Player of the Week
Doug McDermott Creighton
The preseason All-American is showing that his success on the court the past two seasons can translate to any conference in the nation, leading the Big East with 25.7 points per game. The incredibly efficient scorer is shooting 55.8 percent from the field, including 53.3 percent from behind the arc. McDermott had his first game-changing play of the season at the end of Creighton’s game at St. Joseph’s on Nov. 16 with his team down one. The forward received an in-bounds pass from the baseline and hit a fade-away jumper from the left side of the floor with 4.9 seconds remaining. McDermott was also fouled on the play and to hit his free throw to stretch the lead to two points.
Bryce Cotton Providence
The senior guard got off to a hot start to the season while leading the Friars to a 4-0 start. Cotton is third in the Big East with 20 points per game to go along with a conference-high 7 assists per game. The explosive scorer is also a force on the boards, pulling down 3.7 rebounds per game. Twice in just four games this season, Cotton has scored over 28 points, including a 28-point, 11-assist performance against Marist on Nov. 16.
James Bell Villanova
The Wildcats’ hot start (3-0) is in large part attributed to the play of the senior guard. Bell is fifth in the Big East with 18.7 points per game, while adding seven rebounds. After averaging just over eight points per game last year, the Orlando, Fla., native has carried a larger bulk of Villanova’s offensive load this year. He has nearly doubled his field goal attempts, while knocking down an impressive 47 percent of his shots. Bell has also been able to decrease his turnovers while receiving nearly equal playing time as last year.
Cleveland Melvin DePaul
The senior forward has been key to DePaul’s 2-1 start, averaging 19 points and seven rebounds this season. In wins over Milwaukee and Wright State last week, Melvin scored over 20 points in both games. In the latter, the Baltimore native shot 8-for-10 from the field, scoring 23 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. If the Blue Demons hope to make their first NCAA tournament since 2004, they’ll need Melvin continue his early-season form throughout the entire year.
Davante Gardner Marquette
The preseason First-Team All-Big East player has yet to live up to the billing this season, averaging just 12.5 points in four games. Besides a 25-point performance against Southern University in the Golden Eagles’ first game of the year, the senior forward is scoring just eight points per contest. In games against Ohio State and New Hampshire in the last week, Gardner put up a combined 15 points. In those games, he converted just four of his 12 field goal chances.
Rysheed Jordan St. John’s
Pegged as the preseason Big East Freshman of the Year, Jordan has had an uncomfortable transition to the college game. The point guard joined the Red Storm as the 17th prospect in the country according to the ESPN top 100, yet has been unable to score more than seven points in a game through St. John’s first three games. In 18 minutes-per-game, Jordan is shooting just 23 percent from the field and averaging 4.3 points per game.
Top 5 Players to make your forget the American Athletic Conference Exists
1. Doug McDermott (Creighton) – Preseason All-American Doug McDermott makes up for lack of elite athleticism with a strong all-around game. The forward currently leads the Big East with 25.7 points per game on a stellar 56 percent shooting from the field. At 6’7, he uses his large frame to beat defenders near the basket. McDermott is also an excellent shooter on the perimeter. He also is a great rebounder for the Bluejays.
2. Semaj Christon (Xavier) – The reigning Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year, Semaj Christon is a strong point guard that is excellent at attacking the basket off the dribble. So far this season, Christon is averaging over 17 points per contest to go along with 3.7 assists. With good size at 6’3, he maximizes the pick n’ roll to get into the paint with a quick first step. Christon uses his length to break up passing lanes on the defensive side of the ball and forces many turnovers. Also is a great ball-handler, which allows him to beat opponents in transition.
3. Bryce Cotton (Providence) – Bryce Cotton has evolved into a skilled all-around player after coming to Providence as primarily a shooter. Cotton has gotten off to a great start to the 2013-2014 season, leading the Big East with seven assists per game, while adding 20 points a contest for the Friars. The senior point guard uses his quickness to get open off of screens and also is not afraid to attack the basket despite his size (6’1). His explosiveness allows Cotton to get up and attack the key regularly, as defenders must respect his shooting prowess. Gets his shot off quickly.
4. Jakar Sampson (St. John’s) – Jakar Sampson has exceptional athleticism that allows him to be a strong player around the basket. The Akron, Oh., native has gotten off to an impressive start, averaging 15 points and 6.7 rebounds in the team’s first three games. The 6’8 small forward has a strong build that makes him a matchup nightmare for opponents, similar to LeBron James. Has physical attributes make him a defensive force for the Red Storm, who benefit from his solid rebounding and inside defense.
5. DeAngelo Harrison (St. John’s) – The junior guard has lit it up in 2013 for the Red Storm, averaging 21.3 points and four rebounds per game. While his jump shot may look unconventional, it is effective, as he’s currently shooting 40 percent from the field. De’Angelo Harrison has great ball-handling skills that allow him to cut through opponents, then uses great vision to find teammates near the rim and on the perimeter. Energetic, the guard often makes plays on the help-side on the defensive end, coming up with blocks and steals regularly.