Big East Blog
Player of the Week
Cheek is averaging 22 and 6 to start the year, and though the sample size is small, he's seemed to establish himself as the team's primary scoring option. Cheek's skill-set ranges from shooter to slasher, illustrating qualities that make him an effective scoring off-ball guard. He's playing almost 35 minutes a game as compared to last year's 20, thanks to a shallow rotation lacking shotmakers. He's seen his shot attempts double, and should continue getting open looks alongside Wayns and Yarou. He's a good bet to take home the Big East most improved player award.
Wayns looks sharp, knocking down three pointers we didn't see fall in past seasons. He's scoring 19 a game, grabbing 5 boards and dishing out 4.7 assists, and will continue to be the engine that fuels the Wildcat offense.
Think about this: Yarou scored at least 17 points only twice last season. This season he's averaging that through three games, along with almost 10 boards per game. Yarou has NBA potential based off his physical attributes alone. If he could figure out how to use them, he'll be hearing his name mispronounced on national television more frequently.
Darius Johnson Odom
DJO should drop 20 a game this year, with the green light that allows him to dominate the ball. As he should. Guards who can score off the dribble with the ability to convert at the rim, midrange and downtown are always a threat to light up the scoreboard. He's currently scoring 20 a game, shooting 47% from 3.
Have to say I didn't see this one coming. Woodall looks like a completely different guy, exuding confidence that has translated to into positive production. Tra has been spraying the box scores, averaging 19 points, 19 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds and a remarkable 57% clip from downtown. While his shooting percentages are likely to drop, his minutes won't.
Southerland has played himself into the rotation, giving the Orange the deep threat they were missing from their near perfectly balanced roster. He could be the smoothest shooter in the conference, sporting an effortless stroke in catch and release situations. Hes currently 8-11 from behind the arch this year (72%), and remains the conference's leading candidate to win "oldest looking player" award.
Waiters could probably start on any team in the conference, but thanks to the deepest rotation known to man, he's relegated to providing a punch off the bench. He's a natural scoring guard with great instincts, flashing quickness, point guard ball-handling skills and comfortable shooting range. He's averaging over 13 points and 4 assists in only 20 minutes through 4 games.
Top Five Points Guards in the Big East
1. Maalik Wayns 6'1 PG, Villanova
We’ve been talking about Wayns as a prospect for a few years now, so his scouting report might seem a bit repetitive. I’d call this a make or break year for him, as he’s trying to prove scouts he’s effective running a half court set. So far so good for Wayns, who's showing breakdown ability and a better touch from outside. Though just 6'1, his strength and quickness allow him to play and defend bigger guards, a significant factor towards his NBA promise.
2. Shabazz Napier 6'1 PG, UConn
Napier already looks like one of the better players in the conference, displaying a healthy balance of scoring and playmaking. Defensively he’s strong, and although slightly undersized, does a good job of keeping his man in check. Napier’s ability to shoot from the outside makes him effective in the half court.
3. Nurideen Lindsey 6'3 PG, St. Johns
Lindsey is fun to watch, abusing defenders with a first step that launches him straight to the hole. No dancing east, no dancing west. Lindsey makes his first move and attacks the rim. He’s got good size for a point guard, and shows toughness finishing after contact thanks to strong body control and intimidating tattoos. So far he’s laid a goose-egg from downtown, which is his obvious weakness, but he excels in all of the areas that can’t be taught.
4. Dion Waiters
Waiters is more of a combo-guard, but is capable of running the point. And he'll need to be if he wants a shot at the next level. Waiters can create off the dribble, and is proficient at eluding his defender and finishing in traffic. He's shot the ball well so far from the outside, and has averaged 4 assists per game in only 20 minutes. Though he's a bit of a tweener, he's still a really, really good basketball player. Look for Waiters to generate NBA buzz as a junior, when Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph finally graduate.
5. Peyton Siva
Siva is quick and explosive, yet maintains his composure by rarely losing control. As a point guard, he's a willing passer with good vision, and uses his dribble to create opportunities for both himself and his teammates. Despite that under 6 foot red flag, Siva is an excellent leaper and can get high above the rim. Super athletic with acrobatic finishing capabilities, Siva's biggest obstacles surround his height and jump shot. However, he's strong, well defined and has an NBA body. It's just a little short.
Though it sometimes irresponsible to write off a team after one bad early loss, Long Beach State's upset over Pittsburgh raised some legitimate concerns. Pittsburgh is clearly vulnerable to faster, quicker teams, as their slow-footed backcourt was badly exposed.
Here's what bothers me about Yancy Gates. He scored 13 first half points, converting both inside and outside. Then he scored one field goal in the second half, and Cincinnati lost to Presbyterian. Where does he go?
Syracuse looks as good as any team in the country to me. Experience, talent, depth, size, length, athleticism... the only thing they are (were) missing is shooting, but with the emergency of Southerland, along with Waiters, CJ Fair, Triche, it's hardly an issue.
Marquette can ball. Watch out.