FOX Sports North Midweek Stock Report for Dec. 2

Minnesota Wild forward Thomas Vanek has continued his scoring surge despite the return of winger Zach Parise.

Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports/Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Every Wednesday, FOX Sports North takes a look at which athletes’ stock is trending up and whose is trending down.

In other words, who is making a meteoric rise, like the Vikings’ defense, and who is plummeting — like the Green Bay Packers’ collective morale these days. 

With that in mind, let’s "take stock" of the current sports scene in Minnesota, shall we?

Rachel Banham, Gophers G

This redshirt senior from Lakeville enjoyed an historic performance last Saturday in Puerto Rico, despite Minnesota’s narrow, 81-79 overtime loss to Auburn. On that day, Banham poured in 29 points on 11-for-20 shooting, to become Minnesota’s all-time scoring leader. Banham now has 2,304 career points, surpassing women’s basketball royalty in current Lynx standout and U of M alum Lindsay Whalen. On Saturday Banham made six 3-pointers and also had four assists and three steals.

Thomas Vanek, Wild LW

The Wild have struggled a bit of late, but it’s through no fault of Vanek’s. The Wild veteran helped his 12-7-4 squad carry on through star Zach Parise’s recent knee injury, and Vanek had a goal and an assist in Saturday’s overtime loss to powerful Dallas. The 31-year-old former Gophers star now has 19 total points this season. His 10 goals rank 19th-best in the NHL.

St. Thomas football

In one of the most highly anticipated games in Tommies history, coach Glenn Caruso’s squad humbled tradition-rich St. John’s last Saturday in an NCAA Division III playoff game, winning 38-19. St. Thomas’ talented running back, Jordan Roberts, led the way with 230 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Linebacker Jesse Addo added two sacks. Next up: St. Thomas takes on Wabash in the national quarterfinals.

K.J. Maye, Gophers WR

Maye finished his senior campaign strong last Saturday, with a team-high five receptions, for 45 yards in a loss to Wisconsin. This is more of a season-long acknowledgement, though, as the scrappy receiver put together a 2015 campaign filled with productive performances. Maye, generously listed at 5-foot-10, reeled in 65 catches this season — 29 more than any other Minnesota receiver– for 706 receiving yards. His 65 receptions are the fourth-most in a single season in Gophers history.

Gophers men’s hockey

The Gophers entered the week in uncharted territory, saddled with a subpar, 4-7-0 overall record. After Sunday’s 7-4 loss to in-state rival St. Cloud State, which completed a series sweep, Minnesota is now 1-10 in its last 11 games versus in-state teams. Perhaps Big Ten play will treat Don Lucia’s troops more kindly; Minnesota hosts Ohio State this weekend at Mariucci Arena.

Nemanja Bjelica, Wolves PF

The Wolves’ European import started so promisingly this season, exhibiting strong rebounding and impressive 3-point range. He was slowed by a nagging knee contusion in recent games, though. Before Sunday’s 10-point performance in a loss at the L.A. Clippers, Bjelica hadn’t played in four games and hadn’t scored in double digits since Nov. 13. The former Euroleague MVP scored three points on 1-for-5 shooting from the field in Tuesday’s three-point loss to Orlando.

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