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Archive - 2011 - Blog entry

Date
Type

December 5th

Big East Blog

Player of the Week

Darius Johnson Odom

Darius Johnson-OdomDarius Johnson-OdomHe's simply been the man for one of most dangerous teams in the country. DJO scored a season low and a team high 17 points in a bold win at Wisconsin, knocking down big-time shots in baller fashion. Johnson-Odom showed off his pretty step back jumper, an attractive asset to have when it comes to evaluating prospects. His ability to score off the dribble and excel as a spot up shooter help offset some of the concerns over his size and lack of position. He's been a model of consistency, averaging 19.8 points on 57% shooting from the floor and 46% from downtown. With Marquette quietly playing some of the best ball in the country, DJO should see a rise in national press as one of the more gifted seniors in the game.

Heatin' Up

Mouphtaou Yarou F/C, Villanova

21 and 11 against Penn, 19 and 7 against Santa Clara. Key Stat: 19 free throw attempts between both games. Good sign of improvement.

Ryan Boatright PG, UConn

Boatright was the difference maker in Connecticut's win over Arkansas, finishing with 23 points, 6 assists and 5 boards. Boatright made plays as a facilitator in the half court and in transition, and proved effective splitting the D and shooting from outside.

Hollis Thompson SF, Georgetown

Thompson drilled a 3 off a dribble-handoff from 25 feet out to beat Alabama. He's averaging 17 a game over his last 3, shooting 10-17 (58%) from downtown. Thompson's range and stroke to go along with his ideal length for a 3 make him a compelling prospect.

December 4th

Mid Major Blog


Player of the Week:

Mike Moser, UNLV, PF, Sophomore, 6-8 195 lbs.

Mike MoserMike MoserMoser has earned back-to-back Mid-Major “Player of the Week” honors after his performances against UC Santa Barbara, #1 North Carolina and USC over the past week. On Wednesday (Nov 30), UNLV beat UC Santa Barbara, 94-88, in double overtime, and Moser’s 34 points and 10 rebounds paved the way for the Rebels to reach an 8-0 record for the season. Last Saturday against #1 North Carolina, Moser was not intimidated by one of the top frontcourts in the country that included John Henson, Tyler Zeller and Harrison Barnes. Moser out-performed all of them, finishing with 16 points, 18 rebounds and 6 assists. He did foul out and have four turnovers, but he was one of the deciding factors in UNLV’s huge upset against the #1 ranked Tarheels. Against USC, Moser’s 10 points and 13 rebounds helped UNLV to an 11-point victory. For the season, Moser’s stat line is impressive: 17.5 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.0 BPG and 2.5 SPG. He also leads the nation in rebounding.

Who’s Hot?

Doug McDermott, Creighton, SF, Sophomore, 6-7 210 lbs.

McDermott is a repeat winner of the weekly “Who’s Hot?” award for Mid-Major players after guiding Creighton to a pair of impressive victories against San Diego State (7-1) and Campbell (5-1) this past week. In both games, McDermott had a double-double and shot “lights out” with 52.9 FG% against San Diego State and 68.4 FG% against Campbell. Against San Diego State, McDermott posted 25 points and 12 rebounds and eventually found his sharp-shooting efforts broadcasted on Wednesday (Nov 30) night’s edition of SportsCenter. Against Campbell, McDermott scored 31 points, gathered 11 rebounds and shot 66.7 percent from “trifecta” country. Creighton (5-0) will undoubtedly enter the Top 25 rankings released next week and McDermott is the main reason why the Blue Jays have been so successful.

December 2nd

Big 12 Blog

Player of the Week

Kim English, Missouri

Big Ten Blog

Player of the Week

Aaron Craft, Ohio State

Aaron CraftAaron CraftThe Buckeyes sophomore certainly looked like the Big Ten’s top point guard in an 85-63 blowout win Tuesday against No. 3 Duke that sort of summed up the Big Ten’s dominance (8-4 record) over the ACC in the Conference's annual challenge. Craft totaled 17 points, eight assists, five rebounds and a steal for No. 2 Ohio State, but his contributions far outweighed his stat line. Craft was everywhere — setting up the offense, finding seams in the Duke defense to drive and dish down low for easy baskets, hitting key shots, diving for loose balls … you name it, Craft did it Tuesday. He was a big reason the Buckeyes had three other players (Jared Sullinger, 21; William Buford 20; Deshaun Thomas 18) score in double figures.

Somebody has to initiate the offense for coach Thad Matta, and Craft seems to make all the right decisions. Only a sophomore, every once in a while he does throw a bad pass, but more often than not it’s a quality look. His 2.7 (41-15) assist-to-turnover ratio ranks fourth in the Big Ten, as it did last year at 2.24. The first-year starter (he backed up Jon Diebler last season) averaged 6.9 points per game last season but is up to 10.3 this year.

His defense is also a key reason the Buckeyes are the favorite to basically run away with the Big Ten. Craft marginalized Duke junior Seth Curry to just seven points (his lowest output of the season), five of which came when Craft was trailing another guard. Curry finished just 3-of-8 (37.5 percent) from the field and 1-of-6 from long range. Curry came in shooting 51.6 percent, but had a tough time even being able to call for a pass with Craft shadowing him.

Craft also had 15 points, eight assists, four steals and three rebounds last Friday, Nov. 25 in an 80-47 win against Valparaiso, making his average stat line for the week: 16 points, eight assists, 2.5 steals, four rebounds per game.

Who's Hot

William Buford and Jared Sullinger, Ohio State

Buford, a senior guard, and Sullinger, a sophomore forward, continue to score mostly at will for the Buckeyes. Sure, against Duke, Sullinger didn’t collect double-digit rebounds for the first time since Nov. 15 against Florida, but no worries. He just grabbed eight, plus put up 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting. His defense still needs some work (Duke’s Mason Plumlee and brother Miles combined for 22 points Tuesday), but he stayed out of foul trouble in the process. The 6-9 NBA prospect played smart for a team that needed him to remain on the court to keep the Blue Devils at bay. Last Friday, Nov. 25, Sullinger put up his fourth double-double of the season against Valparaiso by scoring 14 points and tallying 14 rebounds.

Meanwhile, William Buford played a team-high 39 minutes while scoring 20 points and dishing out four assists. This came four days after he put up 25 while hitting four threes against Valparaiso.

Why not just include the entire Buckeyes team after a dominating performance? You could throw sophomore forward Deshaun Thomas in here too for his performance against Duke (18 points, five rebounds, 8-of-12 shooting) but he hasn’t shown that type of flair consistently. Buford and Sullinger are offensive weapons that just don’t come around very often on the same collegiate team. Simply put, it’ll be entertaining to watch how teams go about defending the Buckeyes.

December 1st

Pac 12 Blog

Player of the Week

Jorge Gutierrez, California Bears

Jorge GutierrezJorge GutierrezOver the past week, Jorge Gutierrez averaged 15.5 ppg and 4.5 rpg and has once again established himself as the heart and soul of the #23 ranked Bears as well as a strong candidate for conference player of the year. Despite a respectable 4-1 record, it was a down week overall for Mike Montgomery's team as they were embarrassed by Missouri in a match up that really stung for the Pac 12 as a whole, looking to get a quality win. But don't blame Gutierrez for the disappointing outcome as he has been rock solid as expected and will look to lead the team back into the good graces of hoops analysts around the nation.

Team of the week

Stanford Cardinal

The Cardinal were expected to be a solid but unspectacular squad this season. However, they have jumped out of the gate and looked as impressive as any team in the Pac 12 with a 7-1 start to the year. They had an opportunity to send a message that they were a team to look out for with their NIT championship game match up versus the 5th ranked Syracuse Orangemen. The boys from Palo Alto California hung right with their Big East foes, leading.for the majority of the game before wilting over the final minutes getting outscored 15-3 to finish the game and eventually losing by a score of 69-63. But it wasn't the type of loss to hang your head about, and they earned a lot of respect along the way.

Who's Hot

Keala King, Arizona State Sun Devils

After a slow start to the season, 6-4 combo guard Keala King has come on strong in his last 2 games vs Wake Forest and Depaul averaging 23.5ppg and 6.5rpg while connecting on 14-22 field goal attempts. Keala is an intriguing player with his versatility and willingness to create off the dribble either for himself or his teammates. If he continues his play of late, he and junior SF Trent Lockett will combine to make of the more dangerous duos out West.

November 29th

ACC Blog

Player of the Week

Mike Scott

Mike ScottMike ScottVirginia's super-senior Mike Scott isn't a high-level NBA prospect, but he's very much the difference between a bad Cavalier team and a good Cavalier team. The double-double machiene has returned from his red-shirt senior season with a vengence, and is averaging 15.3 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. He claims to have lost about 20 pounds over the summer by cutting junk-food out of his diet and this is evident when you watch him move on the court. He is just as tough and strong as he ever was, but is significantly more agile and explosive. As the team's centerpiece, Scott has led Virginia to an excellent 6-1 start to the season, including a vicory over #15 Michigan on Tuesday. Not a lot of people had the Cavaliers as significant players in the ACC this season, but they've proven to be a strong defensive squad with great size and several different offensive options. With the slimmed-down Scott performing like one of the top players in the ACC, Virginia could be a very competitive team come conference play.

Hot

Erick Green

If you followed the Hokies last season, you know that they were struggling to win games until Erick Green took control of the point guard position. Once he became a starter, Virginia Tech went on a tear and won nine out of their following ten games. This season, Seth Greenburg did not waste any time and made Green the starting point guard as soon as he could. Unsurprisingly, this has worked out in favor of both Green and the team's record so far. Scoring in double-figures in every game he's played in this season, Green is averaging 14.8 points on an efficient 52.2% shooting from the floor. Perhaps most impressive is the improvement the junior guard has made from the perimeter; shooting 61.1% on 2.2 made threes per game, up from 24.8% on 0.8 makes a year ago. The Hokies will be counting on the much-improved Green to lead them to that oh-so elusive NCAA Tournament bid, but it's way too early to be considering such things.

Cold

Tyler Zeller

Ehhh... Somebody from UNC was bound to inherit the "Cold" distinction following the former top-ranked team in the nation's shocking loss to UNLV. It wouldn't be very fair to blame Zeller for the loss, but the skilled 7-footer was really unable to contribute anything that may have altered the embarrasing final outcome. Zeller finished the game with a line of 5 points on 1/6 shooting, 7 rebounds and 4 fouls. But what the game on Saturday exposed really didn't have anything to do with Zeller; rather it highlighted the questionable depth of UNC's frontcourt. John Henson and James McAdoo each had 4 fouls of their own, and without their star bigs, the Tar Heels (one of the best rebounding teams in the country last season) were outrebounded 46-37 to an unranked team. Zeller will surely bounce back from his poor performance quickly, but if UNC wants to make it to the Final Four, they're going to have to keep their post players out of foul trouble.

Top 5 Starting Point Guards

SEC Blog

Player of the Week

Jeronne Maymon, Tennessee

November 28th

Big East Blog

Player of the Week

Maalik Wayns PG, Villanova

Maalik WaynsMaalik WaynsMan does he look quick. Wayns has been impossible to keep out of the paint, using that quick first step off the dribble and rock solid strength at the rim. It's amazing to think that a 6'1 guard can score 29 points on only 1 three point make, but that's what Wayns did in a loss to St. Louis (thanks to his team's inability to defend the 3). His ability to change direction on the dime with speed in the open floor will allow him to succeed as a change of pace guard at the next level. If he raises his percentage from downtown and increases his range, Wayns would be a threat to crack the lottery.

He's averaging 22 points, 5 assists and 4.5 rebounds as a junior, and should be considered a viable candidate for Big East Player of the Year.

Heatin' up

Jason Clark, G, Georgetown

26 and 28 points back to back. 10 for his last 14 from downtown. The rim must look like a hula hoop to Clark.

Gerard Coleman SG, Providence

He scored 20 in consecutive games. I'd say that's noteworthy considering he's coming off the bench. He also attempted 18 free throws against Southern U. Pretty impressive.

Herb Pope PF Seton Hall

Pope's been on a tear this year, going for 32 and 9, (2-2 from 3), and 17 and 10 this week. He looks lighter on his feet around the rim, and has shown he's capable of scoring outside the paint. He's averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds, all-star numbers for the big fella.

Kevin Jones PF West Virginia

29 and 13, followed by 23 and 10. Again, when those 3s and midrange jumpers are falling, Jones looks the part of an NBA player. The rebounding numbers are even more promising.

Brandon Young PG, DePaul, Cleveland Melvin SF, DePaul

The sophomore duo has been lighting it up. 24 and 23 points respectively this week for Young, 25 and 20 for Melvin. If he keeps putting up numbers, Melvin could generate some buzz based off his ideal length and athleticism for a 3.

November 27th

Big 12 Blog

Player of the Week

Thomas Robinson, Kansas

Thomas RobinsonThomas RobinsonThe Kansas big man is continuing his breakout junior season. He has not notched his fifth double-double after amassing 16 points and 15 rebounds against the Duke Blue Devils, in a loss. He is proving to be a more dominant big man than the Jayhawks have had in quite some time. Plain and simply, he is playing like a man on a mission this year, and NBA scouts are definitely taking notice. On the season, he is now averaging 16.0 points, 12.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.0 blocks per game. He will almost surely head into conference play as the choice for Big 12 Player of the Year.

Who's Hot

The Missouri Tigers

So far this season, the Missouri Tigers are 5-0. That statistic isn't so special, but what is special is just how the Tigers have won those five games. They have been absolutely destroying their opponents. They have beaten Southeast Missouri State by 15 points, Mercer by 18 points, Niagara by 31 points, Notre Dame by 29 points, and California by a whopping 39 points. The victory over the nationally ranked Golden Bears was Missouri's largest over a ranked opponent since at least 1949. They are doing it with terrific balance, with at least four players having double-figure scoring efforts in every game this season. As of right now, they are looking like the team that could snap KU's string of consecutive Big 12 Championships.

Honorable Mention

Quincy Miller, Baylor- 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists in a 75-65 win over Texas-Arlington
Elijah Johnson, Kansas- Has scored 33 points in the past two games for the Jayhawks, against UCLA and Duke. Looks like he may be starting to play up to his tremendous abilities.
Marcus Denmon, Missouri- 18 points, 6 assists, and 4 steals in the Tigers 39 point thrashing of California.

Who's Cold

Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas

Though his scoring and assist numbers would suggest otherwise, the enigmatic Taylor is in a cold spell right now. He is turning the ball over at an alarming rate for the Jayhawks. In a win against UCLA, he had 4 turnovers, while in their crushing defeat to Duke, he turned the ball over an amazing 11 times! What is even worse about this is that one of them came in the final minute of the game. For Kansas to be as good as they can possibly be this season, he needs to get this problem under control. On a more positive note, in the Duke game in Maui he became the 54th player in Jayhawk history to reach the 1,000 point plateau.

November 26th

Mid Major Blog

Player of the Week:

Mike Moser, UNLV, PF, Sophomore, 6-8 195 lbs.

Mike MoserMike MoserUNLV is off to a great start this season with a 5-0 record and two wins this past week against Cal Poly (75-52) and Morgan State (92-55). Moser has been the Rebels’ standout player early on this season, averaging 16.0 PPG, 13.0 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.2 BPG and shooting 51.6 percent from the field. Against Cal Poly he contributed 14 points and 8 rebounds with four steals, and against Morgan State he had one of the best all-around performances of any player this year with 23 points, 17 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals and shot 52.6 percent from the field. Moser will get an opportunity to showcase his skills against USC tonight and again on November 30 when UNLV squares off against an undefeated UC Santa Barbara team. Moser sat out the 2010-11 season after deciding to transfer from UCLA where he was recruited by UCLA coach, Ben Howland.

Who’s Hot?


Doug McDermott, Creighton, SF, Sophomore, 6-7 210 lbs.

The young sophomore has played at an elite level in each of Creighton’s four wins this season. Creighton (4-0) won three games this past week: Iowa (82-59), UAB (70-60), and Chicago State (95-61). McDermott scored above 20 points in each of those games, including a standout performance against UAB where he scored 27 points (11-18 shooting) and collected 7 rebounds. Against Iowa, McDermott chipped in 25 points (10-15 shooting), 9 rebounds and 1 assist. For the season, McDermott has filled up the stat sheet, averaging 21.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 64.3 FG%, 58.3 3P% and 87.5 FT%. His shooting percentages are scorching.

Who’s Cold?


Wesley Witherspoon, Memphis, SF, 6-9 210 lbs.

After opening the season with a 22-point performance against Belmont, Witherspoon brought the ice cooler to the Maui Invitational and played well below his potential. In three games during the Maui Invitational Tournament, Witherspoon averaged 6.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.0 SPG and shot 33.3 percent from the field. He struggled to gain any sort of rhythm on offense and did not contribute very much on defense, aside from his 8 rebounds against Georgetown in Memphis’ last game of the tournament. He wears possibly the longest shorts of any player in the country and it may be hindering his movement, who knows. For Memphis to compete against upper level competition, Witherspoon has to play better and be a factor on the court.