Philly's Finest

Player of the Week

Rysheed Jordan - No. 20 St. John’s (G, So., 6-4, 185, Philadelphia, Pa.)

Rysheed JordanRysheed JordanAfter three games in which he struggled to find a rhythm in his new role off the bench, Jordan had a breakthrough. In St. John’s 74-53 win over Fordham, he led all scorers as he tied his career-high in points with 24. The most encouraging sign was that he shot 9-for-12 (75 percent) from the field, 3-for-5 (60 percent) from downtown and made all three of his free throw attempts. Jordan is sometimes known for his poor shot selection and as player who forces difficult shots. However, he looked poised and in control throughout his 29 minutes of game action against Fordham. The sophomore was in a groove, giving the Madison Square Garden crowd two highlight reel dunks and even made a behind-the-back pass to center Chris Obekpa for a two-handed dunk on a fastbreak in the first half. Jordan added three rebounds, two assists and a team-high four steals. His 24 points were also a game-high.

Who’s Hot?

Josh Hart - No. 7 Villanova (G, So., 6-5, 205, Silver Spring, Md.)

Hart came off the bench to score 20 points, tied for a team-high, for the No. 7 Wildcats in their 85-62 route of Temple. He had an efficient night shooting ball, as he started off the game by making his first six shots from the field and showed his ability to space the floor by shooting 3-for-3 from long range. Overall, the sophomore shot 85 percent in the game and knocked down all five of his free throw attempts. He also contributed seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block. He led the team in rebounds, assists and steals. Hart ignited the Wildcats’ offense in the first half, as he entered the game and quickly drained a three-pointer. He assisted on another on the Wildcats' following possession to make the score 12-4 just seven minutes into the game. Although he’s not the best athlete, he makes up for it with a tremendous motor, which was on display midway through the opening period. After a blocked shot, Hart grabbed the rebound on one bounce and proceeded up the court in transition, going all the way for a three-point play to give the Wildcats a 30-21 lead. In the second half, he continued his hot shooting. He hit a three-pointer at the 12:20 mark during a 13-6 Villanova run that extended the lead to 56-39.

Luke Fischer - Marquette (C, So., 6-11, 245, Germantown, Wis.)

The 6-foot-11 sophomore center made his debut for the Golden Eagles in their 78-71 win over Arizona State. Fischer shined, totaling 19 points on 9-for-11 shooting (81 percent), nine rebounds and five blocked shots, all of which were career highs. The former Wisconsin Mr. Basketball transferred from Indiana last season and hadn’t played in a game since scoring 10 points in 19 minutes against Kennesaw St. on Dec. 22, 2013. He played in 13 games for the Hoosiers last season. NCAA transfer rules required Fischer to sit out until after the fall semester. After losing the ball on his first offensive touch, he settled down and began to make his presence felt on both ends of the floor. He used his long and athletic frame to grab rebounds and score with his back to the basket after entering the game 2 ½ minutes into the first half. He also stepped outside of the box and hit a few jump shots that were around 15 feet from the basket. His nine rebounds and five blocks were team highs.

Myke Henry - DePaul (F, Jr., 6-6, 226, Chicago, Ill.)

The Blue Demons have lost two straight games, but Henry has played well in his own right. Henry scored a game-high 22 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field, 4-for-5 shooting from the three-point line and 2-for-2 shooting from the free throw line in an 81-68 loss to George Washington. He added six rebounds, three blocks, two assists and one steal. At 6-foot-6, Henry made a strong impact on the defensive end, as the number of rebounds and block shots he accumulated were team-highs. In the team’s 78-72 loss to Illinois St., the junior forward scored 12 points on 50 percent shooting from the field. Foul trouble limited his production, but he managed to grab seven rebounds, dished out three assists and came up with one steal in 26 minutes. Through both games, he averaged 17.0 points on just under 60 percent shooting, including 71 percent from the beyond the arc, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.0 steals.

DAngelo Harrison - No. 24 St. John’s (G, Sr., 6-4, 204, Missouri City, Tx.)

Harrison was a late addition to this list, but a deserving one. The senior guard took home Big East Player of the Week honors for the second straight time. He’s been on a roll as of late, averaging 24.0 points on 57 percent shooting in his last three games. On Sunday against Fordham, Harrison dropped 22 points on 8-for-12 shooting.

Who’s Not?

DVauntes Smith Rivera - Georgetown (G, Jr., 6-3, 214, Indianapolis, Ind.)

The preseason All-Big East First Team selection has gone cold shooting the ball in Georgetown’s last two games. He didn’t contribute much offensively in the Hoyas’ 76-49 blowout win over Radford, scoring nine points on 1-for-9 shooting. He hit one shot from downtown, but that was out of five attempts. The junior guard is a below-the-rim player. He was able to get to the rim a few times using his strong build and 214-pound frame, but struggled to finish around the basket, which is a knock on him. He finished the night with four rebounds, five assists and two steals. His 1-for-9 shooting night against Radford came on the heels of a 3-for-15 effort in a five-point loss to Kansas, in which he scored 10 points. Smith-Rivera has been a streaky shooter so far this season. He’s only shooting 38 percent from the field and 27 percent from the long range, but he leads the team in scoring with 13.3 points per game. As one of the team’s best players, if not the best, he’ll need to develop more consistency in his shot as the Hoyas enter conference play.

Tyler Harris - Providence (F, Jr., 6-9, 220, Dix Hills, Ny.)

Harris is considered one of the best prospects in the Big East. He has had a solid season thus far, averaging 12.1 points while shooting 41 percent, a team-high 5.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists. However, he turned in his worst performance of the season in the Friars’ 79-61 win over Stony Brook. The junior forward scored just four points on 1-for-9 shooting in the win. That won’t cut it for a perimeter-oriented player on most nights. A good amount of the lefty’s offense comes from jump shots, as his lack of explosiveness and athleticism makes it hard for him to consistently get into the lane and finish at the rim through contact. However, his height is an advantage on the perimeter in regards to being able to get shots off over smaller defenders almost any time he wants. Harris just needs to become more reliable. He’s shooting just 32 percent from the three-point line this season.

Freshmen Play (LJ Peak, Isaac Copeland, Trevon Bluiett, Isaiah Whitehead)

The play of some of the top freshmen in the conference has been underwhelming this week. Maybe the freshmen are having a tough time with balancing schoolwork and finals with their basketball schedules. L.J. Peak of the Georgetown Hoyas scored six points on 2-for-8 shooting, including going 0-for-3 from long range in the team’s win over Radford. He grabbed just two rebounds. His teammate, Isaac Copeland, hasn’t really come into his own yet. The freshman was expected to come in and contribute immediately for the Hoyas. He’s averaging just 5.4 points and 1.3 rebounds on the season. Against Radford, he shot 2-for-3 for six points, but didn’t make an impact in any other areas of the game. Bluiett committed five fouls in Xavier’s win against Missouri, which could be the reason why he shot 2-for-6 for eight points. His rhythm looked a bit off and he never found his comfort zone in the game. Whitehead is the Big East’s Rookie of the Week for the second straight week. He was dominant in Seton Hall’s lost to Wichita St. last Tuesday with 23 points on 53 percent shooting. He ended the week with an off shooting performance though, scoring five points on 2-for-11 shooting in a win against St. Peter’s on Sunday. Whitehead did pull down a career-high eight rebounds and dished out three assists.

Top Five Big East Sophomores (who have played the best) So Far

Kris Dunn - Providence (G, So., 6-3, 205, New London, Ct.)

Season Averages: 12.8 PTS, 5.2 REB, 6.0 AST, 0.3 BLK, 2.7 STL

Dunn has showed a lot of improvement in his game this season and is quietly becoming on the best players in the conference. He’s a redshirt sophomore after a pair of injuries to the same shoulder limited him to only 29 games in his first two years with the Friars. The injuries are seemingly a thing in the past now, even though he did miss the team’s game against Yale with an ankle injury in November. Dunn has been key to Providence’s 8-3 start. He’s second on the team in scoring behind senior LaDontae Henton, but first in assists and steals. He leads the conference in assists and steals. Dunn has scored in double-figures in seven of the 10 games he has played in, including three games in which he scored over 20 points. His best scoring outing came in a nine-point loss to Boston College, when he scored 24 points on 10-for-13 shooting. He dished out 14 assists against Navy, which is tops in the conference for most assists in a single game this season. The sophomore does have some trouble with turnovers. He leads the conference with the most turnovers in a single game after committing 10 against Kentucky.

Rysheed Jordan - No. 20 St. John’s (G, So., 6-4, 185, Philadelphia, Pa.)

Season Averages: 15.4 PTS, 4.3 REB, 3.3 AST, 0.2 BLK, 2.1 STL

Jordan faced several off the court challenges in his freshman year with the Johnnies. This season, his biggest challenge has come on the court. After starting the first five games of the season, he has played the last four off the bench as the team’s sixth man. His shooting numbers had taken a hit since the transition, but his most recent outing (detailed above in the ‘Who’s Hot?’ section) has moved him back to 50 percent shooting over his last four games. St. John’s fanbase hopes that he can succeed consistently in his new role, or possibly play his way back into the starting the lineup. Since he's started coming off the bench, he has averaged 28 minutes per game, just two minutes under his season average of 30.2. His 15.4 points and 2.1 steals per game averages lead all sophomores in the conference. He ranks sixth in the conference in scoring and fourth in steals.

Tommy Hamilton IV - DePaul (C, So., 6-11, 255, Chicago, Ill.)

Season Averages: 13.6 PTS, 7.3 REB, 1.3 AST, 1.7 BLK, 1.0 STL

Hamilton’s numbers have taken a jump this season in almost every statistical category compared to last season. The sophomore is scoring six more points per game, grabbing three more rebounds and is shooting 10 percent better than he did as a freshman. His numbers in assists, blocks and steals have also increased, although by not that much. He’s one of the top two centers in the conference along with Xavier’s Matt Stainbrook. He is the Blue Demons’ second leading scorer and leads the team in rebounds and blocks. He’s ninth in the conference in scoring (one spot above Stainbrook), fifth in rebounding (tied for second in defensive rebounding) and fourth in blocked shots.

Josh Hart - No.7 Villanova (G, So., 6-5, 205, Silver Spring, Md.)

Season Averages: 10.1 PTS, 5.7 REB, 2.0 AST, 0.4 BLK, 1.7 STL

Hart started off the season kind of slow scoring wise. In Villanova’s first five games, his highest point total was 10 in a win against VCU, the only game in which he scored double-figures. The last five games for Hart have been better, as he has reached double-figures in each game, including a season-high in 20 points in his previous outing, a 85-62 win against Temple. The sophomore had a near-perfect game, shooting 6-for-7 from the field, 3-for-3 from the three-point line and 5-for-5 from the charity stripe. Hart is one of the most efficient players in the conference, shooting 59 percent overall, good for sixth in the Big East. He’s third on the Wildcats in scoring, third in rebounding, fourth in assists and second in steals, all while coming off the bench as the sixth man for the Big East’s best team.

Billy Garrett Jr. - DePaul (G., So., 6-6, 205, Chicago, Ill.)

Season Averages: 12.8 PTS, 2.0 REB, 3.6 AST, 0.2 BLK, 0.9 STL

Garrett Jr. has been the most consistent sophomore in the Big East this season. His overall numbers are similar to what he put up as a freshman, but he has increased his shooting percentage from the field (43 percent compared to 36 percent last season) and from the three-point line (40 percent compared to 31 percent last season). A lot of that has to do with that fact that he has improved the mechanics in his jump shot over the summer. He’s also taking better shots. Before the season, Garrett Jr. was named to the preseason All-Big East Second Team. So far, he has been proving his worth. He’s second among all sophomores in the conference and on the Blue Demons in assists. Aside from a nine-point effort against Stanford, Garrett Jr. has scored no less than 10 points per game. His season-high in scoring was 18 points against Milwaukee - a game in which is added six rebounds, four assists and one steal.