Tuesday, December 14, 2010

All-SEC Hoops Update: Who's Lighting it Up on the Hardwood

After finals, we really start to get into the fluff of most teams' non-conference schedule. As the Southeastern Conference starts to make a wholesale shift to the hardwood, who has been outstanding thus far and who has  come up a little short of expectations?

First, the good.

  • Ravern Johnson, SG, Mississippi State: Johnson leads the conference averaging about 24 per game, which is also good for eighth in the country. Add into this equation that he's shooting 47.2% from the floor and you have what looks like is going to be an All-SEC season from Johnson. The only knock on Johnson is that he looks like he's just a pure scorer, as his career assist average is only about .7 per game. Could be a little better for my taste. 
  • Terrence Jones, SF, Kentucky: Dickie V would definately call this kid a diaper dandy. He's averaging a double-double with 18.9 ppg and 10.2 rpg. Yet again, Calipari has a young kid who doubles as the Loch Ness Monster in the post. Not to knock him, but he also looks like another kid with a bad attitude a la Cousins. It doesn't matter, he's probably a lock for a top-5 pick in the draft.
  • Chris Warren, PG, Ole Miss: A solid 15-20 per night contributor, Warren is averaging 18.25 points per to go along with 4.6 assists. He's also having what looks like will be an All-SEC caliber season at his position unless some UK freshman knocks him out, which is highly possible. 
  • Scott Hopson, SG, Tennessee: Hopson was a McDonald's All-American in 2008, but hasn't been able to find himself on the court until this season. He's upped his average about 5 points per game to almost 18 and also finds himself shooting a very good 49.4% from the field. He looks far more confident and comfortable than he has in his first two seasons in Knoxville. He's also a pretty decent rebounder, pulling down 4 a game from the guard position. As hard as it is for me to say any person in the color orange is doing well, he's having a very solid season thus far.
  • Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt: I know, big surprise here. In the couple of times that I've seen Ezeli play this season, I have been extremely surprised at how far he's come along. 13.6 points per game, 8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks is very strong from his position. He's leading the conference in shooting percentage at about 69%, is in the top-4 in floor percentage, and is shooting 90% from the stripe. If you don't think Kevin Stallings is a hell of a coach, you're silly. As far as X's and O's and player development, I think he's the best in the conference. If you're judging on appearance, well you don't get points for looking like Chunk off of "The Goonies".
There are some more guys who have done well (pick a 5-star recruit that committed to UK or UTk last year), but these are the ones that have stood out from the crowd.

And now for the disappointments.
  • Alex Tyus, PF, Florida: Early on this season, it more and more looks like this guy would be better suited chasing Arnold Schwarzenegger through the jungle or Danny Glover through Manhattan. I'm just waiting for a shoulder cannon to pop out and destroy a hapless group of opposing fans. He's only averaging 9.9 points and 7 rebounds per game in about 22 minutes of action. For some reason Donovan is giving a lot of minutes to younger guys early on this season. Maybe he's confident that he can get through the non-conf schedule without wearing out his guys. Who knows? 
  • Jeffery Taylor, G/F, Vanderbilt: Taylor has been a little off his game so far this season, only averaging 12.7 points per game, which is a little less than his 13.3 average last season in an additional minute or two of action. His shooting percentage has also dipped as well as rebounding numbers. I really expected Taylor to be a key contributor to that Vandy team, but it looks like he's not off to a great start. 
  • Kodi Augustus, PF, Mississippi State: I thought that Augustus might be a dark horse candidate for All-SEC if his offensive game came along. He showed very good signs of that happening last year in several games, but was wildly inconsistent. This year he's very consistently putting up 8-12 a night, but did explode for 26 against Appy State, so you know the potential is there.
  • Sam Muldrow, F/C, South Carolina: The bottom line is that when Muldrow possesses the ball, he is very unlikely to score, resulting in a floor % of 49.02. That is not good among big men. For comparison's sake, Chris Barnes is 56.2 which ranks him 14th in the conference. Muldrow is about 50th. Couple that with the fact that he's only shooting 41% from the field and you get disappointment. 
  • The Enitre State of Alabama: Anthony Grant is really laying a stink bomb in Tuscaloosa this year and so is his compadre Tony Barbee at Auburn. Apparently these two football powers completely forgot about the need of basketball wins and kicked them to the curb. The two are a combined 7-10 with losses against Jacksonville, Samford, Campbell, UNC-Asheville, St. Peters, and Iowa. They are 11th and 12th in the conference in scoring and 10th and 11th in assist to turnover ratio. So pretty much both of these teams really, really suck. I really thought that Alabama had a chance to win the SEC West and I guess they do considering that it is possible mathematically. 
Anyone else you've noticed that might fall under one of these categories?

*Stats courtesy of statsheet.com

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