Archive - 2012 - Blog entry

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.

February 4th

Big 12 Blog

Player of the Week

Michael Dixon, Missouri

Michael DixonMichael DixonThe Missouri Tiger's sixth man didn't start the game on the floor for Mizzou on Monday against Texas, but he was definitely there for the finish. His lay-up with 31 seconds left propelled his team to a 67-66 victory over the Longhorns, pushing the Tigers to 20 wins on the season. The 6'1" junior finished the game with 21 points while shooting 9-10 from the field, including 2-2 from three-point range. He also handed out four assists for his team. On the season, he is now averaging a hair over 12 points per game, and almost three assists.

Who's Hot

Royce White, Iowa State

The junior star is continuing his very strong play for the Cyclones, while carrying them toward the top of the Big 12 standings along the way. On Tuesday against the Kansas State Wildcats, the 6'8" power forward proved too much to handle for K-State. In the 72-70 win, he hit the game winning jump shot with 1.8 seconds left. He scored 22 points on 10-17 shooting from the field, grabbed eight rebounds, handed out four assists, had three blocks, and grabbed two steals. He is an all-around threat for his team, and has dominated everyone he has faced this season.

February 3rd

Big Ten Blog

Player of the Week

John Shurna, Northwestern

John ShurnaJohn ShurnaThe Big Ten’s leading scorer put up 28 points on 9-of-13 shooting to keep the Wildcats away from a fourth straight loss on Thursday night against Nebraska. We all know he can go off like this at any given time, but this was his first game scoring more than 22 points since Dec. 18 against Eastern Illinois and his third this season (the Wildcats are 3-0 in those games). He had scored more than 22 eight times at the same point in last season’s schedule. Since the start of last season, Northwestern is 11-2 when Shurna scores above that mark. He also scored 15 points Saturday in a 58-56 heartbreaker against Purdue.

But it was more about how Shurna scored those points that matters. He went 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. Northwestern is 5-0 this season when Shurna makes at least five free throws, a sign of him not totally relying on his 3-point shot (which ranks seventh in the Big Ten at 42.7 percent). He’s attempted the fourth-most 3-pointers (131) in the conference, behind Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr., Purdue’s Ryne Smith and Illinois’ D.J. Richardson — with good reason. But when he starts getting to the basket like he did Thursday against Nebraska, good things happen. He had several nice drives that helped put the Huskers away, and maneuvered his way down low for an offensive rebound and tip-in late in the game.

Coach Bill Carmody knows Northwestern (13-8, 3-6 Big Ten, 10th place) can’t afford to sit Shurna, who has played an average 39.3 minutes per game in Big Ten games, and is on the floor for 96.9 percent of the time, both tops in the conference. Shurna stays out of foul trouble and doesn’t turn the ball over — hard to do when you’re the go-to guy. In the past five games, he’s only turned the ball over four times, while dishing out 12 assists.

February 2nd

Europe Blog

Player of the Week

Michal Michalak, 6'5, Lodz, G, 1993

February 1st

ACC Blog

Player of the Week

Mason Plumlee