Player of the Week
Kyle Anderson, UCLA
Anderson is off to a hot start this season, contributing in all aspects of the game while out on the court for the Bruins. Anderson has been hovering around a triple-double during his first five games averaging 11.6 ppg, 9.8 rpg, and 7.8 apg. He finally turned in his first triple-double of the season last Friday when he put up 13 points, 11 assists and 12 rebounds in a win over Morehead State. Also, adding three blocks and two steals to his stat sheet total for the game. Getting to the free-throw line often was huge as he converted 6-10 chances and his final assist total (11) was his most of the season while only committing one turnover in 34 minutes of play. UCLA is on fire on offense (87.2 ppg) and Anderson is a big part of their success due to his dynamic playmaking ability.
Anderson brings a new element to the UCLA offense stepping in for departing Shabazz Muhammad, who was more of a one-dimensional player last season. The 6′ 9’’ point forward is a glue guy who has the ability to make everyone around him better. The Bruins are third in the conference shooting an impressive 53 percent from the field over the past week.
Anderson does most of his scoring around the basket, and his great ball handling skills and smart decision making makes him a tough guy to defend when taking up the ball. He is very efficient, whether it be taking it to the hole for two points or facilitating the offense giving out dimes to the Bruins spot-up shooters. He also excels on defense because of his outstanding length and effort, averaging 1.2 bpg and 1.8 spg. Anderson is shaping up to be a great all-around player for the Bruins this season.
Jordan Adams, UCLA
Adams has been tearing it up for the Bruins this season, averaging 22.2 ppg and shooting 56 percent from the field. He clearly has fully recovered from his broken foot that he suffered in the Pac-12 tournament last season. Head coach, Steve Alford’s system is allowing Adams to flourish as the Bruins main focal point of the offense and he has been excellent at reading screens and creating space for high-percentage knock-down jumpers. Adams has also been very solid on defense. He leads the conference with 3.4 spg and has been plucking guys at will leading to easy transition buckets for his team. If Adams can continue to play at this level, the Bruins will definitely contend for the conference title this season.
Jahii Carson, Arizona State
Carson is averaging 23 points over the course of the season so far, along with a .553 field goal percentage and a .550 percentage from behind the 3-point arc. He posted a career-high 40 points in the Sun Devils most recent road win over UNLV last week, again picking up a good chunk of his points (18, 6-9) from 3-point land. He also added seven assists and three rebounds in that game. Scoring 23 points in the Sun Devils win over No. 25 Marquette in the first round of the Maui Invitational tournament is another accolade worth noting for Carson this week.
Carson is a pure scorer who can score from anywhere on the court and give you solid minutes each game, he’s averaging 32 mpg. With his 3-point shooting percentage rising from .320 last season to .550 this season, its realistic to believe that Carson can lead the conference in points per-game this season.
Jordan Bachynski, Arizona State
Bachynski has become a difference maker for the Sun Devils so far this season, especially in the teams win over No. 25 Marquette in the first round of the Maui Invitational tournament where he dropped 14 points along with 11 rebounds. Adding seven blocks, with his final one being the game-clincher. He has put up six double-doubles in as many games this season and has become a dominant player down low for the Sun Devils.
Efficiency has been a key cog for Bachynski, averaging 14 points on 68 percent shooting from the field and his 11.8 rpg and 4.8 bpg are tops on his team. Playing more minutes is something he has struggled with in the past, but this season he’s averaging 29.5 mpg becoming a main contributor for his team. Arizona State has a chance to contend with their bruiser in Bachynski down low.
JT Terrell, USC
As of Thursday, Terrell has been ruled ineligible for the rest of the fall semester because of academic reasons. Coach Andy Enfield said that depending upon the results of his first semester exams, Terrell could be eligible after the fall semester ends on December 18 and his eligibility will be reviewed then.
Terrell has played in only three games for the Trojans, averaging 10 ppg. He did lead his team with 20 points in the season opener at Utah State, but was slowly becoming non-existent before being ruled ineligible for the rest of the semester. He shot poorly from the field at only 35 percent and in his last game before being ruled ineligible he ended with a 2-1-1 stat line going 0-6 from the field. It will be interesting to see how Terrell works his way back into the rotation upon reinstatement by the league.
Brandon Taylor, Utah
Taylor began the season with a bang, scoring 16 and 21 points in the first two games while shooting 57 percent. He is still averaging 10.8 ppg, which is not too bad but he hasn’t scored more than eight points since his 21 point outburst on the 15th of November. His production continues to drop each game despite averaging 27.2 mpg.
In the Utes last outing against Savannah State, Taylor only managed to score two points albeit playing 32 minutes. He failed to make a basket, shooting 0-5 from the field (0-3 3pa), and his two points came from his only free-throw attempts of the game. Taylor looked to be the second scoring option Utah needed behind Jordan Loveridge, but he has started to jack up poor shots since his hot start and his production has taken a huge hit since.
Top 5 Freshman Long Term NBA Prospects
1. Zach LaVine, UCLA
LaVine may not have the same hype as Aaron Gordon, but his long term potential is even greater. He is a world-class athlete. He’s strong, very explosive and quick while handling the ball and that is what allows him to get to the basket and finish strong around the rim. So far this season, LaVine is averaging 12.2 ppg on 57 percent shooting to go along with 1.2 spg. Most of his points come from shaking a defender and driving to the whole for an electrifying dunk, but LaVine also knows when to pull up from behind the arc, averaging a .471 field-goal percentage from three.
2. Aaron Gordon, Arizona
Gordon is a high-flying power forward who also has the intangibles to play small forward at the collegiate level. The slasher is currently averaging 13.0 ppg and 9.0 rpg, as well as contributing on defense averaging 1.8 bpg. His game is exceptional around the basket and on any possession you can catch him flying toward the rim catching a pass from a teammate for a rim-rattling alley-oop slam. Gordon may not be the most talented freshman in the conference, but his size (6-9, 225) and game-changing ability makes him a brutal matchup for Pac-12 opponents.
3. Jabari Bird, California
Bird has been a big-time scorer for the Golden Bears so far this season. Cal was in desperate need of a scorer beside Justin Cobbs and Bird has proven to be that guy. He’s averaging 14.3 ppg, knocking down shots all over the court. Bird is an outstanding perimeter shooter (.519 3P%) that also does a great job of picking up fouls and getting free-throw attempts. And then when he makes it to line he converts, shooting 84 percent. Bird’s lights-out 3-point shooting will be needed all season in a conference with many strong perimeter shooters.
4. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona
Hollis-Jefferson is a great addition to the Wildcat squad as another player for the team that can come into the game off the bench and make major contributions on offense and defense. He is off to a good start this season, averaging 10.0 ppg on 68 percent shooting and playing great defense. Hollis-Jefferson’s stats really don’t tell the full story (0.8 bpg and 0.8 spg) but he is all over the block on defense, playing lockdown defense on his own man and denying access to whoever dares to enter the paint.
5. Nigel Williams-Goss, Washington
Williams-Goss has been a solid contributor in 2013 for the Huskies, averaging 13.3 ppg and five assists per game. His playmaking ability has really improved the perimeter for Washington along with returning guard C.J. Wilcox. Williams-Goss is aggressive with the ball in his hands; he’s currently shooting 46 percent from the field and gets to the stripe often because of his aggressive style of play while providing energy on defense averaging 1.7 spg.