Award Tour: Freshman Marcus Smart Makes His Case and a New No. 1 Player

Posted by DCassilo on November 23rd, 2012

David Cassilo is an RTC columnist who also writes about college basketball for SLAM magazine. You can follow him at @dcassilo.

I got a chance to go to the Legends Classic on Monday with the opportunity to see what was supposed to be the nation’s top team (Indiana) and top player (Cody Zeller). I left with one certain conclusion: I saw neither. It’s not to say that they won’t claim those titles by season’s end, but now is not the time to give them those honors. But that’s just the theme across college basketball right now. A dominant team or player has yet to emerge, and as I look around the country, I’m not sure if we’ll ever see it. This is as wide open a year as ever for the sport, and that should provide an exciting regular season and NCAA Tournament. We’ve already had plenty, and it’s not even December.

And now on to those awards races, which experienced lots of changes and player debuts this week. Also in there is a Thanksgiving list leftover.


10. Le’Bryan Nash – Oklahoma State (Last Week – NR)
2012-13 stats: 19 PPG, 6.8 RPG

While he might have been overshadowed by his teammate below, Nash is just as crucial to the Cowboys’ hot start. Part of what makes him so dangerous is his ability to get to the free throw line, as he has attempted at least 12 shots from the charity stripe in each of the last three games. It’s becoming clear that he makes up half of one of the best duos in the country. This week: Nov. 25 vs. Portland State

9. Marcus Smart – Oklahoma State (Last Week – NR)
2012-13 stats: 14.8 PPG, 8 RPG, 5 APG, 3 SPG

Smart’s stock is soaring after the Puerto Rico Tipoff (

The other half of that duo, Smart is officially on everyone’s radar after a stellar performance at the Puerto Rico Tipoff. In the championship game, he put up an eye-opening line of 20 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, four steals and four blocks. His ability to excel in big games is something not many players in the country have, let along freshmen. This week: Nov. 25 vs. Portland State

8. Doug McDermott – Creighton (Last Week – 3)
2012-13 stats: 16.8 PPG, 7.5 RPG

It has been a bit of disappointing start for McDermott, who was expected to score in bunches this season. Instead, he is attempting nearly five fewer shots per game and has a season-high of “just” 24 points against lesser competition. He’ll need to do much better to move back up in the rankings. This week: Nov. 23 vs. Wisconsin, Nov. 24 vs. Arizona State/Arkansas, Nov. 28 vs. Boise State

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Washington Week: Evaluating The Recent Past

Posted by Connor Pelton on July 9th, 2012

Despite winning the regular season Pac-12 title, a conference Coach of the Year award, and a run to the Final Four of the NIT, 2011-12 was considered a mediocre year by many in Seattle. That’s what happens when you make three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances coming into last season. Between the 2008-09 and the 2010-11 seasons, Washington posted a combined 76-30 record, with 11 of those 30 losses coming against teams ranked in the Top 25. Last season was a rollercoaster ride with too many “downs” for the selection committee’s liking, even if there were a lot of “ups” to go along with it.

Despite Being Named Pac-12 Coach of the Year In 2011-12, Lorenzo Romar and The Huskies Weren’t Dancing On Selection Sunday (credit: North and South of Royal Brougham)

The Huskies knew going into the season that there would be some early roadbumps after losing do-everything players Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Isaiah Thomas. Grouped with what turned out to be a season-ending foot injury for guard Scott Suggs that was suffered during preseason workouts, the Dawgs limped out of the gate. Washington struggled to beat a Florida Atlantic team (the Owls finished the year with an 11-19 mark) at home in their second game of the season, and a week later would lose by 13 points against Saint Louis. The hits would keep on coming, as it would go on to lose three of its next four games after the trip to Missouri. Midway through that stretch, Washington announced that Suggs would redshirt the 2011-12 season. And while this was obviously a good choice for the future, it felt at the time being as if the Huskies had already given up some hope of a successful season. The low point of the season came in the first two games of its five game mid-December home stand. After limping to a 87-80 win over UC Santa Barbara, the Huskies were blown out of their home arena by South Dakota State, suffering a 19-point loss to the Jackrabbits. And while SDSU would go on to have a great season, they were just three days removed from a 19-point defeat of their own — at the hands of vaunted North Dakota.

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