Player of the Week
Jones put up 30 points and 12 rebounds in a win over Kansas State, including the game-tying three-pointer in the closing seconds to send the game into overtime.
Jones looks lighter on his feet this year, doing a much better job under the boards and elevating on his jumper. Even his three with 12 tics left showed improvement, where he used a jab step to create separation before rising and firing over his defender.
He's made huge strides as a senior, improving his scoring and rebounding numbers by an incredible margin despite playing similar minutes (13ppg and 7rpg previous 2 seasons, 20 and 11.4 this season). Still, he could really improve on his efficiency by resisting the urge to drift out to the perimeter, where the 6'8 260 pounder shoots 23% on 4.3 three-point attempts her game. If he could establish himself as a legitimate pick and pop option and an active body in the paint, Jones can provide desirable services off an NBA bench.
Herb Pope 6'8 PF, Seton Hal
Pope has emerged as a scoring machine, averaging 24 points per game over his last 3. He's become more of a threat offensively, expanding his game out to almost 20 feet from the rim. He currently leads the Big East in scoring while averaging a double double.
Cleveland Melvin 6'7 DePaul, SF
He went for 30 against Chicago State. Melvin has a tendency to explode, going for at least 25 points three times already this season.
Nasir Robinson 6'9 PF, Pitt
Nas is averaging 16 and 10 over his last 3. He'd get more recognition if he showed up on a more consistent basis. He's really solid player when he's on.
Alex Oriakhi 6'10 PF/C Uconn
11 shots attempts over his last 3 games. He's got to get more involved.
Gilvydas Biruta 6'8 PF, Rutgers
2-10 from the floor in a loss to Princeton. No 6'8 power forward should ever shoot that poorly.
Top Five Juniors in Big East
1. Maalik Wayns 6'1 PG,Villanova
He's been more aggressive with his shot this year, playing with confidence as the team's lead guard. We all know his strengths lie within his speed and open floor abilities, but he's doing a better job of breaking down the defense in half court sets. His biggest weakness is clearly his lack of range, but for teams who need a true point guard, there's not many stronger options than Wayns.
2. Hollis Thompson 6'7 SF, Georgetown
Thompson has an established identity, which will make it easy for teams to find him who are looking for a floor-stretcher. He's shooting a whopping 52% from downtown, and that's out to 25 feet away. His size and length should allow him to get his shot off at the next level, which is what separates him from the other prospects whose most attractive quality is shooting. He has potential to be an effective complimentary player- I'm thinking the role Dorell Wright has with Golden State. His ceiling is limited, but there are positions for athletic, lengthy sharpshooters in the NBA.
3. Mouphtaeo Yarou 6'9 PF/C, Villanova
Another guy who has made huge strides from one year to the next, Yarou has more than doubled his scoring production to 15 points a game. He's creating and converting shots in the post, showing a soft touch from the elbow. I always feel it's a good sign when a player raises his field goal percentage with an increase in field goal attempts (6fg attempts last year, 10 this year; 49% from floor last year, 56% this year). He's got the physical tools- should he continue to produce offensively the way he has, Yarou could draw interest from many teams picking in the second round.
4. Peyton Siva 5'11 PG, Louisville
Siva is a tough kid who has to overcome the under 6 foot warning that's plastered on his label. He's really fun to watch attacking the basket, showing off elite athletic ability that allows him to acrobatically finish in traffic around the rim. Though he still has a way to go in terms of facilitating in the half court, his speed and explosiveness give him that change of pace reputation that coaches like to bring off the bench.
5. Vincent Council 6'2 PG, Providence
Council displays a sound balance between scoring and playmaking, and shows a genuine feel for the game. As a point guard, he illustrates good vision and creativity as a passer, and does a nice job of finding his man once he penetrates the defense. Like Siva, Council also has the ability to finish at the rim or use the teardrop floater in the paint. But his mediocre shooting ability has kept him from hitting pro radars. Still, Council remains one of the better guards in the conference, and could be someone to watch for as conference play gets under way.
- Did you see that Mick Cronin press conference? I'd let that guy coach me through a stomach ache. However suspending Yancy Gates 6 games is a joke. Hopefully Big East comes down harder.
- Nurideen Lindsey transferring from St. Johns. Strange, strange move. Has to negatively affect draft stock
- Can't recall ever seeing a player score 26 points, and then follow it up with a doughnut the next game (33 min, 0-8, 0 points). Eric Atkins ladies and gentleman.
- I've said for weeks now Syracuse is the best team in the country, and now that's how they've been recognized. #1 in the polls.