Archive - Blog entry
January 6th, 2012
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.
December 30th, 2011
Player of the Week
Keith Appling, Michigan State
Appling, the Spartans’ 6-foot-1 point guard, was told by coach Tom Izzo to be more assertive offensively before Wednesday’s game against Indiana. It paid off in a big way as Appling took over in the second half during a 20-0 Michigan State run that gave the Hoosiers their first loss, 80-65. Of Appling’s career-high 25 points, 19 came in the second half.
Appling has always been given high marks for his defense, and he brought that side of his game Wednesday as well, making a highlight-reel block on Victor Oladipo’s fast-break layup with 1:56 remaining that kept the Hoosiers from coming within seven. (Watch the block here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYlY4CN6Uok)
The Detroit native out of Pershing High School has started to understand what Izzo demands from his point guards. He’s nearly tripled his assists, (3.6 to 1.3 last year), doubled his point output (12.1 to 6.4 last year) and is his shot attempts per game have nearly doubled. He’s already surpassed his assist total from last year despite averaging just five more minutes per game this season.
One of the best on-ball defenders in the Big Ten is suddenly a legitimate threat to run you out of the gym. He’s not afraid to drive to the basket and gets to the free-throw line nearly five times per game. He’s 21-of-22 in the past two games and 29-of-33 (87.8 percent) in the past five.
Meyers Leonard, Illinois
The 7-foot-1 sophomore center has posted double-doubles in the past three games, including a 20-point, 11-rebound performance Tuesday in the Illini’s 81-72 win in double overtime against Minnesota. He now has five double-doubles this season after not having one in his first 36 college games. He’s looked impressive going to the hoop on the dribble and being available for ridiculous alley-oops near the basket. He still needs to cut down on the turnovers, though, as he’s given the ball away more than three times per game in the past four, including five against the Gophers.
William Buford and Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
Sullinger had 17 points and 14 rebounds as the Buckeyes might have seriously damaged Northwestern’s psyche with a 87-54 blowout on Wednesday. Sullinger went 7-of-11 from field and hit his third 3-pointer of the season. He only played 22 minutes because of foul trouble. Him and Deshaun Thomas each had four offensive rebounds as Ohio State posted a 48-28 rebounding edge.
Buford went off for 28 points and nine rebounds against Northwestern, hitting 5-of-7 3-pointers and 5-of-5 on free throws. The ultimate lead-by-example senior hasn’t missed a free throw since Nov. 25, making his last 21. He’s the conference’s fifth-leading scorer at 16.6 points per game, has scored in double figures in 12 of 14 games and is third at 86.3 percent from the free-throw line. His 2.2 assist-to-turnover ratio can’t be overlooked, either.
Player of the Week
Alex Young, IUPUI, SG, Senior, 6-6 212 lbs.
This hopeful first round NBA Draft prospect has led IUPUI (6-8) to four consecutive victories, including a 97-88 win over Valparaiso (8-5) this past week. In that game, Young finished with 27 points (8-19 shooting), 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. He played efficiently and took good shots throughout the contest. For the season, Young sits at 20.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.3 SPG and 1.0 BPG on 42.0 FG% and 82.8 FT%. His three-point shooting ability could use some improvement (33.3 3P%), but Young is playing excellent basketball right now.
Wesley Witherspoon, Memphis, F, Senior, 6-9 210 lbs.
Witherspoon has found his name under this label twice so far this season, mainly due to his tendency to disappear in games and not live up to his potential. Entering the season Witherspoon was widely viewed as a potential second round NBA Draft prospect, but his draft stock has plummeted significantly through 11 games this season as he is producing 5.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.0 SPG and 40.9 FG% for Memphis (6-5). As a sophomore in 2009-10, Witherspoon scored 12.5 PPG and as a junior his scoring declined to 9.0 PPG. This year his scoring has declined further to 5.7 PPG. There is no doubting his athletic ability or his potential to affect opponents on the defensive end of the court; however, his most recent performances have left scouts asking for more. In Memphis’ past four games, Witherspoon has averaged 2.3 PPG and 2.5 RPG.
Player of the Week
I don't know how many of you foresaw the Virginia Cavaliers cracking the top-25 AP rankings this season, but it actually happened last week. Point guard Jontel Evans, sophomore Joe Harris and sharp-shooter Sammy Zeglinski are all doing their part in this unexpectedly strong start to the season, and deserve their due credit. However, there is little doubt that the MVP of the 11-1 Cavaliers (currently the best record among ACC teams) is super-senior Mike Scott. The star power forward for Virginia has been particularly hot as of late, averaging 22.3 points per game over the last week, including a 33 point outburst against Seattle on Wednesday. In fact, he's scored a total of 50 points in his last two games, in a combined 52 minutes. More impressive than that, however, is his efficiency over his last five games. Scott is shooting 81.0% from the floor in the month of December. That is not a typo. He's made 34 of the 42 shots he's taken this month. He's also made both of his three-point attempts and 84.8% of his free-throws. With these kind of numbers, it's no wonder the Cavs are surging. While he can't play like this forever, Virginia seems like they could be just as competitive of a team in conference play this year. They have great size, good depth and a ridiculously efficient double-double machine in Mike Scott. They'll play at home against Miami on January 7th, and then get tested at Duke on the 12th.
Glen Rice Jr
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets won't be very intimidating to anybody in the ACC, but Glen Rice Jr. is quietly having season that teams should be taking note of. The 6'5" guard (and son of former NBA all-star, Glen Rice) is averaging 20.0 points on 56.5% shooting with 10.5 rebounds in his last two games. He's primarily been known as a defender during his career at Georgia Tech, but with Iman Shumpert having left for the NBA, we're getting to see Rice take on more scoring responsibility. What's really impressive is that this new role hasn't changed the way he approaches the game. He hustles, plays hard, attacks the glass and is a dynamic defender regardless of whether he's the first option on offense (like this season) or just a role-player off the bench (like in his freshman campaign). So regardless of how successful his team is over the next two seasons, you should expect to hear Rice's name in NBA draft discussions. There will always be room for players like him on a roster.
Player of the Week
Brad Beal, Florida
Beal has often been the best player on the court for the 11th ranked Gators, despite relatively unspectacular shooting for his standards. His versatility at 6'3, strength and defensive aptitude have been early season calling cards. He's now starting to heat up from the perimeter- a scary proposition for Florida's SEC opponents. Beal connected on 11/22 from the field and 7/12 three-pointers last week in wins over Mississippi Valley State and in-state rival Florida State for 17 PPG. He continues to rebound the rock at a fever pace, adding two more 6 board efforts to his 6.3 season clip. The thievery has not halted either with a 3-steal game versus FSU. His 36% from deep and 70% from the FT line will assuredly take an upwards spike as the year progresses. Thursday at Rutgers is the next test for Beal and the Gators.
Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
The Bulldogs have reeled off 11-straight W's and stand atop the SEC at 12-1. Moultrie has been the catalyst. He notched his 4th consecutive double-double in impressive fashion during an 82-67 win over Northwestern State, scoring 24 points (8/11 FG & 8/8 FT), grabbing 14 rebounds (a ridiculous 11 offensive boards) and handing out 4 helpers. Other than block shots, the UTEP transfer has done EVERYTHING. He's no longer playing in a hurry, and as a result his athleticism and motor on the interior have been accompanied by efficiency: 18 PPG, 12 RPG, 58% FG, 88% FT and 1 SPG. Dee Bost is the Bulldogs engine, but Moultrie is the anchor.
Gerald Robinson, Georgia
Georgia's number one playmaker continues to play solid ball. In home triumphs over Mercer and Furman he averaged 16.5 points on 52% FG (11/21) and 9/10 FT makes. He dished out 9 assists against 4 turnovers, a ratio far superior to his 3.4:2.8 season mark. Robinson shoots 80% from the free throw stripe and is clearly at his best when attacking, yet for whatever reason phases in and out of aggression. The Bulldogs and their inept offense would greatly benefit from more opportunities at free points.
Player of the Week:
Kevin Jones 6'8 PF, West Virginia
What a turnaround for Jones, who underachieved as a junior despite having the table set for him with the departure of Devin Ebanks and Da’Sean Butler.
Averaging just a shade under 23 points and 13 rebounds over his last four games, Jones has been connecting on all cylinders, both as a scorer and on the glass. He’s settling for less jumpers, while simultaneously increasing his efficiency on the perimeter in the process.
Jones finished with 28 points, 17 rebounds and 1 turnover in a hard fought overtime loss to a much more talented Baylor team last week. He’s put his name in the running for conference player of the year as we approach league play, currently leading the Big East in scoring at 21 per game.
Last four games: 26 points, 6 assists… 14 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds… 16 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds… 14 points, 4 assists… 11 points, 11 assists. Theo has increased his assist average by 3 as a senior, and currently leads the Big East in dishing at over 7 a game.
Shadily a great year for Young, who’s averaging 18 points and 5.7 assists over his last four. Young gets to dominate the ball for DePaul, and has put up impressive numbers as a result.