Player of the Week:
Eli Carter, G, Rutgers
Carter gets the nod based solely off his performance against Florida, where he lead his 9-point underdog Scarlett Knights in a double OT win over 10 ranked Florida. It was a gutsy effort by Carter, who lit up the Gators for 31 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and only 2 turnovers in 46 hard fought minutes. Carter was prolific off the dribble, making plays both for himself and his teammates. He stepped up and drained a game-tying three in the closing seconds of the first overtime, and has emerged as Rutgers' top scoring threat in his freshman year. He followed his career best game against Florida with a 23 point, 5 steal line in a loss to South Florida.
Jerian Grant, 6'5 G, Notre Dame
Prospect alert. He showed true pro potential in his 15 point, 9 assist game against Pittsburgh, posing as a 6'5 combo guard who can beat you off the dribble or stroke it from deep. With good length, size, range and versatility, Grant has emerged as one of the budding prospects in the conference.
Fab Melo 7'0 C, Syracuse
Melo put up a 12 point, 10 block 7 rebound game against Seton Hall, and finished with 12 points, 6 blocks and 5 boards against DePaul. It's amazing what one year of adjusting and conditioning can do for a 7 foot defensive game changer. He's the anchor of one of the most devastating and swarming defenses in all of college basketball.
Sean Kilpatrick 6'4 G, Cincinnati
He's hit at least four three-pointers in three consecutive games, including five in Cincy's three-point win over Pittsburgh. Cincy has been tough since the brawl, and Kilpatrick's emergence as a first or second option is a large reason why.
Russ Smith 6'0 G, Louisville
He's averaging 20 a game on almost 15 shot attempts over his last five games. He plays 150 miles per hour, and generally is forced to considering his teammates' inability to create themselves. If down 1 with 10 seconds, Russ should get the call for Louisville.
Mo Harkless 6'8 F, St. Johns
He went for 32 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks in a blowout over Providence. Harkless' length, athleticism, activity level and ability to be effective without having to demand the ball extend the list of potential suitors for him at the next level.
Jeremy Lamb 6'5 SG, UConn
18 for his last 33 from downtown (54%). Keep letting them fly my man. Lamb has first overall pick potential with star-like qualities based on his overall package. He just has to assert himself and gain the mentality of a high volume scorer.
Peyton Siva 5'10 G, Lousville
Siva struggled mightily against Kentucky, failing to get clean looks at the rim or finish from the outside in an ugly 2 for 13 offensive performance. Siva needs to find a way to score easier buckets, or his chances of an NBA will be squashed.
Dominic Cheek 6'5 SG, Villanova
2 for 10 against Marquette. Cheek's inconsistencies have been tainted what could have been a big step up for the two-year shooting guard.
Chris Smith 6'0 G, Lousville
Louisville can't afford Smith to shoot 1 for 5, 1 for 5 and 2 for 10 in three consecutive games. Maybe he misses his brother, who's held hostage in China.
Top Five Shot-Blockers in the Big East
1. Fab Melo 7'0 C, Syracuse
Melo's past two games were the inspiration behind the top five shot-blockers in the conference list, after he accumulated 16 against Seton Hall and DePaul. It's almost to the point where it's more fun to watch a Syracuse defensive possession than it is to watch an offensive one. Melo's slimmed down frame has vastly improved his mobility, as he's been a human rotating windmill over a mini-golf hole. He's averaging 3.1 blocks per game which ties for the conference lead, and owns an even more impressive 5.48 rebounds per 40 minutes, which in comparison is more than John Henson from UNC. It's apparent that he's learning the position, as he's becoming more and more familiar with his man's movements.
2. Andre Drummond 6'10 PF/C, UConn
Despite his impressive numbers as a shot-blocker, Drummond would be here by default purely based on his physical tools and potential. Drummond is making strides in his freshman year, and his improved confidence has made him effective on both sides of the ball. Once his timing improves and awareness level raises, nobody will enter the lane without fear.
3. Gorgui Dieng, 6'11 C, Louisville
Dieng has been one of the most improved players in the conference, nearly averaging a double-double (10 and 9.6) and over 3 blocks per game. At 6'11 with excellent length, Dieng forces floaters while preventing any east buckets around the rim. What stands out about Dieng is his timing. A shot-blocker is only has good as his senses, and Dieng possesses the desirable intangible.
4. Kelvin Gaines, 6'10 C, Cincinnati
Gaines is only a freshman, but he's shown his potential as a rim-protector in limited minutes thus far. Gaines is long, strong, and shows a good feel for his awareness on the interior. He's 6th in the conference in shotblocking playing just 11 minutes, illustrating his efficiency and productivity defensively on the interior. His 1.9 blocks in 11 minutes is equivalent to over 6.5 blocks per 40 minutes, a jaw-dropping ratio.
5. Justin Jackson, 8'8 PF, Cincinnati
He's had at least 2 blocks in 9 out of the team's 14 games, averaging an impressive 3.14 per 40 for a 6'8 forward. He's active and athletic, a good combination for off-ball rejections.
I will not have Louisville going far in my NCAA brackets. They're going to run into a hot team, and just don't have enough weapons to counter. Their offense looked nauseating throughout stretches of the Kentucky game.
Pittsburgh, losers of three straight, look lost. Not good for Ashton Gibbs' stock as a point guard prospect.
When Markel Starks gets going, Georgetown becomes a a dangerous team. They could be a team that makes a run.
Kris Joseph goes scoreless and Syracuse still rolls over Seton Hall by 26. Sums up why they're so good.