Archive - Jan 2012 - Blog entry
Player of the Week
Rodney McGruder, Kansas State
The Washington D.C. native is starting to play up to his ability, and that's a great sign for anyone who follows Wildcat basketball. The 6'4" shooting guard scored 19 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and handed out four assists in a surprising 82-73 loss to Oklahoma. He followed that steady performance with a huge outing against Texas. In an 84-80 win over the Longhorns, he dropped 33 points while shooting 65% from the field and 67% from behind the 3-point line. In addition, he also snatched eight rebounds and dished out two assists. This week has been a good sign of things to come for Kansas State.
Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas
The overwhelmingly inconsistent Tyshawn Taylor now put together a string of very good games for now Big 12 leading Kansas. While his turnover problems continue, he is negating them with his stellar performances of late. In a win over Iowa State, he pounded the Cyclones with 28 points, six assists, and four steals. Then, in an early conference showdown with the Baylor Bears, he was the unsung star of the game. In the 92-74 blowout, he again dropped 28 points. He also handed out six assists and grabbed two rebounds. In that game, he shot an amazing 71% from the field and 67% from behind the 3-point line.
Royce White, Iowa State - This week, posted averages of 17.5 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 block per game.
Texas A&M Aggies
The Aggies came into the season with high expectations, hovering around preseason Top 25 rankings. They were returning future NBA draft selection Khris Middleton, as well as David Loubeau and Ray Turner. However, since conference play began, things have started to fall apart for A&M. It seems that none of their star players are playing as well as they should be, except for the Washington transfer Elston Turner. As it stands right now, they are an underwhelming 10-7 on the season. Even worse, they are 1-4 in conference play, good for ninth place in the Big 12. If they want to turn the season around, Khris Middleton and David Loubeau need to step their games up.
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.
Player of the Week:
Damian Lillard, Weber State, PG, Junior, 6-3 195 lbs.
Lillard is the nation’s leading scorer, averaging 25.8 PPG, and is one of the nation’s best shooters as well – 47.8 FG%, 46.7 3P% and 90.7 FT%. He has led Weber State to a 13-3 record, including a 7-game win streak as well. This past week Lillard and Weber State beat Portland State (8-9) and Montana State (7-8). Against Portland State, Lillard finished with 38 points (12-23 shooting), 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 steal. In Thursday night’s game against Montana State, he finished with 17 points (4-14 shooting), 6 rebounds and 3 steals. Lillard is widely considered to be a late first round to early second round NBA Draft prospect. His sharp shooting skills, ball-handling ability and relentless style of play make him the leading candidate for the Big Sky Player of the Year honor and also a candidate for All-American considerations.
O.D. Anosike, Siena, PF, Junior, 6-8 232 lbs.
Anosike leads the nation in rebounding (12.5 RPG) and his performances during this past week of games furthered that standing. Siena (8-8) beat Rider (6-12) and Niagara (6-11) and in both games, Anosike finished with 14 rebounds. Against Rider he poured in 23 points and against Niagara he scored 27 points. For the season he’s averaging 14.7 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 0.6 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.3 BPG and shooting 50.5 FG%. His free throw percentage could definitely use some work; currently it sits at 53.3 percent. Anosike is a bull in the paint and clears space by using excellent “box out” techniques.
Player of the Week
Brandon Paul, Illinois
This was a strange yet wonderful week in the Big Ten, highlighted by Paul’s ridiculous 43-point output Tuesday in a crucial 79-74 home win for the Illini against No. 6 Ohio State. It began a string of head-scratching results, including Minnesota beating No. 7 Indiana at Assembly Hall and Wisconsin getting back on track at Purdue. Illinois’ win put it at a somewhat-surprising 4-1 conference clip while Ohio State fell to 3-2.
But back to Paul. All he did was score 20 more points than his career high and 30 more than his season average coming in (12.1). He outscored Ohio State 15-8 in the game’s final 2:40. It was third-most points ever scored by an Illinois player, and most by any player against Ohio State since 1987. But nearly equally impressive about Paul was his effort on the defensive end. He totaled four blocks, including one late in the second half on Jared Sullinger that had Sullinger staring into the stands in disbelief.
11-of-15 from the field. 8-of-10 from three. 13-of-15 from the free-throw line. He also had seven turnovers, but hey, the Illini won the game. Everybody knew Paul had the talent and athleticism to go off like this, but it’s been missing in his first two seasons. His shots haven’t been falling — he came into Tuesday’s game making just 28.4 of his 3-point shots but wasn’t afraid to keep shooting. He attempts nearly five per game. Will he go 8-of-10 every game? No, but he seems to think it’s possible every time out.
In one game, Paul became Illinois’ leading scorer. He went from ranking third at 12.1 to 13.8. The big question moving forward is if this is a flash-in-the-pan moment or if it will give him the confidence to take over this team.
Draymond Green, Michigan State
The entire Spartans team probably deserves to be on this list, but Green has just been lights-out lately. With two double-double performances this past week, he averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds, dishing out seven assists and turning the ball over just two times. He’s almost averaging a double-double this season at 15.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game as his team won its first four conference games.
Player of the Week
It's that wonderful time of year again. The time that basketball turns into a scrum of turnovers, fouls and ugly, UGLY play. Everything becomes twice as competitive and three times as exciting for basketball junkies like myself. It's ACC play and a whole new season (cliché ahead) where the real stars come out to shine. Early results are in (game one, at least), and things look promising for CJ Leslie. The freakishly athletic forward has been featured on this blog several times (as both hot and cold), but seems to be responding well to the higher intensity of conference play. He played with a much better effort than he was earlier in the season and it showed on the stat-sheet. He put up 20 points and 11 rebounds in his team's win against Maryland on Sunday. The improved rebounding is a good sign, as he only averaged 6.2 rebounds during non-conference play, and that's extremely disappointing for a player with his athletic ability. Though billed as a combo-forward, I'm convinced that his position both now and in the future is in the post. While thin for the position, he's a monster around the hoop and will be an easy alley-oop target if paired with a quality point guard at the next level. In the meantime, the Wolfpack is a much better team when Leslie is dominating, so they'll be hoping he can keep this up.
UNC's star center is also responding well to conference play. In the Tar Heels' two conference games (both wins), Zeller has averaged 18.0 points on 60.9% shooting from the floor, along with 9.0 rebounds per game. This kind of production is fairly typical from Zeller, and it will have to continue if the Tar Heels want to make a deep postseason run. Zeller's size is a very important asset for the team, especially when they’re playing ACC opponents. Bigs often seem to be what separates the upper-tier teams in the conference from the lower-tier teams. While I don’t think UNC is a lower-tier team with or without Zeller, a offensive big like that provides a huge advantage against teams like Boston College and Virginia Tech that don’t have an answer for him. This is a luxury only a few ACC teams possess.
Player of the Week
Carlon Brown, Colorado Buffaloes
Brown was lights out this past week in leading the Buffaloes to a sweep of the Washington schools scoring 23 points per in the two games on 59% shooting from the field including 9 of 15 from three point land. The 6-5 senior wing man is stepping up as a scorer who can both shoot from the outside as well as use his solid frame to get into the paint and play through contact. Colorado leads the Pac 12 at 3-0 out of the gate and will look to validate their candidacy as a team to beat in the conference with a pair of upcoming road games versus the Bay Area schools, Stanford and Cal.
Joe Burton, Oregon State Beavers
The 6-7 280 pound big man has steadily been improving and showing more consistency. Joe is an excellent high post passer who loves to hang outside showing off his passing abilities and court vision while the wings play off the ball using screens and back cuts looking to get open. But as the season progresses, he is now looking to establish himself down low demonstrating his own offensive repetoire. In 4 Conference games, Burton is averaging 16 points on 66% shooting to go with 7 boards.