Player of the Week
Alex Young, IUPUI, SG, Senior, 6-6 212 lbs.
This hopeful first round NBA Draft prospect has led IUPUI (6-8) to four consecutive victories, including a 97-88 win over Valparaiso (8-5) this past week. In that game, Young finished with 27 points (8-19 shooting), 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. He played efficiently and took good shots throughout the contest. For the season, Young sits at 20.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.3 SPG and 1.0 BPG on 42.0 FG% and 82.8 FT%. His three-point shooting ability could use some improvement (33.3 3P%), but Young is playing excellent basketball right now.
Wesley Witherspoon, Memphis, F, Senior, 6-9 210 lbs.
Witherspoon has found his name under this label twice so far this season, mainly due to his tendency to disappear in games and not live up to his potential. Entering the season Witherspoon was widely viewed as a potential second round NBA Draft prospect, but his draft stock has plummeted significantly through 11 games this season as he is producing 5.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.0 SPG and 40.9 FG% for Memphis (6-5). As a sophomore in 2009-10, Witherspoon scored 12.5 PPG and as a junior his scoring declined to 9.0 PPG. This year his scoring has declined further to 5.7 PPG. There is no doubting his athletic ability or his potential to affect opponents on the defensive end of the court; however, his most recent performances have left scouts asking for more. In Memphis’ past four games, Witherspoon has averaged 2.3 PPG and 2.5 RPG.
Top 25 Teams
19. UNLV (14-2)
The Rebels defeated Central Arkansas (5-7) and California (10-3) during the past week of holiday basketball. Their 17-point victory over California was most impressive. The victory was propelled by UNLV’s 48.6 FG%, compared to California’s 37.7 FG%. For the season, UNLV ranks 13th nationally for PPG (81.3), 3rd in APG (19.3), and 28th in FG% (48.4).
20. Murray State (13-0)
The Racers continued their winning ways by beating UT-Martin (3-11), 78-54, on December 21. Through 13 games, Murray State is beating its opponents by an average of 14.9 points – an impressive feat.
21. Creighton (10-2)
Creighton slipped up against Missouri State (8-5) on Wednesday, losing 77-65. Creighton shot 38.2 percent from the field and Missouri State shot 48.3 percent, which appeared to be the deciding factor in the game. The Blue Jays still look like a very good mid-major team. Currently, they rank 1st nationally in assists per game (20.6), and 6th nationally in points per game (84.3) and field goal percentage (50.6). Their star wingman, Doug McDermott, is playing like a stud and should find himself vying for All-American considerations by season’s end.
24. Harvard (11-1)
The top squad from the Ivy League beat Boston College (5-8) on Thursday night in Boston, MA and beat Florida Atlantic (4-9) on December 22 in decisive fashion. Head Coach, Tommy Amaker, has Harvard playing at a high level and although the team does not do anything incredibly well, the team wins games and avoids making mistakes.
25. San Diego State (11-2)
Two recent victories against Elon (7-4) and UC-Riverside (6-7) have helped San Diego State reach the Top 25. The Aztecs play aggressive, up tempo basketball and they have a variety of scoring threats on offense. Guard Chase Tapley is the ringleader of the bunch, averaging 17.4 PPG. Watch for San Diego State to contend with UNLV to win the Mountain West Conference title.
Mid-Major Power Rankings
1. UNLV (14-2)
2. Xavier (9-3)
3. San Diego State (11-2)
4. Murray State (13-0)
5. Creighton (10-2)
6. Gonzaga (10-2)
7. Saint Mary’s (12-2)
8. Memphis (6-5)
9. Harvard (11-1)
10. BYU (11-4)
Top 5 Shot Blockers
1. CJ Aiken, St. Joseph’s, PF, Sophomore, 6-9 190 lbs.
The youngster for St. Joseph’s is second in the nation for blocks per game (4.3) and has recorded five blocks or more in five games this season. His 7’2” wingspan helps legitimize Aiken as a formidable shot blocker and “human eraser,” in the words of Dick Vitale. Aiken’s top “block party” this season happened in St. Joseph’s win over Drexel (7-4) when Aiken finished with 9 blocks to go along with 13 points. Because he’s only a sophomore, Aiken could develop into a quality NBA Draft prospect, primarily as a defensive specialist.
2. Darrius Garrett, Richmond, PF, Senior, 6-9 220 lbs.
Despite lacking offensive skills, Garrett is a defensive shutdown artist and a great shot blocker. For the season, Garrett is blocking 3.9 shots per game. His defensive style is much like Hakim Warrick where he uses a long wingspan and quick jumping ability to put himself in favorable positions to collect several blocks per game. Garrett’s best shot-blocking performance this season happened against Old Dominion (6-6) when he finished with 8 blocks, 9 points and 13 rebounds.
3. Cameron Moore, UAB, C, Senior, 6-10 230 lbs.
Moore is one of the most productive players in the country among mid-major teams. He averages a double-double (14.0 PPG and 10.5 RPG), but his 4.0 BPG helps his name appear in this list of top mid-major shot blockers. Moore has great size for a college post player and his frame should allow him to get some looks from NBA scouts. Of the players on this list, Moore has the highest NBA Draft stock and he should find himself contending for a spot in the mid- to late second round of the 2012 NBA Draft. Moore’s top performances this year include 15 points, 11 rebounds and 7 blocks against Murray State (13-0); 18 points, 16 rebounds and 5 blocks against Jacksonville (2-9); and 19 points, 24 rebounds and 1 block against George Washington (4-8).
4. Damian Eargle, Youngstown State, SF, Junior, 6-7 215 lbs.
Eargle is not well-known by most of the college basketball world, but he can block shots and he blocks them often. He averages 4.3 BPG (2nd nationally) and 9.8 PPG with 7.1 RPG. Against two MAC teams this season, Eargle finished with over five blocks in each game.
5. William Mosley, Northwestern State, PF, Senior, 6-7 220 lbs.
One of the best shot blockers in the country enters this list after collecting five or more blocked shots in four games so far this season. Against Alabama State (2-9), Mosley finished with 8 points, 15 rebounds and 8 blocks – his top shot-blocking performance through 13 games. Mosley plays center for Northwestern State and he will continue to be the team’s premier post player.
How does Fab Melo not make this list after a 10 block game? TEN BLOCKS!
What a waste of a second post...lol.
Fab had TEN BLOCKS...yes...but...imagine if he played on a team that was a MID-MAJOR???
He could of had like TWENTY BLOCKS...and been included in this MID-MAJOR Blog Post.