Player of the Week
Alex Poythress – Kentucky
After a so-so performance against Maryland in the season opener, Poythress found his groove against Duke and Lafayette. The freshman was the best player on the court for Kentucky in both games scoring in a number of ways. He averaged 21 points in the two games while shooting a ridiculous 82% from the field. In the game against Duke, Poythress recognized that he had a smaller defender on him and continually went to the block and attacked the smaller defender. That kind of recognition isn’t normal for a freshman. He will have to shoulder a large portion of the scoring load this season, especially with Ryan Harrow still out.
Alabama Crimson Tide – That #6 ranking in the SEC looks a bit low after the first two weeks of the season. Alabama is 4-0 with solid wins against Oregon State and Villanova. The Tide won the 2K Sports Classic with Trevor Releford taking home the MVP trophy. The three ball is working for this team early and especially during the Championship as they connected on 9 of 15 from long range. This team is talented and very well-coached and looks like they will make some serious noise in the SEC. They have a big road game against Cincinnati in early December that will tell us a lot about this team.
Georgia Bulldogs – After coming into the season with a little big of optimism that this might be the year they get back to the NCAA Tournament, the Bulldogs have stumbled out of the gate with home losses to Youngstown State and Southern Miss. The loss to Indiana was expected but the other two won’t look good come March. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been o.k. so far but the rest of his team must not have gotten the memo that this was supposed to be a bounce back year.
Top 5 Upper Classmen
Phil Pressey – Missouri
If Pessey was two inches taller, he would be talked about as a first round pick. He has great handles and is one of the quickest guards in the country but he is under 6 feet which doesn’t bode well in the NBA unless you have Nate Robinson type defense and explosiveness. He isn’t the best passer and has more of a scoring mentality but that’s just nit-picking. This is finally his team and thus far he hasn’t disappointed. Missouri is 3-0 and looking every bit as talented as they were a season ago.
Patrick Young – Florida
Young is a very good player. He has an NBA ready body and all of the tools to be successful. But the last two seasons and for the first few games of this season Young’s outlook is still largely about potential. He could be one of the best players in the country if he would only use his frame and skill set to take over games. He seems more comfortable in that secondary role, which is fine, but it will cost him when scouts look at tape come draft time.
Trevor Releford – Alabama
Releford is arguably the best on a team full of talented guards. He is the team’s leader and go-to player. He took over the 2K Sports Classic on his way to MVP honors. He averaged 19.5 points per game while shooting 70% from the field and and over 80% from distance. He was won of the best players in the tournament and really came up big when it mattered most. Coach Anthony Grant has to be impressed with the way his junior guard has played so far this season.
Kenny Boynton – Florida
Boynton is going to have to be "the guy" for this Florida team. While this team is loaded with talent from top to bottom, Boynton is far and away the most experienced player and one who has had success ever since he put on a Gator uniform. He has averaged 14 points or more in every season since he stepped on campus and has a shot to eclipse 2,000 points for his career and leave Gainesville as the school’s all-time leading scorer.
Marshawn Powell – Arkansas
Powell missed all of last season with an injury but it hasn’t taken him long to establish himself as one of the league’s better forwards. He is off to a fast start averaging 15 points per game for the Razorbacks as they are off to a 2-0 start. Outside of Fayetteville, you won’t find many people who know his name but Powell has the opportunity to make a name for himself for a Razorback team without a lot of expectations.