Good news and bad news.
I always choose to get the bad news over with first, so here we go:
- BAD NEWS: Mark was unable to do the write-up for our Awards post this week.
- GOOD NEWS: There’s still an awards post!
- MORE BAD NEWS: I’m writing it.
I’m sure you’ll manage. Mark will be back next week.
Whatever. Without further adieu, College Pride Press’s Week 3 Awards!
Game of the Week: Baylor 66, Louisville 63 (4 votes)
This game was never close.
Until it was.
It was all Louisville in Friday’s Battle 4 Atlantis Final for the first 30 minutes of the contest. The Cardinals led 32-10 at one point in the first half, 39-24 at halftime, and 51-40 with 11 minutes remaining. All of the sudden, however, Louisville ran out of juice. The Cards looked nothing like the dominant force they were in the first half, instead appearing to be dragged down by fatigue.
The Bears took advantage of this and embarrassed Louisville’s transition defense over the last five or six minutes. Somehow, someway Baylor ended up with a Battle 4 Atlantis championship, leaving us wondering aloud “What the heck did I just watch?”
Others receiving votes: IPFW 71, Indiana 68 in OT (1 vote), Valparaiso 92, BYU 89 (1 vote) Butler 69, Arizona 65 (1 vote) Gonzaga 73, Iowa State 71 (1 vote)
Team of the Week: Baylor (5 votes)
Is this the year that Baylor finally breaks through?
If we throw the Bears’ history of disappointing us of the window, we don’t have much evidence against it. Baylor not only beat VCU, Michigan State, and Louisville to win one of the most prestigious preseason tournaments this past week, they rallied from a sizable deficit to win every single one of those games. The Bears are displaying impressive resilience and toughness and receiving valuable contributions from just about everyone, all signs of a contender.
This easy choice for Team of the Week is also the easy choice for Team of the Year up to this point. I don’t know if the Bears will keep this up, but as of now, Baylor has earned the distinction as one of the most dangerous teams in the country. That resume isn’t terrible, either.
Others receiving votes: Butler (2 votes), South Carolina (1 vote)
Coach of the Week: Scott Drew (7 votes)
Aw man, I have to talk about Baylor again? C’mon, fellow voters.
I mean, I guess it would be ridiculous to not have Drew here. You don’t rally from deficits of 8+ in three consecutive games against tournament-bound teams without some serious coaching.
Drew has his Bears playing confident and playing together better than I can remember in his tenure. He’s done some impressive work so far this season.
Others receiving votes: Chris Holtmann (1 vote)
Freshman of the Week: Lonzo Ball (6 votes)
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that Ball is as young as he is. On his way to winning the Wooden Legacy Tournament MVP this weekend, the UCLA freshman racked up 28 assists over the 3 games in the tournament.
Most times, however, it’s easy to believe, as his defensive effort has been poor and he at times has been rocked by shooting slumps. But his nose for hitting big shots, his senior-like basketball IQ and limitless potential that he has displayed so far not only have NBA scouts drooling but UCLA fans thinking Final Four. Big things are to come for the point guard.
Others receiving votes: Kyle Guy (1 vote), Dennis Smith Jr (1 vote)
Point Guards of the Week: Monte Morris (3 votes) Dennis Smith Jr (3 votes)
Ew. A tie.
Nobody wants to share an award, but unfortunately for NC State’s Dennis Smith Jr and Iowa State’s Monte Morris, it was just too close to call for my fellow voters. Here’s the lowdown on each:
Smith had himself a nice little scoring week (he racked up point totals of 21, 24, and 30), an encouraging sign for the Wolfpack. The more comfortable Smith is in this offense, the better for NC State, as it’s clear that his play will very much determine what kind of team NCSU will be in 2016-17.
Morris scored 6 and 14 while adding 14 combined assists vs. Miami and Gonzaga this week.
Others receiving votes: Joel Berry (2 votes)
Wing player of the Week: Malik Monk (6 votes)
The competition wasn’t much, as unlike other teams Kentucky did not participate in a preseason tournament. But Monk was once again too good to be ignored, scoring 23, 26, and 23 to help Kentucky cruise past Cleveland State, Tennessee-Martin and Arizona State.
But forget about, you know, averaging 24 points a game. This assist alone should be enough for the freshman to win this award. I mean, WHAT!
Others receiving votes: Sindarius Thornwell (1 vote), Kelan Martin (1 vote)
Post player of the Week: Johnathan Motley (8 votes!)
Ladies and gentlemen, our first unanimous vote of the year!
We can break down how on earth Baylor did what they did in the Battle 4 Atlantis a hundred different ways, but all would include the junior forward. Motley is easily the most important Bears player, and here’s why:
- Most boring one first: Motley is the most talented player on this team.
- Motley is an elite rebounder on a not-exactly-elite rebounding team.
- Motley’s never-ending motor was one of the biggest reasons Baylor was able to win the Battle 4 Atlantis. He never gave up trying to breathe life into his team. As a coach, that’s really all you can ask for.
- Here’s the biggie: As the focal point of this offense, his newfound consistency is huge for Baylor. Throughout his career, Motley has played as up and down as anybody. Not only can Motley not reach his ceiling without him developing some form of consistency, it’s doubtful that Baylor can either. There’s no guarantees he keeps this up – he’s only played in five games, after all – but it certainly feels like this will be the breakout year we’ve all been waiting for. If that’s the case, watch out, college basketball.
Best decision of the Week: IU traveling to IPFW (5 votes)
This may seem like an odd choice for this award, but Tom Crean scheduling a road game against in-state, mid-major IPFW takes the cake. For a powerhouse basketball school like Indiana, to schedule a game against a hungry “younger brother” school shows the respect Crean has for the game of basketball. Even though the Hoosiers were shocked by the Mastadons, an upset of this proportion is good for college basketball because, really, who doesn’t love upsets?
Others receiving votes: Baylor switching to man-on-man vs Louisville (3 votes)
Moment of the Week: IPFW upset (5 votes)
A traditional power ranked no. 3 overall travels to a lowly in-state school and loses in overtime. How storybook can you get?
Here are the highlights from the magical upset. Stay till the end if you want to truly understand why this was the best moment of the third week in college hoops.
Others receiving votes: Baylor’s comeback vs Louisville (3 votes)
Player of the Week: Malik Monk (3 votes)
You may recall Mark closing last week’s section on Monk by saying “just think how good he’ll be in March.” I’m having trouble comprehending how good Monk is now, thank you very much.
Others receiving votes: Johnathan Motley (2 votes), Lonzo Ball (2 votes), Dedric Lawson (1 vote).
Performance of the Week: Peter Jok vs Memphis (6 votes)
If you don’t know much about Peter Jok, in short, he can really, really shoot.
That ability was on display Saturday vs. Memphis in the Emerald Coast Classic, when Jok went nuts and dropped 42 on the Tigers – which was promptly wasted thanks to Iowa’s horrible defense, as they lost 100-92.
Jok hit a career-high 8 three pointers in the contest. Here are the only highlights I could find, since the game (I believe) wasn’t televised.
Personally, if I had to choose, Jok would be my pick to lead the nation in scoring this year.
Others receiving votes: Josh Okogie vs Tulane (1 vote), John Konchar vs Indiana (1 vote)
“Goat” of the Week: Indiana (6 votes)
I’m not sure how Indiana managed to lose to Fort Wayne. I’m really not.
In the long run, Indiana will be more than OK. It was a big one, but early season hiccups aren’t the end of the world.
I just don’t know how. Heck. I’m still stunned.
Can we save this miracle stuff for March, please? I can’t take it this early….
Others receiving votes: Louisville (2 votes)