Player of the Week

Markelle Fultz, PG (Washington)

Fans around the country were so eager to see Fultz’s first action at the collegiate level. Arguably the top prospect for the upcoming draft, Fultz has been phenomenal to begin his freshman season for the Huskies. In his first two games, Fultz has scored over 30 points along with 6 assists, and approached a triple double in his third game with 16, 8 and 7 in 30 minutes. He has shown a complete offensive repertoire. The 6’4 combo-guard has shown he can attack the basket and finish at the rim in a variety of ways with either hand. Fultz has also exhibited unique creativity and speed off the dribble and the ability to make tough shots in the mid-range area, as well as deep range on his jumper. Combine his polished skill set with his tremendous athleticism, and he is a matchup nightmare for any guard in college basketball. It remains to be seen whether Fultz can maintain this torrid pace throughout the entire season, but he has proven he’s the real deal early on.  

Who’s Hot?

1.Bryce Alford, Guard (UCLA)

Alford has been the biggest beneficiary to the addition of Lonzo Ball to this Bruin team. Everyone knew about his scoring prowess and ability to fill it up from the perimeter. However, throughout his career he has been the primary ball-handler for the Bruins, making scoring opportunities more difficult to create for himself. Now with Ball at the point guard spot, Alford has moved to the two-guard spot, which seems to be better for his skillset. In his first three games this season, Alford has been tremendous in this highly potent UCLA offense. He has scored in double figures in every game including 20 points last Sunday and 30 points on Friday. Alford is also shooting a scorching 50% from three-point range, as well as 19-20 from the free throw line. UCLA is a team that can really put the ball in the basket, and Alford will play a pivotal role for them offensively moving forward.

2. Reid Travis, Forward (Stanford)

Travis was a McDonald’s All-American in high school, but due to a stress fracture in his leg last season, he missed almost all of his sophomore year. Now a junior, Travis has exploded out of the gates and has been an absolute monster in the paint for Stanford. Travis is averaging over 21 points per game and has dominated on the glass, with two games of over 15 rebounds. Travis has also shown the ability to get to the free throw line and convert on his attempts. He will be a key player for the Cardinal this season, so hopefully he can stay healthy and give them a chance to stay competitive come conference play.

Who’s Not?

1.Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Guard (Arizona)
With the retirement of Ray Smith and the continued eligibility issue with Allonzo Trier, Arizona is currently a bit depleted and needs others to step up. So far, Jackson-Cartwright has not been able to produce at the level he’s capable of. Right now he is shooting a dismal 40% from the field, including just 23% on his threes. The Wildcats are 3-0, and it is still early in the season, but Jackson-Cartwright will need to pick up his play, especially if Trier will be out for an extended period of time.  

Top Non-Conference Games to Watch

1. UCLA vs. Kentucky (December 3rd)

What a great matchup this will be. Two of the most exciting teams to watch in the country feature two of the top freshman point guards in America in Lonzo Ball and De'Aaron Fox. Both teams feature tremendous talent and depth, and you can bet the Rupp Arena will be filled up for this one. UCLA is as good of an offensive team as anyone on the country while Kentucky has the potential to be elite defensively. Keep an eye out for the frontcourt matchup between UCLA’s TJ Leaf and Kentucky’s Derek Willis.

2. Gonzaga vs. Arizona (December 3rd)

Gonzaga is consistently one of the top mid-major teams in college basketball, and is always a fun team to watch out west. Arizona is missing Trier, but with him in the lineup, they are one of the deepest and talented teams in the nation. It will be interesting to see the matchup between the athleticism of Arizona and the skill of this Gonzaga team.

3. Virginia vs. California (December 21st)

Tony Bennett has transformed UVA into one of the top basketball programs in America. They are always very well coached and outstanding defensively. Cal may have more NBA talent at this stage with the likes of Ivan Rabb and Jabari Bird, but the competitiveness of the Cavaliers will be a great challenge early in the season for the Golden Bears.

4. Stanford vs. Kansas (December 3rd)

Stanford is one of the more underrated teams in the Pac-12, and they will have a chance to prove themselves against the 12 straight Big 12 conference champion Kansas Jayhawks. The Cardinal will have to play a near perfect game to knock off a Kansas team that features maybe the best backcourt in America, but don’t be surprised if Stanford keeps this one close.

5. Xavier vs. Colorado (December 7th)

Colorado has a chance to be a sleeper in the Pac-12. They have a strong and experienced core who will be of great benefit in these types of games. Xavier’s guards are very skilled and includes two draft prospects in {Player: Trevon Bluiett] and Edmond Sumner. Xavier Johnson and Derrick White are two talented players for the Buffaloes who could match up with them, but they will need to play their best games to knock off the Musketeers.