Week in Review: Player of the Week


Team of the Week

Five Thoughts

Player of the Week: Draymond Green, Michigan State

Here’s a stat for you: five times this season, Draymond Green has had at least 20 points, 10 boards and five assists in a game. They’ve all come in the last 11 games. He’s done it in three of his last four games and four times in the last seven games. He also put up those numbers twice last week, finishing with 20 points, 10 boards and five assists on the dot in a 69-55 win over Wisconsin and following that up with 20 points, 10 boards and seven assists in a 76-62 win at Purdue. And you wonder why we call Green versatile.

The crazier part? No other player in the country has done that more than twice this season, meaning that Green matched them in the span of three days.

I made this point during the week, but I didn’t get to elaborate on it as much as I would have liked: Draymond Green would be my pick for Big Ten Player of the Year. The last player to average 15 points, 10 boards and three assists in a season was a guy by the name of Tim Duncan (Ed. Note: In a power conference, these guys have put up those numbers in smaller leagues), and as great as Duncan was, he didn’t provide his Wake Forest team with the kind of intangibles — Green is the epitome of every cliche about being a leader and a coach on the floor — that give provides this team. The reason I have Michigan State making a run in my imaginary NCAA Tournament bracket right now is because of everything the talented Day Day is capable of doing.

The All-They-Were-Good-Too Team

G: Tu Holloway, Xavier: For the first time in a long time — possibly as far back as the brawl — Tu Holloway looked like Tu Holloway. In an 86-83 overtime win over Dayton, Holloway went for 32 points, six boards, five assists and two steals. But it was more than his stat line that impressed; Holloway made a number of big plays and bigger shots down the stretch, including a tough and-one with 11 seconds left that put Xavier up two in regulation and an awkward, turnaround three that allowed the Musketeers to take control in the extra frame. This is the Tu Holloway we expected to see all season long, and his play allowed Xavier to not only stay in the mix for an at-large bid, but to keep them within striking distance for the Atlantic 10 regular season title.

G: Justin Cobbs, Cal: Cal picked up a pair of wins at home this week, knocking off Oregon and Oregon State. Cobbs was the hero this week for the Bears. In Thursday’s win over Oregon, he scored a career-high 28 points on 13-19 shooting while adding eight assists and four steals. He followed that up on Saturday with 10 points, 13 assists and five boards in a win over Oregon State. All told, Cobbs had 38 points, 21 assists, eight boards and four steals while shooting the ball 16-26 from the floor and turning it over just three times in 78 minutes. It doesn’t get better than that.

G: John Jenkins, Vanderbilt: Vandy didn’t exactly put together the most impressive of wins this week. They were victorious in games at Ole Miss and at Georgia, and neither of those two teams are headed for much more than a trip to the SEC Tournament. That said, what Jenkins did in those two games was noteworthy. He scored 54 points in the two games missed just three shots on the week. He had 26 points on 5-5 shooting from the floor on Thursday against Ole Miss and followed that up with 28 points on 8-11 shooting against Georgia. Jenkins went 13-16 from the floor for the week, including 10-12 from three.

G/F: Kareem Jamar, Montana: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. There are six slots in the All They-Were-Good-Too Team this week, but Jamar had to get a mention somewhere in this weekly roundup. Why? Because in Montana’s 94-79 win over Hawaii in the BracketBuster’s game, he finished with 21 points, 11 boards and 11 assists. He was 5-8 from the field and in 34 minutes, he only turned the ball over once. That’s as good of a performance as you are going to see this season. The 6’5″ sophomore is having a terrific season, averaging 13.3 ppg (2nd on the team), 5.4 rpg (2nd on the team) and 3.7 apg (leads the team), and has played a major role in helping the Grizzlies keep pace with Weber State atop the Big Sky. Barring a loss in their next two games, Montana will be playing the Wildcats on the regular season’s final day for the regular season title.

F: Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette: Its time to start talking about Marquette as a potential Final Four team, and its not just because the Golden Eagles followed up a 17 point win over Cincinnati last Saturday with a dominating 15 point win over UConn this Saturday. Its because the Golden Eagles play a difficult style to matchup with — their smaller lineup has made them a dangerous uptempo team — and because they have two players as talented as seniors Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom. Crowder had 29 points and 12 boards against the Huskies, while DJO added 24 points.

C: Drew Gordon, New Mexico: The Lobos were absolutely dominant this week, knocking off both UNLV and San Diego State to take a two game lead in the Mountain West standings while solidifying themselves as, potentially, the best team out west. Gordon was the biggest reason why. He went for 17 points and 17 boards in a win over SDSU, a performance that was overshadowed by the 27 points and 20 boards he had in the win over UNLV. When you average 22.0 ppg and 18.5 rpg for the week, you get noticed.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times/USA TODAY NETWORK

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

Emoni Bates charged with 2 felonies

1 Comment

SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich — Emoni Bates, a former basketball prodigy who transferred to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, was charged with two felonies after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.

The 18-year-old Bates failed to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a search turned up the weapon, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office.

Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the vehicle and the gun didn’t belong to Bates.

“I hope people can reserve judgment and understand there’s a presumption of innocence,” Haney said. “This was not his vehicle. This was not his gun. … We’re still gathering facts, too.”

Bates was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm. He was released after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Bates’ next court hearing is Oct. 6.

“This is his first brush with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”

Less than a month ago, the 6-foot-9 Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points a game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.

“We are aware of a situation involving one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to gather more details and will have further comment when more information is available.”

Bates was the first sophomore to win the Gatorade national player of the year award in high school basketball in 2020, beating out Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall last year, two spots before Cleveland took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.

Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago, later de-committed and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, who finished 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed much of the season with a back injury before appearing in Memphis’ two NCAA Tournament games.

In 2019, as a high school freshman, the slender and skilled guard led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan’s Division 1 Player of the Year by The Associated Press. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy as a junior, his final year of high school.

UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

Michael Hickey/Getty Images

STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.

Dream’s McDonald returning to Arizona to coach under Barnes

Getty Images

TUCSON, Ariz. — Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald is returning to Arizona to work under coach Adia Barnes.

The school announced that McDonald will serve as director of recruiting operations while continuing to fulfill her WNBA commitments. She will oversee all recruiting logistics, assist with on-campus visits, manage recruit information and social media content at Arizona.

McDonald was one of the best players in Arizona history after transferring from Washington as a sophomore. She was an All-American and the Pac-12 player of the year in 2020-21, leading the Wildcats to the national championship game, which they lost to Stanford.

McDonald broke Barnes’ single-season scoring record and had the highest career scoring average in school history before being selected by the Dream with the third overall pick of the 2021 WNBA draft.

South Carolina, Staley cancel BYU games over racial incident

Getty Images
1 Comment

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina and women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley have canceled a home-and-home series with BYU over a recent racial incident where a Cougars fan yelled slurs at a Duke volleyball player.

The Gamecocks were scheduled to start the season at home against BYU on Nov. 7, then play at the Utah campus during the 2023-24 season.

But Staley cited BYU’s home volleyball match last month as reason for calling off the series.

“As a head coach, my job is to do what’s best for my players and staff,” Staley said in a statement released by South Carolina on Friday. “The incident at BYU has led me to reevaluate our home-and-home, and I don’t feel that this is the right time for us to engage in this series.”

Duke sophomore Rachel Richardson, a Black member of the school’s volleyball team, said she heard racial slurs from the stands during the match.

BYU apologized for the incident and Richardson said the school’s volleyball players reached out to her in support.

South Carolina said it was searching for another home opponent to start the season.

Gamecocks athletic director Ray Tanner spoke with Staley about the series and supported the decision to call off the games.