Gonzaga’s senior forward, Kyle Wiltjer, has found a home after struggling to reach his potential at Kentucky. Coming into Kentucky, Wiltjer was a top prospect that could really shoot the ball. He often showed signs of the kind of player we all knew he could be but was often overshadowed by his teammates. Wiltjer had to play behind players like, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who are current, young NBA phenoms. Watching him play at Kentucky, I often felt like he played a little timid and like he was scared to make a mistake. Also, playing for Coach John Calipari seemed to be difficult. He’s a very tough coach and often seems hard to play for. Wiltjer transferred out of Kentucky after just two years with the Wildcats. Even though he struggled, he averaged 10.2 points in his last season and received sixth man of the year. Those were great accomplishments, but we could tell that he just wasn’t happy there. He also felt that he wasn’t developing and improving physically. Gonzaga has proven to be the perfect fit for this young forward. Their style of play is perfect for his game. He now currently leads the third ranked Zag team with 17 points per game and is shooting an excellent 54.1 percent from the field. This is just the beginning for Kyle, and I am excited to see him continue to grow as a player.
Florida State’s freshman guard, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, scored 30 of his 35 points in the final 4:41 in their game against Miami last night. Right before that, the freshman was having a fairly quiet game, but with the team being down 18 points, Rathan-Mayes took it upon himself to bring the Seminoles back into the game. The young guard was in such an unbelievable zone, making three pointer after three pointer. He even banked one in for a four point play. I have never seen anything like that on the college level. “It’s a feeling I can’t really describe,”Rathan-Mayes said. “The arena was quiet. It was like I was in there by myself. It was a feeling I’ve never, ever felt before. There was nothing else happening around me.”(yahoo sports) The only performances that I can think of that could compare are Reggie Miller’s 9 points in 7 seconds against the Knicks and Tracy McGrady’s 13 points in 33 seconds against the Spurs. To be compared to these NBA greats is truly something special.
Duke freshman sensation, Jalil Okafor missed his last game, against Clemson, due to an ankle injury. This injury came during Duke’s victory against North Carolina, last Wednesday, at Camden Indoor Stadium. Duke’s man in the middle came down hard on his ankle and was treated by trainers for quite some time, but everything seemed to be fine when he returned and led his team to a huge victory that night. Reports say that there is no structural damage, in the ankle, and hopefully he can come back to play this Wednesday Night against Virginia Tech. If I was coach K, I would rest him for this game as well. Virginia Tech isn’t really a threat and I believe Duke can handle their business once again without Okafor. Tournament time is slowly approaching, and Duke needs Okafor at 100 percent if they want to win both the ACC title and the National title. As a Duke fan, I am a little concerned at this point, but hopefully he is ok and will come back when the time is right.
When you think about women’s college basketball, few teams instantly come to mind. Powerhouses like Uconn, Baylor, Stanford and South Carolina are usually the teams to beat every year. Unlike the men’s side, the underdog almost never stands a chance, but this season may be a little different. The Princeton Tigers are currently 23-0 and are the only undefeated women’s team in Division I. Ivy League schools rarely get recognition when it comes to basketball, but this year’s Princeton team is trying to make their mark. Just last year, the team finished with a 21-9 record and advanced to just the second round of the WNIT, a tournament for teams that don’t make the NCAA tournament. This year is a complete turnaround. Princeton is a well-balanced and well-coached team that has four players averaging double figure points. Be on the lookout for these young ladies as they continue to progress and try to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament next month.
Every season, Nike produces new uniforms for a select few teams, both men and women. This season the men’s teams selected are the Arizona Wildcats, Duke Blue devils, Florida Gators, Kentucky Wildcats, Oregon Ducks, and the Syracuse Minutemen. The women’s teams selected are the UConn Huskies and Baylor Bears. “Each school’s home uniform will feature a white base with school-specific color lettering and a 26-degree speed graphic of an iconic symbol of each school across the side of the game short. The 26-degree angle of each school’s graphic was inspired by the chevron on the classic Nike Windrunner track jacket that debuted in 1978. Each graphic represents a distinctive basketball point of view, based on the roughly 1,000 directional changes, or “cuts” that a player might make in the course of a game. “(Nike.com) I personally love the look of these jerseys, but besides the look they are light and allows the players to play with less restraints. As a basketball player, I hate when a jersey is baggy and heavy. It adds weight and weighs you down. Its almost March madness and teams need all the help they need at this crucial time. I look forward to watching these teams play in these jerseys and hopefully it increases their performance.
Radford University’s Javonte Green may not be in the biggest spotlight and he may not be at the biggest school in the nation, but that does not take away from the great college career he has had thus far. During his four year career at Radford, Javonte has broken the steals and rebounding records and is currently third on the all-time scoring list. Javonte just needs 13 more points to reach 1,800 and 18 more rebounds to reach 1,000. Radford has also become a much better team since javonte has arrived. The Highlanders are currently (19-9, 10-5) this season with three regular season games remaining. They must win all three games if they want to have a shot of having first place during the big south tournament, taking place on March 3-8, in Myrtle Beach. The Highlanders look to avenge a close loss, as they take on the Bulldogs of UNC Asheville tomorrow at 4:30pm. Look for Javonte to have a great game.
(Randy Sartin-USA Today Sports)
The Kentucky Wildcats beat the Tennessee Volunteers Tuesday night to remain undefeated on the season. Their record is now an astounding 26-0, which is the best start in the school’s history, passing the 1954 squad that started 25-0. They now have five games remaining in the regular season and in my opinion, I believe they will win all five. On paper, their toughest test, in the five remaining regular season games, will come against Arkansas, who has the second best record in the conference, 21-5. Teams have been giving Kentucky their best shots all year, but all have come up short as the wildcats have always found a way to come out victorious. Not to take anything away from the wildcats, but playing in a rather weak conference has helped them out a lot this season. The SEC conference hasn’t been all that great and that has allowed the Wildcats to really show their dominance. Even though this may be true, I believe Kentucky is legit and they will finish the regular season undefeated.