Kansas State's Marcus Foster is the week's top freshman
At the end of January, Iowa State appeared to be falling back to earth after a 14-game wining streak to start the season.
After a 2-4 swoon, the Cyclones may be playing some of their best basketball of the season thanks in part to the play of Melvin Ejim.
Ejim set a Big 12 record with 48 points in an 84-69 win over TCU on Saturday, earning Athlon Sports National Player of the Week honors. By adding 18 rebounds, Ejim joined Blake Griffin and Michael Beasley as the only three players to have 40 points and 15 boards in a game in Big 12 history.
Before Ejim’s breakout performance against TCU — admittedly the worst team in the Big 12 — the Cyclones senior had 22 points and 13 rebounds in a 98-97 triple overtime win over Oklahoma State. His double-double helped Iowa State end an 18-game losing streak in Stillwater.
Athlon Sports National Weekly Awards
National Player of the Week: Melvin Ejim, Iowa State
Ejim delivered perhaps the finest single-game performance in the history of the Big 12 conference. Iowa State’s senior forward scored a league-record 48 points (on 20-of-24 shooting) and added a career-high 18 rebounds to key Iowa State’s 84–69 win over TCU. Ejim bested the previous mark of 44 points, set by two Kansas State players — Michael Beasley in 2008 and Denis Clemente in 2009.
National Freshman of the Week: Marcus Foster, Kansas State
A lightly recruited guard from Wichita Falls, Texas, Foster scored a career-high 34 points — the most by a Kansas State freshman since Michael Beasley had 39 in March 2008 — to lead the Wildcats to a 74–57 win over Texas. Foster converted 13-of-16 from the field (including 5-of-8 from 3-point range) and has now scored 20-plus points in three of his last four games.
Under-the-Radar Player of the Week: Jordair Jett, Saint Louis
Jett scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half — highlighted by a bucket with four seconds remaining to break a 63–63 tie — to lead Saint Louis to a two-point win at La Salle. The Billikens, who have won 16 straight games overall, are 9–0 in the Atlantic 10.
Other Top Performers:
T.J. Warren, NC State
Warren scored 27 points (nearly half of his team’s total) and grabbed seven rebounds in NC State’s 56–55 win at Miami — the Pack’s first road win in ACC play this season. Warren, a sophomore forward, has averaged 23.8 points in his last six games.
Seth Allen, Maryland
Allen poured in a career-high 32 points, including 21 in the second half, as Maryland beat Florida State 83–71 in College Park. A sophomore point guard, Allen missed the first 12 games of the season with a foot injury.
Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss
Here’s a word you don’t often associate with Henderson — efficient. But that is the type of performance Ole Miss received from its shot-happy senior guard. Henderson scored 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting (8-of-15 from 3-point range) to lift the Rebels to a 91–88 win over visiting Missouri. Ole Miss has sole possession of third place in the SEC with a 7–3 record in league play.
Jaye Crockett, Texas Tech
Crockett was the forgotten star of a game that will unfortunately be remembered for Marcus Smart’s confrontation with a Texas Tech fan. Crockett, a senior forward, tied season highs in points (21) and rebounds (12) to lead the Red Raiders to a 65–61 win over Oklahoma State. Tech, under first-year coach Tubby Smith, improved to 4–6 in the Big 12. Last season, the Red Raiders went 3–15 in the league.
Jabari Parker, Duke
Parker bounced back from a subpar performance in Duke’s overtime loss at Syracuse to average 25 points and 12 rebounds as the Blue Devils coasted past Wake Forest and Boston College last week. The freshman from Chicago was brilliant Saturday at Boston College, setting a career high in both points (29) and rebounds (16) in the Blue Devils’ 21-point win.
Jordan Bachynski, Arizona State
Banchynski scored a career-high 26 points, but it was his work on the defensive end that secured the Sun Devils’ 74–72 win over Oregon. The 7-2 center blocked nine shots, including Joseph Young’s layup at the buzzer, to help Arizona State to its fifth win in the last six games. On Thursday, Banchynski had 17 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks in an overtime win over Oregon State.
Kadeem Jack, Rutgers
Jack and the Scarlet Knights bounced back from a miserable performance at Memphis on Tuesday to beat South Florida 79–69 on the road Saturday night. Jack, a junior forward, led the way with a career-high 31 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field and a perfect 13-of-13 from the free throw line.
Xavier Johnson, Colorado
Johnson averaged 23.5 points and 9.5 rebounds as Colorado swept a pair of games from Washington State and Washington last week. In a 91–65 win over Washington, Johnson had a career-high 27 points and was one of three CU players to score at least 20 points (Josh Scott had 21 and Asia Booker had 20).