Player of the Week
Khalif Wyatt, Temple, SG, Junior, 6-4 210 lbs.
Wyatt played a fundamental role in preserving Temple’s (22-5, 11-2) top spot in the Atlantic 10 Conference this week. The Owls rolled over Duquesne (15-12) in a 19-point victory and then managed to win on-the-road against La Salle (18-10) in a contest that needed overtime to decide the winner. Against Duquesne, Wyatt finished with 24 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and shot 11-17 from the field and 1-4 from three-point land. Against La Salle, Wyatt posted 25 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 2 steals, and shot 7-11 from the field and 4-5 from three-point land. Temple has won 11 consecutive games and has developed a strong case to receive a #5 or #6 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Wyatt and fellow swingman, Ramone Moore, are pivotal parts to the Owls potential to make a run in March. For the season, Wyatt is averaging 17.3 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.2 APG, 2.1 SPG, and 48.8 FG%, 40.3 3P%, 84.1 FT%.
Julian Boyd, Long Island University (LIU), PF, Junior, 6-7 230 lbs.
Boyd is a lesser known player in the mid-major realm of college basketball, but he is a beast. Period. He’s slightly undersized for the power forward position, but for mid-major schools he’s an effective size. In the past week Boyd and LIU (21-7, 15-1) have been on a tear, winning three games to help keep them atop the Northeast Conference. In those games, Boyd finished with point totals of 25, 20, and 20, respectively. Not only was Boyd scoring bunches of points; he also collected a total of 29 rebounds in the three games. If Boyd and LIU can continue to win and put up the number of points that has ranked them fourth nationally, LIU could earn a #13 or #14 seed for the NCAA Tournament (assuming it wins the Northeast Conference Tournament). For the season, Boyd is averaging 17.2 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 0.7 BPG, and 53.8 FG%, 35.3 3P%.
Player of the Week
Reggie Hamilton, Oakland, PG, Senior, 5-11 175 lbs.
The Chicago-born product has been on a tear during the month of February. In three games this past week, he scored over 30 points and shot 54.8 3P%, while also dishing out 4.0 APG. He led Oakland (15-13) to wins in each of those three games and the Golden Grizzlies are now in a tie for third place in the Summit League. Hamilton, the nation’s leading scorer, has scored over 30 points in 10 games this season, and he has scored over 40 points in two games. His ability to push the tempo and get to the basket is un-paralleled in the Summit League, and he is a tough guard for any opposing team. His style of play is reminiscent of a young, lean (and in better shape) version of Baron Davis. Hamilton’s stat line: 24.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.9 APG, 2.1 SPG, 43.7 FG%, 39.3 3P%, and 89.9 FT%.
T.J. Robinson, Long Beach State, PF, Senior, 6-8 205 lbs.
Most of the publicity surrounding Long Beach State (19-6) features discussion about the 49ers’ standout point guard, Casper Ware. A player is often looked over during those discussions is T.J. Robinson, a senior who is a double-double machine for Long Beach State and a vital part of the team’s potential to be a “bracket buster” in March. For the season, Robinson has posted 13 double-doubles, including three straight this past week during Long Beach State’s victories over UC-Davis, Pacific, and CS-Northridge, and he’s averaging 12.3 PPG and 10.3 RPG. The 49ers are on a 12-game winning streak and will face Creighton (22-5) on Saturday in what should be one of the most entertaining mid-major matchups of the weekend.
Player of the Week
Greg Mangano, Yale, C, Senior, 6-10 240 lbs.
The Ivy League standout has bullied several opponents this season with his size and physical presence in the paint. Penn (12-10) and Princeton (11-10) were Mangano’s most recent victims as he posted double-doubles in each of those games this past week. Against Penn, he posted 23 points (8-14 shooting) and 10 rebounds, and against Princeton, he posted 20 points (6-17 shooting) and 12 rebounds. Mangano has led Yale to a 15-5 record this season and he’s the premier low-post threat in the entire conference, followed by Keith Wright of Harvard who’s at a distant second. Mangano has finished 11 games with 20 points or more, including a “beastly” outing against #7 Florida (19-5) on December 31 when he finished with 26 points and 15 rebounds. His ability to shoot with either hand in the paint helps him create definite challenges for opposing defenders, as well as his fundamental box-out techniques. For the season, Mangano is averaging 19.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG, and 2.5 BPG and NBA scouts are taking notice.
Ramone Moore, Temple, SG, Senior, 6-4 190 lbs.
Moore has been “lights out” over Temple’s last five games, averaging 22.2 PPG on 50.0 3P%. Temple is now 18-5 and much of that record can be attributed to Moore’s outside shooting ability that stretches defenses and creates difficulties in executing help-side defense. This week against George Washington (8-16), Moore finished with 25 points (6-14 FG, 3-6 3P), 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Temple won that game, 79-72. Earlier in the week at Rhode Island (5-20), Moore scored 22 points (9-20 FG, 2-7 3P) and collected 5 rebounds as the Owls downed Rhode Island, 73-56, and last week against Fordham (9-13), Moore finished with 25 points (9-16 FG, 6-8 3P) and 5 assists. Watch for Moore’s sharpshooting ability to help put Temple in a favorable position to win the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Player of the Week
Mike Moser, UNLV, PF, Sophomore, 6-8 195 lbs.
Moser 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%.
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.
Player of the Week
Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State, SG, Sophomore, 6-5 185 lbs.
Franklin led the Aztecs to a key victory over #14 UNLV (17-3) this past Saturday by scoring 24 points and gathering 10 rebounds. He shot the ball well (8-18 shooting, 8-8 free throws) and provided lots of energy and emotion. Franklin held UNLV guard, Oscar Bellfield, to 1-12 shooting and attacked the boards throughout the whole game. Following up his impressive performance against UNLV, Franklin finished with 12 points and 5 rebounds against New Mexico (15-3). San Diego State beat New Mexico, 75-70, and now ranks atop the Mountain West Conference. For the season, Franklin averages 15.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.4 SPG, 40.6 FG%, 29.6 3P%, and 74.1 FT%.
Dominique Morrison, Oral Roberts, SF, Senior, 6-6 210 lbs.
Oral Roberts is riding a 10-game winning streak into this weekend and much of the credit for that winning streak can be attributed to Dominique Morrison. He’s been dominant in nearly every game during the 10-game winning streak, including a 38 point-7 rebound performance against South Dakota State (15-5) and a 27 point-5 rebound outing against IPFW (9-9). Oral Roberts is currently 17-4 (9-0 in conference) and Morrison leads the team in scoring (20.1 PPG). Also of note, Morrison is shooting 49.3 FG%, 83.8 FT%, and 45.6 3P%. If he could become more active on the boards, Morrison could earn some NBA Draft prospect consideration. Currently, he’s averaging 4.7 RPG.
Player of the Week:
Damian Lillard, Weber State, PG, Junior, 6-3 195 lbs.
Lillard is the nation’s leading scorer, averaging 25.8 PPG, and is one of the nation’s best shooters as well – 47.8 FG%, 46.7 3P% and 90.7 FT%. He has led Weber State to a 13-3 record, including a 7-game win streak as well. This past week Lillard and Weber State beat Portland State (8-9) and Montana State (7-8). Against Portland State, Lillard finished with 38 points (12-23 shooting), 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 steal. In Thursday night’s game against Montana State, he finished with 17 points (4-14 shooting), 6 rebounds and 3 steals. Lillard is widely considered to be a late first round to early second round NBA Draft prospect. His sharp shooting skills, ball-handling ability and relentless style of play make him the leading candidate for the Big Sky Player of the Year honor and also a candidate for All-American considerations.
O.D. Anosike, Siena, PF, Junior, 6-8 232 lbs.
Anosike leads the nation in rebounding (12.5 RPG) and his performances during this past week of games furthered that standing. Siena (8-8) beat Rider (6-12) and Niagara (6-11) and in both games, Anosike finished with 14 rebounds. Against Rider he poured in 23 points and against Niagara he scored 27 points. For the season he’s averaging 14.7 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 0.6 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.3 BPG and shooting 50.5 FG%. His free throw percentage could definitely use some work; currently it sits at 53.3 percent. Anosike is a bull in the paint and clears space by using excellent “box out” techniques.
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
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
Donte Poole, Murray State, SG, Senior, 6-3 190 lbs.
This unsung hero for Murray State has been playing under the shadow of talented point guard, Isaiah Cannan, for much of the season. Cannan – largely considered to be a late second round prospect for the NBA Draft – leads the Racers in scoring and handles most of the ball-handling duties for the team. But this past Sunday, Poole stepped out from beneath Canaan’s shadow and drained six three-pointers in Murray State’s victory over the #20 Memphis Tigers (5-3). For the game, Poole finished with 20 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist on 7-11 shooting and 6-8 on three-pointers. In Murray State’s next game against Lipscomb (6-6), Poole only scored 7 points (2-8 shooting), but had 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Still, his game changing performance against Memphis earns Poole this spot as the Mid-Major Player of the Week.
Murray State Racers (11-0)
Through one-third of the 2011-12 season, Murray State sits atop the Ohio Valley Conference for overall win-loss records and has legitimized itself as one of the best mid-major schools in the country. Sunday’s impressive 76-72 victory on the road against #20 Memphis (5-3) shows that the Racers are ready to compete against very quality competition. Through 11 games, Murray State has beaten UAB (2-6) of Conference USA, Southern Miss (7-2) of Conference USA, Dayton (7-3) of the Atlantic 10, and now Memphis (5-3) of Conference USA. The backcourt tandem of Isaiah Canaan and Donte Poole poses a tough challenge for opponents, especially considering that both players are shooting over 45 percent from three-point land, and 6’7” post player, Ivan Aska, provides some tenacity in the frontcourt. Murray State’s only significant weaknesses are the team’s lack of height in the frontcourt and consequently its mediocre team rebounding averages (31.7 RPG as a team).