Player of the Week
Cinmeon Bowers – Auburn
Bruce Pearl’s first commitment as Head Coach of the Tigers has turned out to be a good one. Bowers, the nation’s top JUCO player a season ago has really come on strong for a Tigers’ squad that disappointed early on but looks poised to make some noise in the SEC. Bowers has put aside his legal troubles that kept him from signing with Florida State and has really become a force for Pearl. He’s averaging a double double on the season and along with KT Harrell have provided some much needed excitement to a program that hasn’t been relevant in some time. Bowers is a relentless rebounder and was huge in the team’s wins against Winthrop and Xavier this week. He fouled out of that Xavier game and only played 24 minutes in the double OT affair which nearly cost his team. Auburn lacks depth and will need Bowers on the floor late in games.
41-7. That was the score at halftime of the Wildcat’s game against UCLA. A week after taking down North Carolina in convincing fashion, Coach Cal’s team just dismantled a good, but not great, UCLA team. They scored the first 24 points of the game and put it in cruise control the rest of the way. They held the Bruins to 25% shooting on the day and registered another 13 blocks. Devin Booker was outstanding and seems to have found his stroke again in recent weeks. With Poythress out, they’ll need him to give significant minutes on the wing. He’s answered the call having two of his best games since the injury. This team looks unstoppable and should win the SEC with ease.
Duane Notice – South Carolina
Unlike his teammate (see below), Notice has been on fire the last few weeks and has been an integral part of this Gamecock team’s success. South Carolina has won five straight games, all of which Notice scored in double figures. He notched 19 points in both of the team’s wins this past week and has really taken over the scoring void left by Sindarius Thornwell‘s struggles. He’s shooting the ball with more confidence and has really begun to look for his own shot more. He’s creating off the dribble and really has given Frank Martin a reliable scorer and ball handler.
Sindarius Thornwell – South Carolina
While the Gamecocks as a whole are trending up, Thornwell continues to trend down. He came into the season with a lot of hype and promise based off of his ability and what he showed his freshman year but through the first two months of the season, Thornwell has been anything but the player we saw last season. He can’t seem to get anything to fall from distance and is now shooting an abysmal 36% from the field on the season. As his shooting percentage has gone down, show have his minutes. He played a season low 20 minutes in the team’s latest win while scoring 4 points on 2-6 shooting. He’s still extremely talented and has a spot at the next level, but he might have to wait another season before that dream becomes a reality.
Dominic Woodson – Tennessee
For the second times in two seasons, Woodson has decided to transfer. Less than four games into his sophomore season, his first with the Vols, Woodson has left the program and will continue his basketball career elsewhere. Woodson showed a lot of promise coming out of high school as one of the more highly sought after players of that class but weight issues, focus and his inability to crack a rotation have left the big man from Austin, Texas searching for his third school in as many years. He’ll still have eligibility left when he finds a new home. Hopefully he’ll be able to revive what was once a promising college career.
Top Five Seniors
1. Josh Richardson – Tennessee
As Richardson goes, so do the Vols. He’s taken over for the departed Jordan McRae and is a surprisingly similar player. Richardson is at his best when causing havoc with his long arms, getting into passing lanes and creating fast break opportunities. He still needs to work on his jump shot before he can become a talent at the next level but he could be a second round steal in the upcoming draft if he continues to improve.
2. KT Harrell – Auburn
Harrell has spent much of his two season’s at Auburn being the go-to player, particularly from an offensive standpoint. He’s averaged over 18 points per game for his career at Auburn and has been one of the more deadly offensive weapons the conference has had recently. He doesn’t get the coverage that other players do considering Auburn hasn’t been relevant in basketball since the days of Marquise Daniels and Marco Killingsworth. Harrell is a quick combo guard that can do a little bit of everything. He isn’t a high level prospect at this point, but like most seniors in today’s version of college basketball, few are.
3. Levi Randolph – Alabama
Randolph has had a so-so career for the Crimson Tide but has really come on this season scoring in double figures in each of the team’s 11 games this season. He’s really improved his jump shot and has begun to use his athleticism more to get into the lane and to the free throw line but he’s still not a great ball handler as we saw once Wichita State put the pressure on him to make plays late in the game. He had a shot to win it but got caught trying to do too much and the team didn’t get a good enough shot off. He’s improving but still has a ways to go before he will be considered a pro prospect.
4. Jon Horford – Florida
The younger brother of Atlanta Hawks’ Center Al Horford, Jon has been one of the more consistent players on both sides of the floor for the Gators this season. He isn’t going to "Wow" you with any part of his game but he is a solid player and one of those glue guys and role players that every team needs. He’s nothing more than a training camp invitee for most teams and likely won’t be drafted due to his lack of elite athleticism and unpolished offensive game but he does have size, which is something you can’t teach, and he has the pedigree. He will have his work cut out for him trying to make an NBA roster but don’t be surprised if he does at some point.
5. Jarvis Summers – Ole Miss
Summers has struggled this season as much of the scoring void left by Marshall Henderson‘s graduation has fallen on him. He’s struggled with his shot and hasn’t looked as comfortable lately as he did early in the season. The Rebels don’t have a lot in terms of talent outside of Summers and Ladarius White so as teams continue to key in on those two guys, the game will continue to be tough for Summers.
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