NCAA BK

WOODEN WATCH: Jeffries enters Top 10 with a bullet

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Frank Burlison

 
   
 

CHAMPAIGN, Ill.

Jared Jeffries is the latest player to crack the FOXSports.com Top 10 John R. Wooden Award candidates' list for the first time this season.

And the Indiana University sophomore, who moved in at No. 8 this week, might not be through climbing in those ratings.

Jeffries had a combined 47 points and 15 rebounds as the Hoosiers knocked off Michigan State and Iowa recently to improve to 4-0 in the Big Ten.

He and his teammates can seize solid control of the conference lead Saturday when they travel to Columbus to face Ohio State, the other unbeaten team in Big Ten play.

Jeffries had a solid freshman season, when he was the team's second offensive option after Kirk Haston.

But with Haston bypassing his senior season for a spot on the Charlotte Hornets' bench, Jeffries has more than avoided any kind of "sophomore jinx" and is playing better than anyone else in the Big Ten right now.

There are many other key conference games this week across the country that could shake up next week's FOXSports.com Wooden ratings, including Maryland at Duke (Thursday), as well as a couple of matchups involving Kansas and the No. 1 guy in the Top 10, forward Drew Gooden, (vs. Oklahoma State and Oklahoma).

The Top 10: (Stats thru games of Jan. 14)

1. Drew Gooden, 6-9, Jr., Kansas

Last rating: 1 Stats: (15 games) 20.7 points per game; .490 Field Goal percentage; 12.3 rebounds per game; 1.5 assists per game; 2.3 steals per game Comment: Struggled in first half against UCLA (which Jayhawk didn't it?) but strong second-half performance almost rallied his team.

2. Jason Gardner, 5-10, Jr., Arizona

Last rating: 3 Stats: (15 games) 22.1 ppg; .429 FG percentage; 3.5 rpg; 4.8 apg; 2.4 spg Comment: What would Wildcats' record be without this guy in their lineup? Try reversing the current 11-4 mark. He and teammates have tough Pac-10 games at home this week vs. USC and UCLA.

3. Jason Williams, 6-1, Jr., Duke

Last rating: 2 Stats: (15 games) 21.0 ppg; .445 FG percentage; 3.5 rpg; 4.7 apg; 2.2 spg Comment: His shot has cooled of late (eight of 24 from field past two games vs. Georgia Tech and North Carolina State). Don't be shocked if the jumpers are falling against Maryland (Thursday) and Wake Forest (Saturday).

4. Mike Dunleavy, 6-9, Jr., Duke

Last rating: 6 Stats: (15 games) 17.5 ppg; .497 FG percentage; 7.1 rpg; 1.8 apg; 1.9 spg Comment: Not a bad set of games vs. Georgia Tech and NCSU: 25.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.

5. Steve Logan, 6-0, Sr., Cincinnati

Last rating: 4 Stats: (16 games) 21.6 ppg; .471 FG percentage; 2.9 rpg; 4.4 apg; 1.0 spg Comment: Hasn't needed to score as much lately, which isn't a bad thing, of course.

6. Tayshaun Prince, 6-8, Sr., Kentucky

Last rating: 5 Stats: (14 games) 17.6 ppg; .508 FG percentage; 6.9 rpg; 1.6 apg; 1.7 spg Comment: Prince needs to perform like the best player in the SEC — which most believe he is — if the 'Cats are going to overcome a wobbly conference start.

7. Mo Baker, 6-1, Sr., Oklahoma State

Last rating: 7 Stats: (16 games) 16.9 ppg; .497 FG percentage; 6.9 rpg; 3.6 apg; 1.8 spg Comment: Baker can make a strong statement for his Big 12 Player of Year candidacy this week against Kansas and Texas Tech.

8. Jared Jeffries, 6-9, So., Indiana

Last rating: Not ranked Stats: (16 games) 17.1 ppg; 7.1 rpg; 1.8 apg; 1.0 spg Comment: The Hoosiers are suddenly looking like the best team in the Big Ten and the multiple-skilled Jeffries is a big reason why.

9. Melvin Ely, 6-10, Sr., Fresno State

Last rating: 9 Stats: (11 games) 24.4 ppg; .575 FG percentage; 9.6 rpg; 1.1 apg; 4.2 rebounds per game Comment: He may never score less than 30 points per game for the rest of the season; will it be enough to get the Bulldogs into the NCAA tourney?

10. Juan Dixon, 6-3, Sr., Maryland

Last rating: not ranked Stats: (15 games) 19.3 ppg; .465 FG percentage; 4.5 rpg; 2.9 apg; 3.3 spg Comment: Dixon suddenly became comfortable at 3-point range against against North Carolina and Georgia Tech (a combined 10-of-18). Next 15: Troy Bell (6-1, Jr., Boston College); Kareem Rush (6-6, Jr., Missouri); Dan Dickau (6-1, Sr., Gonzaga); Preston Shumpert (6-6, Sr.., Syracuse); Udonis Haslem (6-8, Sr., Florida); Jerry Green (6-3, Sr., UC Irvine); Matt Bonner (6-9, Jr., Florida); Carlos Boozer (6-9, Jr., Duke); Reggie Evans (6-8, Sr., Illinois); Jason Kapono (6-7, Jr., UCLA); Frank Williams (6-3, Sr., Illinois); David West (6-8, Jr., Xavier); Lonny Baxter (6-8, Sr., Maryland); Sam Clancy (6-6, Sr., USC); Casey Jacobsen (6-6, Jr., Stanford). Frank Burlison can be reached at his e-mail address, fburlison@foxsports.com.
Tagged: Cincinnati, Arizona, UCLA, Stanford, Southern California, Ohio State, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan State, Michigan, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Duke, Maryland, UC-Irvine, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Radford, Ohio, Xavier, Syracuse, Boston College, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Gonzaga, Fresno State

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