Player of the Week
Andrew Wiggins - Kansas
It has taken to the end of January for Andrew Wiggins to make his first appearance as player of the week, but Kansas’ freshman swingman strung together a pair of great games in wins over #24 Baylor and TCU week. Wiggins capped his week with a career highs in points (27) and assists (5) in Fort Worth, Saturday night against the Horned Frogs.
In two outings, Andrew averaged 22 ppg 6 rpg 2.5 apg on efficient shooting percentages, including an average of eleven trips to the foul stripe where converted them at nearly 87 percent. Paired with the tough defense he’s provided all year, Wiggins looked noticeably more aggressive late in the Baylor game and coming out of the gate against TCU he set the tone early and scored 19 of his 27 points in the first half. When Andrew Wiggins utilizing his diverse and emerging offensive game, he’s a very tough matchup, and this week was just a reminder as to why he’s regarded as such a high level NBA prospect.
Jonathan Holmes - Texas
Tuesday night in Austin it looked as if Jonathan Holmes may not be starting his week off very well. Texas’ junior forward and leading scorer had only 5 points going into the final minutes of a tied game versus #22 Kansas State. All that changed when he caught an Isaiah Taylor inbounds pass with a little over a second left. He launched it over two defenders and hit nothing but net which sealed a Texas win over a top 25 opponent. Holmes followed up his heroic 8 point 10 rebound performance against the Wildcats with 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists against Baylor and with Texas most likely headed into the top 25 rankings next week, Jonathan Holmes’ heroics and steady play have been a major factor behind the Longhorns’ success.
Ryan Spangler - Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Sooners find themselves sitting in 2nd place in the Big 12, and a major reason is the play of their lone low post bruiser, Ryan Spangler. The 6’8’’ Gonzaga transfer has provided a boost of rebounding and toughness that complements Lon Kruger’s four guard lineup. This past week Spangler averaged 10 ppg 13 rpg in wins against TCU and Texas Tech, and currently sits atop the Big 12’s rebounds per game list at 9.8 per outing. Ryan has also tallied three double doubles in the Sooner’s last five games, and as OU has established themselves as a contender in the Big 12, Spangler has emerged as one of the league’s toughest rebounders.
Gary Franklin - Baylor
Baylor has been desperately trying to stop a horrid start to the Big 12 season, and their latest ploy is a lineup change in which Gary Franklin has been replaced in starting lineup in favor of Taurean Prince. Franklin went 1-16 in four games between Jan 11th and Jan 20th in 78 minutes of play, and averaged 1 ppg in that stretch. Saturday afternoon, he showed signs of life erupting for 14 points off the bench in a loss to Texas. If Baylor has any hopes of finishing in the middle of the pack in the conference, and advancing to post season play, they’ll need Franklin to continue to give them offense off
Kevin Noreen - West Virginia
Junior forward Kevin Noreen has found himself in quite a scoring slump during the first month of the Big 12 season. West Virginia’s 6’10’’ post man has been riding a five game stretch in which he’s failed to make a shot, and has only mustered 6 points in the Mountaineer’s seven conference games, despite playing 16.6 minutes per game as a starter. Noreen is not known as an offensive player, but anytime a starter is providing so little offense, it’s obviously not a good sign for any team playing in one of the deepest conferences in the country.
Top 5 Reserves
Phil Forte III - Oklahoma State
One of the country’s most deadly long range shooters, Phil Forte, has been made a big impact since joining his high school teammate Marcus Smart in Stillwater. The sophomore sharp shooter not only averages 12.6 ppg off the bench for the Cowboys, but leads the conference in both free throw and three point percentage, and ranks second in the Big 12 in three pointers made.
Rico Gathers - Baylor
Coming off the bench for the Baylor Bears, Rico Gathers epitomizes toughness and his below the rim, fundamental rebounding sits him among the best rebounders in the conference. Gathers averages 7.5 rebounds per game in just 18.6 minutes per contest, and his 16.1 rebounds per 40 minutes leads the Big 12. In his reserve role, Gathers also boasts three double doubles and five double digit rebounding games.
Dusty Hannahs - Texas Tech
The Texas Tech Red Raiders are a team built around mostly upperclassmen, but their sophomore 6th man, Dusty Hannahs, is not only among the best conference bench performers, but he’s also one of the best long range marksmen. Hannahs averages 8.9 points per game on the year, and has hit double digits in five of seven conference games this season. A 25 point game against West Virginia where he went 7 for 7 from long range was a prime example of how deadly he can be when he gets the hot hand.
Frank Mason - Kansas
Kansas sports a very deep front court this season, but the Jayhawks’ options at the guard position are far more limited. Frank Mason has stepped into the role of Bill Self’s first guard off the bench. An instant punch of energy, Mason’s on ball defensive ability is far beyond most freshman guards in the country. Frank only averages 6.8 points per game and 2.5 assists, but his boundless energy, defensive ability and a tendency to hit big shots proved extremely valuable for Kansas down the stretch of multiple games in 2013-14.
Remi Dibo - West Virginia
There are many very talented shooters coming off the bench in the Big 12 this season, and West Virginia’s French forward, Remi Dibo, is another prime example. At 6’7’’, Dibo sports a .403% shooting percentage from 3 point range, and although not a regular visitor to the free throw stripe, he carries a .929% conversion rate (13-14). Remi averages 7.1 ppg and 3.1 rpg for West Virginia, and his play off the bench is an extremely important piece for a Mountaineers team who rely on their top 4 scorers for 71% of their team’s points.