Sunday, December 2, 2007

December 2 Player of the Week

Note: This column originally appeared at CollegeHoopsNet.

Despite college football taking all the headlines over the weekend, there was a terrific week in the college basketball world, including conference vs. conference battles and plenty of marquee showdowns. In addition to the aforementioned team match-ups, there were outstanding individual performances from coast to coast. Many of the top players are beginning to separate themselves from the pack, and those same players continue to produce impressive weeks on a consistent basis. However, one player that stood out individually and also helped his team to big wins was – what else? – a freshman, Arizona’s Jerryd Bayless. Texas’ D.J. Augustin was outstanding in Sunday’s win over UCLA, but he was already Player of the Week once, so we went in a different direction this time.

Bayless, a 6-3 combo guard, has not received the same amount of credentials as some of the other top frosh across the country, but he came into school as a highly-touted backcourt player and has lived up to all those billings. He led the Wildcats to a win earlier in the week against Cal State Fullerton and then was outstanding in a comeback victory at home against Texas A&M. In both games, he averaged 23.5 points, 2.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, including 26 points, six assists and only one turnover against the Aggies. He kept the Wildcats in the game after A&M jumped out to its huge lead in the first half and continued to knock down shots in the second half, helping ‘Zona to the victory. He is now averaging 19.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game for 5-2 Arizona.

Bayless will get plenty of more chances to show the nation how good he is with Arizona’s extremely tough non-conference schedule, continuing this week with a game at Illinois and a monster match-up against fellow frosh Derrick Rose and Memphis at the end of December. Mixed in-between those games are contests against Mountain West and WAC contenders Fresno State, San Diego State and UNLV. It is going to be a very tough month for Bayless and the Wildcats.

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

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