Player of Week
Jalen Smith, Forward, Maryland
Smith (pictured) played very well in both of Maryland’s matchups this week. Against Purdue, “Sticks” recorded 18 points, 10 rebounds, and blocked 4 shots while shooting 8-13 from the field. Smith followed that strong performance up with a season high 25 points and 11 rebounds against Northwestern, where he shot 7-13. For the week, Smith averaged 21.5 points and 10.5 rebounds on 65% shooting from the field. Jalen was the top scorer in both games and proved he is one of the most consistent players in the country.
Luka Garza, Center, Iowa
Garza has been great and his contributions against Michigan make him the player of the week. Luka scored 33 points on an efficient 10-18 shooting. He also grabbed 7 rebounds and blocked a shot to lead Iowa to a 90-83 win. Against Northwestern, Garza dropped 27 points shooting 10-14. In his past two games, Garza is averaging 30 points per game while also grabbing 5 rebounds. The most impressive part of his performance this week, is that Garza shot over 62% from the field.
Daniel Oturu, Center, Minnesota
How could he not make this list again? He struggled shooting versus Rutgers but still posted a game high 19 points, 9 rebounds and blocked 2 shots. In a huge matchup versus Penn State, Oturu was fantastic scoring 26 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. As Penn State tried to come back Oturu didn’t allow them by creating many second chance points and was unstoppable in the paint on offense. Oturu even stepped back and sunk a huge 3 to put the game out of reach. Oturu deserves so much more attention than he has been given so far. He is playing with so much heart and is always the best player on the court. OTuru is right at the top in most stat categories in the Big Ten and should be a high pick if he chooses to leave for the NBA.
Myreon Jones, Guard, Penn State
While the Nittany Lions have struggled on offense recently, Jones has been very consistent. With half of the team unable to score at all, teams were swarming Lamar Stevens. Causing the Penn State offense to be very ineffective. Including a loss to Wisconsin where only four of the nine Nittany Lions that played scored. Against Ohio State, Jones dropped 20 points shooting 6-12. Against Minnesota, Jones led the Nittany Lions with 15 pontd on 6-13 shooting. For the week, Jones is averaging 17.5 points on 48% shooting. While Lamar Stevens has been getting less clean opportunities to score in the last few games, Jones’ consistency during the Penn State scoring struggles gets him on the list.
Losers of four of their last 5 matchups, the Buckeyes are free falling down the rankings. Kaleb Wesson has been very solid, but they have really struggled as a team, especially on the road. The defense has not been good, allowing a really struggling Nittany Lions offense to score 90 points while shooting 53% from the field and 47% from deep. Their next matchup is against Oturu and the Golden Gophers.
Cassius Winston, Guard, Michigan State
Winston has not played well this week at all. In the Spartans loss to Purdue Winston 10 points on 4-13 shooting while also turning the ball over 9 times. Winston followed this up by scoring 6 points and having 5 turnover against Wisconsin where he shot 3-12. For the week, Winston averaged 8 points 4.5 assists and 7 turnovers per game while shooting 28% from the field.
Top 5 Big Ten Bigs
5. Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
The true freshman has been a huge contributor since his first game as a Hoosier. On the season, he is averaging 14.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game while shooting 63% from the field. Against Nebraska, Jackson-Davis had his best game of the season, dropping 25 points and 15 rebounds while blocking 3 shots. Through his first 18 games, Jackson-Davis has reached double figures in points 12 times, while also grabbing double digit rebounds 6 times. He also has six double-doubles and has blocked 3 or more shots 5 times. The most impressive part of his game is how efficient he is. Jackson-Davis currently has the second highest field goal percentage in the Big Ten as a true freshman.
4. Xavier Tillman, Michigan State
Tillman was part of last week’s top juniors list and is having a great season. He is currently averaging 13.9 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game while shooting 54% from the field. Tillman’s 10 rebounds per game is the third highest in the Big Ten and he also ranks seventh in blocks per game. Through 18 games, Tillman has recorded double figures in points 13 times, while also grabbing 10 or more boards 10 times. Tillman has been playing incredible defense and has two games with 5 or more blocks and seven games with 3 or more.
3. Jalen Smith, Forward, Maryland
Smith has been on the who’s hot list numerous times this season due to his exceptional play. He is only a sophomore, but has improved his game so much since stepping onto campus. While only playing 3 more minutes per game, Smith has improved his numbers in every category. His points per game raised to 14.4 which is 3 more than last year, while his rebounds per game also increased from 6 to 9.5. He is shooting a sky high 53% from the field, 40% from deep and 74% from the free throw line which are all better than his freshman season. In the Big Ten, Smith currently ranks 11th in scoring, fifth in rebounds, and fourth in blocks per game.
2. Lamar Stevens, Forward, Penn State
The senior has had a great final season, leading Penn State to a 14-5 record. For the season, Stevens is averaging 16.6 points per game while also grabbing 7 boards and shooting around 46% from the field. Through 19 games, Stevens has scored in double figures in every game, while also posting 4 double-doubles. Against Alabama, Stevens put on a show and posted 18 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 blocks, and 2 steals. Stevens needs to work on his shot from deep because his 25% is low, but in the mid-range he is a deadly scorer.
1. Kaleb Wesson, Forward, Ohio State
Wesson is having another great season for the Buckeyes and has made numerous top 5 lists and has also appeared in the who’s hot section. After a solid sophomore campaign, Wesson has improved his numbers even more. While his field goal percentage is a little lower, his 3% percentage, and free throw percentages are both career highs, while he is also grabbing 3 more boards per game. For the season, Wesson is averaging 14.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. Through 18 games, Wesson has scored in double figures in 17 times and posted 7 double-doubles.