Player of the Week
Michael Kidd Gilchrist, Kentucky
The St. Patrick's product is beginning to erupt with conference play on the horizon. In his last three games Kidd-Gilchrist went for 17 and 11 versus North Carolina, 18 and 9 at Indiana and produced his best all around effort in a thrashing of Tennessee Chattanooga. He scored 17 points, pulled down 8 boards, assisted on 6 baskets, nailed 2 treys, converted on 7/8 at the charity stripe and added a block and a steal. Few players at the collegiate level, if any, possess the offensive and defensive versatility that MKG brings to the floor. Despite a raw offensive canvas, his overwhelming physical advantage over opposing SF's had led to 13 PPG on stellar 52% FG. As he continues to add strength and polish his ball handling, Kidd-Gilchrist is all but assured a spot in the 2012 lottery (currently projected at #10). Fellow freshman teammate Anthony Davis also deserves serious love for his seemingly"routine" 14 point, 18 rebound and 5 block effort versus UTC.
Dundrecous Nelson, Mississippi
With Jarvis Summers inheriting the starting point guard reigns, Dundrecous Nelson has assumed the role of lightning rod off the bench. The 5'11 gunner scored 40 points in 48 minutes this week (W vs ULL & L at USM), hitting 12/25 shots, 9/15 threes and 7/9 from the FT line. He's averaged 15 points and 2.6 three-point makes per game in seven games since exiting the starting lineup. The results are hit and miss, but when on his game Nelson is a prolific point compiler.
Malik Cooke, South Carolina
Cooke has been the most consistent performer for the youthful Gamecocks. He had a tremendously efficient two-game week, making 11/17 field goals and 12/13 free throws en route to 17.5 PPG. Thanks in large measure to Cooke, SC held a 4-point halftime edge over 2nd ranked Ohio State before relenquishing in the final twenty minutes. While his overall statistics aren't scintilating, he makes contributions in all phases: 47% FG, 78% FT, 2 offensive rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block per game. The 6'6 senior is a box score stuffer.
Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt
With the tallest player on the court for Indiana State only 6'8, Ezeli could manage only 4 points (6 FG attempts & 0 FT attempts) and 4 rebounds in a home defeat to the Sycamores. His turnover total of 4 equaled his rebound total in 22 ineffective, passive minutes. Granted this was only his second game back from suspension/injury, but there's no excuse for being MIA against a shorthanded froncourt from the MVC. This was Vanderbilt's third loss at Memorial Gymnasium (first with Ezeli), and a lack of perimeter playmaking and bench production continue to take center stage. It's time to raise the red flag on the Commodores.
Alabama Crimson Tide
After starting the season like a house of fire at 7-0, the Tide have dropped 3 of 4 since the calendar flipped to December. A quick peek at the box scores and it's not difficult to ascertain the cause of failure. They've shot 11/61 or 18% from the three-point line and have been outrebounded 122-100 during the four-game stretch. Much like in year's past, the opposition is collpasing on the interior and inviting Alabama's athletes to chuck it from the perimeter. They are not finding the bucket, and second shot opportunities have been few and far between. An undersized Oklahoma St. team will visit Tuscaloosa on Wednesday night.
Top 5 Bullseye Shooters (from behind the arc)
1. John Jenkins, SG Vanderbilt- The 6'4 junior is taking (8.7 att.) and making (3.6 makes) career high numbers from the three-point line. With 44% accuracy and an effortless, quick release, Jenkins is likely the most dangerous shooter in the NCAA.
2. Doron Lamb, SG Kentucky- Lamb's game is not limited to the trifecta, but when he pops from deep Wildcat fans crack a smile. He's shooting 50% on 4.4 attempts and is equally effective firing with the rock in his hands or coming off screens.
3. Kenny Boynton, SG Florida- While a few of his teammates deserve consideration for this list as well, Boynton has more than earned his spot. He's upped his 3PT accuracy 13 points to 46% from his sophomore to junior season, this despite over 8 attempts per game.
4. Jordan McRae, G/F Tennessee- The high riser has been one of few bright spots on a struggle Vols squad. After making just a single trey in 9 attempts last season, he's connecting on over 2 makes per at a 44% clip.
5. Andre Stringer, PG LSU- With less scoring burden on his shoulders, the 5'9 Stringer is finding greater success from range. He shot under 30% last year on 6 attempts, a percentage he's elevated to 43% this season on 5 attempts. He's still heaving from the cheap seats, but with somewhat cleaner looks.
- Terrence Jones played 10 scoreless minutes against UTC after dislocating a finger. It's been a rough two games for Jones who took three shots and committed 6 turnovers at Indiana last Saturday.
- Marquis Teague has a 30:7 assist:turnover ratio over his last five games, a ratio that stood at 16:20 after his first five.
- Georgia's three-headed backcourt came up large in a road victory at Southern Cal. [Player: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope], Gerald Robinson and Dustin Ware combined for 50 of the Bulldogs 63 points on 17/29 shooting.
- Auburn forward Kenny Gabriel is quietly averaging 2.4 blocks and 1.7 steals per game. He has 5 multi-block efforts and 4 multi-steal efforts in seven total games.
- Arkansas freshman Ky Madden had 10 points, 7 assists (0 turnovers), 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 8 free throw attempts versus SE Louisiana. The combo guard is the Razorbacks top playmaker off the dribble.