We're still early in the development of putting together these rankings this season, so if you feel we've overlooked someone who should be on the list, just leave us a comment below.
No. 1 - Jabari Parker. Was the game last Saturday in which Duke boat-raced N.C. State to the tune of 95-60 the one that gets Parker really going? Well, as with all things in basketball, we'll find out at least part of the answer to that question in the next matchup for the Blue Devils, when they take their talents to ... oh, I just can't. Anyway, they're playing Miami in Coral Gables.
The 23-point eruption versus the Pack (on an extremely effective 7-14 FGs, including 2-2 from deep and 7-10 from the line) was encouraging, and just scratches the surface of what this guy is capable of producing. He holds onto the top spot in our countdown for now ... but that lead is more tenuous than ever.
Last Week: 1
No. 2 - Tyler Ennis
. I'll be honest - I'm practically convinced that Ennis deserves the top spot. Of course, this is an individual "award", and with that in mind, just look at what the kid's doing. In the lastest "Game of the Season", when the Cuse faced famed Orange-crusher Pitt at the Carrier Dome, Ennis shined most when the game was most in doubt. With the game very much in question, the guy who'd much rather get open looks for teammates hit two critical layups to go with two free throws, and Syracuse pulled all the way back, rallying to beat Jamie Dixon's Panthers.
Like I said, it' getting harder and harder to not slide the player leading perhaps the best team in America to the top spot.
Last Week: 2
No. 3 - Anthony “Cat" Barber.
It was the best of games, it was the worst of games. O.K., enough with Dickens ripoffs. Fact is, that's a pretty apt way to describe the last two outings by State's lightning-quick, lightning rod of a PG. In the dumpster fire of a game versus Duke, Barber looked lost (3 assists/4 turnovers) and very much part of the problem that Mark Gottfried and his staff are trying to solve. Then, lo and behold, he and his compadres (sans all-everything T.J. Warren) go out and take down a team looking for consistency of its own, Maryland Coach (& REO Speedwagon frontman Kevin Cronin stunt double) Mark Turgeon's Terps ("A..C..C..!!!...A..C..C..!!!).
So how do we reconcile these two outings? By the fact that he's a freshman, that's how. Barber's eminently talented. But for the Wolfpack to succeed at optimal levels from here on out, Barber's going to need to even out the performances a bit.
Last Week: 3
No. 4 - Ben Emelogu -
An ankle strain he suffered in practice kept him out of the Notre Dame game this week, and that was less than ideal for the Virginia Tech Hokies; the kid is just that important to Tech's fortunes on a roster that's ... well, let's say it's not chock full-o talent right now. But it's improving, as also seen by his teammate ... wait for it ...
Last Week: 4
No. 5 - Devin Wilson - Wilson most certainly DID show up versus the Golden Domers, and his big-time second half was almost enough to bring the Hokies a W. Going for 20 on an incredibly efficient 10 shots (7-10 FGs/1-2 deep/5-7 FTs), the kid from western Pennsylvania really stepped up in Emelogu's absence. When you watch him play, it's very easy to remember that he was offered D-1 scholarships in two sports, the other being football (offered by N.C. State, Akron, Temple, and Ohio, specifically).
Last Week: 5
No. 6 - Kennedy Meeks.
Another week, another step up from Mr. Meeks. I'm not sure if he's ready to inherit the Earth (sorry .. .caffeine-deficient this morning. Stop me before I pun again), but Carolina's flagging season could sure use more involvement from him. Meeks continues to fill up the bucket when given the opportunity, combining (vs. BC and UVa) to go 10-14 from the field (71.4%), with 15 boards, 2 blocks, 2 assists (2 turnovers), 2 steals, and a couple of blocks.
I'm no coach, but how's about more Meeks?
Last Week: 6
No. 7 - London Perrantes. What a week for the freshman from LA! Not only did his team take down both Florida State and UNC, but he was integral in both outcomes. Versus FSU, Perrantes was solid, contributing 4 assists ad a couple of steals while providing solid defensive close-outs in Miami's new zone. But against North Carolina, he took it up a notch, going for a game-high 9 dimes (ask your kids) to go against only 1 turnover. Virginia's up-and-down season most definitely looks to be on an upward trajectory, and Perrantes is a big part of the reason why.
Last Week: 8
No. 8 - Demetrius Jackson.
Jackson had a solid if unspectacular week, contributing significantly to a victory over
slump-buster Virginia Tech, but then regressing in a heart-breaking loss to FSU, when Ian Miller's floater found the bottom of the net with four seconds remaining. It was a game in which Jackson had more fouls (3) than assists (2).
Last Week: 7
No. 9 - Michael Young. If I've overused the phrase "solid if unspectacular" a bit this week, please pardon me. But that phrase is yet again apropos when describing Young's performance of late. The player who, it's important to note yet again, is no relation to our own Jim Young, contributed five important boards to Pitt's cause in the hard-fought loss against Syracuse, and was slightly less effective (but on the winning side) of the Panthers' game against Clemson. Still, as is historically the case with most of Jamie Dixon's bigs, there's much to like. It'll be fun to watch him continue to develop.
Last Week: 10
No. 10 - Roddy Peters
. This was not a great week for Peters. While Maryland did beat Notre Dame a week ago today, he was barely a factor (8 minutes played, 1 turnover ... and nothing else). Against N.C. State, he was only slightly more impactful, playing only 10 minutes, but missing all four shots he took. For this week, he hangs on at No. 10 ... barely ... due to previous work. But much like the space between David Lee Roth and a camera, this spot is tenuous.
Last Week: 9
Beejay Anya (C, N.C. State)
- Last week I wrote: "Anya's offensive game is still raw, but he's been a force as a shot-blocker." Well, that shot-blocking ability showed up in big ways against Maryland, as the big man turned away four would-be Terp shots.
Jamel Artis (F, Pitt) -
Artis played solidly against both Clemson and Syracuse this week in modest minutes (16 and 18, respectively). Another in Dixon's stable of tough big kids who'll make a difference down the road.
Jaron Blossomgame (F, Clemson)
- The redshirt freshman from Alpharetta, GA took a pretty substantial step back in performance in the last three games, after garnering Freshman of the Week Honors following his break-out game against Duke on Jan. 11. Flashes are there ... the talent is apparent. But Blossomgame, like many freshmen, needs to even out his performances, for the purposes of these rankings, but more importantly, for the continuity of Brad Brownell's Tigers.
Nate Britt (G, UNC) -
Like Blossomgame, Britt has been very much up-and-down thus far this season. Even in UNC's convincing win over Boston College, he was barely a factor (2 points on 4 shots, with 2 assists and a turnover).
Lennard Freeman (F, N.C. State)
- Like the way he rebounds and his overall physicality, but the output isn't there yet. He dd hit a three-pointer against Maryland, but didn't play in the beat-down administered in Cameron Indoor, because of an ankle injury.
Quinton Stephens (F, Georgia Tech)
- Stephens has a very pretty stroke ... and it'd be good to see it again. The past two games, he's gone a combined 1-6 from the field, while committing 3 turnovers. To quote our own Lauren Brownlow ... "woof".
Kyle Washington (C, N.C. State)
- Washington stepped up nicely in helping answer the months-old question, "what would the Pack do if they didn't have T.J. Warren?" in N.C. State's unexpected win versus Maryland. Bouncy athlete on the rise ... could he break the top 10 next week?