College Basketball's Top 5 Players from Week 11
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
College basketball has been devoid of a true superstar this season, and the nation is taking notice.
Last season we had Anthony Davis, arguably one of the greatest stat sheet stuffers to ever play college ball.
The year before that Jimmer Fredette lit up defenses with ease.
Transcendent college stars Adam Morrison and J.J. Reddick competed for the scoring title while simultaneously playing Halo 2.
Who, then, are we to look at and admire today? Who is the best in the business?
With the nation turning its attention from college football to college basketball, five of the nation’s best potential superstars stepped into the spotlight and shined.
Honorable Mention: C.J. Fair
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
While most of the media attention will be rightfully placed on the ineligibility of James Southerland, it is of note that C.J. Fair has stepped up to fill the hole left by the senior leader.
Fair put up two performances of over 20 points this week.
Fair’s 23-point performance against Providence was admirable, but it was his 22 points against Villanova that make him a true player of the week.
With the absence of James Southerland, Syracuse will need C.J. Fair to continue to produce.
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C.J. Leslie was the difference-maker in NC State’s upset of the top-ranked Duke Blue Devils.
Leslie led the way for NC State with 25 points, and many of his points came down the stretch.
A leader of the team, Leslie scored from all over the floor. He was able to post up against the likes of Mason Plumlee, and he also stretched the floor out with his mid-range jumper.
A key stat to Leslie’s great performance was the fact that while he is not traditionally a very good free-throw shooter, he made seven of eight from the charity stripe.
Leslie’s great performance against Duke came after a 19-point effort against Georgia Tech.
Beyond his incredible play on the court this week, Leslie gets some serious points as a human being.
When NC State fan Will Privette, a handicapped student in a wheel chair, stormed the court, he took an incredible personal risk.
Leslie noticed the student was about to be overrun by crazed fans, and he picked the fan up and held him for several minutes until his wheel chair could be located.
Good for C.J. Leslie. Good for the game of basketball.
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
Not many players can score 40 points on any given night.
Even fewer can do it on the road.
Fewer still can do it playing against Kentucky.
Elston Turner did all of this and more Saturday in Texas A&M’s huge win over the overwhelmingly favored Kentucky Wildcats.
Turner shot 14-of-19 from the field and made six three-pointers.
What made Turner’s performance this week so special is that Kentucky, a team filled with the most highly sought after recruits in the nation, did not have an answer for the undervalued big man.
Turner is one of the most underrated scorers in the SEC. He averages 17.1 PPG, which gives him the third spot on the SEC scoring leaders list this season.
A shooter and a slasher, Turner showed he could score in a variety of ways in a hostile environment.
Watch out for Elston Turner throughout SEC play, and don’t be surprised if he goes off against the likes of Florida and Missouri.
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Doug McDermott did more for his Player of the Year candidacy this week than any other.
His 39-point performance against Missouri State was nothing short of spectacular. So much so that it dwarfs his 16 points against Drake earlier in the week.
McDermott is the most efficient scorer in the country.
He can literally score from anywhere on the court.
This season, McDermott is shooting 57 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc.
He can post you, he can drive on you, he can face you up and he can outrebound you.
McDermott is not Jimmer Fredette, but his effort this week is making that comparison more realistic.
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Kelly Olynyk is quickly becoming one of the most exciting players in the nation.
Everything about the seven-footer out of Canada is fun to watch.
He is truly a complete player. A guard in high school, Olynyk grew eight inches over his junior and senior seasons.
This growth spurt, in addition to a redshirt season, has bestowed Olynyk with the skill set of both a guard and a center.
Olynyk can play with his back to the basket, face up the defense, dribble with the skill of a guard and shoot from beyond the arc.
There is just something hilariously enjoyable about watching a seven-foot center with shoulder-length hair dribbling past bigger defenders, posting up smaller defenders and running the court with the speed of a guard.
Olynyk used his unique skill set to light up St. Mary’s on Thursday.
His 31 points and eight rebounds were the difference between and win and a loss for the Zags.
Over the last two games, Olynyk is averaging 32 points, and he is the first Gonzaga player to score over 30 points in consecutive games.
Although he was a Wooden Award finalist snub, Kelly Olynyk is starting to gain national attention, and many are wondering what he will do to elevate his game even further.
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The honor of being named the best player of this week goes to Kansas' Ben McLemore.
Nobody’s stock has risen more in the past few weeks than McLemore's.
The redshirt freshman guard is tearing opposing defenses apart with his blistering athleticism.
In Wednesday night's thrilling win over Iowa State, McLemore’s incredible shooting was on full display.
McLemore scored 33 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the field. He went six-of-six from beyond the arc and seven-of-seven from the foul line.
It was McLemore’s game-tying three-point shot at the end of the second half that allowed Kansas to avoid a bad home loss to the unranked Cyclones.
McLemore is quickly taking the country by storm because when you tune in to watch him play, you have no idea what he will do, but you know it is going to be spectacular.
All eyes will be on McLemore as the season continues, with many beginning to wonder if he is a possible candidate for the first pick in the draft.