Player of the Week
Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee
It’s taken Stokes a whole three games to earn his keep amongst the Vols. The 18-year old freshman has acclimated remarkably well to the college game after graduating from high school a semester early, and he’s attacking college basketball’s biggest names without hesitation. In an upset victory of 13th ranked Connecticut, Stokes made his first start with 16 points (6/10 FG), 12 rebounds and 2 blocks in 29 minutes. He poured in 10 of his 16 in the second half, outplaying Andre Drummond who finished with 6 points, 9 boards and 3 turnovers. Earlier in the week he scored 11 points (5/9 FG) and grabbed 8 rebounds (plus a block and steal) in an overtime loss at Georgia. Not a bad early impression from the well-schooled 6’8 270 pounder. Stokes’ 6/14 from the free throw line won’t cut it, however, as he’s likely to get there with great frequency. A road matchup with Vanderbilt and Festus Ezeli is on deck.
Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
Moultrie continued his machine-like season with another pair of double-doubles this week. He played the full 45 minutes in a 78-77 overtime victory at Vanderbilt, finishing with 21 points, 14 boards and 4 steals as the Bulldogs won in Memorial Gymnasium for the first time since 2004. Moultrie also went for 10 points, 12 rebounds and 3 steals in a road loss at in-state rival Mississippi.
Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt
It took nearly two months to get healthy and shake the rust off, but Ezeli has finally found his form. He averaged 12 points on 55% shooting, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks against Alabama and Mississippi State. His importance to the Commodores cannot be understated. He forces double teams, opens up space for a loaded perimeter attack and cleans up mistakes on D.
Tony Mitchell , Alabama
Mitchell is caught in an awful shooting slump, hitting 2 of 17 shots this week and 11 of his last 45 (26%). He was shutout at home versus Vanderbilt (0/8) and scored 6 points at Kentucky (2/9). He’s taken 6 total free throws in the last six games, a startling figure when the strength of his game is aggression and power around the rim. The Tide have dropped three straight against a brutal schedule, but the calendar looking forward appears mighty favorable.
Varez Ward, Auburn
The Tigers point guard hasn’t scored in double figures since December 30th (7 games) and has connected on just 11 of his last 53 field goal attempts (21%) over that same stretch. While scoring was never his strength (below 40% first two years at Texas), his overall offensive efficiency (34% FG, 27% 3PT, 59% FT) has been particularly abysmal. It’s no wonder Auburn hasn’t hit 70 this month.
Top 5 Southpaws
1.Terrence Jones, Kentucky- It’s been an up and down season for the sophomore, but he remains a dynamic prospect. 12 PTS, 48% FG, 39% 3PT, 6 REB, 2 BLK and a STL.
2. Rodney Hood, Mississippi State- Size, length and an offensive repertoire well beyond his years. He can score at any level. 11.5 PTS, 48% FG, 41% 3PT.
3. Terrance Henry, Mississippi- Yet to put things together despite tremendous versatility. Still raw after four seasons.
4. Jeronne Maymon, Tennessee- Undersized PF has proven to be a matchup nightmare at times. 55% FG and over 3 offensive boards per game.
5. Murphy Holloway, Mississippi- Relentless Rebel averaging near a double-double at 10.4 & 9.6. Ole Miss playing inspired ball since his return from injury.
-Reginald Buckner put forth a career effort versus Mississippi State with 19 points (8/10 FG), 15 rebounds and 3 blocks. His offensive game is developing, slowly.
-Gerald Robinson averaged 17.5 points, 5.5 assists (1.5 turnovers), 5 rebounds and 3 steals on the week. His backcourt mate, Kentavious Caldwell Pope, had a season worst shooting performance versus Tennessee: 4/14 FG and 0/8 three-pointers. That was his first game without a trey since November 13th.
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In an upset victory of 13th ranked Connecticut, Stokes made his first start with 16 points (6/10 FG), 12 rebounds and 2 blocks in 29 minutes. I still remember this match. I still can feel crowd noise over it.
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