Monday, December 8, 2008

CHN Player of the Week, Dec. 8

Player of the Week: Evan Turner, Ohio State

With just about a month of the college basketball season over, some trends are beginning to develop across the landscape. National title contenders are starting to separate themselves – well, okay, just North Carolina – while pretenders are fading back into the pack (Michigan State?). Furthermore, there are surprises and disappointments abound. Conference play has gotten underway in several mid-major conferences already, and it will start in the major conferences in a few short weeks. Until then, though, enjoy the big-time performances in marquee non-conference games.

This past week, there were plenty of the aforementioned standout showings by big names. Stephen Curry had another great game, dropping 44 in a win over North Carolina State, including several ridiculous shots late in the game. Arizona State’s James Harden continued to make his All-America case, averaging 31 points over two games. Of course, Blake Griffin also kept up his dominant play, while fellow Big 12 mate A.J. Abrams had 31 points to help lead Texas over UCLA.

The best performance of the week by a team was likely Ohio State, and it came mostly as a result of the outstanding play by sophomore swingman Evan Turner. After averaging less than nine points per game last season, Turner has developed into the Buckeyes’ go-to-guy this year, increasing his scoring production in each game. This past week, Turner led the Buckeyes to back-to-back road wins over top-25 teams, Miami (Fl.) and Notre Dame. Against the Hurricanes in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Turner had 19 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks in a comeback victory. He really came alive against the Fighting Irish, though, playing all 40 minutes and scoring 28 points. Turner also grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out five assists and had two steals. On the season, he is now averaging 16.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.0 steals per game – could he be the next Buckeyes’ star? It sure seems like it.

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