Player of the Week
JaMychal Green, Alabama
In three games since returning from suspension Green appears to be back in 2009 form. Prior to hitting the sidelines he was averaging 13 points and 5 boards, but since December 11th those figures escalate to 16 points and 10 rebounds per game, with 1.5 blocks and a steal for good measure. He's crashing the offensive glass with tenacity, compiling 31 offensive boards (25 defensive) in eight games and 15 over his last three. Green shot just 2-8 from the floor on Saturday in a loss at Oklahoma State, but nailed all 12 free throws in a meager 22 minutes of court time due to foul trouble. The turnovers continue to amass, as his space to operate is limited. His teammates need to knock down shots in order to stop opposing defenses from collapsing down into the paint. The Tide have failed to impress in the opening month (5-6) and will have three more non-conference tilts before opening up conference play on January 8th.
The Gators have righted the ship following a defeat to emerging in-state rival UCF. Inspired defensive efforts in wins over American and Kent State didn't "sell" a rebirth, but Saturday's victory over (6) Kansas State spoke volumes. UF held the Wildcats to 15-55 shooting (27%) from the floor and 3-19 from distance (16%). Now, K-State will never be mistaken for a sharp shooting club, but given those paltry percentages the defense deserves all the credit. Guard Kenny Boynton finally broke out of his shooting slump, connecting on 6-12 from the field and didn't settle for long-range jumpers for a change. On a pessimistic note, the Gators 11:17 assist: turnover ratio was not encouraging, and they forced the Wildcats into only 8 miscues. (Soon after writing this Florida lost to a home tilt against Jacksonville in overtime on Monday afternoon. So much for being hot).
How quickly things can change in the world of college basketball. One week you're on top of the sport, and the next week you're overrated and NIT bound. The Vols soared up to #7 in the polls after a road win at Pittsburgh last Saturday, but that standing is destined to be short lived. Tennessee lost two games as double-digit favorites last week, falling at home to Oakland and on the road at Charlotte. It's not often a team drops a game in the 80's and 40's in the same week, but Bruce Pearl's club managed to accomplish that dubious feat. After earning SEC POW honors last week, Scotty Hopson obviously couldn't handle the prosperity. He shot 7-26 (27%) in the two defeats, including 1-9 from three-point range. The Vols as a team shot a combined 6-35 (17%) from beyond the arc. Point guard Melvin Goins couldn't back up his season best 18 point (7-10), 6 assist, 4 steal effort vs. Oakland, finishing with 2 points and zero assists in 27 minutes at Charlotte. Consistency at the lead guard could be a fatal flaw. USC comes charging into Knoxville on Tuesday night.
Top 7 Three-point Assassins
1. John Jenkins, Vanderbilt- Dead eye shooter is automatic when given time and space. He shot 48% as a freshman (5 attempts) and currently shooting 41% in the early stages of his sophomore campaign (8 attempts).
2. Ravern Johnson- He averaged under one trey attempt as a freshman, now nearly 9 attempts per game as a senior. Knocking them down to the tune of 47%.
3. Rotnei Clark- Trifecta specialist with a lightning quick release. 41% career mark.
4. Brian Richardson- Unheralded frosh possesses a pure stroke. Connecting on 38% in his first nine collegiate games.
5. Erving Walker- Little guy with infinite range. Career 39% shooter, 42% this season.
6. Chris Warren- More a scorer than a shooter, but he's unguardable when in rhythm. He’s not shy, attempting 8 per game for his career with 38% accuracy (32% this year).
7. Andre Stringer- Another short in stature point guard with in-the-gym range. Shooting 38% on 6 attempts to start his freshman year.
-Travis Leslie got back on track following consecutive 4-point efforts, scoring 14 (5-9) with 8 boards, 3 assists, a steal and block vs. Arkansas State.
-Reginald Buckner set career highs with 16 points and 7 blocks in a blowout victory over East Tennessee State. If the big man can avoid foul trouble he's capable of dynamic stat lines.
-Alabama freshman point guard Trevor Releford has been terrific. He's averaging 10 points (49% FG, 84% FT), 4 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and two turnovers. He's scored in double figures in four straight.
-Renardo Sindey scored 12 points in his collegiate debut, an 88-57 thrashing at the hands of Virginia Tech. He fouled out in 25 minutes, grabbing 3 rebounds and turning it over 4 times.
-Auburn added two more losses to their decaying ledger last week. They allowed Presbyterian to shoot 61% in their own building, and were outrebounded 31-18 by the Blue Hose.
Renardo Sidney = balls