Player of the Week
Perry Ellis, Kansas
The always fashionable Perry Ellis’ early 2013-14 collegiate campaign is the epitome of a hot start. Ellis was Kansas’ leading scorer in their victory over #4 ranked Duke last Tuesday, and through his first two games is averaging 18 ppg and 8.5 rpg on a lofty 67% shooting from inside the arc, 83% from the line, and he’s even showcased some work on his long range game, by hitting a 3 pointer against Duke (1-1 on the year). While there's a good chance that Andrew Wiggins takes over as the team's best player at some point, right now Perry Ellis is the team's best "player".
Melvin Ejim, Iowa State
The Big 12’s top rebounder from last season has picked up where he left off last spring, and then some. Ejim poured in 22 points, 9 rebounds and racked up three steals in the Cyclones upset victory over #7 ranked Michigan, on Sunday afternoon. Although this was Melvin’s first game this season, after sitting out with a knee injury, his impact was immense, and gets my vote for player of the week.
Eron Harris, West Virginia
Sophomore guard, Eron Harris, finished last week with an emphatic punctuation mark. Harris caught fire and dropped 33 points, on 6-8 three point shooting, against Duqenese on Sunday. Harris’ season three point shooting mark is sitting at a sizzling 53% through three games to go with 22.7 ppg 5.3 rpg and 2.3 apg.
Isaiah Austin, Baylor
Baylor’s 7’1’’ sophomore had some high expectations coming into this his sophomore year, but has begun his second season with a dud. Austin appears to have added no muscle to his wiry frame, and has produced at a fraction of the rate he did as a freshman. Through Baylor’s first three games, he’s averaging only 9 ppg and 4.3 rpg, down from the 13 ppg and 8.3 rpg he averaged last season. The lone bright spot was the 8 blocks he tallied against UL-Lafayette, but he’s going to have to do more to prevent his slide in NBA draft boards. Austin has fallen from a early first rounder to 50th on the mock draft.
Will Spradling, Kansas State
Spradling is K-State’s most experienced returning player, and primary ball handler, yet his start to the 12-13 season has not reflected his veteran status. Through three games, Spradling is shooting 28% from two, 21% from three point range, and despite being an 86% free throw shooter last year, Spradling is only at 68% from the charity stripe early into his senior season. Kansas State is going to need him to step up his play as the season progresses, but the bright spot is Spradling has only turned the ball over once, compared to his twelve assists.
Player to Watch
Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Another sophomore to keep an eye on is 6’4’’ shooting guard, Buddy Hield. Hield is a very well balanced shooting guard, with the ability to drive, shoot, and play defense. Currently he’s averaging 18 ppg 5 rpg and 2 spg while shooting 47% from two, 50% from three, and 83% from the stripe. He had 19 points and 6 rebounds against Alabama, and I look for his production to stay at a high level all season.
Freshman to Watch
Karviar Shepherd, TCU
The Big 12 has an amazing freshman class, loaded with stars, and future lottery picks, but my freshman to watch this week is a player most likely not making any draft moves until 2015 or 2016. That player is power forward/center Karviar Shepard. At 6‘10’’, Shepard has length, agility, timing and has stared the season averaging 8.5 ppg and 7.5 rpg ( leads TCU ). Although he may be a few years away from the NBA, he’s a guy who could potentially be a 1st rounder by his Junior season. Keep an eye out for him.
Updated Top 5 Prospects
1. Andrew Wiggins, Kansas ( same )
Wiggins had a truly fantastic 2nd half of basketball against #4 ranked Duke, last Tuesday. After a first half riddled with foul trouble, Andrew poured in 16 points in 16 minutes in the 2nd half, including 4 straight points to put the game away. He is currently averaging 19 ppg 5.5 rpg and 1.5 spg on 58/40/67 shooting. Wiggins must continue to get comfortable showcasing his ability at this level, and pick up where he left off, in terms of the aggression he showed late in the game against Duke.
2. Joel Embiid, Kansas ( up )
Embiid is a player with all the potential you could dream of, and again, his stock will determine how much he improves during this season. So far, Embiid has had a start full of ups and downs. Foul trouble forced him to play more vs Duke, than Bill Self probably had in mind, but he showed flashes of that potential, pinning a shot against the glass, hauling in 7 rebounds and dishing out a surprising 5 assists. Paired with his size, his footwork, agility, and soft hands make Joel very appealing to scouts. He should get a lot of minutes vs. Iona tonight.
3. Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State ( down )
Smart hasn’t started off quite like I expected, but his prior body of work is enough to keep him at a stable place for this weeks’ ratings. OSU also hasn’t played anyone that has required Marcus to play more than 28 minutes. Through 3 games he’s averaging 13.7 ppg 4.3 rpg 3.3 apg and 4 spg. Smart’s best basketball is certainly ahead of him, tonight’s game versus Memphis is certainly a game to watch.
4. Wayne Selden, Kansas ( same )
Selden has started off his season averaging 11.5 ppg 4 rpg 4 spg, and that kind of skill set is what makes him appealing. He’s big strong, but can also handle the ball and create for his teammates. Again, Wayne’s biggest challenge will be to stand out in Lawrence, but he’s off to a good start.
5. Perry Ellis, Kansas ( up )
Ellis is a little bit small for a NBA power forward, but has showcased more perimeter skills this year than he had in the past. Ellis is about as polished as it comes for a sophomore post, showcasing handling, passing, rebounding, and a great back to the basket game early in the 13-14 campaign. Perry is a bit of a tweener, but continued production will only help his cause. His biggest weakness right now is the ability to guard the perimeter, which he will have to do if teams hope to play him at the 3 spot at the next level.