Player of the Week
Ben McLemore, Kansas
What a shock to see McLemore as player of the week again. McLemore had another outing that just wowed everyone in attendance when he scored 36 points in 12/15 shooting last week against West Virginia. He seems to disappear every other week or so, but when he gets hot he can light it up as fast and as efficiently as anyone in the country. McLemore has a real shot to be the Big 12 Player of the Year, with fellow freshman Marcus Smart probably his greatest competition.
Elijah Johnson, Kansas
I’ve criticized Johnson all season for terrible play. He’s been a liability almost the entire season for an otherwise excellent Kansas team. However, he’s on fire as of late. He erupted for 39 points last week against Iowa State in one of the better games of the year (with a controversial finish) then followed it up by dishing 10 and 12 assists in his next two games. He’s always been a tremendous athlete, but if he can put it together during the postseason not only will it give Kansas a huge boost, his stock could get back onto the map.
The Bears were ranked by many (myself included) to finish 2nd in the conference before the year started. Despite losing three players to the draft last season, the Bears returned a dynamic backcourt and brought in one of the nation’s best recruiting classes highlighted by Isaiah Austin. Junior forward Cory Jefferson was also a popular pick to break out, which he did. With all that taken into account, they are just 17-13 on the season, 8-9 in the conference and have won three of their past eleven games, almost assuring that they will not be partaking in this season’s NCAA tournament. Let’s call this a wasted season for Baylor and their fans.
WTF Moment of the Week (Volume 2)
Texas Tech in general-I realize that they are at the bottom of the Big 12 for a reason, but this week’s 79-42 loss to Kansas was awful on all sorts of levels. They shot 14/53 from the field, which equals out to a whopping 26.4% from the floor, as well as a dreadful 1/15 from beyond the arc. They were also outrebounded 43-21 and sent Kansas to the line 36 times. I think it’s about time to wrap this season up for the Red Raiders.
Top 5 Prospects (Updated)
1. Ben McLemore-Right now McLemore is the favorite to be the number one pick in the draft. I have some concerns about his assertiveness, but he has all the ability you could ever need. He’s an absolutely jaw-dropping athlete with one of the most beautiful shooting strokes you will ever see. He has every tool to be a dynamic two way player at the next level; he just has to do it consistently.
2. Marcus Smart-I’m not as high on him as everybody else, and I certainly don’t see the Derrick Rose comparison I’ve seen thrown around, but Smart is a very good basketball player. He’s tough, smart and has excellent leadership qualities that make his impact on the game go above and beyond his ability on the court.
3. Myck Kabongo-The suspension hurt him but he’s played magnificently since he’s been able to get on the floor. He’s visible bigger and looks like a much better finisher then last season. He’s made Texas a much more formidable opponent since his return, and if he comes back next season UT could be headed for a breakout year.
4. Jeff Withey-Withey is one of those guys you just have to like. He quietly does everything needed of him on offense and completely anchors the defense. He’s an exceptional post defender with top-notch anticipation for blocking shots. He’s also become one of the better post players around college basketball on offense despite not being the primary option.
5. Isaiah Austin-He has an intriguing skillset to go with excellent length, and he’s also a good rebounder. However, that’s where the positives end for Austin. He’s got major issues with a thin frame, inefficiency (due to an overrated shooting stroke), as well as not being much of an athlete. He’s got an NBA future; just don’t expect it to be as a star.
Honorable Mention: Markel Brown
1. Kansas 26-4 (14-3)
2. Kansas State 25-5 (14-3)
3. Oklahoma State 22-6 (12-4)
4. Oklahoma 19-9 (10-6)
5. Iowa State 19-10 (9-7)
6. Baylor 17-13 (8-9)
7. West Virginia 13-16 (6-10)
8. Texas 15-16 (6-11)
9. Texas Tech 10-18 (3-14)
10. TCU 10-20 (1-16)