It wasn’t an easy week to pick this one out. There were a lot of good showings but no great ones. At least not over the course of two games against decent-or-better opponents.
Baylor’s Rico Gathers would have won this award if not for a stipulation. We like to hand out the Player of the Week to guys who have at least two games between every posting of the award, which comes on Monday mornings. Gathers went for a terrific 31 points and 21 rebounds in a win over Northwestern State, but it was Baylor’s only game in the past seven days.
Elsewhere, Fred VanVleet didn’t put up amazing numbers, but if you watched him play in his team’s games against UNLV and Utah — both of those wins for Wichita State — you saw just how vital FVV is to the postseason prospects of that program. He was considered. Other guys, like Butler’s Kelan Martin and Iowa State’s Jameel McKay, were good candidates.
But over the course of two games/wins, no player put up better numbers across the board last week than Indiana’s Troy Williams . Some positive developments for Indiana, which needed just that after a 5-3 start to the season that came with some heavy criticism (yours truly included).
The Hoosiers got right last week by beating up on IPFW and McNeese State. In those two games, Williams averaged 14.0 points, 13.0 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals. He also did it by putting in 28.5 minutes in each game, so that’s pretty productive overall. Williams, a junior, is Indiana’s best pro prospect, a player who should almost definitely be taken in the top 25 of the 2016 draft. He’s shooting a spectacular 62 percent from 2-point range this season.
If Williams finds any sort of rhythm with the 3, Indiana’s entire dynamic will change — and the Hoosiers will be even more dangerous on offense.
The Hoosiers are now 8-3; if they can defeat Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic on Saturday, it will mark IU’s first four-game winning streak since January. IU hasn’t won five in a row since its first five games of the 2013-14 season.
Previous winners this season of the CBS Sports Player of the Week:
Week 1: Grayson Allen, Duke
Week 2: Denzel Valentine, Michigan State
Week 3: Kyle Collinsworth, BYU
Week 4: A.J. English, Iona