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.
ICYMI: Last week's team
G Jack Gibbs, Davidson
Just over a year ago, Curry showed up for a matchup between Davidson and Charlotte. The end result: Gibbs dropped a career-high 41 points on the night. Flash back to 2017: With Curry in the house on Tuesday, Gibbs had himself another stellar night from the field as he put together a game-high 32 points to go along with seven boards in a win over Duquesne. On Saturday, Gibbs was back at it again in another victory on the road at Fordham where he pumped in 28 points (7-of-11 on field goals, 5-of-5 on 3-point attempts) to go along with seven assists. In the pair of wins, the 6-foot senior showed off his skill set while shooting a commendable 62.5 percent from the field. Gibbs, who leads the conference in scoring (22.7 ppg), while also boasting the league’s fourth-best 3-point percentage (41.3 percent), will need to keep his hot streak going if the Wildcats are going to make a run in the A10 conference.
G Donovan Mitchell, Louisville
G/F Trevon Bluiett, Xavier
Xavier would get back in the win column on Sunday against St. John’s behind a double-double and some more hot shooting from Bluiett (21 points, 10 rebounds, 7-of-12 on field goals) — who passed the 20-point mark for the 11th time this season. The Xavier wingman went a combined 19-for-27 (70.4 percent) from the field in his team’s two games against Cincy and St. John’s. Even though the Musketeers have lost four of their last six games, including a three-game road losing streak prior to the victory at St. John’s, things might be looking up with Bluiett tickling the twine at such a high rate.
F Braxton Key, Alabama
Key tallied a career-high 26 points to go along with nine boards in a 20-point romp (80-60) on the road at Georgia. The freshman forward knocked down seven of his 11 field goals attempts on the night, including three of four tries from 3-point range. On Saturday against Mississippi State, Key managed a near double-double (19 points, nine rebounds) despite a rough shooting night from the field (4-of-13). Nonetheless, his strong performance at the charity stripe (10-of-14) proved to be a nice lift. Key has made a habit of getting opportunities to score with the clock stopped, as he has now converted 26 of 37 attempts from the free-throw line in the last three games (70.3 percent). The adjustment to the speed of the college game takes time for every freshman and scoring from the free-throw line can be a great equalizer for a player looking to make the jump. A tough stretch looms for this squad in the first few weeks of February —including meetings with South Carolina and Kentucky within the same week — and that slate of games should tell the country a little more about where this Alabama team stands. Needless to say, the Tide will need Key to be an integral part of any potential upsets.
F Steve Taylor Jr., Toledo
On Saturday in a two-point loss to Northern Illinois (74-72), Taylor tallied his lowest scoring output of the season. In fact, the seven points he scored on 3-of-5 shooting from the field is only the second time he has failed to reach double figures in 20 games this season. Nonetheless, Taylor found a way to make an impact elsewhere on the stat sheet. In other words: Scoring isn't everything, y'all. Case in point, the 6-foot-9 big man added 17 rebounds, nine assists and two blocks to go along with his seven points in the losing effort. Remember this name because by season’s end he just might find a way to sneak in and unseat Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan for the nationwide lead in double-doubles (Swanigan has 18; Taylor is tied for third with 15).