Pac-12 Burning Question: Who Can Drop 53?Posted by AMurawa on February 15th, 2013
Our Pac-12 commentators are back with their answers to the biggest questions around the conference. This week:
“Last week Nate Wolters of South Dakota State went for 53 points in a game. If you had to put your money on one Pac-12 player breaking out for 53 points, who would it be?”
Adam Butler: There’s a team in Seattle that struggles with their identity some. They’d been built on run-and-gun, a throwback to the Pac-12 of old and the sweet spot for Lorenzo Romar. This year, however, they’ve run into some growing pains as they work to implement a new high post offense; a response to the oft criticized Husky half-court scoring ability. Through those pains they’ve learned to lock things down and play some defense. But that doesn’t mean they can’t get out and run it some and if you force them into it – as Arizona State did two weeks back – they can score with the best of them. As such, when pushed into such a pace, I think their top scorer and certainly one of the conference’s best, C.J. Wilcox, is the man to reach 52. There’s a dedicated effort to get that man the ball and, more often than not, he’s a tremendously capable scorer. Already he’s put up games of 28, 27, 27, and 25 and shoots at a 45% clip. The silky smooth shooter runs in an offense that needs him to succeed. That combination – skill and necessity – makes Wilcox my vote for Most Likely to Drop 53.
Parker Baruh: If I have to pick one player to drop 53 this season, I’d have to go with Allen Crabbe. Yes, it’s not a bold choice considering he leads the league in scoring at 19.8 points per game, but Crabbe has the best chance because of his efficiency and his ability to hurt opponents from all parts of the floor. He’s shooting a career high 48 percent from the field this year and his true shooting percentage is also at a career high at 59 percent. Although he’s shooting a career low 35 percent from three, he’s still proved many times this year he’s the best scorer in the conference. Earlier in the season, he had 27 points on 9-of-12 shooting against USC and had 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting against Utah. Recently, in arguably his best performance in a Cal uniform, he was instrumental in the Bears’ upset win over Arizona shooting a ridiculous 12-of-15 from the field while tallying 31 points. Ultimately, no one in the Pac-12 is capable of scoring 53, but if I had to choose one, I’m going with someone who can single-handedly win games for his team when he has the hot hand, and that’s Crabbe.
Andrew Murawa: For a guy to have a chance to go for 53, a couple of different requirements need to be met. First, the team has to play at some kind of up-tempo pace. So, Arizona State and Colorado and Cal and Washington fans? Sorry, but unlikely to happen for you. Secondly, the guy has to have a pure scoring streak in him and, frankly, a bit of selfishness, which isn’t always a bad thing for a scoring machine. It also wouldn’t hurt if you had an unselfish distributor ready to set that scorer up at a moment’s notice. So, (1) uptempo, (2) selfish scorer, (3) unselfish distributor; do you see where I’m going with this? If there’s a chance that anybody in this conference is going to go for anywhere near 50 points this season, Shabazz Muhammad is the only guy that is gonna get this done. He plays for the most up-tempo team in the conference (UCLA is the only team averaging better than 70 possessions per night); he’s already shown his unquenchable desire (not to mention the ability) to put the ball in the basket on a regular basis; and he’s got not one, but two of the best distributors in the conference playing on the same team. And with games against (how to put this nicely?) defensively permissive teams like Stanford, Cal and Washington State remaining on the schedule, he’s even got the possibility that he’ll run into an unwitting accomplice. Odds are great that we’re not going to see a 50-point scorer in the Pac-12 this season, but if it is going to happen, it will be Muhammad who gets it done.
Connor Pelton: Your team is on the NCAA bubble. Your two best shooters have been slumping as of late, and you need the guy handling the ball on every possession to take over the game. Jahii Carson has that ability, and he’s my pick to reach 53 before anyone else in the conference. Sure, he may not be a prolific and consistent outside shooter, but that doesn’t mean he can’t do it every once in a while. And since this is a near-fantasy scenario, we’re going to assume that this is the night he demolishes his season high from behind the arc and drops four or five triples in the first half. With no choice but to abandon the zone and play the Sun Devils man on, Herb Sendek and Carson have them right where they want em. Carson cruises past the front line with ease for the remainder of the game, and reaches 53 via some wide-open layups and pull up mid-range jumpers. Who knows, maybe he hits a game-winning, COLD-BLOODED three to reach the magic number and send ASU dancing. The point is, reaching 53 is an incredibly tough feat. But if anyone in this conference can do it, it’s the speedy point guard from Tempe that can score in bunches and single-handedly win games for his team.