- National Teams
Iowa, who played an exhibition game at the Copper Box Arena in the summer, had a statement victory Monday night over No.3 ranked Ohio State.
(The game was showed in the UK on ESPN/BT Sport)
London’s Gabe Olasimi is a valued backup center for Iowa and played relatively well though his stat line of one point, one rebound in the tightly contested game, which featured several players that may one day grace an NBA team, is not enough to get him on this week’s update.
However we want to pay a special tribute to guys like him who normally get little or no recognition for their contribution. Post defense, boxing out, not to mention hedging, are all valuable and necessary tasks that do not show up on a stat sheet.
Guys like Florida State’s Robert Gilchrist or Lee Goldsborough, who was regularly featured last season, all play in some tough conferences and on some stacked teams.
It may be a stretch to say that if they played in some smaller conferences maybe they might be more heavily featured but the upside is they have a higher chance to play in the NCAA tournament with their current teams and also get more exposure.
Anyway without further delay we bring you the best performances of the British players in American college basketball, division one, since last Thursday.
This is the underdog issue where we included certain players that normally would not feature on our regular updates.
Will Neighbour | UALR | Senior | Forward
Neighbour had a slow start to the week, scoring 13 points and grabbing five rebounds in a loss to Troy on Saturday. The iron was truly unkind as he was 6-of-15 from the field and fouled out after 28 minutes.
On Thursday he came back stronger, scoring a career high 32 points at Western Kentucky (who feature fellow Brit Ben Lawson – he registered a DNP). He made a go ahead layup, with 15 seconds to go in overtime, to give UALR the lead for good and shot 11-of-14 from the field. He was also made an impressive 9-of-11 from the free throw line.
UALR are now 4-1 in conference.
Will Saunders | Charleston Southern| Senior | Forward
Saunders scored 8 points and grabbed two rebounds in a loss to Winthrop on Saturday. Then on Wednesday he had 10 points and five rebounds to help defeat Presbyterian.
Charleston Southern has a record of 2-1 in conference play.
Fahro Alihodzic | University of Alabama at Birmingham | Senior | Forward
Saturday saw UAB fall in overtime to Middle Tennessee. Alihodzic played 18 minutes to score two points and grab two rebounds. He also recorded three fouls.
As it seems to be the trend this week, where players have a bad game then a good one, Alihodzic rebounded to score 17 points along with four blocks and four rebounds in a victory over UTSA on Thursday.
UAB are now 1-1 in conference play.
Ovie Soko |Duquesne | Senior | Forward
Soko had 12 points 2 rebounds, 2 assists and a block in a loss to La Salle on Sunday. Three days later he did not fare any better against St Josephs where he scored only 10 points and was one foul shy of disqualifying.
Soko has shown throughout the season that he has a knack for getting to the free throw line but this week he only shot seven free throws in both games, however he did not miss any as he was perfect from the line.
Luke Nelson | UC Irvine | Freshman| Guard
UC Irvine Anteaters are on a five game winning streak, and are currently undefeated (3-0) in conference play.
Over the week they overcame both UC Riverside, on Saturday, and Cal State Fullerton, on Thursday.
Nelson scored 14 points in the first game to go with two rebounds and a block. However the second game was not his best where he went 1-of-5 on field goals to score six points.
Alex Young | UC Irvine | Guard | sophomore
Luckily for Nelson he plays with Young who was a magician creating opportunities for his team mates to score.
In the 20 point victory over UC Riverside, Young had five points and eight assists. Then he followed that up with three points and nine assists in another blowout victory over CS Fullerton.
Michael Ochereobia | Western Illinois | Forward | Junior
Western Illinois had to fight for their first victory in the Summit league, taking Nebraska Omaha to overtime before putting them away, on Saturday. Normally we would not highlight 8 points and three rebounds but in a game of this magnitude, every little helps.
That was the stat line of Ochereobia who fouled out in 18 minutes but gave his steam a spark shooting 4-of-5 on field goals before being disqualified.
Sadly on Thursday foul trouble limited the big man as his team lost their second conference game to South Dakota State.
Chris Caird | Drake | Forward | Junior
Drake lost both their games this week. They lost to Northern Iowa by ten on Saturday then fell to Loyola (IL) by four on Wednesday. On the face of it Caird’s stats are not “Best of the rest” worthy but if you look closer you will see that he shot the ball efficiently.
Against Northern Iowa he scored only eight points but was 3-of-5 from the field, 2-of-4 from behind the three point line.
Against Loyola (IL) the 6’6” forward scored just six points but was 2-of-4 from the field. So in conclusion Caird made 71% of his shots. Now that’s highlight worthy.
Prince Ibeh | Texas | Forward | Sophomore
Texas picked up two victories this week over Texas Tech on Saturday and West Virginia on Monday.
Ibeh had eight points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes of action in the first game where Texas won by three points. In the second game, which was an eleven point victory, he scored only three points to go with five rebounds and a block.
For a team that was expected to be in a rebuilding mode after losing several players earlier than expected to the NBA draft, over the last couple of years, they are not doing too bad with a 13-4 (2-2 Big 12) record.
Image Credit: Mark Wagner/UALR Basketball