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.