Hello and welcome to BTP's inaugural Team of the Week, where our fine staff of B1G basketball experts and know-it-alls come together to decide which five players are worthy of recognition on a weekly basis. The process is simple: each BTP writer chooses five B1G basketballers to comprise their Team of the Week, and the five players who appear most often will form the blog's cumulative team. The results will be kept and tallied each week so as to provide a picture of which players were consistently the best come late March. Onto the first team of the week, which covers, uh, two weeks of action.
Team of the Week: Nov 8th - Nov 17th
Player of the Week: Adreian Payne - C, Michigan State: 17.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 56% FG%
A deserving winner of the first PotW, Payne led the Spartans to three wins out of three, including a victory over the preseason number one Kentucky Wildcats. Averaging 17 and eight on the season, the 6'10" big man was instrumental in stopping Columbia's upset bid at the Breslin Center on Friday night, posting 26 of Sparty's 62 points on the night. When fellow TotW candidates Gary Harris and Keith Appling were out of sorts, it was Payne who carried the team on his back. His 15 point performance against UK was nothing to scoff at either, and he's sure to end up on more of these lists if he continues to carry his reputation as the B1G's top center.
Aaron White - F, Iowa: 15.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 71% FG% (!!!)
I had to do a double take when glancing over his shooting percentages, because holy crap. It doesn't matter what low-majors Iowa's been playing, shooting in the 70% range shouldn't be feasible over a four game stretch. He leads the B1G with 28.4 points per 40 minutes and his true shooting percentage of 75.3% is bested only by Purdue's Errick Peck, who has played one less game than White. The Hawkeyes have yet to score less than 82 points this season, and an attack led by White and an equally dangerous Roy Devyn Marble is one of the best in all of B1Gland.
Andre Hollins - G, Minnesota: 22.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.3 apg
Perhaps the best scoring guard the B1G has to offer, Hollins finds himself on the team of the week for his great play in victories against Montana and Richmond, the latter of which gave Minnesota a transitive victory over North Carolina (the Spiders took down Belmont a week ago). He's the conference's leader in scoring at 22.7 ppg and his percentages haven't noticeably dropped thus far despite the increased offensive load he's had to shoulder. Time will tell if he can keep this pace up, but for now he's a worthy selection to the Team of the Week.
Noah Vonleh - F, Indiana: 14.2 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 1.3 bpg
He's already drawn comparisons to some of the game's elite, and with good reason - Vonleh is the first Hoosier ever to record a double-double in each of his first four games. A player like him that can get rebounds and easy buckets is invaluable, especially this season when teams are adjusting to the new foul calls. Opponents certainly haven't figured out how to defend Vonleh in the post yet. His presence has been vital to a still-transitioning Indiana squad which will be put to their first real test on Thursday night against Washington.
Aaron Craft - G, Ohio State: 11.0 ppg, 6.7 apg, 5.7 rpg
He's not shooting particularly well to start the year, but Craft is still doing Craft things. His 10 point, 10 assist, and 7 rebound performance against Marquette was nothing less than you would expect from the Buckeye's senior leader. Plenty of folks have posited that the new hand-checking rules would hinder his game, but there's no sign of that just yet--he's yet to foul out through three games while still maintaining a high steal percentage, snagging a cookie in 3.3% of opponent possessions.
Others receiving multiple votes:
- Nik Stauskas - G, Michigan: 17.3 ppg, 4.3 apg, 53% 3pt%
- Sam Dekker - F, Wisconsin: 15.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 44% 3pt%
- Gary Harris - G, Michigan State: 17.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.7 apg
- Keith Appling - G, Michigan State: 12.0 ppg, 6.0 apg, 5.0 rpg
- Shannon Scott - G, Ohio State: 12.3 ppg, 3.7 apg, 2.3 spg