Sooner or Later
Player of the Week
Cameron Clark - Oklahoma
After waiting three years to play a scoring role, senior guard, Cameron Clark has been on quite a tear for the 5-1 Oklahoma Sooners. After going for 20 points and 9 rebounds against Seton Hall, Clark exploded for 32 points and 7 rebounds against #1 ranked Michigan State. Since his outburst against the Pirates, Cameron has been averaging 24.7 ppg and 8 rpg including shooting 46% from downtown.
After only averaging 6.5 ppg as a junior, Clark has really come into his own as a scorer this season, taking advantage of mismatches caused by his 6’7’’ frame and his ability to draw forwards away from the basket in Lon Krugers’ small ball lineup. After his hot week, Cameron has risen to third in the Big 12’s scoring list (18.8 ppg) and shows no signs of slowing down after dropping another 19 points on Mercer in his first appearance of the new week.
DeAndre Kane - Iowa State
Iowa State is off to a sizzling start this year and senior triple double threat, DeAndre Kane is a major reason to their early season success. It’s not just Kane’s 16.4 ppg on 62% shooting, or the 20 points 8 rebounds and 4 assists he only needed twenty minutes to notch against UMKC, but Kane is a mainstay atop the Big 12’s scoring, rebounding, and assist leaders. DeAndre is ranked 6th in the conference in scoring, third in rebounding (8.4 pg), and 5th in assists (4.8 pg). With Kane’s well rounded production, it’s no surprise the Cyclones are ranked in the top 10 in the nation in those three categories and have shot up the national rankings.
Jaye Crockett - Texas Tech
Texas Tech’s most heralded returning player, Jaye Crockett has started to turn it up lately, as he has slowly risen to the 9th leading scorer in the conference as well as being ranked 3rd in FG percentage. In three games last week, Crockett put up a very impressive 17.3 ppg on 73% shooting to go with 8.6 rpg. Early in the season, Jaye had been a steady performer, but his play has noticeably picked up since scoring 21 against Texas Southern. Despite TTU taking a loss, Crockett was unfazed by 7-0 Pittsburgh as he scored 19 points on 9 of 11 shooting in the Red Raiders’ biggest test of the season. An up close look at Aaron Gordon and Arizona, on Tuesday, will act as a heat check, but don’t bet on Jaye Crockett being intimidated.
Andrew Wiggins - Kansas
No need to get too concerned about the future of Andrew Wiggins, but his performance in the Bahamas during the Battle 4 Atlantis left a lot to be desired. After fighting the flu and coming up big down the stretch in KU’s win over Wake Forest, Wiggins put up back to back duds against Villanova and UTEP. Andrew’s season stats took a big dip as he tallied only 11 ppg on 36% shooting from the field and a disappointing 50% from the charity stripe, during the tournament. Maybe it was the flu or maybe it was a minor slump in his freshman year, but as Kansas prepares to face Colorado, Florida and New Mexico in the next two weeks, it’s safe to say they’ll need a lot more out of Wiggins to come away with winning record during that stretch.
Javan Felix - Texas
Texas’s sophomore point guard, Javan Felix, provided some nice relief during Myck Kabongo’s suspension last season, and after a nice start to his sophomore season, he’s hit a bit of a slump as the Longhorns saw a slight increase in schedule strength. He shot only 25% from the field in three games last week, as his scoring production dropped from 13.75 ppg during Texas’ first four games to 7 ppg in their last three games. Felix did provide some nice defense and didn’t turn the ball over much, but after a rough week, Javan will need to bounce back as Texas enters a December that sees Michigan State and North Carolina in their schedule.
Top 5 Under the Radar Freshmen
There have been a lot of less heralded freshmen in the Big 12 that have been putting up nice numbers and playing important roles for their respective teams. Here’s a look at my top 5 currently riding under the radar.
1. Marcus Foster - Kansas State
A bright spot in K-State’s early season struggles has to be freshman combo guard Marcus Foster. Foster, rated the only 40th shooting guard and 3 star recruit by Rivals.com, has started the season averaging 14.5 ppg and 4 rpg through the Wildcat’s first six games. He erupted for 25 points against Oral Roberts and dropped 16 on Georgetown. Marcus is also pacing K-State in both scoring and three point percentages, and seems to have a bright future ahead of him.
2. Frank Mason - Kansas
Being the least heralded recruit amongst a monster recruiting class might lead some to believe Frank Mason might not see much court time going into his freshman year. Mason has not only established himself as a part of the rotation, but one who Bill Self trusts late in the game to provide great man defense and a fearless attitude. Averaging 8.9 ppg 2.9 apg through KU’s first seven games, Frank seems to be a lock in the rotation going forward, and has outshone higher ranked teammates Conner Frankamp, and Brannen Greene.
3. Devin Williams - West Virginia
Freshman power forward Devin Williams has stepped into West Virginia’s starting lineup from day one and has responded by logging three double doubles in WVU’s first seven games. His best was a 18 point and 11 rebound outing against Duquesne, and he’s averaging 10.3 ppg and 8.1 rpg on the year. Rated the 15th best power forward by Rivals, Devin did have some expectations, but the Mountaineers are not the most heavily covered team in the country, so I still grant him under the radar status. Williams must continue to improve his offensive moves, and court IQ, but with a little refinement on his game paired with his 6’9’’ 250 lb frame, one would think he’d be in the draft conversation in the next couple years.
4. Matt Thomas - Iowa State
The Iowa State Cyclones’ 6’3’’ sharp shooter, Matt Thomas, has come in and filled a specific need. Shooting. Thomas is averaging 10.2 ppg on 48% shooting from the field and 37% from long range. Matt has made 10 threes in his first five games, and clearly has the green light going forward. As Iowa State usually uses the transfer ranks to fill recruiting needs, he has shown the ability to play big minutes and provide scoring straight out of high school. With Fred Hoiberg as a mentor, Matt Thomas seems to be in a good situation to maximize his potential during his stay in Ames.
5. Brandon Parrish - TCU
TCU is trying to bounce back from a rough 2012-13 season, and along with more highly touted freshman, Karvair Shepard, Brandon Parrish is making a name for himself in Waco this year as well. Averaging 9.6 ppg and 3.1 rpg through the Horned Frogs’ first seven games, Brandon is also shooting 42% from 3 point range on the year. Parrish, a 6’6’’ small forward, recently scored 15 points against Tulsa and 15 against Abilene Christian. Rated only the 29th small forward by Rivals, Brandon Parrish seems to be making the most of his opportunity at TCU.