Player of the Week
Hardy’s coming off back to back 30 point games, one of which helped the Johnnies knock off their fourth top 13 team this year. Hardy poured in a career high 33 in a rout over Connecticut, knocking down five three pointers and hitting all 8 of his free throw attempts. He’s averaging 26.5 points in his last four games, and with wins over Duke and Connecticut, he’s helped make St. John’s relevant in what looked to be a throwaway year with ten seniors on the roster.
Ben Hansbrough, G, Notre Dame – No doubt Hansbrough’s feelin it. Kid’s averaging 24 a game over his last five, including back to back 25 point games this week in wins over Rutgers and Louisville.
Marshon Brooks , G, Providence – We’re getting to the point where he’s becoming unguardable in the college game, scoring 43 points on 17-28 shooting at Georgetown. Brooks has great length, ideal size and the polished offensive skillset that allow him to score 43 points in 40 minutes. He’s taken over as the conference’s leading scorer, and is quietly creeping up draft boards as a first round no brainer in my opinion.
Kyle Kuric, G, Louisville – Kuric is shooting the lights out this season, most recently going for 28 points on 9-14 in an overtime loss to the Irish. If you haven’t seen his dunk in this game, check it out… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfz_2HCGybQ . For those of you who watched and are unfamiliar with Kuric, your computer screen wasn’t malfunctioning… he really is white.
Jonathan Mitchell, F, Rutgers – Mitchell is averaging over 23 a game over his last three. Oh yeah, and he converted a 4 point play as time practically expired to beat Nova’ by 1. No big deal.
Casey Mitchell, F, West Virginia – Since returning from suspension, Mitchell has combined to shoot 2 for 13 for a total of 7 total points over his last two games.
Vander Blue, G, Marquette – I guess we can give the kid a break considering he’s a freshman, but after a promising start, Blue has faded away like the color of an old pair of jeans. He shot 1-9 against South Florida, and has scored a total of 6 points over his last five games. To be honest I really just want the chance to say, “You’re my boy BLUE!”, just once.
Peyton Siva, PG, Lousville – Just when Siva was starting to heat up, someone put tin foil in his microwave. Over his last three Siva’s turned the ball over 13 times and shot 5-22 from the floor, failing to score in double digits over his mini slump.
Top Five Most Important Role Players/Glue Guys
1. Corey Stokes, G, Villanova – Despite being a player who benefits from the creation of others, Stokes’ importance to his team can’t be emphasized enough. His ability to stretch the floor allows the better one on one guards like Corey Fisher and Maalik Wayns to work in space, playing right into Jay Wright’s approach which calls for his guards to attack. When Stokes’ outside game is on, Villanova becomes awfully tough to beat.
2. Brad Wanamaker, G, Pittsburgh – If I was writing an infomercial selling the effectiveness of Brad Wanamaker, this is how it might sound…
“What can’t he do? 12 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, shoots 39% from behind the arch and 47% from the floor! Anytime there’s a role that needs to be filled, just call on old Brad Wanamaker. Hurting on the boards? Call on Wanamaker! Lacking creativity and someone to make plays? Call on Wanamaker! Need a bucket? Call on Wanamaker! With a Wanamaker your team shouldn’t need help in any of the primary offensive categories! And if you call within the next 20 minutes, we’ll even throw in a defensive presence that averages over 1.5 steals per game, FREE! Every team needs a Wanamaker, so call now and get yours today!
3. Carleton Scott, F, Notre Dame – One of the more under appreciated role players in the conference, Scott brings toughness and efficiency to a finesse team that plays with a small margin for error. At 6’7 with a broad, strong frame, Scott does a great job of knocking down outside shots off curl plays, while shooting 49% from the floor, 39% from downtown and 88% from the line. He also blocks nearly two shots a game, making his presence known on both sides of the ball.
4. Justin Brownlee, F, St. Johns – A the jack-of-all-trades forward, Brownlee can knock it down from the outside, finish on the break or facilitate out of the post. He’s mobile and can run the floor, making him a great fit for Lavin’s uptempo offensive.
5. Jae Crowder, F, Marquette – Former JUCO player of the year, Crowder has made a name for himself wearing navy and gold. At 6’6 225 lbs, Crowder possesses a chiseled , wide frame that he uses to muscle away the weak under the glass. When he’s not posing as the Hulk under the boards, he’s knocking down shots from the outside, where he coverts an excellent 41% of his three point attempts. His ability to play inside/outside makes him a tough matchup for opposing forwards.
– Rutgers’ Jonathan Mitchell knocked in a 4 point play straight up Larry Johnson style to beat Villanova by 1. You couldn’t write an ending like that, unless you wanted it to sound like the most unrealistic, implausible, incomprehensible, Mighty Ducks-esque movie ending of all time.
– As a former Syracuse graduate, I have to say watching the Orange this season has almost been as painful as watching the Super Bowl halftime show.