Team basketball is a sight to behold, but when an individual player is in a zone, sometimes the best strategy is simply to get the heck out of his way and let him dominate.
Across the country, we see these kind of epic performances on a nightly basis. It’s part of what makes college basketball so great – talented student-athletes showing off their spectacular abilities in front of millions.
Each week at NCAA.com, we’ll select a college basketball All-Week team. Comprised of five positions, the squad is selected based on games and performances from the week prior. Let’s get to this week's edition.
RELATED: Last week's team
G Jawun Evans, Oklahoma State
There might not be a more impressive offensive player in college basketball than Evans.
Oklahoma State’s offense is very simple: Evans brings up the ball, big man sets a screen for Evans, Evans creates a shot. It’s usually a good one.
On the season, the sophomore point guard is averaging 24.7 points per game. He was wildly impressive in Maui – Evans scored 30-plus points twice, including a 35-point outing against Connecticut.
Evans’ volume is high, and so is his efficiency. The lead guard is making exactly half of his shot attempts and is nailing 56.3 percent of his 3’s. But he’s not exactly bombing away from deep; essentially, Evans is making the mid range cool again. The elbow jumper is frowned upon by analytics gurus, but a player as special as the Cowboy point guard defies that kind of logic. Oklahoma State will be fun to watch this season.
G Lonzo Ball, UCLA
UCLA games are must-see TV thanks to this guy. Ball makes everyone around him better, but he’s finding creative ways to hunt his own shots, too.
Ball’s fancy passing is frequently discussed, but he doesn’t get enough credit for making the simple pass. The star UCLA freshman hits his target in stride as well as anyone in the country; Bryce Alford deserves major credit for putting in work, but it’s not crazy to think Ball is playing a role in his career year from deep. Alford is nailing 44.2 percent of his triples; he’d never topped 40 percent in his three prior seasons. The entire Bruin offense looks like a well-oiled machine.
Quite simply, Ball does everything. The above highlight reel begins with him swatting a big man from behind. He can guard just about any perimeter player. Perhaps the biggest surprise is his 3-pont shooting – Ball wasn’t touted as a great shooter coming into college, but he’s draining 48.6 percent of his 3’s on more than five attempts per game. The freshman also racked up 28 assists in three games this week, and he’s certainly deserving of a spot on the All-Week team.
F Michael Young, Pittsburgh
The 235-pound bruiser balled out for the Panthers this past week. Young is averaging career highs in most major categories – he’s putting up 23.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, three assists and 1.5 blocked shots per game.
Young has always been an excellent player, but he seems to have taken another leap forward. He’s the ultimate mismatch – try a smaller guy on him, and Young will score at will in the post. Use a burly big on him, and Young will drag his man out to the 3-point line or use his herky-jerky driving attack to get to the cup.
Pittsburgh doesn’t have a dominant interior force on the defensive end, and Young has even provided a whiff of rim protection this season. When a player is both versatile and effective, he gets major props. Young has certainly earned the praise.
F/C Jock Landale, St. Mary's
Landale’s shot chart features a whole lot of green. The junior has really come into his own – he’s averaging 21 points per game this season and shooting an astonishing 76.3 percent from the floor.The Gaels’ big man just doesn’t miss. In his past three games, he’s attempted 29 shots – Landale has made 24 of them. Naturally, the bulk of Landale’s shots come right near the rim, but the fact that he’s able to position himself to get such a quality looks is an underrated skill. His teammates deserve credit for finding him, but not a lot of centers can do what Landale does.
He’s impacting other areas of the game, too – Landale has collected 29 rebounds in his last three games and is almost averaging a double-double on the season. Landale isn’t even playing 30 minutes per game, but the Gaels have to be elated about his progress this season.
C Ben Lammers, Georgia Tech
Why hello, Mr. Lammers. The Georgia Tech center was something of an afterthought during his first two seasons in Atlanta, but his production has shot upward along with his increase in playing time.
On the season, Lammers is averaging 17.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 5.6 blocked shots per games. Perhaps even more impressive, he’s only fouling twice per contest – there are many great shot-blockers in college basketball, but being able to protect the rim without fouling is a rare skill. Lammers can do it.
Nobody expected much out of the Yellow Jackets this season, but it’s hard not to get excited about Lammers. Georgia Tech is off to a surprising 4-1 start, and its center has played well in every game. In the Jackets’ two games this week, Lammers was, dare we say it, Landale-like. He went 14-for-17 from the floor for 38 points; legitimate two-way centers are hard to come by these days, and Lammers appears to be one of them.