Sunday, March 8, 2009

CHN Player of the Week, March 8

Player of the Week: Sam Young, Pittsburgh

The first week of March is always one of college basketball’s best seven-day stretch. There is the end of the regular season in many conferences, including all the major conferences, and plenty of conference tournaments also began this week. Furthermore, five bids were handed out for the NCAA Tournament. With a week that jam-packed, there is bound to be an abundance of top-notch performances from around the country. Of course, this week certainly fit that bill.

This week’s group of big-time games fell into two categories: one, the major-conference performers who came up huge in marquee games, and the smaller-conference players who had an excellent string of games to help lead their team to the Big Dance. In the first group, Tyler Hansbrough averaged 19.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in wins over Virginia Tech and Duke, while Louisville’s Terrence Williams averaged 17.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 4.5 steals per game in two victories. Auburn’s Korvotney Barber helped propel the Tigers into the bubble conversation with back-to-back double-doubles against Alabama and LSU, averaging 14.5 points and 16.5 rebounds. On the other side, Kevin Tiggs of East Tennessee State had 37 points in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Tournament, and averaged 26.3 points in three games. Morehead State’s Kenneth Faried had three straight double-doubles, averaging 17.3 points and 14.6 rebounds in the Ohio Valley Tournament. Radford’s inside-outside duo of Kenny Thomas and Artisom Parakhouski was outstanding in the Big South Tournament, with Thomas averaging 26.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists and Parakhouski going for 19.6 points, 13.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game. However, the best performance of the week came from one of the big conferences, as Sam Young of Pittsburgh was certainly a two-game stud this week.

Young, a 6-6 senior forward, ended his non-postseason career with a bang this week, leading Pittsburgh to two wins over Marquette and Connecticut, as well as the possible No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament come Selection Sunday. He started off the week with 18 points and eight rebounds against Marquette, in a 15-point win for the Panthers. However, his line on Saturday against UConn really stole the show. Young was 13-of-23 from the field, en route to 31 points and 10 rebounds. He carried the Panthers early on and also put separation between Pitt and the Huskies in the second half when Connecticut tried to make a run. He was borderline unstoppable. Young is now averaging 18.8 points and 6.1 rebounds on the season.

- Kenny Thomas/Artisom Parakhouski, Radford
- Kenneth Faried, Morehead State
- Korvotney Barber, Auburn

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