Sunday, December 23, 2007

Dec. 23 Player of the Week: Dwayne Curtis

Note: This column originally appeared at

After a dull period two weeks ago in which there were only a few scattered great games and standout individual performances because of final exams, this past week more than made-up for it. Saturday was filled with top-25 contests and must-see match-ups, and there were also plenty of quality contests during the week. With the increase in important games came several impressive individual performances. Stanford’s Brook Lopez came back from academic suspension to make an immediate impact; Ohio State’s stuff freshman Kosta Koufos led the Buckeyes to back-to-back wins; Shaun Pruitt of Illinois and K.C. Rivers of Clemson were impressive; and, of course, Michael Beasley had an absurd 40-point, 15-rebound game Saturday. But the best week of all came from one of the biggest surprise teams in the country – Mississippi and its senior center Dwayne Curtis.

Mississippi was 8-0 heading into the week, but there were many people across the country who were still skeptical of the Rebels, who hadn’t really beat anyone overly impressive. However, Ole Miss headed to Puerto Rico this weekend for the San Juan Shootout and went 3-0, including a solid win over previously unbeaten Clemson. The main catalyst was the 6-foot-8 Curtis, who scored 19 points and had nine rebounds in the championship game against the Tigers. Curtis also put up 21 and seven against DePaul and 14 and five against a game La Salle team. He shot 61% from the field and 88% from the free-throw line in three games.

On the season, Curtis is averaging 15.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game, and is shooting 68% from the field and 81% from the charity stripe. The Rebels wrap up 2007 against Southern Miss and open 2008 with Alabama A&M, but Curtis and Mississippi will certainly be pushed once the SEC opens up on Jan. 9 vs. Tennessee. Will the Rebels be able to continue their undefeated run, and can Curtis continue his dominance down low?

Jeff Borzello, founder, editor and lone writer of March Madness All Season, also writes weekly columns for

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