Player of the Week
Thomas Robinson, Kansas
The Kansas big man is continuing his breakout junior season. He has not notched his fifth double-double after amassing 16 points and 15 rebounds against the Duke Blue Devils, in a loss. He is proving to be a more dominant big man than the Jayhawks have had in quite some time. Plain and simply, he is playing like a man on a mission this year, and NBA scouts are definitely taking notice. On the season, he is now averaging 16.0 points, 12.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.0 blocks per game. He will almost surely head into conference play as the choice for Big 12 Player of the Year.
The Missouri Tigers
So far this season, the Missouri Tigers are 5-0. That statistic isn't so special, but what is special is just how the Tigers have won those five games. They have been absolutely destroying their opponents. They have beaten Southeast Missouri State by 15 points, Mercer by 18 points, Niagara by 31 points, Notre Dame by 29 points, and California by a whopping 39 points. The victory over the nationally ranked Golden Bears was Missouri's largest over a ranked opponent since at least 1949. They are doing it with terrific balance, with at least four players having double-figure scoring efforts in every game this season. As of right now, they are looking like the team that could snap KU's string of consecutive Big 12 Championships.
Quincy Miller, Baylor- 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists in a 75-65 win over Texas-Arlington
Elijah Johnson, Kansas- Has scored 33 points in the past two games for the Jayhawks, against UCLA and Duke. Looks like he may be starting to play up to his tremendous abilities.
Marcus Denmon, Missouri- 18 points, 6 assists, and 4 steals in the Tigers 39 point thrashing of California.
Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas
Though his scoring and assist numbers would suggest otherwise, the enigmatic Taylor is in a cold spell right now. He is turning the ball over at an alarming rate for the Jayhawks. In a win against UCLA, he had 4 turnovers, while in their crushing defeat to Duke, he turned the ball over an amazing 11 times! What is even worse about this is that one of them came in the final minute of the game. For Kansas to be as good as they can possibly be this season, he needs to get this problem under control. On a more positive note, in the Duke game in Maui he became the 54th player in Jayhawk history to reach the 1,000 point plateau.
Player of the Week:
Quincy Miller, Baylor
The 6'8" freshman and future lottery pick has started off the season with a bang for the Baylor Bears. Through three games, he is averaging 18.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in 24.7 minutes of action. His second half shooting efficiency has been amazing as well. He is shooting 67% from the floor, 71% from 3-point range, and 82% from the free-throw line coming down the stretch in games, which is very promising for the Bears. Though his overall statistics will certainly go down when Perry Jones III returns from his suspension, it has been a very promising start to the season for the former blue chip recruit. He is showing that he will be an impact player all season long for the Big 12 favorite.
Cezar Guerrero, Oklahoma State
The freshman point guard is showing the country that he deserved more attention from college coaches and recruiting analysts coming out of high school. The 6'0", 175 pound Guerrero came to Oklahoma State quietly, following all the press and accolades of teammate LeBryan Nash, the stud wing-forward from Dallas. However, he is beginning to carve his own niche in Stillwater. In an overtime win against Texas-San Antonio Wednesday night, he had his coming-out party at Gallagher-Iba Arena. He hit eight 3-pointers on his way to an Oklahoma State freshman record of 29 points. He hit a game-tying 3-point basket with 8.8 seconds left in regulation, which helped the Cowboys take control of the game in overtime, as well as keep them undefeated at 3-0. He also contributed five assists and five rebounds off the bench.
JCovan Brown, Texas- 35 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals in a 100-91 win over Rhode Island
Royce White, Iowa State- 21 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists in a 74-65 loss to Drake
Rodney McGruder, Kansas State- 18 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists in a 72-67 win over Charleston Southern
Andrew Fitzgerald, Oklahoma
The 6'8", 250 pound junior power forward had a tough outing against Idaho State this week. The Sooners big man notched only 7 points, 1 rebound, and 2 blocked shots in their win over the Vandals. He shot only 2-7 from the field and was nonexistent in the post. For a player that was touted to build on a promising sophomore season, he needs to pick his play up from here on out. If he does, he will complete a scary inside tandem for the team with Romero Osby.
Player of the Week
Pierre Jackson, Baylor
The extremely talented, and extremely touted Baylor basketball team opened their 2011-12 season against Abilene Christian on November 1st and came away with a convincing 81-54 win. While it was definitely expected that the Bear team pushed the lowly Wildcats around, it was a very promising debut for former Junior College All-American Pierre Jackson. While the Baylor team comes into this season stacked with superior frontcourt talent, their have been question marks as to who will step up and man the point guard position. It seems that those doubts have been put to rest for the time being with the debut of Pierre Jackson. In 23 minutes of action, the junior filled the stat sheet with 16 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals. If he can continue to be a steady, all-around productive point guard for this team, there is no telling just how far they may go in March.
Thomas Robinson, Kansas
In a tune-up game for the start of the regular season, the Kansas Jayhawks thrashed Fort Hays State 101-52, behind the strong play of the 6'8" 240 pound power forward. In just 28 minutes of action, the junior accumulated 22 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocks. This is a great sign for Kansas fans. With all of the offseason drama surrounding the team involving Tyshawn Taylor and company, the team needs their most talented player to step up if they have any shot at bringing home an eighth-consecutive Big 12 title. Thomas Robinson did just that, showing the rest of the Big 12 the potential nightmare they must account for in the low block when they are playing against the Jayhawks. Expect a huge season coming from the junior big-man.
Thomas Gipson, Kansas State- 14 points, 7/11 FG, 6 rebounds, 2 assists
Ricardo Ratliffe, Missouri - 21 points, 10/16 FG, 9 rebounds, 2 steals
Rodney McGruder, Kansas State
The 6'4" junior shooting guard is expected to be the leader on a young Kansas State team this season. He has the potential to dominate games but has a tendency to disappear at times and let his teammates shoulder the load. In their exhibition game against Fort Hays State, he started the season on a sour note. He only registered 6 points for the Wildcats, while struggling from the field, shooting 2/8 FG and 2/5 3PT attempts. He did have 5 rebounds, showing the versatility he is capable of on a nightly basis. He needs to be more assertive for the Kansas State team if they are going to finish in the upper-half of the Big 12 this season.
Player of the Past Two Weeks
Michael Dixon, Missouri
Playing on a very guard-heavy Missouri Tiger basketball team, the junior is doing his best to make his presence felt. The 6'1" Kansas City native is the current front-runner for national Sixth Man of the Year award. In a victory over William and Mary on December 18th, he exploded for 30 points on 13-19 from the field. He also shot an efficient 3-7 from three-point land. Against nationally ranked Illinois on the 22nd, he helped Mizzou stay undefeated by contributing 18 points, four assists, and two rebounds, while sinking an impressive 10-12 free throws. On almost any other team in America, Michael Dixon would be a starting guard. That shows you exactly how dangerous and deep Missouri's guards are this season.
Rodney McGruder, Kansas State
The Kansas State Wildcats are off to an impressive start this season at 10-1. If they can get consistent play from their 6'4" star shooting guard, it could be another banner year for K-State. The junior showed off his impressive offensive arsenal in a 77-60 victory over Long Beach State this week. He scored 28 points on 10-11 shooting from the field, as well as 2-3 from 3-point range and 6-7 from the free-throw line. He pulled down six rebounds as well for the Wildcats, and was the steadying force the young team will be relying upon all season. He tends to disappear in some games, but from here on out, Kansas State can't afford for such a talented player to be so inconsistent.