Naismith Award: Yancy Gates, Terrence Jones and Others Whose Stock Has Dropped

Ari KramerSenior Analyst IIDecember 15, 2011

Naismith Award: Yancy Gates, Terrence Jones and Others Whose Stock Has Dropped

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    Terrence Jones had a monumentally lackluster performance in Indiana's upset of Kentucky, and Yancy Gates will miss five more games after the Crosstown Shootout brawl.

    Jones and Gates—unlike these guys—are just two players whose Naismith Award stock has fallen.

    Though all these players have three months to get back on track, their Naismith potential would benefit immensely from strong, consistent performances in the near future.

Jared Cunningham, Oregon State

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    Jared Cunningham grabbed the nation's attention after averaging 26 points through the season's first four games, but a nine-point outing against Vanderbilt began a five-game slide in which the junior averaged just 11.6 points per game.

    Because of his torrid start, Cunnigham is currently averaging 18 points per game. However, he's not the viable Naismith candidate he was after the season's first week.

J'Covan Brown, Texas

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    Like Jared Cunningham, J'Covan Brown hit the ground running in 2011-12—the junior averaged 26.3 points and 7.5 assists through four games.

    He has topped 20 points twice since then—against UCLA and Nicholls State—but he also has had 11-point performances against Sam Houston State, Texas Arlington and Texas State as well as a six-point outing versus North Texas.

    Not quite POY-worthy.

Casper Ware, Long Beach State

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    Playing for Long Beach State, Casper Ware only had an outside chance of Naismith consideration. He started the season strong, though, scoring 28 points in the 49ers' upset of Pitt.

    Since then, Ware has only had one Naismith-like performance—a 29-point output in an 84-78 loss to UNC. Five points against Boise State, 15 points in a loss at Montana and a 3-of-11 shooting night at Kansas won't help his cause.

    Ware, who won a weekly MVP in the Drew League this summer, is one of the best guards in the country, but he'll need an impressive outing against Xavier and a dominant Big West campaign to revive his Naismith hopes.

Tyler Zeller, UNC

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    An impressive junior year made Tyler Zeller a Naismith candidate in the preseason.

    One month into the season, though, Zeller's production has declined from a year ago. The senior is averaging 13.6 points—on 51.6 percent shooting—and 7.7 rebounds per game. As a junior, he averaged 15.7 points on 54.7 percent shooting.

    Those numbers are still very respectable, but they're not Naismith-like—especially when you factor in his nine-point outing against Michigan State and five-point output against UNLV.

Kendall Marshall, UNC

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    Kendall Marshall's presence in the starting lineup last year enhanced UNC's cohesiveness, and his ability to distribute made him a viable Naismith candidate in the preseason.

    Marshall, indisputably one of the best distributors in college basketball, is averaging 10.2 dimes to just 2.7 turnovers per game. However, he is an ineffective scorer and a sub-par defender. Don't overrate his 1.1 swipes per game—most point guards can take advantage of his mediocre lateral quickness.

    No matter how effectively he distributes the rock, Marshall can't be a legitimate POY candidate while he shoots 35.4 percent from the floor and 28.6 percent from deep.

Yancy Gates, Cincinnati

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    Yancy Gates, a preseason dark-horse contender for Player of the Year, is averaging career-highs in points (13.5) and rebounds (9.5), but his six-game suspension will severely diminish his Naismith stock.

    Even if Gates has a remarkable Big East campaign, he'll be at a disadvantage because of the six games he'll miss early in the season.

Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin

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    Though Jordan Taylor still distributes the ball effectively, he's bogged down in a woeful shooting slump. 

    The senior is averaging 11.8 points per game on 36 percent shooting from the floor, 32.6 percent from three and 69.4 percent from the stripe. Keep in mind: those percentages were at 43.3, 42.9 and 83.2 a year ago.

    Taylor's distribution skills make him valuable to Bo Ryan, but he won't be invaluable until he escapes the shackles of his offensive slump.

Terrence Jones, Kentucky

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    After many media outlets named him to their preseason All-American first teams, the enigmatic Terrence Jones has displayed his supreme ability but has also left fans and analysts alike scratching their heads.

    He started the season with an eight-point outing against Marist, followed that up with a strong 15 and seven against Kansas, scored six versus Old Dominion, went on a very productive four-game stretch and then fell apart against Indiana.

    Check this out.

    Jones now has to prove he can resiliently put his most recent lackluster effort in the rear-view mirror.