Wooden Watch: Week 12

Story posted January 26, 2022 in Sports, CommRadio by Jonathan Draeger

With each passing week, college basketball fans are enjoying each moment as the Big Dance draws near.

We have seen blue bloods fall from the ranks, new teams reach horizons they have never been, and some adversity among the odds. Players are taking the reins of their teams and pulling them to the national media’s attention.

Some players’ efforts may make a case for the nation’s best player. Let’s investigate what the watchlist has to offer us.

Hunter Dickinson, C, Michigan

It was no secret that Michigan was a contender to hoist the trophy in New Orleans. It’s also no secret that during the season Michigan has shown struggles.

The bright spot for the Wolverines happens to be sophomore center Hunter Dickinson. Since the COVID-19 pause in mid-December, the Wolverines started slow, but strung two dominant wins together as of late.

A part of their recent success falls onto Dickinson’s performance, where he scored over 20 points in three out of his last four games since the pause. Most recently, the center showed out against the Indiana Hoosiers in Assembly Hall, as he contributed 25 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

Johnny Juzang, G, UCLA

The No. 7 UCLA Bruins were an early pick to go back to the Final Four after making it in 2021. Most of its production has come from the guard who took the nation by storm in Indianapolis.

Juzang has been a major contributor in points, with four out of his last five games scoring over 20 points. The most recent outing against a No. 3 Arizona Wildcats team that shocked the nation right out of the gate was lackluster compared to matchups as of late.

The guard posted 15 points on 33.3% shooting from the floor but managed to convert at a 60% clip from the three-point line. UCLA would get the win 75-59, but Juzang’s performance wasn’t a big contributor to the Bruins’ success.

Oscar Tshiebwe, C, Kentucky

After transferring from West Virginia to Kentucky during the 2020-2021 season, Tshiebwe did not get the spotlight he has at this moment. His presence on the court causes coaches to gameplan for him for days on end.

In the points category, Tshiebwe is not the best, only averaging 16.3 points per game. His contributions come in a different category college basketball fans would not have seen much dominance in: rebounds.

The junior center averages 15.2 rebounds per game, while managing to grab 20 rebounds in the process for a few select games. The SEC is quite the tough conference, but Tshiebwe is making Kentucky return to its blue blood status.

Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas

Ochai Agbaji was in the national spotlight last season but couldn’t find a way to break out onto the scene the way most fans wanted. This season is the breakout year for the senior guard.

For the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks, the Big 12 Conference has been the most competitive conference in the Power Six. All 10 teams have an overall record above .500, and Kansas has taken down most of these teams in the process.

The one team they lost to in conference: the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock, Texas. It was an eight-point loss, but the teams met up on Jan. 24, and had a double-overtime thriller, where Agbaji took over and dropped 37 points 56.5% shooting and 58.3% from downtown.

The senior guard has consistently dropped about 20 points per game, with the outlier being the close call against the Oklahoma Sooners where he scored 10 points. Other than that, Agbaji is paving a path to the national championship for the Jayhawks.

 

Jonathan Draeger is a second-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at jrd6052@psu.edu.