Archive - Feb 2012 - Blog entry


February 17th

Big 12 Blog

Player of the Week

Jeff Withey, Kansas

February 16th

ACC Blog

Player of the Week

Austin Rivers

Austin RiversAustin RiversWhat? Were you expecting somebody else here? This week's top player just made a huge mark on perhaps the greatest rivalry in sports; a mark that will be remembered and replayed years into the future. Hmmm... Where should I start? So Duke was playing at North Carolina last week. Like many teams before them, the Blue Devils were having a tough time dealing with Tyler Zeller and Harrison Barnes. It looked like the duo was starting to pull the home team away after Barnes connected on yet another mid-range jumper, giving his team a 10 point lead with just over two-and-a-half minutes left in the game. But Duke hit a couple triples and UNC kept things interesting by missing some free-throws and turning the ball over. Eventually, everything came down to the last possession. Duke was down by two with about ten seconds left. Austin Rivers (who was hot all game, with 26 points at that point) rose up for a three-pointer with Zeller’s arm right in his face... Swish! Everything cultivated into as exciting a finish as we've seen in college basketball this season. Of course that intensity didn't seem to faze the uber-confident Rivers, who really appears to thrive in high-pressure situations. Duke and UNC will face off again at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 3rd. I'm sure the Tar Heels will be eager to set the record straight, but it's hard to bet against Rivers after a performance like that.

February 14th

SEC Blog

Player of the Week

Kentavious Caldwell Pope, Georgia

Kentavious Caldwell-PopeKentavious Caldwell-PopeThe former McDonald’s All-American led the previously 1-7 Bulldogs to a pair of impressive conference victories this week. He scored 18 points in a home route of Arkansas, connecting on 6/10 from the field and 3/6 from distance while also adding 3 steals. In a shocking OT road win at #18 Mississippi State, Caldwell-Pope went for 20 points on 6 made three-pointers, 8 rebounds and 3 assists (zero turnovers) in 40 treacherous minutes. He’s been asked to carry the scoring load on a deprived roster, and currently leads all SEC freshmen with 14.5 PPG and ranks 3rd amongst all conference performers with 57 made threes. Ironically he’s shooting 51% on two-point attempts yet is firing up 7 treys per game. His shot distribution will only improve with experience. Standing at 6’5 (still growing) with a pure stroke and true scorer’s mentality, look for Caldwell-Pope to rise from his current #24 slot in our 2013 mock draft.

Who’s Hot

Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague, Kentucky

UK’s backcourt has been inconsistent for much of the season, but they stepped up big against the elite of the SEC. Lamb averaged 17 points in the two victories over Florida and Vanderbilt, knocking down 12/21 shots and 6/12 threes. He finally turned up the aggression meter against the Commodores, attempting a team-high 13 field goals (highest in a game since December 17th versus UT Chattanooga). Teague recorded his first career double-double vs. Florida with 12 points and 10 assists (5 turnovers). He followed up that effort with 13 and 8, committing just one turnover in a challenging road environment. A comfortable Teague running the show makes UK a clear front runner to cut down the nets. He’s penetrating to create, not necessarily to score.

February 13th

Big East Blog

Player of the Week

Kris Joseph

Kris JosephKris JosephJoseph had his best week of the season, knocking down big shots in crunch-time and stepping up when called upon.

The senior swingman scored 29 in a win over Georgetown, converting on a career high six three point makes that allowed the Orange to squeak by in overtime. Joseph looked sharp in catch and shoot opportunities, sporting a quick and fluent release with clean mechanics. When he sets his feet and steps into his shot, you can see it dropping from the second it leaves his fingertips.

He shot 3 for 4 from three against Connecticut, making him 9 for 15 from downtown on the week. Joseph is also attacking the rim with purpose, causing defenders to hesitate when attempting to close on him as a shooter.

His three-point shot is such an important aspect of his overall prospect package. If he can prove to be a true threat as a spotup shooter with range, he'll maximize his value and increase prospective interest.

When Joseph started his career, he got by thanks to athleticism and physical tools without a true feel for the game. Now, he's starting to fill the mold of an inside/outside off the ball stretch-slasher with enough substance to justify a 20-25 minute/game NBA role. He's averaging 14 points on 37% from three on the year.

February 12th

Big Ten Blog

Player of the Week

Draymond Green, Michigan State

February 11th

Mid Major Blog

Player of the Week

Greg Mangano, Yale, C, Senior, 6-10 240 lbs.

Greg ManganoGreg ManganoThe Ivy League standout has bullied several opponents this season with his size and physical presence in the paint. Penn (12-10) and Princeton (11-10) were Mangano’s most recent victims as he posted double-doubles in each of those games this past week. Against Penn, he posted 23 points (8-14 shooting) and 10 rebounds, and against Princeton, he posted 20 points (6-17 shooting) and 12 rebounds. Mangano has led Yale to a 15-5 record this season and he’s the premier low-post threat in the entire conference, followed by Keith Wright of Harvard who’s at a distant second. Mangano has finished 11 games with 20 points or more, including a “beastly” outing against #7 Florida (19-5) on December 31 when he finished with 26 points and 15 rebounds. His ability to shoot with either hand in the paint helps him create definite challenges for opposing defenders, as well as his fundamental box-out techniques. For the season, Mangano is averaging 19.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG, and 2.5 BPG and NBA scouts are taking notice.

Who’s Hot?

Ramone Moore, Temple, SG, Senior, 6-4 190 lbs.

Moore has been “lights out” over Temple’s last five games, averaging 22.2 PPG on 50.0 3P%. Temple is now 18-5 and much of that record can be attributed to Moore’s outside shooting ability that stretches defenses and creates difficulties in executing help-side defense. This week against George Washington (8-16), Moore finished with 25 points (6-14 FG, 3-6 3P), 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Temple won that game, 79-72. Earlier in the week at Rhode Island (5-20), Moore scored 22 points (9-20 FG, 2-7 3P) and collected 5 rebounds as the Owls downed Rhode Island, 73-56, and last week against Fordham (9-13), Moore finished with 25 points (9-16 FG, 6-8 3P) and 5 assists. Watch for Moore’s sharpshooting ability to help put Temple in a favorable position to win the Atlantic 10 Conference.

February 10th

Pac 12 Blog

Player of the Week

Brock MotumBrock MotumBrock Motum, PF Washington State

It would be entirely justifiable to give this award to Arizona's Kyle Fogg, who averaged 18.5 points in two huge victories over the bay area schools this past week, due to team success. But I just can not ignore the outstanding individual play of Wazzu's junior 6-10 big man Brock Motum. Washington State lost their leading scorer in senior SG Faisal Aden two weeks ago to a season ending injury, and the team desperately needed someone to step up in his place and assume a greater scoring role. In the three games since Aden's loss, Brock has scored 25, 26 and 34 points doing everything in his power to put the Cougars on his back. In that three game stretch, he shot 65% from the field, grabbed 9 boards per and showed his perimeter versatility by stepping out and connecting on 5 of 9 three point attempts. The team is struggling in the win/loss column, but they are competitive and a tough game for opponents primarily due to their star big man.

Heating up

Josh Smith, UCLA

After pointing how Smith was sliding in terms of minutes and production in my last blog, we have since been given a glimpse of the tantalizing skilled big man that many expected to be a key piece in leading the UCLA program towards success. Josh was dominant inside this past week vs the Washington schools to the tune of 21.5 points on 17 of 22 field goal attempts and 7 boards per. The defense has looked helpless once Smith seals his man deep and the help has to get to him before the ball or risk being pushed around. It remains to be seen if Smith can turn this into some momentum and grow from these games showing consistency, but the manner in which he played with passion and aggressiveness is promising.

February 8th

ACC Blog

Player of the Week

Reggie Johnson

Reggie JohnsonReggie JohnsonMiami had a tough start to the season. DeQuan Jones was suspended for the first ten games of the year and Julian Gamble injured himself over the summer and isn't expected to play a game in 2011-2012. Center Reggie Johnson wasn't always around to help in the frontcourt either, having missed the first nine games of the season recovering from knee surgery and trying to get back into game-shape ever since his return. The Hurricanes have managed to get through all of that without losing any substantial ground in the ACC standings, and both the team and Reggie Johnson are starting to heat up. Miami has won four straight games, the most recent of which was an overtime victory at Duke. Like the Seminoles before them, the Hurricanes used their size advantage to stage the upset. Johnson scored a career-high 27 points on 11/17 shooting, while pulling down a season-high 12 rebounds. Standing 6'10" at 285 pounds, he's a matchup nightmare for a lot of teams in the ACC. If he stays healthy, he'll be a game-changer that could propel his team up in the ACC standings and potentially into an NCAA tournament birth.


Tyler Zeller

Tyler Zeller's best attributes have always been his athleticism, height and offensive skill-set. He can score in transition, in the post, or at the line. He's very slippery, and consequently, draws a lot of contact. But I don't want to go into great detail about that. Instead, I want to talk about what his greatest flaws were considered to be prior to this season. Critics would say that Zeller was too thin and a poor defender. He was also a mediocre rebounder (especially defensively), and not much of a passer. Zeller had lottery-type talent, but several holes in his game. As a senior, it seems he's been working on addressing those weaknesses. He's not getting pushed around as much in the post, and it's leading to better man-to-man defense and rebounding. After a 17-rebound performance against North Carolina State, and an 18-rebound performance against Wake Forest, his average on the season is up to 9.6 (7.2 rpg in 2010-2011). He's also putting up career-highs in steals (1.0), blocks (1.3) and assists (1.0) per game, all in fewer minutes (26.4 mpg) than he played last season (28.1). It appears Zeller is willing to work hard to make himself a better player, which is something that the NBA will take note of.


February 7th

Big East Blog

Player of the Week

Travon Woodall

Travon WoodallTravon WoodallWoodall has really excelled with the ball in his hands, not only as a playmaker but as a scorer alongside Ashton Gibbs. He dropped 29 points, 6 boards and 5 assists in a win over Villanova after finishing with 24 in a huge win over West Virginia.

February 6th

SEC Blog

Player of the Week

Anthony Davis, Kentucky

Anthony DavisAnthony DavisThe dominance of Davis continues to astound. The one-and-done freshman swatted 15 shots in two games this week, passing Shaquille O’Neal for the SEC frosh record in blocked shots with 116. Davis leads the country with 4.8 BPG, and has eight games of 6+ rejections. On the offensive end, he averaged 20 points in victories over Tennessee and South Carolina, connecting on 15/17 field goal attempts (66% on year) and 10/12 free throws (70%). He added 8 RPG, assisted on 4 buckets and committed just a single turnover (0.9). Davis is a man amongst children, despite hardly an offensive set being run for him. Kentucky faces a rough patch of games in February beginning with tilts versus Florida and at Vanderbilt this week. The feeding on conference cupcakes is over.

Who’s Hot

Kenny Gabriel & Varez Ward, Auburn

The Tigers played tremendous ball this week (home W over Georgia and three-point road L at Mississippi State), and the two names above are a big reason why. Gabriel continued his dynamic ways on both ends of the floor, scoring 19 PPG, grabbing 9.5 rebounds, blocking 2.5 shots, swiping a steal, knocking down 12/13 from the charity stripe and drilling 4 treys at MSU. Ward, who had struggled miserably in recent weeks shooting the rock, averaged 21.5 points, 4 assists and made an eye popping 21 free throws on 24 attempts. When you’re shooting 34% from the field, uncontested opportunities at the line are a welcomed sight.