Player of the WeekDoug McDermott
As conference play began at the start of the month, so did McDermott’s push for national player of the year. In two games last week, the senior led Creighton to wins over Xavier and Butler, combining for 63 points in the pair of victories. Against Xavier on Jan. 12, the Ames, Iowa, native went 13-for-24 from the floor for 35 points. The forward also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out three assists in the 95-89 win.
Two days later, the Bluejays blew out Butler 88-60 and McDermott was once again an offensive force. He once again shot over 50 percent from the field, going 11-of-19 (.579) and finishing with 28 points in just 27 minutes of play. The forward grabbed five rebounds against the Bulldogs and also registered two assists.
Who’s HotBryce Cotton
Cotton not only had an impressive statistical day on the road at St. John’s on Jan. 16, but the senior rallied the Friars past the hosts in the second overtime with two huge plays. The point guard tied up Max Hooper under the Red Storm’s basket with 21 seconds left in the second extra period to win back possession as they trailed by a point. Then on the other end of the court, Cotton banked in the go-ahead basket with nine seconds remaining to give Providence the lead for good in the 84-83 win.
The senior finished the game with 21 points on 6-of-19 shooting, and also went 8-for-10 from the line. He grabbed nine rebounds and also dished out eight assists as the Friars moved to 12-5 on the year.Cleveland Melvin
As DePaul continued to wrack up Big East wins, Melvin continued to shine for the Blue Demons. In a double-overtime win over Butler on Jan. 9, the forward scored 30 points on 10-for-14 shooting, while making three of his four attempts from deep. The senior also grabbed eight rebounds in the 99-94 victory.
The Blue Demons earned another conference win with a 77-75 result over St. John’s on Jan. 14, and Melvin had a great all-around effort for DePaul. The forward scored 16 points against the Red Storm, while also grabbing seven rebounds and six blocks in the game.
Butler has been one of the most disappointing teams in the Big East this season and its streak of conference losses was not aided by Woods’ play in the last week. In losses to Georgetown and Creighton, the forward went a combined 0-for-15 for the field and only scored two points. The junior, who is averaging nine points and nine rebounds a game this season for the Bulldogs, also only managed to get to the free-throw line twice against the Hoyas and failed to do so against the Bluejays.James Bell
Villanova suffered its lone defeat of the season at the hands of No. 2 Syracuse, but has remained perfect in conference play. However, Bell has not been playing up to his high standard of play that he established in the first part of the team’s schedule. The guard has had a string of four consecutive games without eclipsing the 10-point mark. The senior has been struggling to contribute many points, but not for a lack of chances. In the aforementioned run of games, Bell is 8-for-26 from the field.
Doug McDermott– As a reigning two-time All-American, it’s hard to argue that many players in the country create more plays than McDermott. Despite his large frame, the senior is able to spread the floor on the perimeters and draw out defenders. With the game-clock ticking down, it is always a good sign when No. 3 has the ball in his hands.
Semaj Christon– One of the top NBA prospects in the Big East, Christon is a true floor general that has great offensive potential. After getting off to a slow start this season, the sophomore has scored at least 20 points in three of his last four games.
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera– Georgetown’s star sophomore is experiencing a breakout season, averaging over 17 points a game to lead the Hoyas. With one of the most diverse offensive games in the Big East, Smith-Rivera is a menace for opposing defenders.
Cleveland Melvin– While Melvin has been somewhat inconsistent over the course of the season, the forward has put up some eye-popping numbers for the Blue Demons. With his 6’8 frame, the senior is able to use his size advantage to attack the basket, but is also able to hit the deep ball.
Fuquan Edwin– While the players listed above are known as offensive specialists, Edwin has the ability to change the outcome of a game from the defensive end of the floor. One of the top players in the conference in terms of his all-around game, the senior averages over three steals per game for Seton Hall and is closing in on the school-record for career takeaways.