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February 6th, 2012

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.

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

January 30th

Big East Blog

Player of the Week

Moe Harkless

Moe HarklessMoe HarklessMoe 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.

Heatin’ up


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.

Big Ten Blog

Player of the Week

Draymond GreenDraymond GreenDraymond 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.

Who’s Hot

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.

January 29th

Mid Major Blog

Player of the Week

Mike Moser, UNLV, PF, Sophomore, 6-8 195 lbs.

Mike MoserMike MoserMoser 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%.

Who’s Hot?

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.

January 28th

Big 12 Blog

Player of the Week

LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State

January 26th

ACC Blog

Player of the Week

Harrison Barnes

Harrison BarnesHarrison BarnesI'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.

Hot

Kenny Kadji

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.