Tray Woodall, Pittsburgh, 5’11”, G, Sr.
Don’t look now but Pittsburgh’s won four in a row. After losing their first seven games to start Big East play the Panthers are rallying back. Last week the Panthers surprised Georgetown and this week they went into West Virginia and snatched another upset. Woodall was excellent against the Mountaineers scoring 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting. He followed that performance with an even better one, scoring a career high 29 points to down a struggling Villanova team. He added 6 rebounds and 5 assists in that game and shot a perfect 17-of-17 from the charity stripe for the week.
Tyler Zeller, North Carolina, 7’0”, F, Sr.
North Carolina’s Zeller dominated the paint in North Carolina’s win over Wake Forest scoring 18 and matching it with a season high 18 rebounds. He then scored 22 against the surging Maryland Terrapins and added 7 rebounds. After losing to Florida State, the Tar Heels have won 5 straight to keep pace with the Seminoles atop the conference. This week, highly anticipated matchup with the Dukies awaits.
Joshua Smith, UCLA, 6’10”, F, So.
With 6 teams separated by 2 games or less the Pac-12 is TIGHT. This week featured competitive games up and down the west coast presenting many candidates for Player of the Week honors. There was Andre Roberson (Colorado, 6’7”, F, So.) who averaged 11.5ppg, 13 rpg, and blocked a monstrous 7 shots in a crucial win vs. Oregon. Arizona’s Kyle Fogg (6’3”, G, Sr.) made NorCal his temporary residence averaging 18.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, and 4 apg in wins at Cal and Stanford. But most impressive was UCLA’s Joshua Smith. The big man (listed at over 300 pounds) had an impact even greater than his size this week averaging 21.5ppg and 7 rpg off the bench. Smith had his best game of the season in a narrow 2 point loss at conference leading Washington with 24 points and 9 boards. Two days later in a win at Washington State Smith played his most efficient game. In 22 minutes he scored 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting, grabbing 5 boards and blocking 2 shots to help the Bruins to a 3 point victory.
Co Players of the Week
Jared Sullinger, Ohio State, 6’9”, F, So.
John Shurna, Northwestern, 6’9”, F, Sr.
Sullinger wore out the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday, ending the Buckeyes’ Kohl Center woes. The player of the year candidate was on the floor for all 40 minutes and delivered a 24 point, 10 rebound performance to snap the Buckeyes’ 9 game losing streak in Wisconsin. Sullinger scored his 1,000th career point in the victory.
Led by Shurna, Northwestern went on a 2 game mini resurgence that could possibly be the fulcrum of their season’s turn. Shurna scored 28 against Nebraska and 24 in a narrow upset at Illinois. With winnable games in the coming week against Iowa and Purdue, the Wildcats will have a chance to scratch their way into Big Ten contention.
Marcus Denmon, Missouri, 6’3”, G, Sr.
As writers we like statistics. They’re objective, they’re indisputable, and since many of us aren’t entrenched in the daily grind of a season it’s all we have. There are times though when statistics cannot explain the impact a player has on his team. They simply aren’t enough. This week, if we were going by statistics, in a week where many of the Big 12’s stars couldn’t put two solid games together honors would go to Baylor’s Perry Jones III who tallied 15.5 ppg and 8 rpg in Baylor’s two wins. However it’s Marcus Denmon who earns our Player of the Week nod. In the most anticipated matchup of the college basketball season to date #7 Kansas traveled to #4 Missouri to battle for border bragging rights and first place in the Big 12. Denmon responded with 29 points on 10/16 shooting and 9 rebounds but the stats only tell the part of the story. With 3:20 left, a Tyshawn Taylor dunk pushed Kansas’ lead to 8, but the emphatic slam would also be the Jayhawks’ last bucket. Denmon hit 3 three pointers in the game’s final 2:05, and nailed the go ahead trey with 56 seconds left. Behind Denmon’s sharp shooting, the Tigers ended the game on an 11-0 run and seized the reins in the Big 12.
Anthony Davis, Kentucky, 6’10”, F, Fr.
Davis put on a show this week. The freshman phenom showed why he’s at the top of NBA draft boards by averaging 20 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 7.5 blocks. Davis leads the country in blocks per game with 4.8 and Kentucky leads the country in talent.
Andrew Greenblatt is a Correspondent for NetScouts Basketball. Thanks to the Universities of Pittsburgh and North Carolina for the photos.