NCAA BK

BURLISON: Top five players of the week

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Frank Burlison

 
   
 
Most observers of the Big Ten Conference and college basketball were of the notion that since the University of Illinois had lost four starters from a Sweet 16 team, times were going to be rather lean for the Illini in 2002-03. Well, that one returnee has done a lot to prove that theory a fallacy. Senior forward has led Illinois to a 12-1 start (2-0 in the Big Ten) and the No. 7 spot in the latest FOXSports.com Top 25. And the 6-foot-10 Cook, who started as a sophomore on Bill Self¿s first team two years ago that lost in the Midwest Regional final to Arizona, has never been better than last week. Cook scored a career high 31 points in a Big Ten victory over visiting on Saturday, four days after he had 25 in his team¿s Big Ten-opening win at . Those two efforts were enough to make him this week FOXSports.com¿s National Player of the Week. A closer look at the Top 5 (thru Sunday¿s games):

1. , 6-10, Sr., Illinois

What he did: Scored 56 points and grabbed 20 rebounds as the Illini opened Big Ten play with narrow victories over and Wisconsin. Comment: He is on the verge of turning the Big Ten Player of the Year race into a runaway just two weeks into the conference season.

2. , 6-1, Sr., Oklahoma

What he did: Dropped a career-high 33 points on then came back with 19 more to go with six assists and six rebounds in Big 12 opener against Colorado. Comment: Price & Co. appear to be rounding into the kind of form that led so many of us to project them as Final Four returnees.

3. , 6-2, Fr., Florida

What he did: Nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to knock off Georgia on Saturday. That 23-point performance followed his 12 points and three assists when the Gators beat in Starkville. Comment: Recruited as a point guard, he¿s flourishing off the ball while senior handles playmaking duties.

4. , 6-1, Jr., Duke

What he did: Totaled 22 points and 18 assists as the Blue Devils knocked off and in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Comment: He finally gave reason to believe he¿s discovering his jump shot against the Demon Deacons (when he was 4 of 7 on 3s).

5. , 6-3, Jr.,

What he did: Scored 18 of his team¿s final 20 points as the Cardinal rallied from 15-point deficit to edge on Thursday night. Two days later he hit five 3-pointers to help team smack Oregon by 24. Comment: He¿s one of the major reasons Mike Montgomery¿s team has played so much better than anticipated following the losses of and .

Best of the Rest

Others strongly considered included: (Oklahoma State), (Penn), (Mississippi State), (Eastern Washington), (Loyola-Chicago), (UNLV), Ronnie Blackshear (Marshall), (Weber State), (Charlotte), (Notre Dame), (Kansas), (Ohio State), Gilbert DeJesus (Kansas State), (Georgia Tech), (Hawaii), (Oklahoma), (Manhattan), (Texas), (Vanderbilt), (Utah), (Louisville), (Providence), (Connecticut), (Appalachian State), (Florida), (Harvard), (St. John¿s), (Georgia), (Kansas), Ralphie Holmes (Cal State Fullerton), (Michigan), (Wake Forest), (Louisiana-Lafayette), (Missouri), (Southern Mississippi), (Miami-Fla.), (Pittsburgh), Orlando Lett (Pittsburgh), (Memphis), (Marquette), (Arizona State), (New Mexico State), Mike Morandis (Colorado), (Richmond), (Saint Joseph¿s), (Colorado State), (Missouri), (Wisconsin),Tim Pickett (Florida State), (Xavier), (West Virginia), (Cal), (Gonzaga), (Georgetown), (Texas Tech), (Arizona), (Tennessee) and (Iowa).

Previous Players of the Week

  • Dec. 30-Jan. 5: (Georgia)
  • Dec. 23-29: (Maryland)
  • Dec. 16-22: (Pittsburgh)
  • Dec. 9-15: (Mississippi State)
  • Dec. 2-8: (Notre Dame)
  • Nov. 25-Dec. 1: (North Carolina)
  • Nov. 18-24: (North Carolina)
  • Nov. 14-17: (Texas) Senior writer Frank Burlison can be reached at his e-mail address, fburlison@foxsports.com.
  • Tagged: Southern Mississippi, Marquette, Memphis, Louisville, Charlotte, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi State, Florida, Weber State, Richmond, Brown, Harvard, Manhattan, Appalachian State, Howard, Loyola (IL), Xavier, St. Joseph's, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Connecticut, Georgetown, St. John's (NY), Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Gonzaga, Hawaii, Colorado State

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