Archive - Jan 2012 - Blog entry
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.
Player of the Week
Thomas Robinson, Kansas
The monster season continues for the dominant power forward. The junior is without a doubt the leading candidate for National Player of the Year honors. His ability to dominate games is impressive. He is a player who uses his physical strength and tremendous motor to impose his will on the opposition. In his past two games, he has accumulated a mind-boggling 45 points and 34 rebounds! He also leads the Big 12 in double-doubles with 10. His best game this past week was in an 84-58 romp over North Dakota. He scored 30 points and grabbed 21 rebounds while shooting 10-14 from the field for a blistering 71%. Maybe ever more impressive was his marksmanship from the line, knocking down nine of his 12 shots. He even dished out four assists.
Rodney McGruder, Kansas State
The junior swingman is the type of player who "quietly" fills the stat sheet. The 6'4" guard/forward is very adept at slashing to the basket, as well as rebounding the basketball and being a force on the defensive side of the floor getting steals or deflections. In an 82-46 blowout of Howard, he scored 14 points, grabbed five rebounds, and had five steals. He is showing improvement on his jump shot as well, nailing 4-4 from behind the three-point line. In a 67-49 loss to rival Kansas this week, he scored 15 points, grabbed five rebounds, and had another three steals. However, his jump shot wasn't falling at Phog Allen Fieldhouse. If it had been, you could see what type of monster game performance he is capable of having. He is an extremely skilled player who, when clicking on all cylinders, can carry his Wildcat team to victories.
Player of the Week
Cody Zeller, Indiana freshman
Zeller looked like a freshman in his Big Ten debut at Michigan State, looking lost the majority of 40 minutes with a few exceptions. The Hoosiers bounced back with two impressive home wins since then, knocking off No. 2 Ohio State 74-70 on Saturday and No. 16 Michigan 73-71 on Thursday. Both games displayed the Hoosiers’ tendency to allow games to become too close at the end, and Assembly Hall won’t be around to bail them out all season. But Zeller looked good in both games, making all the right moves down low to get open, high-percentage shots. He averaged 16 points and four rebounds in the Hoosiers’ two wins, making 14-of-19 shots from the field despite fouling out of the Ohio State game.
Aaron White, Iowa freshman
The 6-foot-8 freshman forward certainly helped the Hawkeyes to one of their best weeks in years. It started Saturday in Madison, Wis., when White came off the bench to score 16 of his 18 points in the second half as Iowa took down No. 11 Wisconsin 72-65 on the Badgers’ home floor, breaking a 23-game winning streak against unranked teams. White’s dunking and spot-up shooting abilities remained on display Wednesday in a 64-62 victory at Minnesota, when he put up 10 points including a dunk down the stretch that extended the Hawkeyes’ lead to five. He’s a mismatch for slower forwards but still can go down low, averaging five rebounds in the two games. He shot 10-of-14 (71.4 percent) from the field in the pair of games, including 2-of-3 from long range. White, from Strongsville, Ohio, now is firmly in the discussion for Big Ten freshman of the year.
Matt Gatens, Iowa senior
The senior leader put up 19 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals at Minnesota on 7-of-11 shooting. The 6-5 Iowa City native is one of the Big Ten’s leading rebounding guards at 4.3 per game this season; this week he more than doubled that at nine per game, including 12 at Wisconsin. He shot just 2-of-9 against the Badgers for six points but was key defensively along with Devyn Marble on the perimeter against Jordan Taylor and the Badgers.
Player of the Week
Gerardo Suero, Albany, SG, Junior, 6-4 205 lbs.
The Dominican Republic-born Suero has led Albany to a 10-6 record on the season, including three consecutive victories. For the season, Suero is posting a respectable stat line of 22.1 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.1 SPG and shooting 50.7 FG%, 35.3 3P%, and 81.7 FT%. In Albany’s most recent game against a clearly inferior opponent, UMBC (2-12), Suero finished with 22 points (8-14 shooting) and 7 rebounds. Prior to that game, Suero posted 24 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists against another inferior opponent, Hartford (1-13). Earlier in the season against Syracuse (currently ranked #1 in the nation), Suero finished with 31 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
Temple Owls (10-3)
Temple beat #3 Duke this week, 78-73, led by Khalif Wyatt’s 22 points (8-12 shooting, 3-5 three-pointers), 4 rebounds and 5 steals. The Owls played efficiently on offense (56.4 FG%) and held Duke’s freshman phenom, Austin Rivers, to 12 points on 3-11 shooting. Temple has won four consecutive games and currently ranks 27th in the nation for APG (15.8). Although this team does not dominate games, it shows efficient offensive strategies and plays solid defense.
Player of the Week
The Maryland Terrapins have won seven games in a row, and even though the opposition hasn't been great during that stretch, playing undefeated basketball for over a month should earn you a little recognition. Explosive scorer Terrell Stoglin has been doing most of the work so far this season, but help may have finally arrived, and it's in a 7'1" Ukrainian package. Freshman center Alex Len has finished serving his mysterious ten-game NCAA suspension, and is playing extremely well. In his first three career games, Len is averaging 14.0 points on 78.9% shooting along with 8.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. He also looks comfortable from the stripe, shooting a respectable 66.7% on 18 attempts. It's been suggested that Len could be a first-round pick when he decides to leave Maryland and it's not hard to see why. He's a more than decent athlete for a plus-seven footer. While he's raw offensively, he runs the court well and displays good instincts around the rim. Maryland is a lot more exciting with Len in the post, and he'll fit in well with Stoglin and Pe'Shon Howard (who also returned to the team recently). Other teams can no longer sleep on the Terps.
Wake Forest is not likely to be challenging for the ACC championship this season, but they are much-improved from a season ago, and a lot of that is forward Travis McKie. McKie has polished his offensive ability, not having to rely so much on his athleticism anymore (though he still scores a lot of points off of cuts and transition opportunities). He's clearly more comfortable than he used to be on the perimeter, where he makes 1.1 threes per game on 39.0% shooting (up from 0.5 threes made on 30.4% shooting in 2010-2011). But unlike many players who become better outside shooters, McKie is still a physical player on both ends of the court. He uses his strength a lot better when posting up smaller players, and aggressively pursues contact. He's shooting more free-throws per game (5.9 attempts this year), and it has improved his efficiency across the board. Over the course of his sophomore season, he's averaging 17.9 points per game and he should only get better in time.
Player of the Week:
Eli Carter, G, Rutgers
Carter gets the nod based solely off his performance against Florida, where he lead his 9-point underdog Scarlett Knights in a double OT win over 10 ranked Florida. It was a gutsy effort by Carter, who lit up the Gators for 31 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and only 2 turnovers in 46 hard fought minutes. Carter was prolific off the dribble, making plays both for himself and his teammates. He stepped up and drained a game-tying three in the closing seconds of the first overtime, and has emerged as Rutgers' top scoring threat in his freshman year. He followed his career best game against Florida with a 23 point, 5 steal line in a loss to South Florida.
Jerian Grant, 6'5 G, Notre Dame
Prospect alert. He showed true pro potential in his 15 point, 9 assist game against Pittsburgh, posing as a 6'5 combo guard who can beat you off the dribble or stroke it from deep. With good length, size, range and versatility, Grant has emerged as one of the budding prospects in the conference.
Fab Melo 7'0 C, Syracuse
Melo put up a 12 point, 10 block 7 rebound game against Seton Hall, and finished with 12 points, 6 blocks and 5 boards against DePaul. It's amazing what one year of adjusting and conditioning can do for a 7 foot defensive game changer. He's the anchor of one of the most devastating and swarming defenses in all of college basketball.
Sean Kilpatrick 6'4 G, Cincinnati
He's hit at least four three-pointers in three consecutive games, including five in Cincy's three-point win over Pittsburgh. Cincy has been tough since the brawl, and Kilpatrick's emergence as a first or second option is a large reason why.
Russ Smith 6'0 G, Louisville
He's averaging 20 a game on almost 15 shot attempts over his last five games. He plays 150 miles per hour, and generally is forced to considering his teammates' inability to create themselves. If down 1 with 10 seconds, Russ should get the call for Louisville.
Mo Harkless 6'8 F, St. Johns
He went for 32 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks in a blowout over Providence. Harkless' length, athleticism, activity level and ability to be effective without having to demand the ball extend the list of potential suitors for him at the next level.
Jeremy Lamb 6'5 SG, UConn
18 for his last 33 from downtown (54%). Keep letting them fly my man. Lamb has first overall pick potential with star-like qualities based on his overall package. He just has to assert himself and gain the mentality of a high volume scorer.
Co-Players of the Week
Anthony Davis & Michael Kidd Gilchrist, Kentucky
Same player recognition, different week. The pair of freakish freshmen continue to carry the load as the remainder of the Wildcats fight their way through a mid-season slump. In a seven-point victory over Louisville on Saturday, the two combined for 10 of the team's 17 field goal makes (rest of team 7/37), 21 of 32 free throw makes, 42 of 69 points and 29 of 49 rebounds. Davis shattered season-high FT marks converting 12/13, while Kidd-Gilchrist snatched 19 boards from the SF position. In a week that also included a W over Lamar, Davis averaged 14 points, 11.5 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. MKG compiled 21 points per game, 12.5 rebounds and 16 FT makes. Kentucky opens up conference play on Saturday the 7th versus South Carolina. The night in, night out rigors of the SEC will test the mental and physical fortitude of UK's freshmen. No more cupakes to reserve strength.
Lance Goulbourne, Vanderbilt
Last season Goulbourne waited until mid-January to turn on the jets. This year he's found his stride in late December. In a startling road demolition of 14th ranked Marquette, he scored 13 points (4/5 FG), grabbed 16 rebounds, swiped 3 steals and swatted 3 shots. His defensive effort held Jae Crowder to 4/13 shooting, and the Golden Eagles shot only 32% as a unit. Over his last three contests he's putting up 14 PPG on 74% shooting (17/23), 10 RPG and 2+ SPG. When healthy and on his A game, Goulbourne puts up some beastly numbers.
Happy Holidays NBADraft.net community. It's time for Conference play out West to get under way and the Pac 12 is wide open with some solid but unspectacular teams all vying for the inaugural Pac 12 crown. No one has the right to feel particularly confident about their current resume as it stands that will be presented to the selection committee come March. It's an up for grabs conference, and with that said, let the games begin.
Player of the Week
Tony Wroten, Washington Huskies
Wroten has taken it up a notch in the month of December and will be heading into the new year with a lot of momentum as both a Pac 12 player of the year candidate and a climbing NBA prospect for the upcoming draft. These past 5 games, he has averaged over 22ppg and 5 rebounds. He has taken up even more of a score first mentality and shown rising aggressiveness attacking the defense over showcasing traditional point guard duties. He gets to the rim at will and has an excellent ability to get his defender off balance with a series of herky jerky moves before exploding into the paint and using his long stride and length to cover ground quickly. His jumper is still a weak spot and the turnovers haven't slowed down, but there are few basketball players on the college scene who have the overall skill set Wroten possesses.
Lazeric Jones, UCLA Bruins
Jones got off to a horrible start to begin the season but has bounced back in a big way establishing himself as the hands down most important member and go to guy for the Bruins. He has the swagger of a player who truly believes he is the best guy on the court and is unafraid to take the big shots. His ability to create and pull up off the dribble has always been there, it's just been a matter of consistently knocking shots down which Lazeric has been doing lately. In UCLA's 7 games in the month of December, Jones has averaged 18 points and shot 56% from the field and 58% from three. But maybe even more impressive is that, despite the Bruins relying so heavily on him to create offense, he has turned the ball over only 3 times total during those 7 contests protecting the rock and making sound decisions.