Player of the Week
Terrence Jones, Kentucky
While some of his key numbers may be on the decline, Jones' decision to return to Lexington is looking like an abundantly prudent one. He's no longer overdribbling and settling for rushed jumpshots (49% FG), and when he attacks the hoop he's finishing with bad intentions. He threw down four power slams in Kentucky's two victories over St. John's and UNC, including a beautiful pump fake/driving dunk in the grill of John Henson. His defensive disruption is reaching new heights as well. On the week Jones averaged 20 points on 50% shooting, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 3.5 blocks. After getting to the free throw line 20 times in the season's first six games, Jones got to the stripe 16 times against SJU alone (11 makes). Jones has re-emerged in our mock lottery at the #11 spot.
Murphy Holloway, Mississippi
The southpaw deserves some major love after filling up the stat sheet for a second consecutive week. Holloway's performance led the way in thrilling road victories over DePaul and Penn State, as the Rebels improved to 7-1 on the season with an RPI of 11 (the computers are on their side for a change, at least momentarily). He picked up his third and fourth double-doubles of the season, putting up 13 points per game (55% FG), 11.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 4.5 steals. He's an absolute menace on the boards with thievery on his mind at all times on the defensive end of the floor. Holloway is undersized and lacking overall skill level, but he's strong, has great length and plays HARD. On a sour note, his 46% at the FT line has become all too familiar.
In what's been an early season roller coaster ride for the Tigers, Trent Johnson's crew notched two eye catching road victories last week. They escaped Houston with a one-point victory despite shooting 34%, due in large part to 17 offensive rebounds and 20 forced turnovers. Freshman PG Anthony Hickey paced the defensive effort once again with 4 steals (he also shot 1/11 and committed 4 turnovers of his own). LSU then outscored Rutgers by ten in the 2nd half to earn a hard fought W in Piscataway. They once again struggled to shoot straight (36%), but limited the Scarlet Knights to a dismal 33% FG and 2/11 from distance. Two wins- 108 points allowed. When talent is short, defense is the recipe for success.
Marcus Thornton, Georgia
I hate to pick on the Bulldogs again.. but what's the deal with Marcus Thornton? More specifically, how does a post player shoot 24% from the field over a stretch of eight games? Thornton, a former Georgia Mr. Basketball who came in with big expectations, looks absolutely lost on the offensive side of the ball. Over his last five games he's converted on 4/25 field goal attempts for a whopping 16%. In two games this past week he took only 9 shots (made 2) and scored 4 points. To give credit where credit is due, he is doing solid work on the backboards (6.9 RPG), but UGA needs points, and he's failing in historically ugly style.
The 'Dores had opportunities to seal two marquee W's this week, and dropped both games in overtime. They blew a double-digit home lead versus Xavier, getting outrebounded 48-30 and turning the rock over 18 times. They controlled the entire game against Louisiville in the Big East/SEC Challenge before crumbling, and eventually allowed Peyton Siva to drive for an uncontested layup with under two seconds remaining. Point guard Brad Tinsley had a dreadful 4/18 shooting week, and he was uncharacteristically careless with the ball committing 8 turnovers. Vandy has no offensive indentity without Ezeli in the middle, and they're getting absolutely zero production from their bench. Three losses and exclusion from the Top 25 is the result.
Top Five Underclassmen Point Guards
1. Marquis Teague FR Kentucky- Teague has the full repertoire of tools, however, the intricacies of point guard play and decision making are (and will be) a work in progress. He's struggled to find the hoop in recent games and looks tentative offensively. With that said, turnovers are on the decline.
2. BJ Young FR Arkansas- Currently more of a combo guard than a true 1 at 6'3, Young's future lies at the PG spot. His explosive scoring ability was on display at Connecticut, scoring 28 points on 20 field goal attempts and nailing 5/6 treys. Facilitation of the offense is not yet there.
3. Trevor Releford SOPH Alabama- He doesn't exactly fit the physical mold, but Releford is a winner. He's a gifted on-ball defender (1.3 STL), takes care of the rock (2.9 AST: 1.6 TO) and closes out games at the FT line (87% on nearly 6 attempts). Overall shooting range must improve.
4. Trae Golden SOPH Tennessee- Golden is off to a fantastic start in his first year guiding the Vols attack: 16 PPG (46% FG, 43% 3PT, 79% FT), 6 assists (2.6 TO) and 3 rebounds. The burden of playmaking has fallen directly on his shoulders, and he's responded laudably.
5. Jarvis Summers FR Mississippi- Despite a rocky course to open his collegiate career and a negative assist:turnover ratio, Summers is showing signs of life. His combination of size (6'4) and athleticism as a lead guard is quite intriguing. Summers scored 27 points last time out on 10/16 FG and 4/5 three-pointers.
*Trevor Lacey and [Player: Dai-Jon Parker] were considered shooting guards*
-Florida sophomore Will Yeguete is getting more minutes and making them count. He averaged 10 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals in two games last week. Freshman teammate Brad Beal has been a rebounding dynamo at 6'3 notching back-to-back 10 rebound efforts and averaging 7 on the year.
-Arkansas freshman Devonta Abron came out of nowhere to grab 16 rebounds against Connecticut, including a remarkable 12 offensive boards. He also put together a 13 point/6 rebound/3 assist/2 block effort earlier in the week.
-Georgia freshman [Player: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope] has recorded double-figure scoring output in all eight games this season. His efficiency has been poor (39% FG, 30% 3PT), but he doesn't have much help. He was born to score.
I hope Johnny O'Bryant of LSU stick around another year or 2 becuz he has the talent to be a top 10 player..He hasnt been spectacular so far..But watching him play,you can see his potential...
Rodney Hood has surprised me with his play....
And Renaldo Sidney is the most talented big man in the country..But i'm starting to lose hope of him giving getting drafted at all....