Player of the Week
CJ McCollum, Lehigh
It shouldn’t be a surprise to see McCollum named player of the week for mid majors; he logged 23 points in 24 minutes versus Fairleigh Dickinson and 30 points against Quinnipiac including 14 straight points to spark an early run. The 30 point outing versus Quinnipiac was his 3rd 30+ point game of the season and the 17th of his career. McCollum clearly made a great decision returning for his senior year as he has polished his already smooth game. He’s proven that the performance against Duke in the NCAA was not a fluke, but more of a platform to display his game. As of December 1st, he’s currently leading the nation in scoring at 25.7 ppg and boasting a 3pt field goal percentage of 54% on 3 of 5.4 per game, having hit a a three ball in every game and 3 or more threes in 5 of 8. Unheard of for a player that handles the ball as frequently as McCollum. He also showed off his under rated athleticism with his dunk against Fairfield earning top play honors. He is the unquestioned leader of this year’s Hawks team and has proven that he can get them a bucket when needed. McCollum is easily one of the most impactful players in college basketball this year.
Gonzaga- The Zags are currently ranked 12th in the AP Top 25 with an 8-0 record and impressive wins over West Virginia, Oklahoma, Davidson, and Clemson. This team is very deep at almost every position and with the emergence of Elias Harris; the Zags could be very dangerous come tournament time. The game on Wednesday, Dec. 5th against undefeated Illinois should tell us a lot about this team and how good they can really be as it’s certain that the Illini will test the Zags at home. Gonzaga currently has 6 players averaging double figures on a team many are touting as possibly the best Zag team ever.
Honorable Mention: Boise State
North Texas fell to 3-5 as of Sunday, Dec. 5th after going 0-2 the past week. The Mean Green has been very disappointing up to this point as a team most thought was certain to make the NCAA tournament. This team has a projected lottery pick (Tony Mitchell) that took 1 field goal attempt in a loss against University Louisiana-Lafayette on Sunday, which he scored 3 points. Mitchell is probably the best athlete in college basketball with his explosiveness and ability to block/ alter shots. He needs to figure out a way to avoid foul trouble and the team needs to find a way to keep him involved in the game in order for them to fulfill those early season expectations.
TOP 5 PER’S in Mid Major Basketball
Fred Hunter (Nicholls State)- This is a bit surprising the senior has returned after a medical red shirt last year and put up very impressive numbers in his first 3 games back. Let’s see if he can maintain the 1st rating in mid major basketball and 3rd overall in the nation this year (PER’s 36.47), while so far averaging 21.7 ppg and 6.7 rebounds.
CJ McCollum (Lehigh University)- Very impressing, but not surprising if you read my comments above that he’s off to an incredible season leading the nation in scoring and ranking 4th nationally in PER’s at 35.10.
Anthony Bennett (UNLV) – The former McDonald’s All American is quietly going about his business in the Mountain West putting up impressive stats. He’s currently averaging 18.8 ppg and 7.8 rebounds in 26 minutes, which is impressive from the freshman from Findlay Prep (Nev). Bennett’s PER’s is currently 34.42 and ranking him 8th nationally.
Mike Muscala (Bucknell University) – Bucknell is off to a great start to their season at 7-1; Mike Muscala is a big part of the reason. He’s scoring the ball at 17 ppg and grabbing 12.1 rebounds, with a PER’s of 33.5 which ranks him 10th overall in the nation. Standing 6’11” I think he may be a player to watch this year.
Josh Brown (High Point University)- Brown a freshman is currently 6th in scoring in the Big South averaging 16.8 ppg , 5.6 rebs, and 2.3 blks in 22 mpg. The 6’7” freshman is off to a great start in his freshman campaign with a PER’s of 32.84 ranking him 13th nationally among leaders.