Player of the Week
Jon Horford – Florida
Horford may not be the "sexy" pick for POW honors especially since his Gator team has started the season 2-1 with a heartbreaking loss to Miami last Monday, but his contributions to a Florida team that has struggled to find an identity on both sides of the ball so far are definitely worthy. Horford, a 5th year transfer from Michigan, wasn’t supposed to be a guy that Billy Donovan was going to rely on. He was going to be a "glue guy" and a guy that did all the little things that helped this team win. Early on he looks like a completely different player than he did during his time with the Wolverines and his improvement and increased aggressiveness early on will pay dividends late in the season as his confidence will continue to rise. He was Florida’s best all around player against Miami and without his contributions, it would have been ugly. They still ended up losing on Angel Hernandez‘s heroics late in the game but I’m sure Donovan will take the loss if it ends up being a breakout game for Horford.
Dakari Johnson – Kentucky
Four. The number of games that Johnson scored in double figures last season. One. The number of games Johnson hauled in double figure rebounds last season. Through just five games this season, he has tied and surpassed both of those numbers from last season. He’s scored in double figures in four of five, has two double digit rebound games and should have had at least one more double digit rebounding game had it not been for a 50+ point blowout to Montana State on Sunday where he played a season low 17 minutes. He looks so much more comfortable when he’s on the floor this season. He’s trimmed down and is so much more active on both sides of the ball. His numbers wont’ jump out at you as he’s only average 10.8 points and 8.4 rebounds but considering all of the talent around him and his lack of consistent minutes due to the strange platoon system implemented by Coach Cal, he’s definitely an early season candidate for All-SEC honors. Johnson should be the go-to guy in Kentucky’s second unit and he’ll push Cauley-Stein for minutes with the first unit.
Jarell Martin – LSU
To be blunt, LSU’s success is completely dependent on Martin being in the conversation for SEC POY. The Tigers have some other nice pieces but none with the skill set and overall game of Martin. He said before the season that he knew that he had to become this team’s leader and he’s playing like it through the first five games of the season. He has an inside outside game and can score the ball with ease in the lane. He’s got good footwork in the post and has an NBA body but he lacks the range that you want from a four man and still needs to work on his jump shot and ball handling before he can get into that elite category. He’s well on his way and now with Johnny O'Bryant gone, he will be this team’s go-to player. He has responded early on but he’s playing a lot of minutes against teams with lesser talent which isn’t a good sign as his team hasn’t been able to put teams away early.
Demetrius Henry – South Carolina
Henry has really struggled for the Gamecocks this season and the team has struggled right along with him. He can’t seem to stay on the floor long enough to get into any sort of rhythm. He’s in foul trouble early and often which is something that he struggled with a season ago. He’s averaging four fouls per game through his first five and has only registered double figures in one of those games. He’s on a guard oriented team and will often have to defer to the likes of Sindarious Thornwell, Tyrone Johnson and Michael Carrera but he needs to assert himself more while also defending without fouling which is something that young bigs struggle to do. He’s still a sophomore and has plenty of room to grow but this team, to be successful, needs him to be more of a force in the paint. And to do that, he has to stay on the floor.
Top 5 PG’s
1. Tyler Ulis – Kentucky
Quick point guard with an ability to get into the lane and make plays for himself and others. He’s undersized but makes up for it with his quickness and ability to stay in front of defenders. He’s got a good jump shot and is great with the ball in his hands. Don’t be surprised if Coach Cal chooses to go to Ulis over the Harrison twins when it comes to bringing the ball up late in close games.
2. Andrew Harrison – Kentucky
Andrew played well down the stretch last season and his decision to come back to school was a good one. He’s just not ready for the next level just yet. He still doesn’t have the consistent jump shot needed for a point guard at the next level but he’s got the length, ball handling and defensive ability to handle the position once he puts his mind to it.
3. Kasey Hill – Florida
Hill has really struggled so far this season but there’s no doubt he has what it takes to become an elite PG in the SEC. He seems to be pressing after taking over for Scottie Wilbekin who was an unbelievable floor general for the Gators the past two seasons. Hill needs to take a step back and play his game. He’s forcing shots, forcing passes and just really doesn’t look good thus far.
4. Alex Robinson – Texas A&M
Robinson is a freshman who will have to show out for the Aggies to be good this season. He’s going to take his lumps early, as most freshmen point guards do, but it will pay off down the road. He’s physically gifted and has outstanding ball skills. He still needs to work on his jump shot as he just doesn’t have a consistent stroke at this point but as he grows and matures the sky is the limit.
5. Wes Clark – Missouri
The Tigers aren’t going to have a lot of expectations this season and that will bode well for their young roster, including Clark. He’s taking over for the departed Jordan Clarkson who is now with the Lakers and will have to be every bit as good as Clarkson was if the Tigers want to get back to the NCAAT. He spaces the floor well and sets up teammates but he’s still young and is prone to mistakes in decision making.
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