Rothstein Files: This And That Around College Basketball
By Jon Rothstein
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– The UCLA coaching staff is still marveling over the play of freshman guard Jordan Adams. Ben Howland told me last week he knew Adams was talented when he was recruited, but he’s really surpassed everyone’s initial expectations. “He’s been really, really good,” Howland said of the 6-5 Adams, whose averaging 17.7 PPG. “He’s been an important piece for us because he’s so steady. He never rushes anything.” UCLA, who had a major win last week over Missouri begins PAC-12 play tonight against Cal at Pauley Pavilion.
– Every coach in America would love to have a player like Stony Brook forward Tommy Brenton. The fifth-year senior impacts the game in a plethora of ways for the Seawolves, and should go down in Stony Brook history as the all-time leader in assists, steals, and field goal percentage. Brenton also is expected to break 1,000 points and rebounds for his career, one that is celebrated daily by Seawolves coach Steve Pikiell. “He’s everything for our program,” Pikiell said of Brenton. “He had 16 rebounds in his first college game five years ago and hasn’t looked back since.”
– Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said he really likes the combination of freshman guard Seth Allen in the Terps’ back court next to starting floor general Pe’Shon Howard. “Playing the two of them together gives you two guys who can break the defense down off the bounce,” Turgeon said. “Seth’s been playing well the last few weeks. He’s earning the right to get more playing time.” Maryland is 12-1 and while they haven’t beaten anybody that’s a lock for the NCAA Tournament, the Terps are set up to begin ACC play in a positive manner. Maryland hosts Virginia Tech and Florida State and then travels to Miami before returning home to face league favorite NC State on January 16th.
– Marquette freshman power forward Steve Taylor may very well be the best high school player Buzz Williams has signed since he’s been at the Milwaukee school. The 6-7 Taylor is incredibly skilled at the high post and will be a major factor once he understands the nuances of the college game. We saw glimpses of Taylor’s potential in the Golden Eagles’ win on Monday night over UConn and you can bet plenty more will occur during the Big East slate. Against the Huskies, Taylor had nine points and grabbed three rebounds in just 12 minutes of action.
– Syracuse’s 78-53 win over Rutgers last night at the Carrier Dome makes the Scarlet Knights’ home game against Pitt on Saturday a must win. The Scarlet Knights are 9-3 but proved again last night that they’re an emotionally fragile group. Holding a 20-18 lead in the first half, Rutgers watched the Orange score 21 straight points en route to a convincing win. This group has yet to show any signs of toughness, something we thought we’d never say about a Mike Rice coached team.
– Wichita State’s 13-1 start is one of the more surprising stories in the country. The Shockers lost four starters from last year’s team that won the MIssouri Valley Conference and have played the last four games without their best rebounder Carl Hall, who is out with a thumb injury. Gregg Marshall has gotten this team to defend and play strong on the glass while getting big time production from Oregon transfer Malcolm Armstead and JUCO import Cleanthony Early.
– Troy Daniels is a joke. Last night, VCU’s long range gunner had 33 points and made 11 three-pointers in the Rams’ 109-58 win over East Tennessee State. Daniels has made 27-of-49 shots from deep in the last three games and looks primed to maintain his spot as one of the better shooters in all of college basketball.
– Despite only shooting 25% from the field in the two games he’s played this season, Saint Louis point guard Kwamain Mitchell is finding other ways to contribute to the Billikens. In wins over New Mexico and SIU-Edwardsville, Mitchell averaged 4.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds, showing that he can have a positive contribution without putting the ball in the basket. Mitchell missed the first part of the season with a foot injury and his return should give Saint Louis the stabilizing presence it needs in the back court. After a sluggish start, the Billikens have won seven games in a row and are now 10-3. This team will be a major factor in the Atlantic 10.
– Brian Gregory is quietly doing a solid job in his second year at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are 10-2 and have two solid building blocks in freshmen Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter. A trip to the NCAA Tournament may not be in the cards this year, but it’s clear that Gregory, a relentless worker has things in Atlanta on an upward trajectory.
– Siena may be off to a 2-11 start but senior big man O.D. Anosike continues to be a gem. The 6-8 Anosike is leading the nation in rebounding and double-doubles, tallying 13.3 points and 12.7 rebounds per contest. The Staten Island native could very well be the second player since 1973 to lead the nation in rebounding in back-to-back seasons. The other was current NBA star Paul Millsap, who played for Louisiana Tech from 2003-06.
Your thoughts on the CBB scene? Be heard in the comments!