Player of the Week
The leader of a 7-2 Creighton team, McDermott had another standout week as the Bluejays went 2-0. In limited (22) minutes against Long Beach State, the forward dropped 21 points on 5-of-11 shooting, while making all nine of his attempts from the free throw line. Creighton faced a surprising test against Nebraska (6-3) on Sunday, but McDermott was sure that their Big Ten foe left the CenturyLink Center with a loss. The two-time All-American scored a season-high 33 points, shooting 12-for-23 from the field, while also pulling down eight rebounds. McDermott also finished with three steals. The Ames, Iowa native increased his conference-high points per game average to 25.3 over the week, six points above than the second-highest Big East scorer.
For a player who is only averaging six points a game, Pointer had an extremely impressive showing in the Red Storm’s lone game this week. The junior came within one rebound of registering a triple-double in St. John’s 104-58 win over Fordham on Dec. 7. The forward finished with 12 points, nine rebounds, and 11 assists against the Rams. Pointer did even more to fill the stat book, getting four steals and blocking three shots in just 27 minutes of playing time. Who knows what his final stats would have been had this not been a blowout.
After a week in which he shot 4-for-22 in two games, Gibbs shone in the past week for the Pirates. In three wins this past week, the sophomore went over 16 points in every game, including a season-high 27 against Rutgers on Dec. 8. Against the Scarlet Knights, Gibbs shot 7-for-12 from the field, including 3-of-4 from behind the arc. He also finished the game 10-for-10 from the charity stripe. The Scotch Plains, NJ., native also registered four points and four assists against Rutgers.
The preseason Second-Team All-Big East performer has struggled to make much of an impact this season for an undefeated Villanova team. In two wins last week against Big 5 schools, the sophomore finished with a combined 15 points on 5-of-22 shooting. On Dec. 4 against Penn, Arcidiacono was 1-for-10 from the field and finished the game with just four points. Most glaringly, the guard shot 1-of-9 from behind the 3-point line in 33 minutes of play. Against Temple last Saturday, the Langhorne, Pa., native played 27 minutes, but missed eight of his 12 field goal attempts, and finished with 11 points.
Despite an underwhelming opponent, Georgetown’s starting guard shot just 1-for-8 against Colgate in a 61-55 win on Dec. 7. It was just the second time this season, and first since a season-opening loss to No. 19 Oregon on Nov. 8 , that the sophomore failed to score more than 14 points, finishing with four against Raiders. To his defense, fellow backcourt stud Markel Starks also had a rough shooting night against Colgate, finishing 3-for-13 from the field for 12 points.
Top 5 Defenders
1. Chris Obekpa Although he’s raw on the offensive end of the court, there’s no denying the St. John’s big man is the best rim protector in the conference. After leading the nation in shots blocked last year, Obekpa picked up right where he left off last season, swatting 5.5 shots per game this year. Against Monmouth on Nov 11., the sophomore finished with nine blocks. In seven of the Red Storm’s eight games this season, Obekpa has registered at least four blocks. Currently, the center is tops in the country in blocks per game, over one more than the second-place player.
2. Fuquan Edwin Using his great length on the perimeter, the senior is currently 12th nationally with 2.8 steals per game. This is no one-year trend, however, as Edwin led the nation in steals as a sophomore with 102 takeaways. The Paterson, NJ., native entered the season with 218 steals in his career and is closing down on the all-time school record. Edwin needs just 41 steals to become the record holder and continues to be a defensive specialist for the Pirates.
3. Brandon Young After finishing 10th in the Big East last year in steals per game, the senior guard has continued being a pest for opposing teams. As he continues to create turnovers, Young has increased his steals average to two per game for the Blue Demons.
4. Darrun Hilliard Villanova’s steal leader from last season continues to be a menace for opponents this year. Hilliard is currently averaging 1.4 steals per contest. In all but one of the Wildcats’ games this season, the junior has registered a steal. The guard uses his great length at 6’6 to break-up passing lanes on the defensive end and is also a force on the boards, averaging 4.7 rebounds per game.
5. Davante Gardner While his conditioning sometimes requires him to be taken off the floor, there’s no denying Gardner’s ability to alter opponent’s shots around the rim. While he doesn’t have imposing height for a frontcourt player at just 6’8. However, the senior is also listed at 290 pounds and uses his mass to keep the Golden Eagles’ paint difficult to penetrate. The Suffolk, Va., native is pulling down 6.6 rebounds and almost one blocked-shot per game.