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.
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 Erick Neal, University of Texas at Arlington
If the Mavericks of Texas Arlington are going to make some noise in the Sun Belt Conference this year, then they are off to one heck of a start behind lead guard Erick Neal. In a 50-point rout of Texas Dallas on Dec. 5, Neal posted a double-double of 15 points and 13 assists in just 23 minutes of game time. Then, three days later in Texas Arlington’s upset win of then-No. 12 Saint Mary’s, Neal was more than happy to continue the passing display as he deferred to frontcourt teammate Kevin Hervey throughout the game against Saint Mary’s. By game’s end, Hervey — the versatile 6-9 junior forward — had 15 points and eight boards to lead the Mavericks to their first win over a Top 25 opponent in the program’s history, 65-51. Neal’s 13 points and eight assists proved just as integral, but his ability to dictate the pace via the pass kept the Gaels at bay all night. His counterpart for Saint Mary's, Emmett Naar, tallied two points and one assist. The Mavericks were previously 0-28 against ranked opponents, according to data from the school's athletic department.
G Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga
If anyone had a little extra incentive heading into Gonzaga’s battle with Washington on Wednesday it was the Zags 6-3 guard Nigel Williams-Goss. And boy did he show it with 23 points, five rebounds and five assists to lead the Bulldogs in a 27-point romp over the visiting Huskies (98-71). After transferring from Seattle to Spokane and sitting out of this intrastate rivalry a year ago — using his redshirt status in the process — Williams-Goss has shown some real growth and patience on the basketball court. He is currently leading Gonzaga in scoring and assists, while showing marked improvement in his shooting from the field, 3-point range and the free-throw stripe. All of this despite a drop of nearly five minutes a game from his 2014-15 season with the Washington Huskies.
Though Williams-Goss’ numbers may have taken a bit of a dip from his time in Washington, he is arguably playing better basketball because of the increased efficiency. In a win against Akron, Gonzaga showed they can win games in a multitude of ways, especially when the offense is not humming as usual (Williams-Goss tallied 11 points and five assists in the victory). The Zags are one of just a handful of undefeated teams left in college basketball, and could have a pretty clean run of things until a January matchup with Saint Mary’s. Nothing is etched in stone of course, but with Williams-Goss at the helm running the offense, things look pretty good for head coach Mark Few and company.
G/F Derrick White, Colorado
It’s certainly been a long journey for Derrick White to finally don a jersey in Boulder, Colorado, but it’s been worth the wait. After transferring to CU from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, White — the former Division II standout — is now helping lead the charge for Buffaloes and head coach Tad Boyle. Through ten games the Buffs are off to a 7-3 start, with wins over two ranked opponents (Texas, Xavier) and a close, six-point loss to Notre Dame. White performed quite well on all three occasions, but most recently his heroics on both ends against the Musketeers helped preserve what is instantly the team’s signature win (68-66) in the early-season portion of the schedule. His late block thwarted Xavier’s hopes of a comeback, but should not overshadow the overall effort he put into this contest (23 points, six rebounds, four assists).
The Buffs had a bit of a letdown later in the week when they traveled to visit BYU at the friendly confines of the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. The trip didn’t seem to sit well with teammate Josh Fortune (0-8 from the field, 0-6 from 3-point territory), or the rest of the Buffs for that matter as the team shot the rock at a 38.7 percent clip, but White continued his relative hot streak as he put up 21 points on 7-12 shooting in a 79-71 loss. Most fans will have their eyes set on a trio of road games that begin on Jan. 1, so White and company better be ready.
F Amile Jefferson, Duke
It’s been a banner year for the emotional leader of Duke’s frontcourt so far in the 2016-17 campaign as Amile Jefferson is averaging career-highs across the board in everything from points to rebounds to blocked shots. As such, the 6-9 forward figured heavily in Duke’s two wins against Florida and UNLV, on Tuesday and Saturday, respectively. Jefferson’s defense and rebounding are normally a big part of the contribution he makes to Duke’s lineup, but this year the Philadelphia-bred big man is taking it upon himself to show a little scoring flair. And he’s doing so with a good bit of efficiency as well (67.3 percent from the field in just about 31 minutes of floor time)
F John Collins, Wake Forest
Before all the naysayers come out about how gauche it is to have two players from the ACC in this lineup, the numbers don't lie — Wake Forest's John Collins is a load in the paint. The Florida native is averaging a double-double (18.0 ppg, 10.7 rpg) as well as a nearly two blocks a night (1.7 bpg) in just over 24 minutes of action in the early going as the Demon Deacons are off to an 8-2 start. Collins helped lift his team over Charlotte and past UNC Greensboro with his fifth and sixth double-doubles of the year. Granted, a late 3-point shot from Bryant Crawford proved to be the decisive bucket in the latter of the team's two wins, but Collins has been at the top of the statsheet all year long.
Wake Forest's John Collins had 22 points, 15 rebounds, 3 blocks in 21 minutes v. Charlotte. His Offensive Rating is second in the nation. pic.twitter.com/ByIuwED7zP— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) December 7, 2016
Wake Forest has an All-ACC player in sophomore John Collins. 18.1 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 63.5% from field. Last year: 7.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 54.7%.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) December 9, 2016
The going is about to get tough for this young squad, and with only two seniors on the roster some people will need to get wise to the pace of things in the ACC pretty quick. Collins seems up to the task though, as his scoring average, shooting percentage and rebound rate have jumped precipitously with an extra 10 minutes of run from head coach Danny Manning. The 6-10 sophomore could be a sleeper for an All-ACC nod, at least Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports thinks so.