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Check in for weekly updates on the 50 Naismith Trophy candidates!


A weekly update of the latest in hoops.


February 21, 2013

NAISMITH IN THE NBA

Brandon Jennings is no stranger to posting big numbers. Winner of the 2008 Naismith Trophy for the Boy’s High School Player of the Year, Jennings is averaging a career high 19.1 points per contest in his fourth season with the Milwaukee Bucks. While continuing to produce highlight real plays, he has also increased his assists and steals averages. In his last five games, Jennings is averaging 23.8 points, including back-to-back 30 point efforts against the Brooklyn Nets.

NAISMITH CANDIDATES

The 22-5 Bucknell Bisons have enjoyed a stellar senior season from center Mike Muscala. Averaging career highs in points (19.1), rebounds (11.5), assists (2.6), and blocks (2.7) Muscala and the Bison have their eyes set on a Patriot League title. In his last three conference games, Muscala is averaging better than 22 points while reaching the free throw line more than 15 times.

The Duke Blue Devils have spent the year in the Top 10 with one of their key pieces sitting out of most practices. Senior guard Seth Curry has battled lingering lower-extremity injuries all season, limiting his practice time.  But in games, he is averaging 17 points per contest. As conference play dwindles and teams set their sights to tournament time, Curry has averaged better than 20 points in his last five contests.

The No. 18 Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens were forced to begin their season without their star point-forward as Elena Delle Donne sat out six of the first seven games of the season fighting fatigue caused by Lyme Disease. Since her return, she has done nothing but score for Delaware as her 24.7 ppg mark is good for second in the country. Delle Donne has led the Fightin’ Blue Hens in 18 of their 19 game win streak including four 30 point efforts. Delle Donne won the 2008 Naismith Trophy for the Girl’s High School Player of the Year.


February 18, 2013

NAISMITH IN THE NBA

Many of the Naismith Awards' high school honorees are household names in the NBA. One name you should start to familiarize yourself with is Derrick Favors, the 2009 Naismith Boy’s High School Player of the Year and standout at Georgia Tech. In his third season, second with the Utah Jazz, he is showing marked improvement, making him a necessary go-to player off of the bench. With career highs in scoring, rebounding, blocks, and assists, Favors is showing the promise to be a double-double machine.

NAISMITH CANDIDATES

The son of Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin is creating a name for himself. Shane Larkin, the sophomore point guard of the Miami Hurricanes is averaging 13.4 points, 4.3 assists, and 2.1 steals.  The Hurricanes are off to an 11-0 ACC start and own the highest ranking in school history at No. 3. In their last five wins, Larkin is averaging 17.6 points, including 13 points in the last 7 ½ minutes in a crucial win at Florida State.

Pierre Jackson may have lost three teammates to last year’s NBA draft, but he won’t let that be an excuse for Baylor to miss their first back-to-back NCAA tournament appearance in school history. Jackson leads the Bears – and the Big 12 – in both scoring (18.9) and assists (6.2). Averaging nearly 20 points and better than 7 assists in his last five games, Jackson has his eyes on a Big 12 title.

The Stanford Cardinals are 11-1 in Pac-12 play and own the No. 4 ranking in the country, much in part to the play of junior forward Chiney Ogwumike, winner of the 2010 Naismith Girl’s High School Player of the Year honor. Averaging a double-double, Ogwumike’s marks of 22.4 points and 12.4 rebounds per game place her in the top 10 in the NCAA in both categories. She has led the Cardinals in scoring in 21 of 24 games.


February 7, 2013

NAISMITH CANDIDATES

Victor Oladipo has always been touted as a great athlete. In a junior campaign that sees his Indiana Hoosiers currently ranked No. 1, he is being touted as a great basketball player. Having the tall order of guarding some of the nation’s top scorers, Oladipo is posting career highs of 14 points per game, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.5 steals. In his last five games he has upped his scoring to 15.8 points while guarding the likes of Michigan’s Trey Burke and Michigan State’s Keith Appling.

Much like his Miami Hurricanes, senior guard Durand Scott is impressing everyone in the college basketball world. Averaging a hair under 14 points per game and 3 assists per game, Scott has helped the Hurricanes to an undefeated start in ACC play at 9-0. In wins over Top 25 teams Duke and North Caroline State Scott scored 25 and 18 points respectively.

Sophomore forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis is no stranger to the spotlight. The 2011 Naismith Girl’s High School Player of the Year is leading the No. 3 ranked Connecticut Huskies in scoring at 17.2 points per game. The Huskies are 8-1 in the Big East and Mosqueda-Lewis is averaging 18 points in their last five wins including 21 versus Duke.


January 31, 2013

NAISMITH IN THE NBA

When second-year small forward Evan Turner is on his game, he provides a huge spark for the Philadelphia 76ers, contributing in multiple statistical categories. Averaging a career-best 14.3 points per game, he is steadily fulfilling the potential of a number-two overall NBA draft selection. Turner, winner of the 2010 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T, has shined in his last five games, posting an average of 18.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.4 assists.

NAISMITH CANDIDATES

The No.1/2 Kansas Jayhawks are on fire, with no signs of slowing down, having won their last 18 games. Senior center Jeff Withey has always been a presence in the paint but this year he has become more of a difference maker. Withey is not only grabbing two more rebounds per game from last year’s average, but he has upped his scoring to 13.1 points. He has blocked a total of 86 shots at a rate of 4.3 per game, both good for third in the country.

After an unprecedented red shirt junior season, Gonzaga senior center Kelly Olynyk has exploded onto the college basketball scene. The 19-2 Bulldogs are ranked 7th in the nation much in part to the improved offensive prowess of Olynyk. His scoring average of 18.2 points is up nearly 13 from his sophomore mark of 5.8 points per game and he is hauling in 7 rebounds per contest. Olynyk has failed to reach double digits only once this season.



January 24, 2013

NAISMITH IN THE NBA

New Orleans Hornets' rookie forward Anthony Davis has done quite the job proving his worth as last year’s number one overall pick. Battling injury and the everyday struggles of being a rookie in the NBA, Davis, winner of the 2012 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T,  has helped New Orleans win 14 games at the half-way point in the season. The Hornets won 21 games all of last season. Averaging 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks per contest, Davis has shown how his length and athletic ability can impact the game. He was ranked by ESPN as the number 62 best NBA player, before ever stepping foot on an NBA court.

NAISMITH CANDIDATES

The best player on one of the nation's best teams, Trey Burke of Michigan is having a sophomore campaign to remember. Burke’s 18 points per game leads the Wolverines, ranks second in the Big Ten, and top 25 in the country. Averaging nearly three more assists per game than last year, Burke’s 7.2 assists are top 50 in the NCAA and have helped the 17-1 Wolverines to be the 9th best scoring offense in the nation.

The once ranked No. 1 Louisville Cardinals have been led by one of the countries under-the-radar players. Junior shooting guard Russ Smith is surrounded by talent and has bumped his scoring average up more than seven points from last year, leading the Cardinals at 18.7 points per contest. Contributing in many ways other than scoring, Smith is averaging 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 2.3 steals. Louisville heads to Georgetown this weekend hoping to stay in the Top 5.


January 17, 2013

NAISMITH IN THE NBA

On January 16, 2013, LeBron James joined an elite class of NBA legends – eight Hall-of-Famers and four future Hall-of-Famers to be exact. In a Miami Heat rout of the Golden State Warriors James not only scored his 20,000th point but dished out his 5,000th assist. The youngest player in NBA history to eclipse the 20K point mark, James became just the 13th player in the 20k points – 5K assists club. With three MVPs, one Finals MVP, two Olympic gold medals, one scoring title, three conference championships, 20,000 points, 5,000 assists, 5,000 rebounds, 1,000 steals, 500 blocks, it is safe to say the 2003 Naismith Boy’s High School Player of the Year will go down as one of the best basketball talents we have ever seen.

NAISMITH CANDIDATES

The No. 16-ranked Kansas State Wildcats have had the pleasure of consistent output from their star guard Rodney McGruder over the last three seasons. In the last five games McGruder has exploded, averaging a career high 19.6 points and six rebounds. Winners of seven straight, including wins over then-number eight Florida and then-number 22 Oklahoma State, McGruder has led the Wildcats to a 3-0 Big 12 start, good for second in the conference.

The ACC Preseason Player of the Year, C.J. Leslie has helped the NC State Wolfpack to a 14-3 start and a consistent Top 20 ranking. The junior forward is averaging career highs in both points and assists while continuing to prove a force on the glass. Scoring nearly 18 points a game over his last five, Leslie had a breakout performance in an upset victory over then-number-one Duke last week, posting 25 points and six rebounds



January 10, 2013

NAISMITH IN THE NBA

On January 7, 2013, Jameer Nelson, the 2004 Naismith Awards Men's College Player of the Year, became the Orlando Magic all-time assists leader. Just about eight minutes into a contest against the Portland Trailblazers, Nelson surpassed Scott Skiles, dishing his 2777th assist. In his last five games, Nelson is averaging 25.5 points and 8 assists.

NAISMITH CANDIDATES

Redshirt freshman guard Ben McLemore is putting together quite an impressive season. In just his 14th collegiate contest, McLemore scored a career high 33 points in a 12 point win over Iowa State for his sixth ranked Kansas Jayhawks. In his last five games - all Kansas wins - he is averaging 18.2 points, more than a point higher than his season average.

Sophomore point guard Michael Carter-Williams has helped lead the seventh ranked Syracuse Orange to a 15-1 record and a Big East leading 3-0 mark. Carter-Williams is leading the country in assists, averaging 9.6 per contest. Maybe more impressive, though, Carter-Williams is assisting on more than 50% of his teammates shots and 52% of those assists have come on dunks or lay-ups. The nation's assist leader has posted double-digit assists nine times this season including seven points-assists double-doubles.

A 2012 finalist, Doug McDermott continues to fill the stat sheet for the number 13 Creighton Bluejays. McDermott leads the Jays in scoring at 22.6 points per game, just a hair under his season average last year. He has scored 25 points or more seven times this season and has eclipsed the 30 point mark four times.



January 3, 2013

NAISMITH IN THE NBA

Since Christmas, Blake Griffin has helped lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a three and two record. Over those five games Griffin recorded a career low in turnovers and a career high in steals. The 2009 Naismith Awards Men’s College Player of the Year is leading the Clippers – winners of 17 out of their last 19 – in both scoring and rebounding.

NAISMITH CANDIDATES

San Diego State junior guard Jamaal Franklin has helped lead the Aztecs to an impressive 12-2 start. Averaging career highs in rebounds, steals, assists, and blocks, Franklin leads his team in scoring, rebounding, and assists. Since Christmas he is averaging 13.5 points and 10 rebounds.

Number ten ranked Georgetown is being led this season by two standout sophomores. Forward Otto Porter Jr. leads the 10-1 Hoyas in every statistical category, scoring 13.2 points per contest and pulling in 7.7 rebounds. Porter averaged 14.8 points in his last five games, all wins for the Hoyas.

Freshmen phenom Shabazz Muhammad has helped UCLA to a 10-3 record, leading the Bruins in scoring at 19.6 points per game. Muhammad has averaged an impressive 25 points in his last four games including 27 points in an overtime win versus number seven ranked Missouri.




December 20, 2012

NAISMITH IN THE NBA

The ageless Tim Duncan is having yet another stellar season for the San Antonio Spurs. In his last five games Duncan is averaging over 17 points and 10 rebounds. His most noted contributions to the Spurs have been on defense where he is averaging career highs in both blocks and steals. The 1997 Naismith Awards Men’s College Player of the Year is making a strong case for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year.

NAISMITH CANDIDATES

Notre Dame forward Jack Cooley has started this season with a hot hand. Averaging a double-double Cooley has scored in double figures every game this season except one, leading the Fighting Irish to an 11-1 record. In three Notre Dame victories this week Cooley is averaging 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Sean Kilpatrick is leading the way for the undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats, averaging 20 points and 6 rebounds. Kilpatrick recorded 23 points in a win over MD Eastern Shore and 25 points over ranked Xavier earlier this week.

In his three games this week, Kansas Jayhawk center Jeff Withey has pulled in 24 rebounds and blocked 14 shots. Averaging over 5 blocks per contest Withey is commanding the respect of opponents in the paint. The Jayhawks are 9-1 this season and take on number nine ranked Ohio State this weekend.



December 13, 2012

NAISMITH IN THE NBA

Kevin Durant has started his MVP campaign early this season. With just a quarter of the NBA season in the books, the 2007 Naismith Awards Men's College Player of the Year is averaging career highs in both points scored and assists. Some of Durant's biggest strides have come in the paint, where he is averaging nearly two-more rebounds per contest than his career average. On December 8, Durant scored 35 points and pulled in 9 rebounds in a Thunder win over the New Orleans Hornets.

NAISMITH CANDIDATES

The number-one ranked Indiana Hoosiers have started the season 9-0 thanks to solid post play by big man Cody Zeller. Averaging 15.4 points per game, Zeller has increased his career rebounding average by nearly two a game. In a rout versus CCSU earlier this week, Zeller posted a monster double-double, scoring 19 points and hauling in 19 rebounds.

Number-two ranked Duke is following the charge, starting off 9-0 behind 19.2 points per game and 11.3 rebounds per game from big man Mason Plumlee - both career highs. In a 27-point win over Temple, Plumlee scored 16 points and grabbed 14 boards.

Ohio State Buckeye DeShaun Thomas is off to a hot start this season, besting his career highs in every statistical category. In two 30-plus point wins this week, Thomas has recorded 40 points and 11 rebounds.



December 06, 2012

NAISMITH IN THE NBA

On December 5, 2012, Kobe Bryant, the 1996 Naismith Boy's High School Player of the Year, became only the fifth player in NBA history to reach the 30,000 point mark. The youngest player in the 30K point club, Bryant scored 29 points in a Los Angeles Lakers win over the New Orleans Hornets.

NAISMITH CANDIDATES

In an in-state rivalry, Florida's Kenny Boynton scored 14 points and big man Patric Young posted 10 points and 8 rebounds. Defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion Florida State's Michael Snaer scored 10 points for the Seminoles, all in the second half, who fell to the sixth ranked Gators.

Gonzaga's Elias Harris had a monster game in a win versus Washington State, posting 23 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, and one block.

Freshman guard Marcus Smart led the Oklahoma State Cowboys in every statistical category but rebounds in a bounce-back win over South Florida.

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Eric Oberman

Atlanta Tipoff Club
(404) 586-8506
eoberman@macoc.com



 
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