Last week Charleston Southern’s Saah Nimley played like he was annoyed that he wasn’t named to the Lou Henson award Mid-Season Watch List. Of course I am kidding, but opponents haven’t been laughing lately. The 5-foot-8 senior is the only player in the county to have four straight 30-point efforts this season, with two of those performances coming last week. And less than a week after not being named to the Henson Watch List, Nimley earns Lou Henson award National Player of the Week honors. Now that is worth at least a little chuckle.
Nimley had a career-best with 31 points in a win over UNC-Asheville. A few days later he established a new career-high with 37 in the Bucs win over Jerome Hill and Gardner-Webb. Hill, who was one of two Big South players to make the Mid-Season Watch List, finished with five points. Hill and High Point’s John Brown deserved to represent the Big South on the mid-season list and a good case can be made that Nimley should have as well.
Here are four more that deserved to make the cut...
Jelani Hewitt (Georgia Southern): The Eagles are in first place in the Sun Belt, due in large part to the play of Hewitt. The 6-foot-2 senior is averaging just under 20 points per game, but he isn’t just scoring. Hewitt is getting four rebounds, just under four assists and three steals per game. It’s been a while since Georgia Southern has made much noise, but they are making plenty this season and Hewitt leads the charge.
R.J. Hunter (Georgia State): He has been a prime time player since he stepped onto the court as a freshman in Atlanta. His absence was likely due more to the fact that Georgia State has had somewhat of an up and down season to date. After a five-game win streak, early in the season, the Panthers have been very inconsistent. But the 6-foot-6 junior is still averaging 20 points per game. He can play!
Thomas Walkup (Stephen F. Austin): Teammate Jacob Parker was an All-American last season and was named to the preseason Henson Watch List, but Walkup has been “the guy” for the ‘Jacks. The 6-foot-4 junior leads the team in points (14) and rebounds (6) per game. When you watch them play #0 just stands out. He might be the most overlooked player in the country. I’d put him my All-American team right now.
Jamel Waters (Alabama State): I absolutely love his game. The 5-foot-9 junior is fun to watch. His emergence last season helped the Hornets win 19 games and get a postseason invitation. This season he is even better. His shooting percentage has jumped up to 46%. ASU is 6-0 in the SWAC and 10-5 overall with Waters at the point. He is dishing out five assists and grabbing nearly four rebounds per game. This kid is good.
MY5 - Week 11
Max Landis (IPFW): After a record-setting 2013-14 season, things have been a little tougher for the Mastodons this season. But Saturday was homecoming and the alumnus got treated to an upset win over first place North Dakota State. The 6-foot-2 junior had a season-high 16 points, with nearly half of those points coming in the final 2:46. The win broke a three-game slide and kept IPFW in the mix in the Summit, just two games out of third place in the league.
Tanner Leissner (New Hampshire): Don’t look now but UNH is right in the thick of things in the America East Conference. One big reason has been the play of their 6-foot-6 freshman. Leissner leads the team in both points (13) and rebounds with nearly seven per contest. Last week he had a career-high in points with 18 to go along with nine rebounds in a win over UMass-Lowell. He followed that up with 14 points and eight boards in a huge win over Vermont, handing the Catamounts their first conference loss.
Jordan Gregory (Montana): Eastern Washington and Sacramento State have gotten most of the early attention in the Big Sky, but right with them at the top of the standings is Montana. The Grizz have won 7-of-8 and the 6-foot-2 senior has been a big factor. Gregory was 7-of-10 from beyond the arc and finished with 31 points in a win over Northern Arizona. Gregory keyed a last first-half run and a 13-2 spurt to open the second half. He can shoot it.
Alex Mitola (Dartmouth): The Big Green trailed by 14 in the second half at Harvard, but went on a 26-2 run to snap an 11-game losing streak to the Crimson. Leading the way was the 5-foot-11 junior who finished with 18 points. Mitola hit a big three-pointer to help get the comeback started and then was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line in the final 1:38 to secure the win. He also finished with three rebounds and three assists in one of Dartmouth’s biggest wins in years.
Maurice Ndour (Ohio):
Buzzer-beaters are commonplace during the season. Buzzer-beating dunks are not. The 6-foot-9 senior had a career-high 31 points, including the game-winning dunk with less than a second remaining. Ndour also had six rebounds and three blocks in a huge win for the Bobcats who got back into the MAC East race with two wins last week. Against Ball State he finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block.