- National Teams
With four players scoring over twenty points, three turning in a career best, the Brits made the nets sing over the past week. It seems like most players are finding their legs at the right time. With January over they have one more month to secure the best seed in their respective conference tournament, with the exception of Edo Lawrence who plays for Princeton in the Ivy League, the only conference that does not hold a post season tournament.
If a team wins their conference tournament it is an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament in March.
However there are other post season tournaments like the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) or College Basketball Invitational (CBI).
Some teams did suffer a setback or two this week. UALR, led by Will Neighbour, were second in their conference but lost a game and dropped back to third in the Sun Belt conference. Iowa, featuring Gabe Olaseni, lost a key game in overtime to Michigan State, a team without two of its best players. And lastly Florida State, featuring Robert Gilchrist, lost to Duke and NC State which means they are now 4-4 in the ACC after one or their better starts.
Aside from all that a familiar face has risen to reclaim player of the week honors as we bring you a roundup of the best British players in the NCAA division one, since the previous Thursday.
Player of the Week
Ovie Soko | Duquesne | Senior | Forward
Soko scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half on Saturday to halt a four game losing streak by Duquesne. He made two free throws to bring the score to 80-79 then promptly fouled out sending St Bonaventure to the free throw line with mere seconds on the clock. After the opposing team made 1-of-2 free throws, Duquesne’s Derrick Colter was able hit a three to seal the win as time expired.
Soko went to the three throw line twenty times and made thirteen.
That was the seventh game in which the forward scored twenty or more points, this season.
Chris Caird | Drake | Junior | Forward
Caird seems to be making a habit of cruising along for a few weeks then exploding for one or two great games. This week he scored in double figures twice.
On Saturday he scored 15 points in a loss to Wichita State, one of the few undefeated teams left in college basketball.
Monday he followed that up with 18 points in a victory over Missouri State. He also had three rebounds and two assists.
Jess Chuku | Lehigh | sophomore| Forward
Chuku has been missing in action since December, where he claimed two player of the week honors. January was not his greatest month but the silver lining here is he is just a sophomore.
Anyway he returns to the highlights this week because he had a great game in two tries. Both were victories for Lehigh but Chuku only contributed, statistically, a couple of points to go with two steals and a rebound against Lafayette on Saturday. He logged 16 minutes in that game.
Then on Wednesday he scored nine points to go with 10 rebounds, four blocks and four assists in a three point victory over Bucknell.
Ben Mockford> | St Francis NY | Senior | Guard
Mockford started off the week scoring 17 points in a loss to Bryant on Saturday. He rounded out his stats with two rebounds and an assist in the four point loss.
Four days later he scored 10 points in a victory over Sacred Heart, to help St Francis rise to third in the Northeast Conference Standings.
Will Neighbour | UALR | Senior | Forward
Neighbour had his worst game of the season when he was held to one point (0-of-12 shooting) in a lopsided loss to Arkansas State on Saturday. The senior also had four blocks to go with three steals and four rebounds.
On Thursday Neighbour bounced back, with a vengeance, scoring 24 points and grabbing a dozen rebounds, to go with a block and an assist in a victory over Louisiana-Lafayette.
So in one week he had his worst game and then turned in one of his best games, but perhaps most importantly, joined the 1000 point, 500 rebound club at UALR, putting him in elite company.
Luke Nelson | UC Irvine | Freshman| Guard
Nelson had a bittersweet week. He scored a career high in points but his team went winless in two games.
The freshman started his week with 11 points, two rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal against Hawaii on Saturday.
Then on Thursday he had 26 points against UC Santa Barbara in a twenty point loss, going 6/15 from beyond the arc (4/6 in the second half), and finishing with 18 points after the intermission.
He drew praise from USC coach Bob Williams after the game.
“[Nelson] was exceptional tonight, the best I’ve seen him play,” said Williams.
Alex Young | UC Irvine | Guard | Sophomore
Young scored 14 points, in the overtime loss to Hawaii, to go with five steals and three assists.
In the second game, the sophomore was limited by foul trouble, scoring only two points and handing out four assists.
Michael Ochereobia | Western Illinois | Forward | Junior
Ochereobia fouled out in a loss to Denver on Saturday. His stat line read: 10 points, five rebounds, an assist and a block.
Thursday, the junior scored thirteen points to go with two blocks and a steal to help Western Illinois secure a win over IUPUI.
Gabriel Olaseni | Iowa | Forward | Junior
Olaseni tied a career-high with 14 points and added 10 rebounds in seventeen minutes of action as Iowa took down Northwestern on Saturday. The Londoner was 5-of-8 on field goal attempts and was 4-of-6 from the free throw line, for his third double double of the season.
He played sixteen minutes in Iowa’s other game, a marquee matchup against top ranked Michigan State, where he turned in two points, four rebounds, two blocks and a steal in an overtime loss.
Tom Pereira | Rider | Senior |Guard
Rider got an unexpected lift when Tom Pereira scored a career high 20 points to help defeat Monmouth, in overtime, on Sunday. The 6’2” guard, who is averaging a hair over five points this season, was 7-of-8 on field goal attempts with six of those made shots coming from behind the three point line.
Considering the Brit had gone scoreless the previous Friday in a loss to Manhattan, his scoring was a very pleasant surprise.
Adam Thoseby | South Dakota | Guard | Sophomore
Adam Thoseby scored 22 points over the week but South Dakota lost both their games. Thoseby had 11 points, two assists and a steal against Omaha on Saturday. Then he had 11 points four rebounds and two blocks against North Dakota State on Thursday.