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Big East Player of the Year Prediction: Jeremy Lamb

Jeremy LambJeremy LambHis spaghetti arms look chiseled, and his game is more complete. Dribble-dribble step back jumpers mixed with explosive takes to the rack, Lamb has put together a package that offers primary scoring tools. He scored 30 in Connecticut's opener, shooting 11-17 on 5-8 from behind the arch. Lamb and UNC's Harrison Barnes are the best perimeter forwards in the country, and should both be in contention for the prestigious National Player of the Year award.

If you didn't catch the opener, you didn't catch this... Jeremy Lamb Goes Airborne

Heatin' Up

God'sgift Achiuwa, 6'8 PF, St. Johns

He didn't miss a shot in the opener, going 6-6 from the field and 9-9 from the stripe. He showed impressive rebounding abilities, and should give St. Johns a true interior presence they otherwise wouldn't have.

Eric Atkins, 6'1 PG, Notre Dame

Atkins scored a career high 27 in Notre Dame's first game, showing impressive quickness and a cleaner stroke from outside. The Irish will need someone else to step up alongside Abromaitis, so this surge is a good sign.

Travon Woodall, 5'11 PG, Pittsburgh

Tra dropped 25 points and 10 assists on Albany Friday night, showing a thorough combination of playmaking and scoring. Woodall will have a more full-time role in the backcourt this season, and should allow Ashton Gibbs to play off the ball where he's more effective.

Dominic Cheek, 6'6 SG, Villanova

Cheek took advantage of his playing time, hoisting up 15 shots and converting on 9. He scored 27 points, hitting five 3 pointers. Cheek should continue to get double digit shot attempts in an offense that's missing a go-to guy.



Breakout Candidates

1. Shabazz Napier, 6'1 PG, UConn

Napier should get plenty of open looks playing alongside Lamb and Drummond, so the opportunities will be there. He's got confidence, a nice outside stroke and a good enough handle to break down defenses. His big challenge will be setting up teammates, but again with talent around him, that hurdle won't be as high. Napier had a huge opener against Columbia, going for 21 points, 8 assists and 6 boards. KEY STAT: 36 minutes, 2 turnovers.

2. Fab Melo, 7'0 C, Syracuse

Last season he looked heavy. Slow and heavy. You gotta see him this year. Running the floor, cutting through lanes- no longer will he be primarily used for just the opening jump call. Melo dropped 20 pounds, looking agile and moving gracefully. The guy practically looked like Kristi Yamaguchi out there against Fordham.

Disregard the stat line when evaluating Melo. He's going to make a huge impact regardless of how many points he scores.

3. Hollis Thompson, 6'8 SF, Georgetown

Thompson has the length and range to become Georgetown's most dangerous threat in a Princeton-style offense. He shot 45% from downtown last year, and should see his 2.9 attempts double in his junior year. He fits the mold of your quintessential stretch small forward, and should start to generate some buzz as an NBA prospect.

4. Sean Kilpatrick, 6'4 SG, Cincinnati

The name even sounds lethal. Kilpatrick scored 10 a game off the bench as a freshman, and should look to add to that as a sophomore. The scoring guard can stroke it from 20+ feet out and get to the rim. Expecting big things from last year's sixth man.

5. Fuquan Edwin, 6'4 Seton Hall

Seton Hall will have to make up 30 points from the loss of Jeremy Hazell and Jeff Robinson, and I'm guessing close to half of them will come from Edwin. At his best in the open floor, Edwin has good length and shows impressive scoring instincts attacking the rim. He's got to knock down more threes, but he's proven capable of doing so hitting at least two 3-pointers in 6 games last year. He scored 27 last week in a scrimmage against UMass. Look for Edwin to lead the Pirates in scoring as a sophomore year.

Next group:

Dominic Cheek, 6'6 SG, Villanova
Dion Waiters, 6'4 SG, Syracuse
Eric Atkins, 6'1 PG, Notre Dame
Dante Taylor, 6'9 PF, Pittsburgh
Gilvydas Biruta, 6'8 PF, Rutgers
Vander Blue, 6'4 SG, Marquette

Weekly Thoughts


- Syracuse is so deep they could split the team in half and they'd both be competitive. Numerous shooters, ball-handlers, big men, glue guys... I like the Orange to take the conference in 2012.

- Georgetown freshman Otto Porter is going to make a name for himself. I said before he reminds me a little of Tobias Harris- He can rebound, handle the ball, score in traffic and in the midrange. Porter had 9 and 8 in 25 minutes in his debut.

- I'm a big fan of that Marquette backcourt. Vander Blue, the athletic, defensive-minded off-ball slasher, paired with Darius Johnson-Odom, an electric, scoring combo guard. Great mix of skills.

- Important year for Louisville point guard Peyton Siva. He's been good, but not great. If he wants a shot at the pros he's going to have to do more as a junior.

- Also a big year for Mouphtaou Yarou. He played well in the opener, double-doubling for 24 and 10. His draft stock will likely reflect his performance as a junior.

- Louisville seems overvalued. If the 3-ball is off, how will they adjust? Who will step up?

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