by Jeremy Bauman / @JBauman13
During Feast Week there were more than a few noteworthy performances, which is why I decided to track some of the most striking ones right here. There are so many college games every week and just as other spots give you their take, SLAMonline wants to give you ours. This first part is a tribute to the players who gave it their all this past week—because it showed.
Kemba Walker | Point Guard | Junior | Connecticut Huskies
Alex Oriakhi | Power Forward | Sophomore | Connecticut Huskies
He averaged 30 points, 4 assists per game this week against excellent competition. The biggest difference between this year’s K-Walk and last year’s is his improved jumper, which was on full display as he tore apart Wichita State, Michigan State, and Kentucky and literally willed his team to the Maui Invitational Championship. According to the “experts” Connecticut wasn’t even supposed to be in the picture in the top half of the Big East this season. Try telling that to Kemba “EZ-Pass” Walker now…
Everything that Walker was on the perimeter, the 6-9 Oriakhi was on the interior for the Huskies this week. Oriakhi earned high praise from NBA scouts this week for his relentless motor on both ends of the floor and his ability to finish through traffic in the paint (18-29 from the floor). He averaged 15 points, 11.6 rebounds (5 offensive per game), and 1.6 blocks per contest. If Oriakhi continues to be a force on the interior, watch out for UConn.
Derrick Williams | Small Forward | Sophomore | Arizona Wildcats
The best player that you haven’t seen play, Williams averaged 22.7 points on 20-37 shooting in three contests this week. A prototypical NBA small forward, Williams can get it done in a variety of ways and is extremely efficient in every area. This quote sums up Williams 27 point performance against Kansas on Saturday night: “I don’t think anyone would argue Williams was the best player on the court,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
Kyrie Irving | Point Guard | Freshman | Duke Blue Devils
Sure, Irving averaged 14.6 ppg (15-32 from the field), 5 apg, 3.3 rpg, and 2.3 spg against Marquette, Kansas State and Oregon this week. But with Irving, numbers simply don’t give his court presence its due justice. The manner in which he sets the tempo, makes the right pass, spaces the floor, hustles for loose balls and breaks the defense down time after time are more important than his statistics, and that’s why he’s been a starter since Day One in Durham.
Marcus Morris | Power Forward | Junior | Kansas Jayhawks
In three wins over Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Ohio and Arizona this week Morris averaged 18 points and 7.3 rips per contest while shooting a terrific 20-32 (62.5%, which is actually less than his 67.7% average for the season so far) from the field. Morris has looked much more comfortable with the ball on the wing this season and his overall feel for the game has clearly reached a new level in his junior year.
Ravern Johnson | Small Forward | Senior | Mississippi State Bulldogs
The 6-7 wing has always been a capable scorer, but it seems that he has taken his game to new heights this season. For the season he is shooting over 56% from three-point range through four games, and in his two games against Detroit and Troy this week he shot 10-17 from beyond the arc while averaging 29 points per game. He hasn’t played against top notch competition yet, so it should be interesting to track him as he moves forward.
Terrence Jones | Power Forward | Freshman | Kentucky Wildcats
Jones plays the game with a distinct flair at the power forward position for Coach Cal, and in his first week of real work against Oklahoma, Washington and UConn he averaged 23 points (on just over 50% shooting), 11.3 boards and 3.3 blocks per. A lefty, Jones is extremely powerful around the rim, drives with purpose from the perimeter, and has excellent timing blocking shots both in the paint and on the perimeter.
Draymond Green | Small Forward | Junior | Michigan State Spartans
10.8 ppg, 9.25 rpg, 4 apg, 1.5 spg, and 1 blk per contest are how his statistics read, but anybody who watched Michigan State play during its four games this week saw the versatile 6-6 Draymond Green impact the game beyond the stat sheet. Jay Bilas called him “the best teammate in America,” and that doesn’t seem like a reach. Why does Green do anything that Coach Izzo asks of him? Easy—because he can.
Kevin Anderson | Point Guard | Senior | Richmond Spiders
The speedy point guard helped his team to three victories this week, the most important coming on Saturday evening in the Chicago Invitational Championship over eighth ranked Purdue. Anderson scored 21 points in the second half and had 28 points overall to lead the Spiders to a huge non-conference victory that should help on Selection Sunday. KA averaged 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists this week.
Scotty Hopson | Shooting Guard | Junior | Tennessee Volunteers
As Hopson goes, so do the Tennessee Volunteers, and it showed during the Dicks Sporting Goods Preseason NIT Invitational this week. In two high quality wins against VCU and Villanova, Hopson averaged 18 points and 6 rebounds while shooting just below 50% from the field.
Diante Garrett | Point Guard | Senior | Iowa State Cyclones
Garrett has been the model of consistency for Iowa State, and it has helped translate into notches in the W column for the Cyclones. Last week Garrett played just two games but averaged 15.5 points, 5 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 2 steals, and just 1.5 turnovers in easy wins over Kennesaw State and Montana State.
Tim Abromaitis | Small Forward | Senior | Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Carleton Scott | Power Forward | Senior | Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Nobody expected Notre Dame to sweep through the field at the Old Spice Classic without a loss, but in large part to these two players the Irish are 7-0 and are forcing everyone to glance their way. Abromaitis provided shooting (although he had consistency issues in the semis against California and the finals against Wisconsin) to the tune of 17 points per game this week to go along with a solid rebounding effort of 7.3 per. Meanwhile, the wiry and springy movement of Carleton Scott around the rim led to open shots within ten feet of the hoop, which he knocked in with consistency to the tune of 12.5 ppg. Scott also averaged 7.5 boards and 2 blocks per contest.
Jon Leuer, Power Forward, Senior, Wisconsin Badgers
E’Twaun Moore, Shooting Guard, Senior, Purdue Boilermakers
Tobias Harris, Small Forward, Freshman, Tennessee Volunteers