The following are NetScouts Basketball’s High Major players of the week ending February 19, 2012.
Harrison Barnes, North Carolina, 6’8”, F, So.
The Tar Heels were able to pick up two much needed wins after dropping one game last week to stay atop of the ACC. Barnes, the 6’8” sophomore from Ames, Iowa was able to lead the Tar Heels with averages of 23.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2 assists per game to victories over Miami and Clemson. Barnes ranks 2nd in the ACC in scoring as well as 6th in field goal percentage. The final two weeks of the regular season is going to be very exciting and Barnes will be a big reason on whether UNC stays where they are or slips down the stretch.
Jae Crowder, Marquette, 6’6”, F, Sr.
The undersized forward from Marquette was able to have a dominating performance against the defending NCAA champions, the University of Connecticut. The game was a back and forth battle and got as close as 5 points in the second half but Crowder was huge down the stretch and led the Golden Eagles to a 15 point victory on the road. Crowder, who ranks in the top ten within the Big East conference in scoring (7th), rebounding (10th), steals (3rd) and just outside the top ten in field goal percentage at 11th was able to score 29 points and bring down 12 rebounds. Marquette is tied for second place in the Big East with Notre Dame behind Syracuse and will be a force to be reckoned with as the year winds down in one of the best basketball conferences in the country.
Matt Gatens, Iowa, 6’5”, G, Sr.
The Iowa Hawkeyes were able to defeat 20th ranked Indiana decisively and a big reason was the stellar guard play by Gatens. He shot a strong 7-of-10 from beyond the arc including hitting four in a row in the second half to stop the Hoosiers attempt to climb back into the game. Gatens was able to set his career high in points (30) while grabbing 4 rebounds and getting 3 steals. Although the Hawkeyes fell short against Penn State, Gatens was able to shoot 5-of-7 from downtown. His averages on the week were 25.5 points and 4 rebounds while shooting 70% from deep. Even though Iowa hasn’t had the most successful year thus far, Gatens’ week was one that couldn’t be overlooked.
Jeff Withey, Kansas, 7’0”, C, Jr.
Withey was able to bring home his second straight Player of the Week for the Kansas Jayhawks and the Big 12 Conference. He helped the Jayhawks take down their bitter rival Kansas State on the road and was just one block shy of a triple double. In the rivalry game Withey filled the stat sheet with 18 points, 11 rebounds including 6 on the offensive glass capped off with 9 blocks. Later in the week the Jayhawks were able to show how strongly they outmatched Texas Tech winning by 33 points at home. Withey’s 13.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 6.5 blocks per game were good enough to help Kansas stay ranked in the top 5 in the nation and tied for first in a very competitive Big 12.
Justin Cobbs, California, 6’2”, G, So.
Led by the Minnesota transfer Cobbs, the California Golden Bears were able to pull off a sweep of the Oregon schools and stay atop the Pac-12 conference. Against Oregon Cobbs had a monster performance scoring 28 points, recording 8 assists and 4 steals all to go along with 3 rebounds. Two days later, Cobbs was more of a facilitator dishing out 13 assists to go along with his 10 points and 5 rebounds to help defeat Oregon State by 14 points. Cobbs ended the week with averages of 19 points, 10.5 assists and 4 rebounds per game.
John Jenkins, Vanderbilt, 6’4”, G, Jr.
Although Kentucky was able to win their 50th straight home game this week, the Player of the Week from the SEC is Vanderbilt’s Jenkins. The Commodores who are second in a very top heavy SEC were able to get wins on the road against Ole Miss and Georgia. Jenkins averaged 27 points and shot lights out from the charity stripe at 86%. Jenkins did much of his damage from three-point land. Against Ole Miss he was 4-of-4 from deep followed by 6-of-8 against Georgia. Although the SEC may not be as competitive as the other major conferences, the top teams will be ones to keep your eye on come March Madness.
Justin Lehrbaum is a correspondent for NetScouts Basketball and can be followed on twitter@JustinLehrbaum Thanks to Vanderbilt University Athletics and USA Basketball for the photos.