Player of the Week
Phil Pressey – Missouri
Pressey has arguably been the best player in the SEC during non-conference play. He is averaging more than 13 points and 7 assists on the season thus far while leading his team to an 11-2 record and a top 15 ranking. Against UCLA he dished out a career high 19 assists to go along with 19 points in a losing effort. Then, a week later against Bucknell he poured in 26 points while dishing out 5 assists. He has been on a tear recently with double digit assist games in two of his last three. Pressey has begun to shoulder more of the offensive load lately. With that comes more shots (63 in his last three games) which has led to a significant decrease in his shooting percentage (36.1%). He will need to be a more efficient scorer as the competition gets tougher heading into conference play as well as making sure he keeps his teammates involved which he has done thus far.
Marshall Henderson – Ole Miss
Henderson’s road to Oxford has been a windy one with plenty of ups and downs but he seems to have finally found a home with the Rebels after rather unsuccessful stints with Utah and Texas Tech. He led his team to a JUCO National Championship a season ago that saw him win the JUCO Player of the Year award. Now, he is starting for an Ole Miss squad that is 11-2 and sitting atop the SEC as we head into conference play. He has scored in double figures in all but one game this season and is in the top 50 in the nation in scoring at just over 18 points per game. Not only is he their go-to player but he has given the Rebels a legitimate perimeter scoring threat to go along with Reginald Buckner and Murphy Holloway on the inside. He will be a player to watch in the coming weeks as this team tries to sustain their early season success.
Alex Poythress – Kentucky
Poythress is one of the more talented players in the country but he has struggled lately. He struggled so badly that Coach Cal took him out of the starting lineup for against Louisville where he played a season low 15 minutes. Early in the season he was lighting it up, albeit against inferior competition. He had a run of 4 straight 20 point performances at one time that had scouts looking at him as an early lotto pick. His minutes have decreased during his slump to less than 20 per game over his last three and his coach called him out for not hustling on multiple occasions. This Wildcat team already lacks depth on the wing and needs Poythress to play like he was early in the season. Questions about a player’s motor and hustle are never good when evaluating their draft stock and Poythress could be costing himself thousands of dollars with each sub par performance.
Top 5 Incoming Recruiting Classes
John Calipari and #1 recruiting classes have become synonymous with one another. He has hauled in the #1 recruiting class three out of the last four years and has already locked up the top class for this year. He has six total players in the class of 2013, all of which are in the top 150 with five of them being in the top 20 per Rivals.com. The class is headlined by the Harrison Twins (Aaron and Andrew) who are the nation’s top SG and PG respectively. Add in the top center along with another five star SG and two top forwards and this class is second to none. The scary part is that they may not even be done.
It is more about quality than quantity for Billy Donovan’s class. He has two top ten players on board for next year’s class. Walker is a combo forward with a lot of upside and Hill is an extremely quick point guard with exceptional ball skills. Both players are among the best at their respective positions and were highly sought after by most of the elite programs in the country. With transfers Dorian Finney-Smith (Virginia Tech) and Damontre Harris (South Carolina) set to join the team next season, this class should remain at the #2 spot no matter what dominos fall during the late signing period.
Johnny Jones didn’t waste any time in putting together one of the best classes the school has ever seen. He convinced local product Jarell Martin to stay home and then hit the road and picked up Mickey, a standout from Texas and then went to Georgia to pick up Quarterman. All three players are top 100 recruits that should help put LSU back on the map after a few years of less than stellar recruiting classes. All three should make an immediate impact once they arrive on campus.
With Marshawn Powell set to only have one more season of eligibility after this one, the Razorbacks will be in desperate need of size up front in the coming years. Coach Anderson didn’t waste any time in bringing in two of the top centers in the class to shore up the front court for the next few seasons. Portis and Kingsley complement each other well as one is more of a scorer (Portis) and the other a rebounder and defender (Kingsley). Anderson brought in some stellar classes at Missouri and is doing more of the same in his first few seasons with the Razorbacks.
With the Tigers set to lose Lawrence Bowers, Alex Oriakhi and Phil Pressey after this season, there will be some holes to fill on the roster next season. Enter Williams, Clark and Jones who will step right in and fill the roles left by the departing upper classmen. Williams is a versatile player that could easily fill the hole that Bowers leaves and Clark is a quick lead guard that would help lessen the blow of Pressey’s departure if he decided to come out early.