Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Players of the Week: Mike Gerrity, Devin Ebanks

Co-Players of the Week: Mike Gerrity, USC and Devin Ebanks, West Virginia 

A holiday-shortened week that featured zero games on Thursday, four games on Friday and only one game on Saturday had no shortage of outstanding games and performances across the country. There were upset-spurring showings from Brett Harvey of Loyola (Md.) (25 points in a win at Indiana); UAB’s Aaron Johnson (12 points and 10 boards against Butler); South Alabama’s Tim Williams (21 points and seven rebounds at Florida); and Oral Roberts’ Michael Craion (18 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists vs. New Mexico). There were standout individual performances from Charleston Southern’s Jamarco Warren (37 points), Hawaii’s Dwain Williams (58 points in two games), Lipscomb’s Adnan Hodzic (34 points and 13 boards) and Morgan State’s Kevin Thompson (23 points and 25 rebounds). Don’t forget about big-time weeks from Georgia’s Trey Thompkins, Louisville’s Samardo Samuels, Alabama’s JaMychal Green, Missouri’s Kim English, UTEP’s Randy Culpepper, Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez, BYU’s Jimmer Fredette, Georgetown’s Chris Wright, Texas’ Damion James – and Seton Hall’s Jeremy Hazell and his 41 points in a losing effort.

When it came down to it, the last two finalists for Player of the Week were Mike Gerrity of USC and Devin Ebanks of West Virginia – and we couldn’t separate the two. Gerrity, a transfer from Charlotte who became eligible just four games ago, has completely transformed the Trojans. They have not lost since he arrived, and they went to Hawaii for the Diamonds Head Classic and won the title. In the three games in Hawaii, Gerrity averaged 15.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Sure, the numbers aren’t All-American quality, but the way USC has gone from Pac-10 cellar dweller to potential conference contender under his leadership has been tremendous.

Ebanks came into the season expected to have a breakout season, but those plans were derailed when he missed the first three games due to a personal leave of absence. However, he showed his lottery pick potential this past week in two wins over Mississippi and Seton Hall. Ebanks went for 14 points, 13 rebounds and four assists against Ole Miss, but followed that up with 22 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists in an overtime win at Seton Hall to open Big East play. Furthermore, he played all 45 minutes and was essentially the point guard for WVU at Seton Hall.

It’s not protocol to select co-Players of the Week, but it felt necessary to give coverage to both Gerrity’s impact on USC and Ebanks’ dominant statistics. On the season, Gerrity is averaging 14.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists, while Ebanks is putting up 13.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

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