Friday morning the finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, annually given to the nation’s best point guard by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, were announced. Among the players on the list are two of the nation’s best freshmen, Duke’s Tyus Jones and Maryland’s Melo Trimble.
They’re the only two first-year players on the list, which includes six seniors, five juniors and four sophomores.
From a conference standpoint the Pac-12 leads the way with four finalists, with Arizona’s T.J. McConnell, Cal’s Tyrone Wallace, Utah’s Delon Wright and Washington’s Nigel Williams-Goss being the players on the list. In total nine conferences are represented. Also making the cut is BYU junior Kyle Collinsworth, who has tallied an NCAA-record five triple-doubles this season.
Below is the list of finalists for the award, which was won by UConn’s Shabazz Napier last season.
2015 Bob Cousy Award Finalists
T.J. McConnell, Arizona (senior)
Kyle Collinsworth, BYU (junior)
Tyrone Wallace, California (junior)
Ryan Boatright, UConn (senior)
Tyus Jones, Duke (freshman)
Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga (senior)
Keifer Sykes, Green Bay (senior)
Yogi Ferrell, Indiana (junior)
Monte Morris, Iowa State (sophomore)
Terry Rozier, Louisville (sophomore)
Melo Trimble, Maryland (freshman)
Marcus Paige, North Carolina (junior)
Kris Dunn, Providence (junior)
Delon Wright, Utah (senior)
Nigel Williams-Goss, Washington (sophomore)
Juwan Staten, West Virginia (senior)
Fred Van Vleet, Wichita State (junior)
BYU’s Kyle Collinsworth tallies NCAA-record fifth triple-double of the season
The biggest question mark for BYU before the start of this season was how quickly would point guard Kyle Collinsworth be back to full strength. The Cougars were better offensively last season with Collinsworth filling the role of primary playmaker, but when he went down with a torn ACL in the WCC title game the Cougars struggled in that game and in their NCAA tournament loss to Oregon.
How effective would Collinsworth be after spending the summer rehabbing from that injury?
Not only has Collinsworth returned to full strength, but he’s also been one of the most versatile players in college basketball. Saturday afternoon in the Cougars’ 87-68 win at Loyola Marymount, Collinsworth tallied 23 points, 12 rebounds and ten assists (with just one turnover) for his fifth triple-double of the season. As a result, Collinsworth is now the Division I record holder for most triple-doubles in a single season.
“He was special tonight,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said of the 6-foot-6 junior. “It was from the very tip, the very first possession, he was determined to give the effort we all needed in this game.”
Prior Saturday Collinsworth was one of five players in Division I history to have four triple-doubles in a season. Drexel’s Michael Anderson (1985-86), UCSB’s Brian Shaw (1987-88), California’s Jason Kidd (1993-94) and UMass’ Stephane Lasme (2006-07) were the other four.
And with five more regular season games to play before postseason play (WCC tournament and either the NCAA tournament or NIT), Collinsworth is more than capable of adding another triple-double (or more) to his record.
Weekly Awards: Larry Nance leads Wyoming, Seton Hall’s pair of upsets
Nance was terrific in the first week of Mountain West play, leading the Cowboys to a 2-0 start and putting them in a position where they look like the favorite to win the league. On New Year’s Eve, Nance out-dueled UNLV’s Christian Wood, finishing with 29 points, five boards, three blocks and two steals in an impressive 76-71 win. He followed that up with 18 points, 13 boards and two assists as the Pokes came from behind to knock off San Jose State on the road. In the two games, Nance shot 17-for-27 from the floor.
As good as Wyoming has been in stretches this season, if they are going to be a Mountain West contender, they’re going to have a chance to prove it this week. They’ll be paying a visit to Colorado State on Wednesday night.
THE ‘ALL THEY WERE GOOD, TOO’ TEAM
Jahlil Okafor, Duke: In wins over Elon, Wofford and Boston College, Okafor averaged 26.3 points, 8.0 boards, 2.3 blocks and shot 30-for-39 from the floor.
Kyle Collinsworth, BYU: Collinsworth notched his third triple-double of the season in a win at San Francisco and averaged 13.7 points, 11.7 boards and 6.7 assists in three WCC wins.
London Perrantes, Virginia: Perrantes has been in a shooting slump this season but busted out of it in a big way on Saturday, finishing with 26 points and eight assists, hitting five threes, in a double-overtime win at Miami.
Shannon Evans, Buffalo: There have been six triple-doubles on the season, Evans has one of them, going for 14 points, 10 boards and 10 assists in a win at Binghamton. He followed that up with 33 points, five boards and four assists against Cornell.
Phil Forte, Oklahoma State: Forte led the Pokes to a pair of wins over Kansas State and Missouri last week, averaging 20.5 points and shooting 14.for-22 from the floor and 6-for-12 from three.
TEAM OF THE WEEK: Seton Hall Pirates
Things didn’t look bright for Seton Hall entering this week, as the Pirates kicked off Big East play with home games against No. 15 St. John’s and No. 6 Villanova without their star guard, Isaiah Whitehead. That didn’t matter, however, as Kevin Willard’s club landed the two upset wins, which included a thrilling overtime win against the Wildcats.
The star of the week for the Pirates was Sterling Gibbs, who averaged 22.5 points and 6.0 assists in the two games. There is not a player in the conference who has been in better form than Gibbs, and his play — along with that of Jaren Sina and Khadeen Carrington — made the fans in Newark forget about Whitehead’s absence really quickly. Here’s the question: what happens when Whitehead, a high-volume and low-efficiency scorer, returns to the mix?
THEY WERE GOOD, TOO
South Carolina: The Gamecocks made a statement on Saturday as they knocked off No. 9 Iowa State at the Barclays Center.
Maryland: The Terps moved to 2-0 in their first season in the Big Ten, picking up a win at Michigan State and knocking off Minnesota in College Park.
New Mexico: The Lobos lost Cullen Neal for the season, but they won their first two Mountain West games, including a blowout win over previously undefeated Colorado State.
Dayton: The Flyers put together a 2-0 week, including a win over Ole Miss, despite playing shot-handed.
Cincinnati: Mick Cronin won’t be coaching for the rest of the season, but the Bearcats played well without him. They blew out N.C. State in Raleigh and followed that up by beating SMU at home.
DePaul: The Blue Demons are 2-0 in the Big East. Seriously.
SET YOUR DVR
No. 14 Notre Dame at No. 19 North Carolina, Mon. 7:00 p.m.
No. 18 Oklahoma at No. 11 Texas, Mon. 9:00 p.m.
Wyoming at No. 24 Colorado State, Wed. 9:00 p.m.
No. 13 Kansas at No. 22 Baylor, Wed. 9:00 p.m.
No. 5 Louisville at No. 19 North Carolina, Sat. 2:00 p.m.
No. 3 Virginia at No. 14 Notre Dame, Sat. 6:00 p.m.
No. 9 Iowa State at No. 17 West Virginia, Sat. 8:00 p.m.
Weekly Awards: The ACC, led by Tyus Jones and Virginia, dominated headlines this week
In the best regular season matchup that we are going to get this season, Duke put together arguably the most impressive performance of the year. The Blue Devils went into Madison, Wisconsin, and knocked off the Badgers in the Kohl Center, 80-70. They shot the ball 65.2 percent from the floor, went 7-for-12 from three and had a firm grip on the game for 40 minutes despite the fact that Wisconsin actually played well.
The star on that Wednesday night was Tyus Jones, Duke’s freshman point guard, who finished with 22 points, six boards and four assists while shooting 7-for-11 from the floor and 2-of-3 from three. He did all that while playing his first true road game in one of the toughest home courts in the country while playing a team that will spend the whole year as a one of a handful of favorites to win a national title. Do you realize how impressive that is?
And here’s the craziest part about it: Jones is one of the freshman that you forget about from Duke’s 2014 recruiting class. Jahlil Okafor is the star of the class and was the NBCSports.com Preseason Player of the Year. Justise Winslow has been the trendy name in NBA Draft circles over the course of the season’s first month. Jones is the guy everyone forgets about, yet here he is, averaging 10.5 points and 5.8 assists with eight turnovers in eight games.
THE ALL-THE-WERE-GOOD-TOO TEAM
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky: Cauley-Stein was unbelievable in Kentucky’s win over No. 6 Texas on Friday night, finishing with 21 points, 12 boards, five steals and three blocks. On a night where Kentucky couldn’t buy a bucket from the perimeter, he was a difference-maker in the paint and in transition.
Georges Niang, Iowa State: Everything that makes Niang special was on display on Thursday as the Cyclones knocked off Arkansas in Ames. He had 26 point, six boards and eight assists in the win.
Tyler Haws and Kyle Collinsworth, BYU: In wins over Hawaii and at Utah State, Haws averaged 32.5 points and 6.5 boards while shooting 19-for-36 from the floor, 5-for-13 from three and 22-for-23 from the line. And Collinsworth was better, following up a double-double (20 points, 10 boards, four assists and three steals) against the Aggies with a triple-double (19 points, 12 boards, 10 assists) against the Rainbows.
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame: Grant looked the part of an all-american in Notre Dame’s 79-78 overtime win against Michigan State, finishing with 27 points, six assists and three steals.
Venky Jois, Eastern Washington: Jois finished with 38 points, seven boards and three blocks in a win at Seattle on Saturday. That was the second straight game that he went for 38 points.
TEAM OF THE WEEK: Virginia Cavaliers
I had my doubts about Virginia after seeing them in the Barclays Center Classic two weeks ago, and to a point, I still do. But Virginia did their best to make those concerns look foolish, as they won at Maryland and VCU within a four-day span in convincing fashion. It doesn’t get much better than that.
The biggest question that I had centered on their ability to replace Joe Harris. He required the attention of the entire defense whenever he was on the floor, and they just don’t have that guy this season. What they do have, however, is a trio of guys capable of getting 20 points on any given night. We knew that Malcolm Brogdon would be an all-ACC caliber player, and anyone that watched Virginia in March knew that Anthony Gill had a chance to be special. The difference-maker has been Justin Anderson, an athletic marvel that has turned into a dead-eye three-point shooter this season.
Arizona Wildcats: Arizona got key performances from T.J. McConnell and Brandon Ashley as they picked up a hard-fought, overtime win against No. 9 Gonzaga at the McKale Center.
Iowa Hawkeyes: Perhaps the most surprising outcome during the ACC/Big Ten Challenge was Iowa going into the Dean Dome and knocking off No. 12 North Carolina in a game where they out-toughed a good team. Iowa won with their defense, which is huge not only for their confidence, but their tournament resume.
Utah Utes: Utah finally won a close game, surviving a visit from No. 8 Wichita State after the Shockers erased a late, nine-point deficit to force overtime. They did it without Jordan Loveridge, and since they’ll be without him during the most important stretch of their non-conference schedule, the win is that much more important.
Yale Bulldogs: If you paid attention in the preseason, you knew that Yale had a chance to be special this season. They proved it on Friday by going into Gampel and knocking off UConn at the buzzer.
LSU Tigers: Remember when we wrote off LSU? Well, they blew out UMass at home and knocked off West Virginia in Morgantown this week. Maybe it’s time we start paying attention again.
College Basketball Talk’s Top 100 Players: Nos. 80-61 #CBTTop100
Just a couple days ago BYU announced that junior guard Kyle Collinsworth, who led the team in both rebounds and assists last season, was given full medical clearance after recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the WCC tournament final in March. Saturday night Collinsworth played against outside competition for the first time since that injury, and despite playing limited minutes he contributed in multiple areas at BYU beat Seattle Pacific 75-44.
Collinsworth played 13 minutes in the Cougars’ second and final exhibition game, shooting 1-for-5 from the field and accounting for two points, four assists, three rebounds and a steal. Collinsworth played seven minutes in the first half and six in the second, as Rose and his staff kept a keen eye on his minutes ahead of the team’s season opener against Long Beach State Friday night.
“It felt great,” Collinsworth said of his return after being cleared by doctors earlier in the week. “The mindset was to be a big defensive presence, play as hard as I can, and get guys shots. That’s what I wanted to do tonight, get some rust off, and get ready for Friday.”
Another takeaway from the two exhibition games for BYU is the amount of depth they have both on the perimeter and in the front court. Collinsworth and Tyler Haws, one of the nation’s best scorers, will lead the way but Wake Forest transfer Chase Fischer is expected to be an impact addition for the Cougars in 2014-15. Saturday night Fischer scored a game-high 21 points, shooting 9-for-13 from the field while also dishing out four assists without a turnover.
In total 12 Cougars played double-digit minutes Saturday night, and they even showed some full court man-to-man defense with the half-court version being what BYU runs most often. Having a multitude of options gives Rose and his staff the ability to try different looks, and defensively they can use more pressure in order to take advantage of the depth.
Seattle Pacific committed 24 turnovers, and while BYU will face better competition (and likely not spread the minutes around as they did in the exhibitions) their depth will be one of the best assets in 2014-15.