College sports are an excuse to rank things. Maybe that’s not entirely true, but it is a sport that is obsessed with debating which team is better than which, putting them on a numbered list and then watching the internet dissect said list ad nauseam. But teams aren’t the only things that get ranked. Arenas, mascots and uniforms can all get the treatment.
During basketball season here at Down the Drive, we rank the actual players each week based on their performance in the previous seven days. We ran through the whole season last year. You can go here to see how the rankings looked at the end. Now its time to start the next chapter.
15. John Koz
The sophomore played in both of UC’s first two games and recorded himself two trillions. For those that do not know, a trillion is a stat line where you record one minute of play and no other statistics.
14. Sam Martin
A freshman 5’10” guard, Martin also played in both games this past week (thank you, blowouts) and missed his lone field goal attempt.
13. Jackson Bart
Bart also got into the action, playing two minutes against Western Carolina and a minute against Savannah State.
12. Eliel Nsoseme
UC’s version of Air Canada got into the season opener against Savannah State and ripped down eight rebounds. However, he missed 4-of-5 shots at the free throw line and made just 1-of-3 shots. Plus, he didn’t play against Western Carolina. Obviously Nsoseme is still developing.
11. Mamoudou Diarra
Mamoudou Diarra grabs his first career points on a pretty feed from Tre Scott. pic.twitter.com/p3Vacxf1Qw— OhVarsity! (@OhVarsity) November 14, 2017
That is a fine way to get your first collegiate bucket. The two-handed jam (off a beautiful pass from Tre Scott, but more on him later) is something we should see more of from Diarra over the next few years. For now, Diarra will be a sparingly used freshman, even if he did have nine points and six rebounds against Western Carolina.
10. Nysier Brooks
This is probably the most surprising ranking, as Brooks looked excellent in preseason and came on strong at the end of last year. He didn’t play terribly in the first two games, and did a great job on the boards, securing 15 total. However, his offensive work was lacking, as he made just 3-of-8 shots from the floor during those two games. But that’s something to keep in mind. It’s only been two games. Brooks’ stock will rise.
9. Trevor Moore
A solid dose of playing time (13.5 minutes per game) gave Moore time to flex. He netted eight points against Savannah State and has already made three 3-pointers at the collegiate level. That’s pretty good for a freshman who is supposed to be better at scoring than just about anything else.
8. Tre Scott
We all knew that Scott could rebound and defend with the best of them, but who knew he had such excellent passing ability. Scott racked up nine assists in the first two games, which equaled his rebound total. This Bearcats team has shown strong ability in ball movement in two easy wins and the fact that Scott is adding to it means they are really clicking. Scott also made 75 percent of his field goal tries and had 10 points combined in the first two games.
7. Kyle Washington
A shaky first game is why Washington finds himself this low. Unlike last year when he had 16 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and two blocks in his season debut, Washington only played 16 minutes against Savannah State, registering five points and four rebounds. He looked more like himself against Western Carolina (14 points, seven rebounds). Expect more of the latter in the coming weeks.
6. Keith Williams
Bigger minutes than the rest of the rookies, plus efficient scoring have made Williams an early All-American Athletic Conference freshman team contender. Williams scored in double figures against UC’s first two opponents, while shooting 52.6 percent from the field. He has missed all six of his shots from beyond the arc, but just check out this fact:
With last night's performance, Keith Williams became the first Bearcat freshman to score in double figures in each of his first two collegiate games since Sean Kilpatrick.— OhVarsity! (@OhVarsity) November 14, 2017
If you are doing anything like Kilpatrick, then you are doing it right.
5. Justin Jenifer
You might think this is too high for Jenifer since had had all of two points and one assist against Western Carolina. I would counter that his play against Savannah State was so good you can ignore that second game. Jenifer scored 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting, and also handed out five assists. His slippery drives were what impressed me most in the opener, even if he did go 1-for-5 from three. Still, this new, offensively aggressive Jenifer is someone I want to see more of.
4. Gary Clark
A double-double in the season opener showed that Clark is ready to dominate as a senior. Eight points and two rebounds against Western Carolina might make you think otherwise, but when you are running away with a 51-point win, you don’t need Clark to be at his absolute best.
3. Jarron Cumberland
Part of the reason Clark didn’t have to expend too much energy was because of how well Cumberland played against the Catamounts. He scored a game-high 20 points on 66.7 percent shooting to pace the 51-point victory. In the opener he did something different, choosing to be a complementary scorer while stuffing the rest of the stat sheet. He tallied seven rebounds and five assists to go with 10 points. He reached five dimes once as a freshman and the seven boards were a career-high.
2. Cane Broome
The leading scorer (16 PPG) for a team averaging 104.5 points per game, Broome doesn’t seem to miss Sacred Heart. Even though he did not start in game two, he still put up 15 points in 20 minutes. He has also had four assists in each of the first two games and is producing an effective field goal percentage of 70.5. That number will come down, but I’m not sure the scoring and assists will.
1. Jacob Evans
He ended No. 1 in the final power rankings a year ago and he has already reclaimed the throne. Broome might lead the team in scoring, but Evans has just done so much elsewhere. Due to that, he is the best player on the team right now. He had 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks against Western Carolina. He dropped to nine points in game two, but he only took three shots, while adding six rebounds and as many assists. Do-it-all Evans is the best Evans.