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Big East Blog

Player of the Week

Jack Cooley, Notre Dame

Jack CooleyJack CooleyCooley is averaging 20 points and 14 rebounds on 73% from the floor over his past three games, leading the Irish to three more wins and an 11-3 conference record.

The Irish offense consists of 7 perimeter players and Cooley, who anchors their interior on both sides of the ball. He's relentless inside, getting his hands on practically every loose ball and converting around the rim. Cooley turns hustle into offense, which helps negate the fact that his skill-level is generally inferior to his opponents'.

What coach Mike Brey, Cooley and the rest of the Irish are doing is simply an inspiring story, when you consider they lost 43 points per game in Ben Hansbrough, Carleton Scott and Tim Abromaitis (injury). Cooley is averaging 12 points, 9 boards on 61% shooting on the year.

Heatin' Up


Shabazz Napier, Connecticut

Despite his team's struggles, Napier had an efficient week and a half averaging 12 points and 8.6 assists on 50% shooting over the past three games (only 4 total turnovers as well). Napier called out his teammates after a loss to Marquette, who seemed to once again lose interest in the outcome of their game.

Jae Crowder, Marquette

Crowder dropped 29 and 12 in a win over UConn and 23, 6 and 4 in a win over Cincinnati. While his body appearance suggests differently, he's a pretty nimble guy who can stroke it up from deep. He knocked down 4 threes against Connecticut, improving to 38% from long range on the year. If Crowder was a few inches taller we'd be talking about him as a prospect, but at 6'6, he's a terribly undersized power forward.

Coolin Off

Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh

Gibbs shot 1-7 in a loss to South Florida and 2-11 in a loss to West Virginia, essentially squeezing the life out of whatever value he had left as a prospect. Though he wasn't a lock to get drafted last year, the odds certainly seemed better than they do now.

Bryce Cotton, Providence

Cotton is 3 for his last 34 from the floor in Providence's last three games. That's 14%. 14% on 34 shots in just 3 games is simply too many misses for a team to overcome.

Top Five Bench Players in the Big East

1. Dion Waiters, Syracuse

The Orange have the luxury of bring a first round talent off their bench in Dion Waiters. He's a playmaker, whether it's for himself or his teammates. He provides Syracuse with an on-ball option, or he can slide off and spread the floor as a spot up threat. Waiters is arguably the team's most reliable scorer, and could be one of the premier guards in the country if he chooses to return. At this point, that seems unlikely.

2. CJ Fair, Syracuse

Fair is an emerging prospect with a nice mix of size, length, athleticism and spring. While he does most of his damage playing off the ball, Fair's midrange stroke and perimeter game in general seem to be improving by the month. Fair has been one of those guys who just seems to make things happen without requiring the ball to go through him.

3. Russ Smith, Louisville

Smith's a gunner- a high volume scorer who plays with energy at a fast tempo. He's averaging 12 points in 21 minutes of action, illustrating his ability to score quickly and in bunches. While his style of play results in low shooting percentages and a high turnover rate, his contributions are sorely needed in an offense that lacks a reliable source for scoring production.

4. Otto Porter, Georgetown

Porter has provided Georgetown with depth up front, possessing a lengthy frame, power forward skills and small forward mobility. He's an active rebounder with range out to the arch, and gives the Hoyas an inside/outside dimension that blends in well with the offense.

5. Myles Mack, Rutgers

Listed at just 5'9, Mack is an effective combo guard averaging 10 points off the bench for Rutgers. He's proven to be a nice compliment to Eli Carter, who together form a promising freshmen backcourt duo with a bright 2013 outlook.

Weekly Thoughts

- South Florida deserves a mention for starting off 10-4 in conference play. While they haven't defeated anyone noteworthy outside of Seton Hall, they finish the year with four consecutive games against Cuse, Cincy, Lousville and West Virginia.

- Georgetown held Providence to 25% shooting from the field, and only won by 10. Should have been 20. Without the ability to put away opponents, I see the Hoyas as a pretender.

- Syracuse keeps rolling right along. Two more road-wins at Louisville and the RAC. With South Florida, UConn and Louisville at home, the Orange have an excellent chance at finishing with 30 wins and a loss.

Follow Jonathan Wasserman on Twitter at @NBADraftnetWass

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