Player of the Week
Anthony Davis, Kentucky
Marist’s meager front line is hardly a veritable measuring stick, but Davis “looked the part” in his first taste of D1 hoops. Limited to 23 minutes in a 50-point second-half thrashing, he scored 23 points on 10/13 field goals (3/3 FT) with 10 rebounds, 5 blocks and 3 assists. His advanced skill level, game changing defensive presence and agility at 6’10 continue to astound. A more legitimate test will come Tuesday when they clash with Kansas, albeit a diminished version, in the backend of a doubleheader at Madison Square Garden. Mr. Davis, welcome to the big stage.
Trae Golden, Tennessee
In his handful of minutes as a Freshman, Trae Golden was expected to run the team and distribute the rock (3 points on 29% shooting) while the scoring burden fell elsewhere. With much of that scoring punch having exited the program, Golden orchestrated an offensive eruption in his first game as a Sophomore. He poured in 29 points in 27 minutes versus UNCG, connecting on 10/14 field goals, 5 of 9 three-pointers and 4/5 free throws. The powerful lead guard wasn’t done, dishing out 9 assists and grabbing 5 rebounds for good measure (2 steals and 1 block). His poor shooting numbers in 2010-2011 were an obvious aberration and it’s encouraging to see him splash the nets.
Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt
The mystery that is Jeffery Taylor never seizes to boggle the mind. Taylor looked phenomenal in the Friday night opener versus Oregon, overmatching the Ducks with his athletic ability en route to 21 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals. But true to form with his up and down collegiate career, he was invisible in a shocking home defeat at the hands of Cleveland State (despite the absence of Ezeli). Taylor scored 9 points on a just 8 field goal attempts, turning the rock over six times against the Vikings pressure style. Passivity, poor ball handling and lack of range continue to obstruct his rise to elite status.
Top 5 (Very) Early Breakout Candidates
1. Jordan McRae, Tennessee- The former top 40 recruit struggled to hit the court as a Freshman, but the talented scorer could be in store for big things under the new regime. A bouncy 6’6 G/F with deep range, McRae put up 14 points in the opener on 4/5 three-pointers.
2. Will Yeguete, Florida- The 6’7 rebounding machine averaged 6.2 points and 5.6 rebounds for the French U20 national team this summer, and showed well in the Gators one-sided opener. Yeguete scored 7 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in 15 minutes of action.
3. Rob Chubb, Auburn- Chubb continues to improve and add strength to his 6’10 frame. He increased his scoring average by over 6 PPG from his Freshman to Sophomore season, and his rebounding average by over 2 boards per. He lit it up for 21 points on 9/12 field goals in the opener with 7 rebounds (4 offensive).
4. Rickey Scott, Arkansas- While the strong combo guard made impactful contributions as a Frosh, Scott will embrace his role as a starter in 2011-2012 (at least in the early going). His 11 point, 7 rebound, 2 assist, 2 steal effort in the opener was impressive. However, don’t count on B.J. Young to be mired in 14 minute territory as the season moves forward.
5. Lakeem Jackson, South Carolina- Jackson doesn’t quite fall under the same category as the players mentioned above. He’s been a major piece for the Gamecocks since arriving on campus, but the jack off all trades point/forward will handle lead guard responsibilities until Bruce Ellington returns. Jackson grabbed 10 rebounds, assisted on 5 buckets (0 turnovers) and swiped 3 steals. As per usual, he didn’t even eye the hoop from beyond five feet.
– Mike Rosario scored 19 points during his Gator debut in 20 minutes of court time. He finished second on the team in field goal attempts with 12, and converted on 5/8 from long range.
– South Carolina’s freshman duo of Anthony Gill and Brenton Williams combined for 27 points on 11/15 shooting in their intro to college hoops. After shooting under 40% as a team last season, the Gamecocks shot 51% in he opener.
– Forward Murphy Holloway notched 17 rebounds in his first game back with Ole Miss. The Rebels held LA Monroe to 38 points (11 in the 1st half) on 29% field goals.
– Arnett Moultrie has averaged 16.3 points and 12.7 rebounds through three games. However, he did shoot 2/13 with 4 turnovers in a home defeat versus under publicized Akron. Renardo Sidney missed Saturday’s game against South Alabama with a groin injury and is being re-evaluated daily.