Player of the Week
Melvin Ejim - Iowa State
Before I get too far into this piece, I want to reiterate that these are not, I repeat, these are not video game numbers. Saturday afternoon, against TCU, Melvin Ejim scored 48 points on 20-24 shooting, including 2 for 2 from three, and 6 for 6 from the line. To go with his insane offensive outburst, Ejim hauled in 18 rebounds, and landed him in a club that includes Michael Beasley, Blake Griffin, and Kevin Durant as the only players in Big 12 History to score more than 35 points and grab more than 15 rebounds in the same game. His 48 points also place Ejim 1st all-time in the Big 12 for points scored in a game.
Iowa State seems to be back on track after a three game slide. Melvin Ejim’s play was a major catalyst behind a big triple overtime win at Oklahoma State, and another against TCU in Ames. This week Ejim posted back to back double doubles, leaving his weekly averages at a very lofty 35 ppg 15.5 rpg and 2 steals per contest. The Canadian swingman had been on quite a tear even before these past two games. Also the league’s leading scorer, I feel his case for Big 12 player of the year just got a little stronger after his historic scoring outburst on Saturday.
Marcus Foster - Kansas State
Foster has established himself as one of the best freshmen in the country this season, and in a victory against Texas, Foster poured in 34 points and helped the Wildcats avenge a close loss in Austin a few weeks ago. Foster caught fire from downtown, hitting 5 of 8 from three, he got out in transition, and finished lobs. Since a rough outing against Texas Tech, Foster put up 23 and 34 points consecutively on a combined 23 for 32 from the field (71%) and his 14.7 points per game currently rank him 12th in the conference.
Kyan Anderson - TCU
The Horned Frogs haven’t had a lot to get excited about this season, but junior guard Kyan Anderson has been a steady performer, and his improvement from last year has been noticeable. Over his last five games, Anderson has hit for over twenty points three times, and during that stretch has averaged 19.2 points per game, and 6 assists per game. He tried his best to keep up with Melvin Ejim on Saturday, and scored 27 points while dishing out 8 assists in TCU’s loss in Ames. On the season, Kyan also ranks 2nd in the Big 12 in free throw percentage(.847%), as well as 3rd in assists per game (4.9).
Naz Long - Iowa State
Sophomore sharp shooter, Naz Long has been an important part of Iowa State all year. As an early season 6th man, Long even briefly worked his way into a starting position before losing it to Monte Morris; however, his shooting and effectiveness have taken a big hit lately. Over his last five games, Naz has only produced 2.8 ppg on 25% from the field, and very uncharacteristic 13% from long range. Like all shooters, Long will most certainly bounce back due to the quality of his stroke, but with Iowa State fighting for a high seed in the NCAA tournament, the Cyclones probably wouldn’t mind seeing him hit with the accuracy he showcased in the non-conference season.
It was January 17th. Oklahoma State was sitting in the top 10 and looking forward to competing for a Big 12 title and high seed in the NCAA tournament. Well, a lot has changed in a matter of a month. They had found a way to win since losing Michael Cobbins to a season ending achilles injury, which left the Cowboys without their toughest interior defender in a league that boasts Joel Embiid, Cameron Ridley, Cory Jefferson, and Thomas Gipson. The tides changed when a close, hard fought loss in Allen Fieldhouse seemingly sparked a downward spiral as OSU lost 5 of their last 6 games. All but one of their losses being by 6 or fewer points. Their latest blow was Marcus Smart’s three game suspension, and with the Cowboys facing Texas, Oklahoma and Baylor (who’ve all beat them) during that stretch, the odds are stacked against them. The Cowboys have some key wins, play in the toughest RPI conference in the country, and still get another shot at top 25 mainstays, Kansas and Iowa State, but it’s do or die time for Oklahoma State if they hope to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament.
Mid-Season All Conference Teams
With the NBA All-Star weekend rolling around, I put together my mid-season All-Big 12 teams and award winners.
Marcus Foster - 14.7 ppg 3.8 rpg 2.1 apg
Markel Brown - 16.6 ppg 5.5 rpg 2.6 apg
Jaye Crockett - 14.7 ppg 6.5 rpg 1.3 apg
Cameron Clark - 15.8 ppg 5.5 rpg 1.1 apg
Cameron Ridley - 10.8 ppg 7.9 rpg 2.3 bpg
Mid-Season Player of the Year- Melvin Ejim
Mid-Season Defensive Player of the Year - Joel Embiid
Mid-Season Freshman of the Year - Andrew Wiggins
Mid-Season Top Newcomer - DeAndre Kane