Svi for Three!

Player of the Week

Sviatoslav Mykailiuk – Kansas

Sviatoslav MykailiukSviatoslav MykailiukSvi Mykailiuk earns Player of the Week honors after a string of impressive games against Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Kansas State. Svi rattled off 24 points, 24 points, and 22 points in those three games en route to leading back to the top of the Big 12. The 6’8” Ukrainian did more than just score. He was also able to grab an average of 6 boards a game.

Mykailiuk was also pretty efficient in his scoring efforts. He shot 48% from the field and 50% from three. As someone who relies heavily on the deep ball, Mykailiuk has been terrific on the season. He shoots a higher percentage from three (48%) than he does overall (46%). I mean 48% from deep on 7.5 attempts per game in pretty unreal.

Svi seems to be the glue guy in the Kansas system. He’s not the flashiest player or the most athletic but he plays the game the right way and plays hard. He comes up big in crunch time and has a handful of game winning shots. Mykailiuk has career highs in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, field goal percentage, and three-point percentage and will continue to be a driving force in Kansas’ success.

Who’s Hot

Mohamed Bamba – Texas

Mo Bamba had his best game of his young career a week ago against Iowa State, so how would he follow up that performance? By having an even better game. Bamba put up 25 points and 15 rebounds and also recorded 4 blocks in a win over Ole Miss. The 7-foot freshman now has five straight games with double digit rebounds and back t back games of 24+ points.

In his past two games he is averaging 24.5 points on 79% shooting. He is also 3-3 on three-pointers and 94% from the free-throw line. His free-throw performance might be the most impressive part of his game recently. On the season he is just 67% from the stripe, however, Bamba went 12-13 from the line in his 25-point game.

As one of the most intriguing prospects in the NCAA, Bamba seems to be backing up the hype surrounding him coming into Texas. His offensive game is coming into its own and he has been dominant on the boards and in protecting the rim. Bamba is well worth a high lottery pick as his ceiling is among the best in the draft.

Dean Wade – Kansas State

Dean Wade has been on of the conference’s hottest and most consistent players in the past few weeks. The 6’10” forward has six consecutive games with 20+ points and has had at least 6 rebounds in each of those games. All in all, in his 6-game stretch, Wade is averaging 21 points, 7 rebounds, and he even has been dishing out 4 assists per game.

Wade has solidified himself has the most consistent option on offense for Kansas State and should continue to see a hefty workload for the duration of the season. Wade can score in the post, shoot from three, and even put the ball on the floor a little bit. Wade has another year of eligibility and he’ll probably use it, but he is definitely somebody who should be on NBA teams draft boards as a potential sleeper pick.

Who’s Not

Lagerald Vick – Kansas

Lagerald Vick started the year as debatably the most impressive Jayhawk on the Kansas roster. Through 13 games, Vick was averaging 17.4 points on 55.8% shooting, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.7 assists. Since then, he is averaging just 7.4 points on 39.7% shooting, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.1 assists.

Vick’s turnaround is about as bad as there’s been in the NCAA this year. Despite his struggles, Kansas has been the best team in the Big 12. If Vick regains confidence and becomes the player he was at the beginning of the year, Kansas will be a very intimidating team for tournament play.

Esa Ahmad – West Virginia

Esa Ahmad has only been back in the West Virginia lineup for five games this year, but had big expectations for his return. He was supposed to join Jevon Carter to form a lethal duo and make a run at Kansas Big 12 crown. Unfortunately, since his return, the Mountaineers are 1-4 and Ahmad has been pretty disappointing.

Ahmad’s first two games back were promising. He scored 18 and 15 points respectively and shot over 50% in both games. However, in his last two games, Ahmad has scored 0 points on 0-12 shooting. Although he is just five games in, Ahmad is down from last year in terms of points, assists, three-point percentage, and field goal percentage.

West Virginia was hot to start the year and has been ice cold since Ahmad’s return. I’m not saying it’s his fault, but the Mountaineers need him to produce at a high level in order to compete with the other elite teams in the NCAA.

Top Five Big 12 Backcourts

1. Kansas Jayhawks

Between Devonte Graham and Sviaslotav Mykailiuk, Kansas has one of the more dynamic backcourts in the NCAA. Graham is a do-it-all guy who has been near a triple-double on a handful of occasions this year. Graham is on the shortlist for Player of the Year as the leader of one of the top teams in the nation.

Sviatoslav Mykailiuk is a sharpshooter of the highest level. As this weeks Player of the Week most of his stats are already mentioned so I won’t repeat them, but Mykailiuk has evolved as a player from a sharpshooter to a playmaker. He can go off the dribble to create for himself and others. Kansas is a team with limited big men, so these two are a driving force in the success of a national powerhouse.

2. Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State has a solid trio of guards that provide a large portion of the Cyclone offense. Lindell Wigginton has been phenomenal as a freshman. He leads the team in scoring and is the most consistent of the scorers for Iowa State. [Player: Donovan Jackson} is the senior leader on the team and is right behind Wigginton in scoring per game. Jackson is the most likely to go off for 25+ in a night as hes done a handful of times.

Adding to the depth of the backcourt, Nick Weiler Babb is probably the most interesting of the Iowa State players. He is a transfer from Arkansas who has been everything coach Steve Prohm could’ve asked for. He is averaging 11-7-7 and is a triple-double threat every night. Weiler-Babb has been one of my favorite players in the conference this season and is debatably the most important player on the Cyclone’s roster.

3. West Virginia Mountaineers

Jevon Carter is one of the best on-ball defenders in the entire nation and is always amongst the league leaders in steals per game. On top of his defense, Carter can rebound and make plays for his teammates as well. Averaging 17 points, 5 rebounds, and nearly 7 assists, Carter can do whatever his team needs him to do.

Daxter Miles is the second leading scorer, behind Carter, and is a tough player to play against as he is physical and relentless. He can’t shoot the deep ball too well but he knows his game and plays to his strengths. James Bolden is also a good addition to the backcourt depth. Coming off the bench, Bolden is a spark plug player who reminds me of Rodrigue Beaubois or Lou Williams. Bolden is a scorer by nature who is 4th on the team in scoring despite only getting 17 minutes per game.

4. TCU Horned Frogs

Jaylen Fisher is a TCU fan favorite and for good reason. He is one of the best playmakers on the team and is one of the better three-point shooters on the team. He is 3rd on the team in scoring and 2nd in assists per game and TCU has missed him during his injury. Alex Robinson has filled in quite well for Fisher.

Robinson is a pass first point guard and has been rewarded with some impressive assist games in light of that. He puts up nearly 10 assists on almost a nightly basis and has even pulled off a 17-assist game against Iowa State. Desmond Bane has also been a strong player for TCU. A very consistent scorer night-in and night-out, you know Bane will get his share of the offense. Another weapon on the perimeter for TCU, Bane is a big piece in the TCU success.

5. Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma is, for better or worse, mainly a one-man show. Trae Young has run me dry of adjectives to describe his gameplay, but it’s good. Young remains the nation’s leader in points and assists per game with 30.3 and 9.5 respectively. The freshman is seemingly running away with the Wooden Player of the Year award and has earned a spot on this list despite having much guard help around him.

Sure, Kameron McGusty and Rashard Odomes are good pieces to the puzzle that is Oklahoma, but how often are they mentioned in the Oklahoma narrative? This is Trae Young’s world and we’re just living in it while the rest of the Oklahoma roster has front row seats. Regardless of the help around him, Young’s skillset by himself has earned a spot in the best backcourts in the Big 12.

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