Player of the Week
Chandler Parsons, Florida
Parsons’ play prior to the New Year was marked by inconsistency and passivity. Frustrating Gator fans and basketball purists alike, he attempted double-digit field goal attempts only twice and hit double figures in rebounds just once. He’s flipped the switch on the aggression meter in recent weeks, playing like a man possessed and leading his team to the apex of the loaded SEC East at 7-2. Parsons has recorded four consecutive 10+ rebound games (15, 12, 11, 10) and eyed the rim 46 times during that stretch. In Florida’s two nail biting victories over conference stalwarts Vanderbilt and Kentucky this week, he clicked in at 17.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists, shooting 52% from the floor (12 makes) and 50% from downtown (3 makes). At 6’10 220, Parsons is eating up the glass like a man born to bang on the interior (which he’s not). He’s moved up quite a few spots on the big board from the tail end of the draft to #45.
Reginald Buckner, Mississippi
While most associate highlight reel plays with offensive ingenuity, Mr. Buckner is doing his best to alter that perception. His jaw-dropping rejections are starting to make the social media rounds, and they are bountiful. He’s currently 6th in the NCAA in shot blocks, swatting away 3.3 attempts per contest in just 23 minutes of action. Mississippi engineered a 360-degree bounce back performance this week, and Buckner’s dynamite play was the preeminent reason for the Rebels resuscitation. In an essential home victory over Kentucky he posted 12 points (6-9), 5 rebounds, 5 blocks and 3 steals. He was far from done, however, putting up 11 points (5-5), 12 rebounds and 8 blocks in a win at Arkansas. The 6’8 sophomore is still an extremely raw product, but his length and athletic prowess make him a force to be reckoned with. He’s blocked 5 or more shots eight times this season in 22 games.
Honorable Mention: Jeremy Price, Georgia- 16.5 points, 13 FT makes, 10.5 rebounds, 2 blocks.
Bruce Ellington, South Carolina
Ellington has been placed in a strenuous situation. The offensive talent around him is limited, but it’s reached the point where his "chucking" is getting out of hand. He’s connected on below 40% field goals in 7 of 8 conference games, and under 30% on four separate occasions. Since nailing 6 three’s in the conference opener, he’s made just 13 of his last 46 (28%) and his bailout attempts continue to escalate. He scored 33 points in two games this week (1 W, 1 L), but it took 34 field goal attempts and 18 three point attempts to get those points. More frighteningly, he dished out only a single assist against four turnovers. Ellington is no longer playing the role of point guard/team leader; he’s freewheeling out there. The Gamecocks have dropped 3 out of 4 and will continue to struggle as long as their PG continues to embrace the role of "shot maker" and fails to accept the role of "playmaker". Home bouts with Florida and Georgia are next up on the schedule.
Top 5 Paint Intimidators
1. Sam Muldrow, South Carolina- The 6’9 PF is averaging 3+ blocks for the second consecutive season, currently #5 in the nation at 3.5 per game.
2. Delvon Johnson, Arkansas- Late developing senior blocked under a shot per contest last season. He’s 4th in the country at 3.55 in 2010-2011.
3. Reginald Buckner, Mississippi- It’s his week (see above). Foul trouble holding him back from "terror" status.
4. Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt- The 6’11 center is swatting 2.4 shots per game during the SEC schedule and has a rejection in 20 straight games.
5. Glenn Bryant, Arkansas/John Fields, Tennessee- The block per minute rate for both players is outstanding. Bryant- 1.8 blocks in 13 minutes. Fields- 1.5 blocks in 14 minutes.
Tennessee guard Scotty Hopson missed both contests this week with a sprained left ankle. He’s currently listed is questionable for Tuesday’s road tilt at Kentucky. The Vols, not renowned for outside shooting under optimal conditions, hit 8 of 39 treys this week without Hopson in the lineup.
Kentucky needs Brandon Knight to be more judicious with the rock. They lost two games by a combined four points this week, and Knight’s 10 turnovers did not aid matters. In tight, half-court games the Wildcats lack organization and execution.
There is no denying the talent in Georgia’s starting five, but lack of depth will be their fatal flaw. Their bench contributed only 16 points in two games this week. Sherrard Brantley, the Bulldogs leading scorer off the pine, is averaging 3.8 points per night.
Entering this season Vanderbilt small forward Jeffery Taylor had never attempted 4 three pointers in a game. He attempted 4, and converted all of them, in a 78-60 win over South Carolina on Saturday. If he adds that facet consistently, look out.
Alabama racked up two more W’s to make it five straight, but even a road win over Tennessee couldn’t save their floundering RPI (96).
Mississippi State forward Renardo Sidney recorded his first collegiate double-double, scoring 16 points and hauling in 11 boards in a 1-point win at LSU.
Auburn shooting guard Earnest Ross demolished his previous career-high with 30 points in an overtime loss at Georgia. He connected on 12-18 field goals, 5-7 three’s, grabbed 7 rebounds and swiped 3 steals.