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Tag:Maurice Harkless
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:18 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 12:22 pm
 

Freshman of the Year: Anthony Davis is No. 1

Unlike the close Player of the Year race, Kentucky's Anthony Davis is clearly the best freshman in the country. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

This will be the last Freshman of the Year rankings of the season, as we don’t plan on releasing one on the first Thursday of the NCAA tournament and there’s not much left to be decided. Unlike the Player of the Year race, which is still neck-and-neck heading into the conference tournaments, Anthony Davis has had this thing wrapped up since January. There was only one week where he didn’t hold the top spot, and that was after teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had a monster game in early December. Davis was simply dominant throughout the season, especially on the defensive end, and he got better and better on offense as the campaign progressed. In closing, congrats to Davis.

1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky (Last Week: 1): 14.4 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 4.7 bpg, 66.3 FG%
His offensive improvement down the stretch of the season has been extremely impressive. Davis is efficient inside and is now becoming a matchup problem with his face-up game. 

2. Cody Zeller, Indiana (Last Week: 2): 15.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 63.5 FG%
Despite getting plenty of defensive attention throughout the season, Zeller rebounded from a pseudo-slump during the middle of the season to be a huge factor in a recent four-game winning streak. 

3. Trey Burke, Michigan (Last Week: 3): 14.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.6 apg
Burke played extremely well late in the year, cutting down on turnovers and becoming more efficient from the floor. Has been extremely valuable all season for the Wolverines.

4. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky (Last Week: 4): 11.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg
Kidd-Gilchrist has struggled offensively in the last month, but he’s still the freshman leader for the Wildcats. His activity on the defensive end and his transition game are eye opening. 

5. Moe Harkless, St. John’s (Last Week: 5): 15.3 ppg, 8.6 rpg
Although the question of whether he will enter the NBA draft has dominated his headlines recently, he finished with a typically dominant game: 25 points, nine rebounds in a loss. 

6. Austin Rivers, Duke (Last Week: 7): 15.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 38.3 3PT%
Rivers really woke up in the final two months of the season, after not starting one game early in conference play. His game – and game-winner – against North Carolina was a defining moment. 

7. Brad Beal, Florida (Last Week: 6): 14.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg
Beal didn’t finish with a bang, going 1-of-10 in a 15-point loss to Kentucky. However, he stepped up his aggressiveness in the final six weeks, and started becoming a go-to-guy for the Gators.

8. Tony Mitchell, North Texas (Last Week: 8): 14.7 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 3.0 bpg, 56.7 FG%
Mitchell and North Texas fell just short of the NCAA tournament, but he was clearly the best non-BCS frosh this season. Only newcomer in the country to average a double-double, and he blocked shots too.

9. Tony Wroten, Washington (Last Week: 9): 16.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.7 apg
Wroten is one of the most productive all-around freshmen in the country, and he’s tremendously fun to watch. However, he needs to be more efficient and not force as many shots. 

10. B.J. Young, Arkansas (Last Week: NR): 15.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 50.6 FG%, 42.0 3PT%
It took him until the final week, but Young is back in the rankings despite his team having a rough final stretch. Young is ultra-efficient and can score in multiple ways. Going to be a star.

Notes:

  • The one player to fall out of the rankings in the final week was St. John’s guard D’Angelo Harrison. He had a tremendous season and was in the rankings for most of the final two months. Leading freshman scorer in BCS-affiliated leagues.
  • Freshman leaders – Points: Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut State (17.9); Rebounds: Tony Mitchell, North Texas (10.3); Assists: Dylan Garrity, Sacramento State (6.9)
Posted on: March 1, 2012 3:55 pm
 

Freshman of the Year: Beal continues to impress

Brad Beal has stepped up his game as the season progressed, averaging 16.5 points and 7.6 boards in his last 10. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

This is the next-to-last Freshman rankings of the season, as next week marks the final stretch before the NCAA tournament. Right now, the No. 1 spot is locked up for Kentucky's Anthony Davis to take home. It would surprise me if anyone else even garners a vote for the Freshman of the Year award. There's still some decisions to be made for the all-freshman team, though. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has seen his offensive drop off the last month, while Moe Harkless just got injured. Brad Beal is making a move, while Austin Rivers continues to get better. It looks like conference tournaments could decide some of the final dilemmas facing the Freshman of the Year rankings.

The Freshman of the Year rankings are released every Thursday afternoon, shortly after Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish’s Player of the Year rankings.

1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky (Last Week: 1): 14.3 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 4.8 bpg, 65.8 FG%
If there were any questions remaining about Davis, he answered them against Vanderbilt. He shot 10-of-11 from the field, finishing with 28 points, 11 boards and five blocks.

2. Cody Zeller, Indiana (Last Week: 2): 15.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 63.4 FG%
Going against Michigan State’s physical frontline on Tuesday, Zeller went for 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting. If the Hoosiers are to advance in March, though, he needs to consistently rebound.

3. Trey Burke, Michigan (Last Week: 3): 14.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.8 apg
Burke didn’t have a vintage effort against Purdue, struggling with his shot and turning it over four times. He’s only shot 50 percent or better twice in the past 10 games.

4. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky (Last Week: 4): 12.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg
Kidd-Gilchrist slowed down late in the season, averaging just 8.9 points and shooting 40.6 percent from the field in the final eight games. He was still a factor on the glass and the defensive end, though.

5. Moe Harkless, St. John’s (Last Week: 5): 15.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg
Harkless played just 22 minutes against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, finishing with four points. He injured his right ankle and looked limited once he came back into the game.

6. Brad Beal, Florida (Last Week: 7): 14.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg
Beal is playing his best basketball of the season in the last month, being far more aggressive offensively and also rebounding extremely well for his position. Five double-doubles this season.

7. Austin Rivers, Duke (Last Week: 8): 15.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 39.3 3PT%
Rivers is diversifying his game late in the season. He took 17 free throws against Virginia Tech, eight 3-pointers against Florida State and nine 2-pointers against Wake Forest.

8. Tony Mitchell, North Texas (Last Week: 6): 15.3 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 2.9 bpg, 58.1 FG%
Mitchell will have his chance to carry the Mean Green with the Sun Belt tourney beginning this weekend. He’s slowed down offensively lately, averaging 9.7 points in his last three games.

9. Tony Wroten, Washington (Last Week: 9): 16.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.5 apg
When Wroten is doing what he does well – attacking the rim and making plays – he’s at his best. Forcing shots is not. 21 points, six rebounds and five assists looks good, but it can’t take him 18 shots. 

10. D’Angelo Harrison, St. John’s (Last Week: 10): 17.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Harrison set the St. John’s freshman scoring record on Wednesday night, finishing with 21 points and four 3-pointers. If only he actually made his inside shots, we could see him average 25 a game.

Notes:

  • Once again, no one moved in or out of the rankings.
  • It's neck and neck with Harrison and B.J. Young of Arkansas for the No. 10 spot right now. Young is an efficient scorer who knocks down 3-pointers, and is averaging 20.3 points in his last seven games. This could come down to the wire. The other nine players are fairly secure in the top 10, although there's still potential for changs.
  • As you should know by now, I look for every reason to get a Delaware mention in here. Well, in his last five games, Jarvis Threatt is averaging 19.8 points and 4.6 boards.
  • LaDontae Henton totaled 42 points and 22 rebounds in two wins over DePaul and Connecticut.
  • Wonder if Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes is ready for a big finish to the season. He shot 9-of-10 with 18 points and seven rebounds in an overtime win against LSU on Wednesday.
  • Stanford’s Chasson Randle is really hitting his stride offensively. He’s had at least 16 points in five of his last six games, averaging 17.0 points in that span.
  • Matt Carlino will be a key heading forward for BYU. The Cougars need him to score, but taking 23 shots (Gonzaga) and 19 shots (San Francisco) isn’t the trick.
  • Charleston Southern has one of the more underrated freshman duos, in guards Saah Nimley and Arlon Harper. They’re combining to averaging 26.0 points.
  • Binghamton has only one win this season, but Ben Dickinson is averaging 15.3 points and 6.5 rebounds in his last four games.
  • Freshman leaders – Points: Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut State (18.0); Rebounds: Tony Mitchell, North Texas (10.8); Assists: Dylan Garrity, Sacramento State (6.9)
Posted on: February 23, 2012 12:29 pm
 

Freshman of the Year: Who's the most valuable?

Trey Burke has Michigan in the thick of the Big Ten title hunt. Without him, where would the Wolverines be? (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

With only a couple of weeks left in the season, the proverbial Freshman Wall of January is in the rearview mirror and the top newcomers are making a push. Nearly every single one of the top 10 newcomers is playing outstanding ball lately – and many of them have their teams in the thick of a conference title race. Which brings us to the question: which freshman is most valuable to his team? Anthony Davis would still be No. 1, but would the rest of the top 10 be the same? Trey Burke might be No. 2, and someone outside the top 10 might make the rankings. Just some food for thought.

The Freshman of the Year rankings are released every Thursday afternoon, shortly after Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish’s Player of the Year rankings.

1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky (Last Week: 1): 13.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 4.8 bpg, 64.6 FG%
Davis didn’t dominate at either end over the past week, but he’s still the biggest game-changer in college basketball. Took two 3-pointers against Mississippi State; he had only attempted six all season.

2. Cody Zeller, Indiana (Last Week: 2): 15.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 64.5 FG%
While Zeller continues his stellar offensive play, his rebounding is the biggest positive right now. He’s averaging 8.7 boards in his last six games, after a poor January on the glass.

3. Trey Burke, Michigan (Last Week: 5): 14.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.8 apg
Burke has Michigan in the thick of the Big Ten race, and he came up big in the past week. He averaged 18.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists in wins over Ohio State and Northwestern.

4. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky (Last Week: 3): 12.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg
Kidd-Gilchrist bounced back from a rough offensive stretch with a great performance against Mississippi State, going for 18 points and 10 rebounds – and locking down Dee Bost in the second half.

5. Moe Harkless, St. John’s (Last Week: 4): 15.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg
Harkless played 40 minutes in each of his last two games, and shows no signs of slowing down. He nabbed double-figure rebounds in both games, and shot 6-for-9 on Monday.

6. Tony Mitchell, North Texas (Last Week: 6): 15.7 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 3.0 bpg, 58.7 FG%
Mitchell dominated as soon as he moved up the rankings, getting 18 points, 15 boards and six blocks. But he struggled over the weekend, suffering from foul trouble en route to seven points.

7. Brad Beal, Florida (Last Week: 8): 14.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg
Beal continues to perform at a very high level over the last month. He’s become Florida’s most consistent player, averaging 16.3 points and 7.4 rebounds in his last eight games.

8. Austin Rivers, Duke (Last Week: 7): 15.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 39.8 3PT%
Rivers is starting to get comfortable as a 3-point shooter and go-to-guy on the perimeter. He scored 16 points in each of his last two games, hitting four 3-pointers.

9. Tony Wroten, Washington (Last Week: 9): 16.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.5 apg
Wroten’s game against Arizona was what the Huskies need from him (aside from overshooting). He had 22 points, nine rebounds – and just two turnovers. He’s great off the dribble, just needs to play under control.

10. D’Angelo Harrison, St. John’s (Last Week: 10): 16.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg
To be honest, we’re looking for reasons to move new players onto the list, but Harrison is making that harder and harder. He averaged 22.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists in his last two games.

Notes:

  • Once again, no one moved in or out of the rankings.
  • Arkansas’ B.J. Young was one of the last ones left out of the rankings. Despite the Razorbacks’ struggles of late, Young is rolling. He’s averaging 23.0 points in his last four games, shooting 31-for-55 from the field and 10-for-20 from 3-point range.
  • Butler’s Roosevelt Jones has been a major part of the Bulldogs’ resurgence, averaging 11.8 points and 9.0 rebounds in his last eight games.
  • Myck Kabongo is rounding into form. He’s putting up 15.0 points and 4.3 assists in his last four games.
  • Providence’s LaDontae Henton has played at least 39 minutes in 11 of his last 12 games. That’s unbelievable for a 6-foot-6 frontcourt player.
  • Anthony Collins continues to transform the South Florida offense at the point guard position. He’s averaging 11.1 points and 6.7 assists in his last seven games.
  • Kevin Pangos was on the verge of breaking into the rankings, but he shot 2-for-11 from 3 in his last two games, averaging just 8.0 points.
  • Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant is averaging 13.8 points and 5.2 assists in his last nine games.
  • The injury to Rodney Hood could be huge for Mississippi State. He gives the Bulldogs a bonafide third or fourth scorer who can knock down outside shots or get into the mid-range.
  • Prior to Sunday’s subpar performance against UCLA, Stanford’s Chasson Randle was averaging 18.7 points in his previous three games.
  • Iowa forward Aaron White is putting up 14.5 points and 10.3 rebounds in his last four games.
  • Nice couple of games from Western Kentucky’s Derrick Gordon: 14.5 points and 10.5 boards in the last week.
  • Freshman leaders – Points: Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut State (18.1); Rebounds: Tony Mitchell, North Texas (10.4); Assists: Dylan Garrity, Sacramento State (6.8)
Posted on: February 16, 2012 4:39 pm
 

Freshman of the Year: Cody Zeller heating up

Indiana's Cody Zeller is increasing his production at the perfect time. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

We all know Anthony Davis is going to win all Freshman of the Year awards this season; that’s set in stone. But the finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Award were released on Wednesday afternoon, and there were some questionable selections. The finalists were: Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller, Austin Rivers and Tony Wroten. The first three are fine – but Rivers and Wroten? Prior to his recent stretch, Rivers had struggled offensively, while Wroten has gaudy numbers but has been inconsistent with turnovers. I can see Rivers, but Wroten is a stretch. Moe Harkless is supremely talented and has put up tremendous numbers, while Trey Burke has Michigan in the Big Ten title hunt. Both could have made a case for inclusion.

The Freshman of the Year rankings are released every Thursday afternoon, shortly after Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish’s Player of the Year rankings.

1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky (Last Week: 1): 14.0 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 4.9 bpg, 65.1 FG%
Davis finally missed a few shots over the weekend against Vanderbilt, but he had one of his best defensive performances of the season, blocking seven shots.

2. Cody Zeller, Indiana (Last Week: 3): 15.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 65.6 FG%
Zeller is heating up again at the right time. In the last two games, he totaled 45 points and 12 rebounds on 14-for-19 shooting from the field. He also knocked down 17-of-20 free throws.

3. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky (Last Week: 2): 12.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg
Kidd-Gilchrist has been very inconsistent on the offensive end lately, making five or more field goals in a game just twice since December 31. He has six single-digit scoring games in that span.

4. Moe Harkless, St. John’s (Last Week: 4): 15.6 ppg, 8.5 rpg
Despite being the focal point of defenses, Harkless is still managing to carry the young Johnnies offensively. He averaged 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in his last two games.

5. Trey Burke, Michigan (Last Week: 5): 14.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.8 apg
Burke has scaled his offensive production back a bit in the past few weeks, but he still has the Wolverines in Big Ten title contention. Had 14 over the weekend vs. Illinois.

6. Tony Mitchell, North Texas (Last Week: 7): 16.1 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 2.9 bpg, 61.4 FG%
Mitchell took over the freshman rebounding leaderboard, after his 22-point, 20-rebound, five-assist, six-block game against Florida Atlantic. Averaged 19.5 points, 16.0 rebounds and 5.0 blocks in last two. 

7. Austin Rivers, Duke (Last Week: 6): 15.0 ppg, 41.0 3PT%
Not surprisingly, Rivers slowed down after his performance against North Carolina. He still managed to knock down three 3-pointers and dish out four assists vs. Maryland.

8. Brad Beal, Florida (Last Week: 10): 14.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Everyone on the Gators seems to be hitting a wall – except Beal. He’s picking up the slack over the past six games, averaging 16.0 points and 8.7 rebounds. He’s been more aggressive.

9. Tony Wroten, Washington (Last Week: 8): 16.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.5 apg
If only Wroten could find some consistency from the floor and with turnovers. He was too aggressive in a 25-point loss to Oregon, and foul trouble hampered him against Oregon State.

10. D’Angelo Harrison, St. John’s (Last Week: 9): 16.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Harrison continued his torrid 3-point pace against Georgetown, with five long-range shots, but shot just 4-for-15 from the field in a 30-point loss to Seton Hall. 

Notes:

  • It’s getting harder and harder to break into the rankings, with the way the bottom half of the top 10 is playing. Beal is rolling, Harrison is putting up numbers, Mitchell is a beast, and it’s tough to take out Wroten.
  • Texas’ Myck Kabongo is going to be a huge key for the Longhorns down the stretch. He averaged 13.0 points and 5.0 assists in his last two games.
  • Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos is one of the hottest shooters around. He’s averaged 24.0 points and 5.5 assists in his last two games, shooting 10-for-13 from 3-point range.
  • South Florida point guard Anthony Collins has tallied at least six assists in five straight games, and is one of the reasons the Bulls are playing well. Averaging 8.8 points and 6.2 assists in that span.
  • Arkansas’ B.J. Young seems to have found his stroke. He’s 21-for-36 in his last three games, averaging 20.3 points in that span. He’s inching closer to the rankings.
  • It’s time to stop calling Kentucky’s Marquis Teague a disappointment. He’s playing more within himself (and the offense) and has really cut back on his turnovers. Averaged 12.5 points and 9.0 assists in his last two games.
  • If Arizona’s Nick Johnson has more games like he did against Utah – 18 points, four rebounds, three assists, three steals and three 3-pointers – look out.
  • LSU has itself a nice inside-outside duo in guard Anthony Hickey and big man Johnny O’Bryant. Both have been inconsistent, but the light bulb could be coming on.
  • Jackson State’s Kelsey Howard is gunning lately. He’s attempted at least 12 shots in eight straight games, including a 5-for-25 effort last week. In that stretch, he’s averaging 15.0 points and shooting 33.5 percent.
  • Freshman leaders – Points: Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut State (17.8); Rebounds: Tony Mitchell, North Texas (10.4); Assists: Dylan Garrity, Sacramento State (6.6)
Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:28 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 3:39 pm
 

Freshman of the Year: Rivers rises with big shot

Austin Rivers' game-winner last night, plus his increased scoring lately, moves him up in this week's rankings. (AP)

By Jeff Borzello

So much for the freshman wall. What a week we saw from some of the top newcomers in the country. Austin Rivers hit a game-winning 3-pointer; Le’Bryan Nash knocked down a go-ahead jumper and then blocked a shot at the other end; Michael Kidd-Gilchrist did it all; Anthony Davis moved closer to National Player of the Year – and that’s just four of them. While Davis continues to separate himself from the pack, the competition behind him is heating up as we head into the final weeks of the regular season.

The Freshman of the Year rankings are released every Thursday afternoon, shortly after Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish’s Player of the Year rankings.

1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky (Last Week: 1): 14.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 4.8 bpg, 66.0 FG%
You can’t convince me that Davis only had six rebounds and four blocks against Florida – he completely dominated inside. Averaging 18.0 points in last four games.

2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky (Last Week: 2): 12.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg
Kidd-Gilchrist bolted out of the gate against Florida with a bang, finishing with 13 points and 13 boards. Overall, his offense has been fairly inconsistent lately.

3. Cody Zeller, Indiana (Last Week: 5): 15.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 64.9 FG%
Zeller has really picked up his rebounding in the past week, grabbing 20 in the last two games combined. If he can continue to make an impact on the glass, he’ll be even more of a factor.

4. Moe Harkless, St. John’s (Last Week: 4): 15.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg
Harkless has struggled since his 30-point game against Duke, averaging 10.0 points on 11-for-39 shooting in his last three contests. Grabbing 7.0 rebounds per game in that span.

5. Trey Burke, Michigan (Last Week: 3): 14.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.9 apg
Burke has been quiet offensively the past two games, making just four shots in each game, averaging 11.5 points. Scoring his dipped since his monster early January stretch.

6. Austin Rivers, Duke (Last Week: 10): 15.1 ppg, 40.4 3PT%
Rivers etched his name into Duke-Carolina lore on Wednesday, with his 25-footer at the buzzer to give the Blue Devils a one-point win. He’s really starting to heat up, averaging 22.3 points in his last three games.

7. Tony Mitchell, North Texas (Last Week: 7): 15.6 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.6 bpg, 61.6 FG%
Mitchell with another great all-around game: 16 points, 11 boards, five blocks. An interesting note about Mitchell – he’s shooting 53.6 percent from 3-point range.

8. Tony Wroten, Washington (Last Week: 6): 16.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.5 apg
Wroten continues to be slightly up and down. Washington simply looked better without him against UCLA, but he bounced back with eight assists and one turnover vs. USC.

9. D’Angelo Harrison, St. John’s (Last Week: 9): 16.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Harrison is lighting up the scoreboard the past three weeks. Interesting stat: in his past six games, he’s 24-for-45 from 3-point range – and just 14-for-45 on 2-pointers.

10. Brad Beal, Florida (Last Week: 8): 14.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg
Beal has become more aggressive in the past four games, averaging 17.0 points and 7.0 rebounds. His 5-for-15 performance against Kentucky was just one of many bad nights for the Gators.

Notes:

  • No players dropped out from last week.
  • La Salle’s Jerrell Wright needs to stay out of foul trouble. He was averaging 14.3 points in the Explorers’ four-game winning streak, but played just 24 minutes in the last two games total – both losses.
  • If only Le’Bryan Nash could be consistent. He made two huge plays at the end of Oklahoma State’s win over Iowa State, but struggled the previous game.
  • Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant is playing more than 38 minutes per game in his last eight games.
  • Chane Behanan has really turned it up over the past six games. He’s averaging 13.5 and 9.8 rebounds in that span.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope needs to have more performances like he did against Arkansas on Wednesday. 18 points, 6-for-10 shooting, three 3-pointers.
  • Quincy Miller of Baylor is reverting back to his December form. He’s shot just 7-for-23 in the last three games, averaging only 6.3 points.
  • It’s almost time to think about making room for Michigan State’s Branden Dawson. He continues his good play, now averaging 12.8 points and 6.2 rebounds in his last five games.
  • Freshman Watch wouldn’t be complete with a mention of Georgetown’s Otto Porter. He had 14 points and 13 boards against Syracuse on Wednesday night.
  • Providence’s LaDontae Henton is averaging 19.5 points and 6.3 rebounds in his last four games.
  • The biggest freshman disappointment could be Connecticut’s Andre Drummond. Other candidates could be Jabari Brown and Khem Birch, then maybe Josiah Turner and DeAndre Daniels.
  • Texas' Sheldon McClellan is averaging 16.0 points in his last two games.
  • Richmond’s Kendall Anthony has knocked down 16 of his last 26 attempts from 3-point range.
  • After scoring in double-figures just four times in his first nine games, Tennessee-Martin’s Myles Taylor has tallied double-digits in 14 of his last 16 contests.
  • Freshman leaders – Points: Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut State (17.4); Rebounds: Anthony Davis, Kentucky (10.0); Assists: Dylan Garrity, Sacramento State (6.4)
More College Basketball coverage
Posted on: February 2, 2012 6:58 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 7:11 pm
 

Freshman of the Year: Tony Mitchell keeps rising

North Texas' Tony Mitchell has established himself as the best mid-major freshman in the country. (North Texas Athletics)

By Jeff Borzello

Anthony Davis has separated himself as the clear No. 1 freshman in the country, dominating defensively and getting better and better offensively. There is also a gap between the top five and everyone else, although North Texas’ Tony Mitchell is making a run. He’s clearly the most talented player in the Sun Belt, and has the ability to carry the Mean Green to an automatic bid in the conference tournament. If he continues to produce like he has, he could close out the best mid-major freshman race fairly quickly.

The Freshman of the Year rankings are released every Thursday afternoon, shortly after Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish’s Player of the Year rankings.

1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky (Last Week: 1): 13.5 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 4.7 bpg, 65.0 FG%
Davis shot 12-for-13 from the floor in the past week, blocking 10 shots and making his case for National Player of the Year. He also averaged 17.0 points and 9.0 boards.

2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky (Last Week: 2): 12.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg
Kidd-Gilchrist didn’t have his best week of the season, struggling against LSU with only one point on 0-for-5 shooting. He bounced back with 16 and eight, though.

3. Trey Burke, Michigan (Last Week: 3): 14.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.9 apg
Burke found his shot against Indiana, going 2-for-2 from behind the arc en route to 18 points and four assists. He also held his own against Aaron Craft and Ohio State.

4. Moe Harkless, St. John’s (Last Week: 5): 16.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg
Harkless has increased his stock dramatically lately. He had 30 points and 13 rebounds against Duke, but only shot 2-for-15 with nine points vs. DePaul (although he was hampered by an injury).

5. Cody Zeller, Indiana (Last Week: 4): 15.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 65.2 FG%
Zeller has been inconsistent in the last three games, sneaking a 26-point effort in between two games where he averaged 9.0 points on 6-for-16 shooting.

6. Tony Wroten, Washington (Last Week: 8): 17.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.3 apg
Wroten’s consistency has coincided with a nice run lately from the Huskies. He’s averaged 19.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in his last two games.

7. Tony Mitchell, North Texas (Last Week: 10): 15.6 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 64.0 FG%
Mitchell is dominating the Sun Belt like we thought he would at the beginning of the year. He had 21 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks in a win last weekend. 

8. Brad Beal, Florida (Last Week: 6): 14.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Beal has limited the bad shots in the past few weeks, and his efficiency has risen as a result. Against Mississippi State, he went for 19 points and also knocked down three 3-pointers. 

9. D’Angelo Harrison, St. John’s (Last Week: NR): 16.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg
Harrison made his way back into the rankings with a stellar last four games. He’s averaging 24.3 points in that stretch, and has vastly improved his shooting: 17-for-32 from behind the arc.

10. Austin Rivers, Duke (Last Week: 9): 14.1 ppg
Rivers scored in double figures for the fourth game in a row against St. John’s, and also dished out five assists, showing much-needed creativity on the perimeter for Duke.

Notes:

  • Le’Bryan Nash was the only one to drop out of the rankings, mostly because of his inconsistency. He has shot just 8-for-24 in his last two games, forcing too much offensively.
  • Mitchell was the first non-BCS player to move out of the No. 10 spot in the rankings.
  • If Baylor’s Quincy Miller could develop some consistency from the floor, he would easily make his way into the rankings. However, he’s only shot 10-for-25 in the last three games.
  • B.J. Young of Arkansas has seen his numbers dip as the Razorbacks pick up big wins. His shooting percentage dropped below 50 percent for the first time this season.
  • Providence’s LaDontae Henton is doing his best to make his way back into the rankings, going for 33 points and seven boards against South Florida, followed by 15 and nine in a win over Rutgers.
  • Ole Miss’ Jarvis Summers has made only four shots in the past three games, after scoring in double figures 10 times this season.
  • LSU’s Johnny O’Bryant could be headed for a solid final month. He had 12 points and nine rebounds against Kentucky.
  • Rutgers’ Eli Carter has shot just 27-for-79 in his last seven games.
  • Michigan State’s Branden Dawson has really stepped his game up the last three contests. He’s averaging 14.0 points and 6.8 rebounds in that stretch, shooting 17-for-28.
  • Stanford’s Chasson Randle was inching closer to the rankings, but he’s shot just 5-for-19 in the past two games, averaging just 8.0 points and 1.0 assists.
  • Ricky Tarrant of Tulane has scored in double figures in his last eight games, including a 33-point effort against SMU last week.
  • Marist’s Chavaughn Lewis is the nation’s top sixth man scorer. He’s averaging 13.0 points off the bench.
  • Freshman leaders – Points: Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut State (18.3); Rebounds: Anthony Davis, Kentucky (10.2); Assists: Dylan Garrity, Sacramento State (6.4)
Posted on: January 26, 2012 1:13 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 1:47 pm
 

Freshman of the Year: Nash makes his case

Le'Bryan Nash has been up and down, but 27 points in an upset of Missouri cemented his spot in the rankings. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

The top freshmen in the country have been pretty stagnant lately, with the top four staying the same for the most part the past few weeks. Even the back end of the rankings didn’t see much movement this week – and it’s because many newcomers are beginning to hit a bit of a wall in conference play. They’re becoming more inconsistent, as teams key on them and organize defenses to stop them. It seems every time we look to add a player to the rankings, he goes out and struggles immensely. Consistency will be the key going forward. 

The Freshman of the Year rankings are released every Thursday afternoon, shortly after Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish’s Player of the Year rankings.

1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky (Last Week: 1): 13.2 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 4.7 bpg, 62.9 FG%
Davis didn’t have his best offensive week the past two games, going just 3-for-12 from the field for 15 total points. He’s still a menace defensively and on the boards.

2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky (Last Week: 2): 13.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg
Kidd-Gilchrist was up to his old tricks against Alabama and Georgia. He had a great first half against Alabama, before fouling out, and had a solid all-around effort against Georgia.

3. Trey Burke, Michigan (Last Week: 3): 14.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 5.0 apg
Burke’s shooting has fallen off the past two games, going just 9-for-29 from the field. However, his playmaking and passing has been better, averaging 6.0 assists in that span.

4. Cody Zeller, Indiana (Last Week: 4): 15.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 65.9 FG%
His performance against Penn State over the weekend was vintage Cody Zeller: 7-for-8 from the field, 18 points, four blocks – and four rebounds.

5. Moe Harkless, St. John’s (Last Week: 7): 15.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg
Harkless had one of the better freshman weeks in the country. He went for 23 points and 13 boards against West Virginia, following a great all-around game against Villanova.

6. Brad Beal, Florida (Last Week: 6): 14.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg
Beal has been a bit passive the past couple of games, but he’s been efficient. The 3-pointer has returned, too; he’s 7-for-13 in his last three games from behind the arc.

7. Le’Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State (Last Week: 8): 13.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg
Nash is still too inconsistent, but he bounced back from a four-shot performance against Kansas State with 27 points, four boards and four assists against Missouri. 

8. Tony Wroten, Washington (Last Week: 5): 16.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.3 apg
Wroten has been erratic shooting the ball lately and his turnovers are on the rise again. He’s much better when he’s creating off the dribble. 

9. Austin Rivers, Duke (Last Week: NR): 14.2 ppg
He started the game against Wake Forest on the bench; it clearly woke him up. He’s averaging 16.3 points in his last three games, shooting 5-for-12 from 3-point range. 

10. Tony Mitchell, North Texas (Last Week: NR): 15.2 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 63.1 FG%
The Mean Green lost on Wednesday night and Mitchell was in foul trouble, but he’s dominating the Sun Belt. Went for 30 points and 17 rebounds over the weekend.

Notes:

  • Justin Edwards of Maine dropped out from his second turn in the mid-major slot. He’s had subpar offensive performances the mpast three games, shooting just 14-for-34 from the field, with 17 turnovers.
  • Rutgers’ Eli Carter has fallen off a bit, regressing back to his season averages. He’s putting up 10 points per game in his last four. He also dropped out.
  • Based on stats, Georgetown’s Otto Porter wouldn’t be anywhere close to the rankings. But he does the little things – like coming up big down the stretch vs. Rutgers – that make him a candidate every week.
  • Baylor’s Quincy Miller might have been the last one off the list. He averaged 22.3 points in a three-game stretch, but had just five against Oklahoma.
  • Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant averaged 13 points and five assists in wins over Syracuse and Seton Hall. For a guy who didn’t play the point in high school, his vision and playmaking have been exceptional.
  • Michigan State’s Branden Dawson has been extremely efficient the past two games, shooting 13-for-17 from the field and averaging 15.0 points.
  • D’Angelo Harrison of St. John’s is looking to work himself back into the discussion. He’s averaging 23.5 points in his last two, shooting 14-for-30 from the field.
  • Still waiting for Andre Drummond to step up and dominate. He was completely neutralized against Cincinnati and Tennessee.
  • Rough go for Xavier’s Dezmine Wells the past two games. He was shut out against Saint Louis, after managing just five points against Dayton.
  • Juan’ya Green is the Niagara frosh that gets the most attention, but what about Antoine Mason? He’s a redshirt freshman and is averaging 15.1 points this season.
  • Louisiana Tech’s Raheem Appleby has stepped up his game tremendously lately. He’s averaging 19.0 points in his last five games.
  • Freshman leaders – Points: Kyle Vinales  Central Connecticut State (18.6); Rebounds: Anthony Davis, Kentucky (10.3); Assists: Dylan Garrity, Sacramento State (6.1)
Posted on: January 19, 2012 3:14 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 3:18 pm
 

Freshman of the Year: Davis creates separation

With his recent stretch, Anthony Davis is leaving the rest of the freshmen -- and his teammates -- in the dust. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello 

Anthony Davis is stepping up his game when some of the other freshmen are hitting the proverbial wall. He had a tremendous performance against Arkansas earlier this week, going for 27 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks in the win. He also set the Kentucky single-season record for blocks – with 12 regular-season games remaining for the Wildcats. As a result, he’s still No. 1 – and the gap between him and teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is growing.

The Freshman of the Year rankings are released every Thursday afternoon, shortly after Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish’s Player of the Year rankings.

1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky (Last Week: 1): 13.8 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 4.7 bpg, 65.8 FG%
Davis’ scoring has always been an afterthought this season, but he’s averaging 18.5 points in his last six games. If that continues, Kentucky will be even tougher.

2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky (Last Week: 2): 13.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg
Kidd-Gilchrist bounced back from a mini-slump with 17 points and 12 boards against Tennessee, before an uneven game vs. Arkansas. Continues to contribute in so many ways.

3. Trey Burke, Michigan (Last Week: 3): 14.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.8 apg
Burke is getting better and better. He’s limited his turnovers lately; shot 15-for-24 in last two games; and scored 20 points and had the game-winning assist vs. Michigan State.

4. Cody Zeller, Indiana (Last Week: 4): 14.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 64.8 FG%
Zeller has found his offensive touch lately, averaging 19 points in his last three games. He’s also grabbing seven boards per game in those three. But Indiana is 0-3.

5. Tony Wroten, Washington (Last Week: 5): 16.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.4 apg
Wroten leads all BCS-conference freshmen in scoring this season, but he struggled against Washington State. With Cal and Stanford this weekend, he needs to step up.

6. Brad Beal, Florida (Last Week: NR): 14.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg
After a one-week hiatus, Beal is back on the list. His offense is coming around, averaging 15.5 points in his last two games, with six 3-pointers and just one turnover.

7. Moe Harkless, St. John’s (Last Week: 8): 15.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg
St. John’s has now lost five of its last six, but it’s through no fault of Harkless. He’s trying to carry the team as much as he can, and he never seems to have a truly bad game.

8. Le’Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State (Last Week: NR): 12.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg
He struggled against Baylor over the weekend, but Nash is averaging 16.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in Big 12 play. He’s also become far more efficient recently.

9. Eli Carter, Rutgers (Last Week: 6): 13.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg
Since making the rankings last week, Carter shot just 6-for-19 and averaged 9.5 points. He was still able to knock down a clutch 3 against Notre Dame in Rutgers’ win, though.

10. Justin Edwards, Maine (Last Week: NR): 15.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 3.4 apg
The first repeat mid-major player, Edwards continues to expand his game. He is distributing and rebounding more lately, but still has the ability to score. Edwards also defends. 

Notes:

  • Three players were knocked out of the rankings. Mississippi State’s Rodney Hood averaged just 7.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in the three games since last week, shooting 8-for-21 from the field. Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant notched 12 assists against Rutgers, but he struggled scoring the ball and went just 3-for-11 from 3-point range. Obi Emegano also dropped out as Western Illinois dropped two games.
  • Baylor’s Quincy Miller is making his case to be included, averaging 19.0 points in his last two games. Can he make clutch plays, though?
  • Andre Drummond had notched three straight double-doubles, and was headed for the rankings – then he went 2-for-9 with four points against Cincinnati.
  • Xavier’s Dezmine Wells is averaging 12.6 points and 7.4 rebounds in Atlantic-10 play.
  • Austin Rivers is averaging just 7.7 points in ACC play.
  • Chasson Randle of Stanford is scoring 17.7 points in his last three games; he’s been one of the most underrated frosh in the country.
  • Fresh off Ole Miss’ win over Mississippi State, it’s time for Jarvis Summers to get some recognition. He’s mputting up 15.0 points and 4.7 assists in his last three games.
  • San Diego’s Johnny Dee is one of the better frosh shooters out there. In a three-game stretch, he shot 14-for-27 from deep and averaged 24.0 points.
  • Freshman leaders – Points: Juan’ya Green, Niagara (18.6); Rebounds: Anthony Davis, Kentucky (10.4); Assists: Dylan Garrity, Sacramento State (6.5)
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