Thursday, January 31, 2008

Beasley Is A Beast

Even though the game wasn't televised nationally, I hope everyone realizes by now who the national player of the year should be. Freshman forward Michael Beasley is showing why he is the projected #1 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. With his 25 point, 6 rebound, and 4-4 from long range performance, Beasley keyed an upset over undefeated Kansas that sent Wildcat students running onto the court. Voters may be loathe to give the Player of the Year to another freshman (Kevin Durant won last season), but Beasley has been a monster from Day One. Only once has he scored under 10 points, and just twice has he pulled down less than 10 rebounds. Just compare his numbers to the past two great one-and-done frosh, Durant and Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony, 2003
22.2 pg, 10.0 rpg, 2.2. apg, .9 bpg, 1.6 spg, 45% FG, 36.4 mpg

Durant, 2007
25.8 pg, 11.1 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.9 bpg, 1.9 spg, 47% FG, 35.9 mpg
Beasley, 2008
25.3 pg, 12.4 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.7 bpg, 1.3 spg, 56% FG, 30.0 mpg

Even just looking at Big 12 play, Beasley has stepped up his scoring to 28/gm, while still rebounding at 9.8/gm.

It seems pretty clear to me who the best of the three is. In 6 less minutes per game, Beasley is outscoring, outrebounding and outshooting Anthony and Durant. Yes, yes, I know he plays closer to the basket than the other two, but he's also 20-46 from 3pt land.

Beasley needs his teammates to step up their games if he wants a shot at a national title, a la Melo. Anthony was helped by Hakim Warrick, Gerry McNamara, and Kueth Duany on the perimeter and the often overlooked duo of Craig Forth and Jeremy McNeil inside. Even though Warrick is the only NBAer from that group, the other guys did enough to help secure the title. Warrick's championship-saving block on Kansas's Michael Lee for example.

Durant was done in by lack of support in his NCAA tourney loss to USC last season. Some may blame the offense on revolving around Durant too much, but there's no excuse for the lack of help he received. Durant put up 30 and 9, A.J. Abrams scored 20, and no one else had more than 6. They were especially exposed inside as Taj Gibson totaled 17 and 14 against Texas's weak interior.

Beasley can already count on sophomore forward Bill Walker as his running mate. As for everyone else, that's yet to be determined. Granted, the Wildcats are 5-0 in Big 12 play and seem to have a relatively easy road ahead. But, to sustain their spot at the top, they're going to need other people to step up. Freshman guard Jacob Pullen did his part last night, scoring 20 points off the bench. That type of production, along with increased inside help from lumbering center Ron Anderson will go along way towards helping Beasley win a title.

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