Yesterday, Gary Parrish of CBSSports released a new all-american team based on the results we’ve had early in the season.
There weren’t many surprises, least of all Parrish’s proclamation that Kemba Walker is, at least this far into the season, the National Player of the Year.
Walker has averaged 28.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, and 4.0 apg for a UConn team that went from tenth in the Big East preseason polls to fourth in the country as of today. That scoring average led the country until last night.
What happened last night?
Northern Illinois’ Xavier Silas topped 34 points for the fourth time in seven games this season as he put 40 on Illinois-Chicago in an 80-78 win for the Huskies. He scored 28 of those points in the second half as NIU overcame a poor shooting first half to win just their third game of the season.
“We know offensively he’s a tough matchup most nights,” NIU coach Ricardo Patton said. “He’s a guy that once he stops settling for the jumpshot, he’s going to be very difficult to guard. Free throws, he’s proven time and time again to be a very efficient free-throw shooter. We needed everyone tonight.”
Perhaps the most impressive stat Silas posted last night was going 22-24 from the foul line. He’s a 90.1% shooter on the season, so that isn’t exactly a surprise.
“At first the jumpers weren’t really falling, so I really tried to get to the line and get going,” Silas said. “They still weren’t falling in the first half but I still kept getting to the line. That opened up the jumpers to start falling in the second half.
He may not be an all-american — putting up those kind of numbers for a 3-4 mid-major team says more about the talent surrounding him than it does about Silas himself — but he’s a talent that certainly should not be overlooked.
Here’s a scary thought for you. Silas, a redshirt junior, transferred to NIU from Colorado after his freshman season.
How good would the Buffaloes be with a perimeter trio of Cory Higgins, Alec Burks, and Silas?