Player of the Week
Juwan Staten – West Virginia
Juwan Staten lead West Virginia to two key conference victories this week against two teams once ranked in the top 25. Staten posted a pair of excellent games including a 35 point outing against K-State on Saturday, and a near double double against Baylor, January 28th.
Staten has been one of the best all around producers in the Big 12 this season, and has also emerged as one of the top floor generals in the conference as well. This week Staten averaged 20 ppg 7 apg 4 rpg and did so while only turning the ball over 3 times, which left him with a weekly 4.6 assist to turnover ratio. Juwan hit 18 free throws against the Wildcats, which broke a 51 year old school record for free throws made, and his 35 points were a career high. Staten’s play has been very good all year, but in the heart of conference play, he stepped it up to a new level for the Mountaineers, who now sit at 5-4 in the conference.
Isaiah Taylor – Texas
Freshman guard, Isaiah Taylor has had his shares of ups and downs this season for the Longhorns, but his past two games have been fantastic. After a 27 point game against Baylor, Taylor came up big during an upset victory over conference leading Kansas. Isaiah scored 23 points against the Jayhawks and made big play after big play as Texas put the game out of reach down the stretch. Taylor has put up back to back 20 point games on 53% shooting and has hit 15 of 16 free throws in that same two game span. The Longhorns have emerged as one of the best teams in the conference this year, and when hot, Isaiah Taylor is as dynamic of an open court scorer as just about anyone in the Big 12.
Melvin Ejim – Iowa State
After Iowa State suffered through a three game skid, Melvin Ejim has helped lead the Cyclones to two out of three victories over teams ranked in the top 25. In his past three games, Ejim has averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds, to go with 1.6 blocks and 2.3 steals per contest. Melvin’s great play has not been at the expense of efficiency, as he’s hit 90% of his free throws, 49% of his field goals, and 43% of his jumpers beyond the three point arc. Ejim is currently the Big 12’s leading scorer, and his recent play has gone hand in hand with Iowa State correcting their brief three game slide.
Cameron Clark – Oklahoma
At one time, Cameron Clark was the conference’s leading scorer, but a recent slump has him only averaging 7 points per game during his last two contests. Against Oklahoma State and Iowa State, and despite the fact Clark is an excellent shot, both from midrange and beyond, he took 7 shots per game and only one shot total from three point range. Clark is also a superb free throw shooter, but has mustered just a 50% average during this stretch. The Sooners are still in a good spot in the conference standings, but if they hope to remain there, Cameron will need to revert back to his early season scoring pace.
Top 5 Triple Double Threats
There are a lot of great all around producers in the Big 12 this year, that could find themselves in double digits in a variety of statistical categories. Here are a list of my top 5.
1. Marcus Smart – Oklahoma State
17.2 ppg 5.7 rpg 4.5 apg 2.5 spg
Oklahoma State’s superstar point guard, Marcus Smart, has flirted with triple doubles multiple times this season, including a 16 point 10 rebound 9 assist game against Kansas, January 18th. With guys like DeAndre Kane and Juwan Staten sporting higher assist averages than him, I’m giving Smart the top spot due to his ability to rack up steals. He’s gone for 5 or more three time this year, and sported a 20+ 10+ 5+ 5+ game against Texas, January 8th.
2. DeAndre Kane
16.1 ppg 6.6 rpg 5.8 apg 1.6 spg
After a great non-conference season, a near triple double against Baylor ( 30 p 8 r 9 a 5 s ) on January 7th, really burst DeAndre Kane into the national spotlight. One of the toughest rebounding guards in the conference, Kane also has 5 double doubles this year, and is capable of winding up with double digits in the points, rebounds and assist columns on any given night.
3. Juwan Staten
18 ppg 5.8 rpg 6 apg 1.3 spg
Our player of the week, Juwan Staten, has been playing great all year, and at one time was averaging over 6 assists and 6 rebounds per game. Staten posted 10 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists early in the year against Virginia Tech, and 15 points 10 rebounds and 6 assists, December 14th against Marshall. Although it seems like Staten either hits in the rebounds or assists column, and rarely both in the same game, his ability to rebound for a guard and create for others makes him a guy who could break for a triple double on the right night.
16.4 ppg 4.1 rpg 3.7 apg .8 spg
Iowa State’s second triple double threat on the list is their combo big man, Georges Niang. Often playing the role of high post facilitator, Niang is, in my opinion, the best post passer in the Big 12. Although not a good rebounder, he has still tallied three games where he has topped 10 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. His closest game came November 20th against BYU, where he racked up 19 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists.
5. Joel Embiid
11.2 ppg 7.7 rpg 1.4 apg 2.7 bpg
Our first double digit shot blocking threat, Joel Embiid beats out fellow shot blocking elites due to his edge on Isaiah Austin on the glass, and his edge as a post passer over Cameron Ridley. Embiid posted 13 points, 11 rebounds and 8 blocks against Oklahoma State, and 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 blocks against UTEP earlier this year. With him hitting his stride on the glass, by hauling in 9 or more rebounds 7 out of his last 10 games, his potential to break out to a big game blocking shots makes Joel a legit triple double threat.