It was an interesting past seven days. Davidson’s Jack Gibbs scored more than 40 points for the third time this season. A Vandy big man recorded a triple-double by way of 10 blocks. Iona’s A.J. English, who won Player of the Week here at CBSSports.com earlier this season, scored 45 points and had seven steals (but, ahmem, nine turnovers), and still that was totally overshadowed by the fact Monmouth and Iona almost had a wrestling match in the postgame handshake line.
But, generally speaking, I like to award the Player of the Week to a guy whose team won both games and in doing so, played big in each contest. That means Louisiana-Lafayette’s Shawn Long gets the nod this season. Unfamiliar with Long? Well, he’s a former teammate of Elfrid Payton, the unlikely Ragin’ Cajun lottery pick back in 2014. And Long is well on his way to being selected via the NBA Draft, too. My colleague, Sam Vecenie, wrote a feature on Long’s road to this point. It’s a really good story, so take the time to read it. This guy is still an overlooked gem on the college level.
He’s the POTW because ULL went 2-0 last week with an average win margin of 21 points. Long averaged 23.0 points, 17.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.5 steals. He was 19-for-25 combined from the floor in both games; if Louisiana-Lafayette reaches the NCAA Tournament, Long will be in consideration for Third Team All-American. He’s currently averaging 19.1 points (second-best in the Sun Belt) and 13.0 rebounds (third-best in the nation).
He began his career at Mississippi State, but he’s thriving at a smaller school and creating a huge legacy there. It would be a shock if he wasn’t picked by an NBA team. Long’s story is one to shine a brighter light on.
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
Week 5: Troy Williams, Indiana
Week 6: Brice Johnson, North Carolina
Week 7: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Week 8: Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa
Week 9: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma