College Basketball’s 12 Marquee Performers This Weekend

J.J. Frazier Photo by A.J. Reynolds AP
A.J. Reynolds/AP

The following 12 players should shoot up in the next ratings after fantastic performances Saturday. The podcast of the Fox Sports interview explaining the system is here, and we list each player’s current rating among the 4000+ players and count them down from 12th to 1st biggest performance Saturday.

12. Andre Hollins, Minnesota (801st): He played more like he did as a sophomore (ranked 59th, vs. 801st this year) as he hit 10 of 15 shots including five made three-pointers in a 28-point performance to keep Minnesota’s tourney hopes alive against an Illini team that had just lost a top-10 player in Rayvonte Rice. He added three rebounds, two blocks, and one assist.

11. Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga (12th): By the time he hit his third trey on three attempts with 17:43 to play, Pangos’s team led Pacific 52-28. He then assisted to Gary Bell with 16:10 to make it 57-28, as Gonzaga looks every bit the potential Final Four team.

10. Egidijus Mockevicius, Evansville (16th): The best defensive rebounder in the country once again grabbed more than one-third of all opponents’ misses while he was on the court, grabbing 8 of about 20 missed shots. He also scored 15 points despite taking only 4 shots (3 of 4 from the line and 9 of 10 from the line). They are unlikely to upset Wichita State, but having already beaten Northern Iowa behind his 13 rebounds, Evansville is a 1-point and overtime loss away from being 6-1 in the Missouri Valley.

9. RJ Hunter, Georgia State (177th): Has not quite lived up to his top-10 preseason billing, but he is heading back that way after hitting 19 of 20 free throws in two wins this week, and he added 7 rebounds and 7 assists in Saturday’s win over LA-Lafayette. It will be interesting to see if he can make up ground against Georgia Southern’s Jelani Hewitt, who will fall from 23rd after an 8 of 26 shooting week. The two teams meet Feb. 5 in a game that could determine who wins the Sun Belt.

8. Juwan Staten, West Virginia (144th): Should shoot back up toward his 34th ranking from last year after his 18 points and ridiculous 12 assists helped the Mountaineers hold off TCU in an 86-85 overtime thriller.

7. Jalan West, Northwestern St. (349th): Being part of the 2nd worst defense in the country has kept Jalan West from reaching his preseason projection as a top ten player, but Saturday he showed once again why he is still one of the top offensive players in the country with 25 points on 9 of 15 shooting that included six made three-pointers. Add eight assists and rebounds and a couple of steals, and Demons fans can still hope they can outgun the other two high-powered Southland offenses (Stephen F. Austin and Incarnate Word) much as they did in their 103-101 win against the latter.

6. Devaugntah Williams, Texas Tech (322nd): Williams had already surged into the top 8% of all players before he put up 22 points to stun No. 9 Iowa State 78-73.

5. Cliff Alexander, Kansas (335th): Already in the top-25 freshman in the database at 335th, Alexander came through with 15 points and 9 rebounds as No. 11 Kansas had a huge road win at No. 17 Texas.

4. Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (5th): Kaminsky’s 8 of 13 shooting and 6 of 8 free throws proved the difference in holding off Michigan for an overtime win on the road. He added nine rebounds, and his unstoppable offense may enable him to catch Kentucky’s Willie Causey-Stein (2nd) and his incredible defense in the battle for 1st team All-American Center (Kaminsky was named Breitbart’s 1st team All-American last year).

3. Devin Booker, Kentucky (31st): He had already surged to the third highest ranking of any freshman – trailing teammate Karl-Anthony Towns and Duke’s Jahlil Okafur before dropping 18 points in 26 minutes to keep Kentucky undefeated.

2. Gary Payton Jr., Oregon State (3rd): The son of “the Glove” by the same name led Oregon State to their third straight win with his sixth double double (21 points, 10 rebounds) in a 59-55 win over USC. But only two steals? In each of his previous two games in the three game winning streak he has had five steals both times. Continues to be rated as the top shooting guard in the country.

1. JJ Frazier, Georgia (94th): Could Frazier and Georgia actually be good enough to be the team to beat Kentucky in the next-to-last game of the season? Frazier should shoot way up from 94th after hitting an unreal 12 of 14 shots including all seven three-pointers. Add 7 rebounds, 3 steals, and two assists in the 72-66 win over Mississippi State 72-66, and give Georgia four straight wins to go along with their non-conference destruction of Seton Hall, and the Bulldogs are looking like a strong seed in the tourney and could be the second best team in the SEC with a shot at ending Kentucky’s undefeated season.

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