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Big East Blog

Player of the Week

Maalik Wayns, Villanova

Maalik WaynsMaalik WaynsWayns played well this week, going for 18 and 8 assists in a win over DePaul, and 26 and 5 in a tough loss to Cincy. He shot a combined 8-13 from downtown during the stretch, and if the Wildcats could stop anybody from scoring, they might have gotten two wins this week instead of one.

Heatin' Up

Jae Crowder, Marquette

Crowder wasn't even on the conference player of the year radar until two weeks ago, and now to many he's the favorite.

He finished the regular season with perhaps his best game of his career, going for 26 points, 14 rebounds and 5 steals in a 14-point win over Georgetown. While just 6'6, he's relentless and strong battling true bigs for boards, while possessing the mobility to stay with 3s and working on the perimeter. Though I'm not as high on Crowder as a prospect, he's becoming Marquette's best all-around player producing consistently in all areas.

Crowder is averaging 25 points and 9 rebounds over his last six games, and has made Marquette the biggest threat to take out Cuse in the Big East conference tournament.

LaDontae Henton

It's too bad Providence stunk this year, because Henton really deserved some recognition. 18 and 12 at Notre Dame, 18 and 7 vs. Connecticut and 24 and 15 at DePaul. He averaged 14 points, 8 rebounds on 40% shooting from downtown as a freshman- incredible numbers when you really think about it.

Coolin Off


Gorgui Dieng

Anytime you're listed at 6'11 and shoot 6 for 23 during a three-game stretch, you automatically get slapped with a "coolin' off" label. For all the work he's put in on the boards and as a shot-blocker, his offensive game is really uninspiring.

Top Five Prospects UPDATED***

1. Andre Drummond, Connecticut

Whether your disappointed by his underwhelming stats or inconsistencies as a freshman, none of this reflects on his potential down the road. He still possesses unparalleled athleticism and explosiveness for a kid of his size, and has plenty of time to develop at only 18 years old. In fact I was surprised to see how soft his touch was in the short midrange game, which should expand in time with added reps and exclusive coaching. I hate to sound repetitive, but his ceiling simply towers over anyone elses. If his potential is reached, some team will be getting first overall pick production.

2. Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut

I think Lamb needs to find the right mentor. He'll find that in the NBA when players/coaches see him in practice, because he's talented enough to be a first or second scoring option at the next level. Playing in the Big East he saw a number of zone defenses, which kept him launching on the perimeter instead of attacking off the dribble. He has the ability to create and convert from all areas on the court, and with extensive range and an accurate 18-foot jumper, Lamb has the tools to become a prolific scoring 2-guard. Though he's taken some criticism through an overall down year, I think he reaches his potential with the right surrounding pieces.

3. Moe Harkless, St. Johns

Harkless' danger stems from his ability to play on the perimeter as a 6'8 athlete with substantial length and mobility. The Rudy Gay comparison has grown on me, as we've seen Harkless score at the rim or get there from 23 feet away. It would be nice to see him get another year of college seasoning, where he could improve on his three-point game and shot off the dribble. But his ability to rebound, run the floor and score in the paint are excellent building blocks to work from.


4. Fab Melo, Syracuse

Melo covers two responsibilities that scouts look for when eying a prospective center- protecting the rim and finishing at it. He's helped Syracuse become arguably the toughest team to score on in the country, making opposing offenses feel as if they're shooting at a red cup instead of a hoop. He's picked it up rather quickly when you consider his struggles as a freshman, which can be attributed to his weight loss, added mobility and ability to get up and down the floor. His timing is better on both ends of the court, providing guards with a glaring target at the rim when they've effectively penetrated the defense. Like I've said before, just because you lack post moves or adept shot-creating ability doesn't mean you can't be an effective NBA center. At 7 feet tall, his rim protection and interior instincts are worthy of a first round selection.

5. Kris Joseph, Syracuse

I have to admit- I wasn't sure if Kris Joseph was a legitimate first round pick. I've flip-flopped. I've been pretty adamant about the fact that his stock would depend on his ability to shoot the three. He needed to separate himself from the "raw athlete" label. He's now shot 36% in back to back years while increasing his attempts from his junior to senior year. Joseph's shooting mechanics are picturesque when his feet are set, getting excellent elevation with a high, fluent release. If he can establish himself as a legitimate shot-up threat, it will give coaches enough reason to play him regular minutes when you consider defensive potential, athleticism and ability to run.

Weekly Notes

- I love this stat- Jack Cooley played 22 minutes against Georgetown, scored 2 points and grabbed ZERO rebounds. He bounced back with a 27 point, 17 rebound game in a win over Providence. How does that happen?

- South Florida tied a season-low with 44 points in a loss to West Virginia. Anthony Collins was the high man with 11, as nobody else reached double-figures. If they get a bid to dance, I can't imagine them lasting more than one song.

- Hate to say it but outside Syracuse and Marquette, I just can't picture any team advancing too far in March. Georgetown and Louisville's offenses just look awful at times, while Cincinnati is generally hit or miss. And no, I just can't take Notre Dame seriously.

omphalos
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You can't see UConn being

You can't see UConn being boosted by the return of Calhoun and end to Boatright's eligibility issues? The Huskies clearly have the talent to get hot and go on a run and while they lack a Kemba Walker, Napier still has the ability to hit big shots, Lamb remains an efficient scorer and they have Drummond. If Andre gets motivated by March Madness he could be the difference, when he's been going 100% he's been hard to stop.

Your comment about Drummond's potential towering over everyone should be assumed to mean in the Big East, but in terms of potential, do you see him as having a higher ceiling than Anthony Davis?

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Nice

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I absolutely think he means everyone

Andre Drummond's potential is greater than any player in this draft, probably in most drafts. His size and athleticism are incredibly rare, more so than even Anthony Davis'. It is obvious that he needs to work on his skill set and positioning, Davis has a greater knowledge of where to be on the floor.

Still, if Drummond's ceiling is much higher than anyone else in the draft. The question mark is, will he reach it and does he want it badly enough? That is why people believe Davis is the #1 pick, because he seems to display more of that desire. The thing I like about Andre is that he has the ability to be physically dominant, which goes a long way on a competitive team. The thing that scares me (and probably most scouts) is does he REALLY want to work at it?

Davis is more advanced at this stage and seems to want it more, which is why I think he will be the first pick. People think his ceiling is more achievable, but I think most would agree that due to Andre's physical characteristics, his is greater. The reason he is compared to Amare and Dwight is due to his physical traits being as rare as both of them, not to mention being bigger at the same age.

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Even at full-strength UConn

Even at full-strength UConn has struggled. I'm not doubting their talent- I think as a whole their rotation is a top 5 national talent... but something's just not right. And while it wouldn't be completely shocking to see UConn make a run, they haven't given us any reason to think it's as easy as turning on a switch.

I think down the road AD could be a guy you end up giving the ball to when you need a bucket, where as Davis is relied on to make is own plays off the ball. Both have ridiculous upside, but nobody matches the size, athleticism, mobility and sheer power of Drummond.

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Watching Drummond in the win

Watching Drummond in the win against WVU in the Big East tournament, he made a number of crucial defensive plays and scored a bucket late to keep them in the game. For all the credit Davis gets for being a defensive powerhouse, Drummond is just as good, especially when you consider he completely shut down 6'7" Kevin Jones on the perimeter and inside. Drummond has gotta be my number one pick, he DOES want to win, but too many of the UConn guards have that superstar mentality to give him a chance to score in big games, he was getting passed up on the post and on the break by Napier. Gotta be frustrating for him, but he's my guy.

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Crowder

Crowder should be in the mock draft database...

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