Player of the Week: Khalif Wyatt, Temple
I know that Wyatt didn’t play his best game on Wednesday. I know that he was 6-16 from the floor as the Owls lost to Canisius at home. I know that, and it doesn’t change the fact that he had one of the most impressive performances of the season — 33 points and four assists — in a win over Syracuse at Madison Square Garden. Wyatt was the best player on the floor in what was arguably the biggest win of the year thus far. That deserves recognition.
Wyatt carried Temple in the first half, when he scored 20 of his 33 points and kept the Owls within striking distance. In the second half, Wyatt hit a couple big jumpers and knocked down a number of free throws as Temple’s zone offense started to break down Syracuse defensively. As Syracuse began to focus in on him more, it allowed for guys like Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson and Anthony Lee to have big second halves.
Wyatt has one of the more interesting skill sets in the country. He’s not all that quick or explosive, but he’s very strong and can get where he needs to go with his dribble. He probably leads the country in “No, no, no, YES!” shots and has one of the most dominant mid-range games you’ll see at this level. He’s a good players.
The All-They-Were-Good-Too Team
G: Kevin Dillard, Dayton: On Wednesday, Dillard had to leave the Illinois State game early, which may have ended up costing the Flyers a win. No one expected him to be in the lineup on Saturday, but when the noon tip off came around, there was Dillard, lining up across from Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan. Dillard finished with 18 points and 10 assists, scoring 13 of the last 20 points for Dayton and sparking a game-changing 17-5 run.
G: Will Spradling, Kansas State: Spradling had eight points, five assists and four boards in a elatively easy win over Texas Southern on Tuesday, but that’s not why he made this list. It was the 17 points, six boards and five assists he scored in a win over then-No. 8 Florida that did the trick. Making the performance all the more impressive was the fact that Spradling was forced to play more of a point guard role as Angel Rodriguez battled foul trouble.
F: Laurence Bowers, Missouri: I’m not sure there’s a more improved player in the country that Bowers. After going 23 points, 10 boards and four assists in a win over Illinois, Bowers is now averaging 16.9 points and 6.7 boards while shooting 56.5% from three. He’s developed into a legitimate stretch four, and once he gets his full explosiveness back, he may end up being worthy of a first round draft pick.
F: Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State: Carmichael is probably the best big man in the country that you haven’t seen yet this season. After going for 25 points and 12 boards in a win at Dayton, he followed up that performance with 18 points and 11 boards in a win over Austin Peay. The Redbirds have now won four straight, a streak they desperately needed after losing three consecutive heart-breakers to Louisville, Northwestern and Wyoming.
C: Derrick Nix, Michigan State: Nix had his best game of his career on Saturday, finishing with 25 points and 11 boards — while hitting 11-13 from the free throw line — as the Spartans knocked off a scrappy Texas team.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.