Senior forward's breakout game earns top spot in ratings
1 —Tarik Black: Coach Bill Self talked him up early in the week, saying he was better than anyone for a long stretch of a recent practice. That could not have hurt is confidence and wouldn’t you know it, Black responded with what was by far his best performance as a Jayhawk. When things grew tense between the teams and tempers flared, Black stepped in with shoulders back, letting it be known he was ready for anyone or anything. He played strong defense, producing one more blocked shot (two) than personal foul (1). He didn’t turn it over, and had 17 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the field, 7-of-9 shooting from the line. Also had six rebounds. “I knew what I was capable of the whole time,” Black said. “It was just a matter of figuring it out in this system.”
2 — Joel Embiid: Midway through the first half, Aaron Bowen beat his man in the right corner, went up strong and was stuffed by Embiid, triggering what to that point was the loudest roar from the crowd. It didn’t compare to the noise in response to a play he made with less than five minutes remaining. Andrew Wiggins missed a three-pointer and Embiid rebounded it and in a blink threw it down with his right hand. He missed a long stretch of the second half after taking an elbow to the head, but left no doubt he had recovered upon returning. Embiid totaled 17 points, eight rebounds and two steals in 21 minutes and in the process impressed the opposing coaching, who has watched talented big men wearing Georgetown uniforms all his life. “I don’t know him at all,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said, “but he must be pretty smart because he’s getting better and better and better with each game. He has a chance to be a special player. He might be at that point already.”
3 — Naadir Tharpe: Ran the point in steady fashion without trying to force anything. Had four assists and one turnover and scored 10 points, making 4 of 6 field goals and 1 of 2 three-pointers. Didn’t let a sore shoulder keep him from getting the job done.
4 — Jamari Traylor: Steadily improving power forward runs the floor hard, mixes it up well underneath and steadily looks more comfortable playing basketball. Picked up eight points, seven boards and two blocked shots in 20 minutes, an encouraging sign of things to come considering the quality of the opponent. A talented shot-blocker, he was denied one by a whistle.
5 — Frank Mason: What a fake before throwing a soft, no-look hook shot of a lob to Wayne Selden in the final minutes for a slam. Played under control his entire time on the floor, dished four assists with one turnover and showcased his big-time athleticism in a variety of ways, including saving a ball from going out of bounds and sending a safe pass out to the point. Needs to become more disciplined about not using his hands on defense. Had five points, four assists and one turnover in 15 minutes.
6 — Wayne Selden: Shook a little bit of a slow start but settled in to give a solid effort in all areas with nine points, three rebounds and four assists.
7 — Andrew Wiggins: At times settled for jumpers and didn’t make many of them (3 for 10 overall, 2 for 5 from three). When he drives, he draws fouls, so he should probably look to drive more often. Came alive in the second half and finished the day with 12 points, four assists, three turnovers, a blocked shot and three steals. Made all four free throws. “He drove the ball hard a number of times in the first half and didn’t get a whistle, so at least he was doing what he was supposed to be doing,” Self said. “He needs to get to the line 10 times a game.”
8 — Perry Ellis: Left game after extremely hard — dirty would be another way of expressing it — foul from Nate Lubick. Ellis smacked the back of his head on the floor on the play. He attempted to shoot the first free throw, but was so woozy it missed the basket by a long shot. Wayne Selden took the second one for him and Ellis headed to the locker room and never re-entered the game.
9 — Landen Lucas: Had two points and two rebounds in three minutes.
10 —Conner Frankamp: Continues to struggle with his shot. Coming off the bench cold and looking for a good shot is a completely different role than he had in high school , where he played every minute and every shot was a good shot. Hasn’t made the adjustment yet, not an unusual case for a freshman in a new role. Has made 5 of 20 shots overall and 3 of 14 three-pointers.
11 — Justin Wesley: Played two minutes and had an offensive rebound to show for it.
12 — Brannen Greene: Two minutes that included turnover and a rushed missed three-pointer early in the game resulted in him spending the remainder of the game on the bench.
Joel Embiid 108
Andrew Wiggins 101
Perry Ellis 98
Frank Mason 80
Wayne Selden Jr. 79
Naadir Tharpe 71
Jamari Traylor 59
Tarik Black 51
Andrew White III 46
Brannen Greene 29
Landen Lucas 27
Conner Frankamp 23
Justin Wesley 2