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InsideHoops [College Basketball]

College Hoops: Radar Team





/ Dec. 3, 2004

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 Ryan Gomes.

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.

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