Player of the Week
Josh Harrellson, Kentucky Wildcats
The 6'10 275 pound senior saved his career-best performance for UK's 78-63 victory in the Bluegrass Battle. Harrellson torched the 'Cards for 23 points on 10-12 shooting, 14 rebounds (6 offensive), 2 assists, a steal and a block. His previous high for points in a contest was 15 back in 2008. He showed off the full package: crashing the glass with abandon, moving without the rock, catching/finishing alley-oop lobs and nailing jumpers from range (1 3PT). The weight he's shed has massively improved his conditioning, and thus enhanced his mobility on both ends of the floor. Harrelson now has seven double-digit rebound games (9.3 per) on the season in just 25 minutes of action a night, and is shooting 65% from the field. With size, skills and basketball IQ, if he remains in shape he can play at the next level.
Brandon Knight, Kentucky Wildcats
Back to back honors for the boys from Lexington. Knight broke Rex Chapman’s UK freshman scoring mark against Louisville with 25 points, including 7-13 field goals, 4-6 from downtown and 7-8 from the free throw stripe. Decision-making wasn't always pristine, but despite forcing the action at times, his aggressive nature ultimately paid dividends. In Kentucky's 2-0 week he averaged 21 points (54% FG), 6 assists (3.5 turnovers), 3.5 rebounds and knocked down 7 of 11 treys. The frosh will get his first taste of SEC conference play on Saturday at Georgia.
John Jenkins, Vanderbilt Commodores
Jenkins posted one of the more horrific shooting lines you'll ever see in Vanderbilt's home victory over Marquette. The typically deadeye gunner converted on 4-21 field goals (19%) and an unthinkable 2-15 (13%) from long range. At some point you figure he'd lay low on the attempts, but he certainly didn't shy away from heaving 'em up. He entered the game shooting 41% from three on the season after cashing in on 48% as a freshman. When given time and space, Jenkins is lights out. But when pressured and taken out of his comfort zone, misfirings become far more frequent. He missed Sunday's triumph over Davidson after suffering a concussion in weekend practice, but should be ready for the league opener.
Top 5 Team Depth
1. Vanderbilt- The 'Dores get 15+ minutes from nine players, and get significant contributions from each. They possess a nice blend of youth and upperclassmen, star power and workmanlike battlers, all of whom know their expected role.
2. Mississippi- Andy Kennedy's team has excellent balance between guard play and size. The Rebels freshmen class is beginning to find their sea legs at an optimal time. The roster is littered with athletes who can step up on a given day.
3. Tennessee- The Vols have no shortage of talent in numbers, but will enter SEC play reeling, without a head coach and with no established rotation. 14 players average 6+ minutes (injuries have been a factor), a figure that needs to be trimmed for the betterment of team chemistry.
4. Arkansas- Currently standing at 10-2, the surprising Razorbacks have 9 healthy players receiving double figure minutes, all averaging 4 or more points per game. Forward Michael Sanchez should return imminently. The descent of Marshawn Powell continues as he's been suspended indefinitely.
5. South Carolina- The entire active roster of 11 played ten or more minutes in a 7-point home victory over Jacksonville State this past Wednesday. The athletes and bodies are present, but with five freshmen part of the rotation, consistency is not.
-Georgia has made only 5 three-pointers on 29 attempts (17%) in its last three games. On the season the Bulldogs are making an SEC worst 4.2 per game at 31% accuracy.
- Vanderbilt "glue guy" Lance Goulbourne returned from a two-game suspension to post 7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals versus Davidson.
-Florida snapped Xavier's 30-game home winning streak at the Cintas Center with a 71-67 victory on New Year's Eve.
-Andre Malone, Auburn's second leading scorer (11.7), has left the team.
-After making 4 three-pointers all season, Arkansas guard Marcus Britt has nailed four apiece in the last two games on 11 attempts.
-Mississippi freshmen Dundrecous Nelson and Demarco Cox exploded in a thrashing of Alcorn State. Nelson finished with 17 points on 5-10 shooting, 3-6 from behind the arc and 4-4 from the foul line. He also added 4 assists (5 turnovers), 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Cox had 11 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals in cracking the 30-minute barrier for the first time.