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You're Just What We're Looking For

Dec. 03, 2012
Dec. 03, 2012

Table of Contents
Dec. 3, 2012

LEADING OFF
THE MAIL
Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS
ANDREW LUCK
COLLEGE FOOTBALL
  • IS A GHANAIAN SOCCER PLAYER WHO DREAMED OF NBA GLORY AND SUCCESSFULLY WALKED ONTO THE BYU TRACK TEAM ABOUT TO CONQUER THE NFL DRAFT? THE LONG AND WINDING TALE OF EZEKIEL (ZIGGY) ANSAH

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You're Just What We're Looking For

Help Wanted: Many teams entered the season with open positions ranging from the point to the paint. It's still early, but these players have answered the call and shown they're up to the job

DUKE

This is an article from the Dec. 3, 2012 issue

A PLAYMAKER

Sophomore Quinn Cook (below) has quashed the notion of a point guard by committee, handing out 19 assists in three outstanding games at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Cook was also clutch: In the 76--71 win over Louisville last Saturday, he hit a floating one-hander as the shot clock wound down, which put Duke up five with 29 seconds to play.

MISSOURI

Offensive rebounders

Last season the Tigers were offensive on the offensive glass (228th in OR%) but a couple of transfers—6'9" forwards Alex Oriakhi (24 offensive rebounds) and Tony Criswell (14)—have remedied that. Missouri (5--1) ranked 17th in OR% at week's end, with Oriakhi averaging career highs in points (11.8) and boards (8.8).

BYU

A latter-day Jimmer

Unlike most players returning after their two-year LDS missions, 6' 5" sophomore Tyler Haws (right) was in terrific shape. He became the second Cougar to score at least 20 in his first six games of a season. Through Sunday he was averaging 23.3 points (40.9% from three) as well as 6.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals.

STANFORD

ANOTHER STAR OGWUMIKE

With the graduation of three-time All-America Nnemkadi, sister Chiney has assumed the spotlight. The 6'3" junior forward had 18 points, including a reverse layup with 22 seconds left, to clinch the Nov. 16 victory over No. 1--ranked Baylor that snapped the Bears' 42-game winning streak.

OKLAHOMA STATE

A COMPLEMENT TO 6'7" SWINGMAN LE'BRYAN NASH

Marcus Smart, a 6'4" freshman guard from Flower Mound, Texas, is a true Guy Friday. In the Cowboys' 76--56 takedown of then No. 6 N.C. State in Puerto Rico on Nov. 18, Smart had 20 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, four blocks and four steals while harassing preseason All-ACC point guard Lorenzo Brown (six points, one assist) into seven turnovers.

BUTLER

A three-point threat

The Bulldogs shot just 28.1% from behind the arc in 2011--12. Enter Rotnei Clarke, who sat out last season after transferring from Arkansas. The 6-foot guard beat Marquette on a last-second bomb, then made four threes in a victory over North Carolina that helped Butler reach the finals of the Maui Invitational.

WICHITA STATE

Seeking Go-to Guy

The depleted Shockers were expected to tumble this year, but they have two quality wins already (at VCU, over Iowa at the Cancun Challenge), and juco transfer Cleanthony Early is a big reason for their early success. In the 75--63 defeat of Iowa in the Cancun final, the 6'8" small forward had 25 points and nine rebounds.

ALABAMA

Long-range shooting

Trevor Releford and Trevor Lacey—both guards—are 23 of 45 from deep through five games, with Lacey hitting a game-winning trey against South Dakota State and Releford going 5 for 5 in a 77--55 romp over Villanova. Releford's marksmanship earned him MOP honors at the 2K Sports Classic. The Tide made just 28.9% of its threes last season.

CONNECTICUT

POST SCORING

Freshman 6'4" forward Breanna Stewart has not only taken over the post—89 points in the first five games—but also established herself as a player of the year candidate. Stewart was named MVP of the Paradise Jam tournament after putting up 57 points in the Huskies' three wins.

MICHIGAN STATE

A floor general

Junior Keith Appling (team-leading 16.4 ppg, 49.2 FG%) has emerged as the Spartans' latest star at the point. "I'm putting about as much on his plate as he can handle," said coach Tom Izzo after Appling's clutch shooting helped avoid an upset against Oakland last Friday. "I'm not an easy guy to please, but I'm really proud of him."

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PHOTOERICK W. RASCO (COOK)PHOTOPORTER BINKS (HAWS)