Player of the Week
Justin Hamilton, LSU
A new face emerges at the top of the page, as the Tigers big man put forth two dynamic efforts against stellar competition. In two games versus Virginia and Mississippi, Hamilton averaged 22 points on 18/26 shooting (69%), 12.5 rebounds (5 offensive), 3 blocks and 1.5 steals. His 16-rebound explosion on Saturday against Ole Miss was a career-high, and the Rebels don’t lack for size on the frontline.The 6’11 260 pounder was utilized in a more finesse role during his two seasons in Ames, but he’s thriving at LSU mixing it up on the interior. Hamilton has been essential to the Tigers 11-4 (1-0) start. Games at Alabama and at Arkansas this week will assuredly test his valor.. and foot speed.
John Jenkins, Vanderbilt
The conference’s leading scorer at 20.3 PPG, Jenkins hit 10 of 18 treys in two games this week and 21 of 35 over a four-game stretch. The good news is he’s shooting 46% on the year on nearly 9 attempts per game. The bad news is his overt reliance on the three-point shot is back with a vengeance. In that same four-pack of games he’s attempted just 13 two’s and 5 free throws. A leopard can’t change his spots. His specialty has earned him a spot at #25 in our 2012 mock.
Kenny Gabriel, Auburn
Gabriel is making ignoring his accolades an impossibility, putting up wild numbers week after week. The electric 6’8 forward recorded the first triple-double in Auburn history, scoring 24 points (11/13 FG), notching 13 boards and swatting 10 shots versus Bethune Cookman. He also added 2 three’s, 3 assists and 4 steals. He continued his statistical barrage at Florida State with 3 blocks and 2 steals, albeit in a 29-point defeat. The senior has the look of a developmental league project.
Doron Lamb, Kentucky
Perhaps "out of the mix" would be a more approrpiate classification for Lamb’s current play. He’s attempted only 33 shots over his last five games (6.6 per), made 4 of 14 three-pointers and his scoring average is down almost 5 points (14.6 to 10). There are six very capable hands to feed on the Wildcats, and right now Lamb isn’t getting the looks. His draft stock continues to be limited by these stretches of passivity and willingness to relegate the scoring burden onto others.
Top 5 On-Ball Defensive Pests
1. Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt- All around best defensive player in the conference. Taylor pressures the opponent’s primary weapon, and at 6’7 is capable of defending 4 spots. He had eight multi-steal games is averaging 1.7 SPG.
2. Trevor Releford, Alabama- Releford is the engine to Bama’s pressure style. The on-ball nightmare has 5 consecutive multi-swipe games and is also picking up 1.7 steals per contest.
3. Anthony Hickey, LSU- The 5’10 freshman is a relentless bundle of energy on both ends of the floor, particularly on D. He owns the SEC lead and is tied for 17th in the nation with 2.5 SPG. Hickey epitomizes LSU’s style of play.
4. Mardracus Wade, Arkansas- The overlooked sophomore is Arkansas’ best perimeter defender, and is an ideal fit for Mike Anderson’s 40 minutes of hell. He’s averaging 1.5 SPG in 27 minutes. (FYI: he’s also shooting 51% FG and 49% 3PT)
5. Dee Bost, Mississippi State- Bost is a thief, hunting easy buckets heading the other direction. He’s second in the conference at 2.3 SPG, but his risk taking can be exploited.
-Arkansas freshman BJ Young scored 24 points on 10/13 FG in 23 minutes of court time in a 98-point outburst versus Mississippi State. Hey coach- 23 minutes…? On the other hand, why tinker with a winning formula.
– While Georgia won’t procure many wins in SEC play, don’t let that take away from the exploits of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The freshman can flat out score (22 vs. Alabama) and is an excellent rebounding guard (5.1 RPG). It will be fun to watch his compete with the backcourts of Florida (10th) and Vanderbilt (14th)this week.
– JaMychal Green is back, but rusty. Alabama’s top offensive threat committed 9 turnovers against Georgia in his second game since returning from a shoulder injury.
– LSU prized freshman Johnny O'Bryant will be out indefinitely after breaking his hand in practice. His performance has been inconsistent (7.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG), but his size will be sorely missed against the beasts of the conference.