offensive game. Kadji is averaging 12.4 points per game (54.9 FG%) and 5.6 rebounds on the season. He also has impressive range for a player his size, having made 12 of his 26 three-point attempts on the season (46.2%). Logic may have suggested that Kadji would become an after-thought with Johnson's recent return to the team, but Kadji is hotter than ever; averaging 20.5 points on 53.3% shooting from the field. His size, mobility and shooting ability seem to complement his teammates well, and if he continues to thrive, you could hear his name in draft conversations a year from now.
Player of the Week
Faisal Aden, Washington State Cougars
No team had a better week than the Cougars as they held court against the Conference's top 2 teams in Cal and Stanford. Senior SG Faisal Aden led the way offensively scoring 24 vs Cal on 9 of 12 shooting and then followed that up with 33 against Stanford on 10 of 17 shooting. The talented guard has shown flashes of offensive brilliance in the past but is prone to inconsistency with hot streaks intertwined with cold shooting streaks making him an unreliable player. It is for this reason that Aden comes off the bench in a spark plug type role while rarely seeing 30 minutes of action. But when he's on, like he was this past week, the Cougars are a tough team to beat.
Travis Wear, UCLA Bruins
Travis continues to improve and plays a very well rounded game showcasing both a decent outside shot and soft touch in the paint. He needs to improve his toughness and get stronger, but there is a very solid skill set in place for the sophomore big man to continue to develop. Over his past 5 games, Travis has averaged 17.6 points on over 69% shooting from the field. He and his brother David provide solid building blocks going forward for a disappointing Bruins squad.
Stanford was arguably the Pac 12's best squad in the Non Conference slate and looked like a team that would have a very good shot at winning the Pac 12 and being one of the few teams in the Conference to put together a solid enough resume to earn an at large bid if they came up short of the tournament title. However, even at a respectable 5-3 in conference record, they just haven't looked particularly impressive. All 3 of their losses have been by double digits and they have narrowly escaped some tough games vs UCLA, Oregon State and Utah that could have gone either way. The Cardinal need to continue to work the ball inside out and start knocking down open jumpers.
Player of the Week
Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee
It’s taken Stokes a whole three games to earn his keep amongst the Vols. The 18-year old freshman has acclimated remarkably well to the college game after graduating from high school a semester early, and he’s attacking college basketball’s biggest names without hesitation. In an upset victory of 13th ranked Connecticut, Stokes made his first start with 16 points (6/10 FG), 12 rebounds and 2 blocks in 29 minutes. He poured in 10 of his 16 in the second half, outplaying Andre Drummond who finished with 6 points, 9 boards and 3 turnovers. Earlier in the week he scored 11 points (5/9 FG) and grabbed 8 rebounds (plus a block and steal) in an overtime loss at Georgia. Not a bad early impression from the well-schooled 6’8 270 pounder. Stokes’ 6/14 from the free throw line won’t cut it, however, as he’s likely to get there with great frequency. A road matchup with Vanderbilt and Festus Ezeli is on deck.
Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
Moultrie continued his machine-like season with another pair of double-doubles this week. He played the full 45 minutes in a 78-77 overtime victory at Vanderbilt, finishing with 21 points, 14 boards and 4 steals as the Bulldogs won in Memorial Gymnasium for the first time since 2004. Moultrie also went for 10 points, 12 rebounds and 3 steals in a road loss at in-state rival Mississippi.
Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt
It took nearly two months to get healthy and shake the rust off, but Ezeli has finally found his form. He averaged 12 points on 55% shooting, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks against Alabama and Mississippi State. His importance to the Commodores cannot be understated. He forces double teams, opens up space for a loaded perimeter attack and cleans up mistakes on D.
Player of the Week
Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State, SG, Sophomore, 6-5 185 lbs.
Franklin led the Aztecs to a key victory over #14 UNLV (17-3) this past Saturday by scoring 24 points and gathering 10 rebounds. He shot the ball well (8-18 shooting, 8-8 free throws) and provided lots of energy and emotion. Franklin held UNLV guard, Oscar Bellfield, to 1-12 shooting and attacked the boards throughout the whole game. Following up his impressive performance against UNLV, Franklin finished with 12 points and 5 rebounds against New Mexico (15-3). San Diego State beat New Mexico, 75-70, and now ranks atop the Mountain West Conference. For the season, Franklin averages 15.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.4 SPG, 40.6 FG%, 29.6 3P%, and 74.1 FT%.
Dominique Morrison, Oral Roberts, SF, Senior, 6-6 210 lbs.
Oral Roberts is riding a 10-game winning streak into this weekend and much of the credit for that winning streak can be attributed to Dominique Morrison. He’s been dominant in nearly every game during the 10-game winning streak, including a 38 point-7 rebound performance against South Dakota State (15-5) and a 27 point-5 rebound outing against IPFW (9-9). Oral Roberts is currently 17-4 (9-0 in conference) and Morrison leads the team in scoring (20.1 PPG). Also of note, Morrison is shooting 49.3 FG%, 83.8 FT%, and 45.6 3P%. If he could become more active on the boards, Morrison could earn some NBA Draft prospect consideration. Currently, he’s averaging 4.7 RPG.