College Hoops: Radar Team
Last weekend, I covered a high school basketball tournament
that gave out a "Radar Award," given to the top up-and-coming
player of the tournament.
I thought it was a rather novel idea, I give you the 2004-2005 "Radar Team." They're a group
of players that were once-ballyhooed, but since forgotten, or
have been overshadowed by more prominent teammates.
You're not going to find these guys on any preseason All-
American lists, but remember the names; you just might see
them garnering such honors come April.
Aaron Brooks, Oregon
Though it's odd that a McDonald's All-American would be under
the radar, the jet-quick sophomore point guard seems to be
forgotten following an injury-plagued freshman year.
Furthermore, freshman- fellow McD's All-American- Malik
Hairston has received all the attention out of Eugene.
Opposing signal callers would be wise not to sleep on Brooks,
though. In fact, they'd be wise not to blink. Hairston really
is as good as advertised, but if the Ducks are to return to
the NCAA Tournament, Brooks- perhaps the fastest man in
college basketball- will be the driving force.
Averaging 17 points and 7 assists through his first three
games, he might make Duck fans forget Luke Ridnour quickly.
Then again, he does everything pretty quickly.
Luther Head, Illinois
He arrived in Champaign with a reputation as a high-flyer,
and certainly showed it, but he was slowed by groin and
pelvis injuries his first two seasons. When Bruce Weber took
over the reigns last season, his introduction of the motion
offense appeared to have benefitted Head the most, as Weber
called him the team's best player in preseason practices.
That was before a pair of early-season suspensions.
After a strong finish to last year, the 6'3" senior, once an
afterthought behind All-America candidates Dee Brown and
Deron Williams, may actually be the centerpiece of what looks
like the nation's top backcourt trio. Through the first four
games this season, Head is averaging 17.5 points, 7.3
assists, and 2.8 steals- all team highs. The one-time alley-
oop specialist has become a top-notch marksman as well,
hitting on 14-of-29 three-pointers in the season's first week.
Dwight Brewington, Providence
Opposing Big East fans should save their taunts for
Brewington. He can't hear them.
Though he is deaf, he's making plenty of noise on the court.
The 6'5" sophomore guard, who played a small role off the
bench in Providence's 20-win 2003-2004 season, has emerged as
one of the conference's top perimeter players this year,
thriving off the attention paid to first-team All-American
Brewington has made his mark on the big stage- Madison Square
Garden- already this season in the Preseason NIT, scoring 23
points against Wake Forest's highly rated backcourt. He
matched that 23 points in a 72-63 win over Michigan on
national TV in the third-place game, adding seven boards, six
assists, four steals and three blocks.
So far this year, it's Brewington, at 18.5 per, and not
Gomes, leading the Friars in scoring. While that probably
will not last, it won't be the least bit surprising if he
joins Gomes on the All-Big East squad.
Curtis Stinson, Iowa State
Folks in Big XII country know all about the 6'2" sophomore
from the Bronx. Nationally, he's still somewhat of a mystery
man. He shouldn't be. Not only is he the best guard in the
Big XII, there are few perimeter players in the nation who
are as well-rounded as Stinson.
One of the top freshman performers last season, Stinson
averaged 16 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists. Proving to
be equally adept off the ball or playmaking, Stinson started
the '04-'05 campaign with 18 assists against just one
turnover in the Cyclone's first two games.
Paul Millsap, Louisiana Tech
Emeka Okafor led the nation in rebounding last year, right?
Wrong. That would be the 6'8", 243-pound Millsap, who
averaged 12.5 boards- along with 15.6 points- in winning WAC
Freshman of the Year.
"He's going to be tough to leave off on a lot of postseason
all-star teams. Millsap does it all: score, rebound, play
defense. It's hard to believe he's only a freshman. He plays
like a senior," ESPN basketball announcer Barry Thompkins
said last year.
It's going to be even tougher to leave him off those
postseason teams this season. Though the Bulldogs are
struggling with a 1-2 mark, Millsap is averaging an eye-
popping 27 points and 15.3 rebounds.