Player of the Week
Trae Young – Oklahoma
Another week, another Player of the Week for Trae "Young Curry". Young continued his rampage with 31 points and 12 assists against Northwestern and 39 points and 14 assists against #10 TCU. Young’s back to back 30+ point and 10+ assist performances made him the first player to achieve that feat in 20 seasons. The freshman point guard continues to lead the NCAA in both points and assists per game in what is a remarkable season.
The most impressive thing about Young is that he seemingly never has an off night. Not including the first two games of his career, he has never had less than 25 points and never less than 5 assists. The Norman native is currently riding a hot streak, even for his standards, posting four straight double-doubles. Over those four games he is averaging 31.25 points and 14.5 assists per contest.
Young has proven he is a threat as soon as he crosses half court, he has seemingly limitless range which draws defenders out past the arc which opens up driving lanes that he takes full advantage of. Young has been the centerpiece of a red-hot Oklahoma team that has drawn an AP Top-10 ranking and shows no plan on slowing down.
Mohamed Bamba – Texas
Freshman phenom, Mo Bamba has started showing the improvement many expected him to make as the season progresses. Bamba has posted three straight double-doubles with stat lines of 17-10, 22-15, and 10-16. It’s promising to see Bamba become more confident on offense despite his jumper showing a lot to be desired.
Bamba has also been consistently a force on defense which may be the highlight of his past few games. Bamba’s 7’9” wingspan helped him record 8 blocks against Kansas as well as 6 blocks and 4 blocks against Alabama and Iowa State, respectively. The 7-footer is second in the nation for blocks per game and his physical traits and promise will keep him as a consensus Top-10 pick in the draft.
Dean Wade – Kansas State
It’s about time Kansas State gets some love on this blog. The Wildcats have been surprisingly successful this season despite lacking a star player. It seems like every game someone new is the teams leading scorer but Dean Wade might be the team’s best player. The 6’10” forward had an offensive explosion against Iowa State with 34 points on 13-16 shooting including 6-8 from three.
Wade is the team’s leading scorer and leading rebounder. Wade followed up his best game of the season with a respectable 17 points and 10 rebounds against West Virginia. Wade having two of his better games against two of their better opponents is promising for Kansas State fans who are looking for a defined leader for the team.
The Big 12 has been absurd in terms of overall success. Iowa State unfortunately is at the bottom of the conference standings with a 9-4 record including 0-2 in conference play. The Cyclones started off conference play with games against Kansas State and Texas and dropped both of those games. Starting off 0-2 in conference play is never a good way to start off and could be foreshadowing how the season will play out.
The Iowa State season has been up and down, losing both of their first two games, followed by a 9-game win streak, and now losing two in a row again. The Cyclones may be a streaky team, but with players like Nick Weiler Babb and Lindell Wigginton they have the potential to be a competitive team, but also the potential to be a mess.
Top Five Takeaways From Non-Conference Play
1. Trae Young can ball.
Trae Young has been the story of college basketball this season, already being compared to Steph Curry by experts and even people like Bill Simmons saying Young is the best freshman guard he has ever seen. Young has been lighting up every team and every defender he’s faced earning himself national recognition as an elite scorer and playmaker.
Young leads the nation in PPG and APG while being responsible for 52.6 points per game, which would break the current record of 51.8 points per game held by “Pistol” Pete Maravich. Already in his young career he has put up historic numbers and has shown absolutely no sign of letting up anytime soon. Trae Young is a problem for opposing NCAA teams.
2. Kansas is beatable.
Kansas is in the midst of a dominating Big 12 run, winning 13 straight regular season titles. Kansas is probably still the favorite the win it again this season but it will be easy by no means. The Big 12 has many potential winners this year including West Virginia, Oklahoma, TCU, Baylor, and Texas Tech.
Kansas has shown weaknesses this season by losing back-to-back games against Washington and Arizona State. Kansas can light it up from behind the arc, which is where they get a lot of their offense, meaning if they have an off night, it could mean trouble. Kansas has the talent to win for sure, but whether or not they actually do it is up in the air.
3. The Big 12 is loaded.
Kind of building off of Kansas being beatable, it speaks to how deep the Big 12 is this season. Entering conference play, the Big 12 was the only conference to have every team have at least 9 wins. West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kansas are all ranked inside the AP Top-10. TCU and Texas Tech are both ranked in the Top-20, Baylor is the first team out of the rankings and Texas is also receiving votes to be ranked.
Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Iowa State are the three teams left out and those are 10 and 9-win teams! Oklahoma State ahs beaten FSU, Kansas State played ASU down to the final seconds and even Iowa State is a respectable team in the NCAA. Every conference game will be meaningful in a tight-knit conference that will come down the wire.
4. Mohamed Bamba is what we thought he was.
Potential, potential, potential is what we heard about Mo Bamba coming into the season. Nobody was saying he was the most polished offensive talent or the most surefire prospect. There was work to be done and that’s what we’re seeing.
Bamba has traits that can’t be taught. The kid is 7-feet tall with a 7’9” wingspan which leaves scouts drooling. He has anticipation on the defensive end that helps him block shots at a high rate. He does however need work on his offensive game. Bamba is a raw talent who oozes potential. Depending on how he refines his game, he could be anywhere Anthony Davis to Manute Bol in terms of NBA production.
5. Big 12 has specialists.
When you look at the national leaders for basically every major stat category, one thing is apparent, the Big 12 is everywhere. Obviously, Trae Young of Oklahoma is #1 in PPG and APG. Defensively, Jevon Carter of West Virginia is #1 in steals per game and Mo Bamba of Texas is #2 in blocks per game. Udoka Azubuike is #3 in FG% which leaves rebounds per game as the only major statistic the Big 12 doesn’t have a Top-5 player in.
Freshman SpotlightTeddy Allen
Despite averaging just 12 minutes a game, Teddy Allen is averaging 9.0 points per game, good for 4th on the team. The freshman wing has been hot as of late. In three of his last four games he has been above 15 points with the only game not with 15, he played just 7 minutes.
Over those three games Allen is averaging over 20 points per game. The 6’5” forward has had more points than minutes played on three occasions this season proving he has the ability to get the hot hand quickly. He has been the team’s leading scorer in 3 of their last 4 games and has been increasingly involved in the team’s offense. Allen could be a big part of WVU’s success this season.