The month of February is when teams begin to either separate themselves from the pack or fall out of the picture. Likewise, it is when star players step-up and carry their respective teams to key wins on the road or last-second victories at home. Those All-American candidates are usually the difference between a bubble team spending March in the NIT or creating major problems in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament. Last week, California was one of those teams that looked poised to make a move into the at-large picture. The main reason? Ryan Anderson.
Anderson, a 6-foot-10 sophomore forward, has been outstanding all season for the Golden Bears, although it has gone largely unnoticed by much of the country. However, that may have all changed last week when Cal made its annual road trip – without star big man DeVon Hardin – to the Pacific Northwest to take on Washington and Washington State. In the two big wins, Anderson averaged 30 points and 14 rebounds per game, shooting 63 percent from the field. He also was perfect from the free-throw line (11 for 11) and knocked down 64 percent of his three-point attempts (9 for 14). In the game against No. 9 Washington State, Anderson struggled with foul trouble, but scored four straight points in the final minute to give Cal the win. He played all 40 minutes in the win over Washington.
With the two big wins, California moves to 4-5 in the Pac-10 and right back in the thick of the Pac-10 race at the halfway point. If Anderson continues to play the way he has been, the Golden Bears will certainly make a run in February. Five of their last seven games are on the road, but they showed last week that they can pick up victories away from home. As for Anderson, I don’t think national attention will be a problem anymore. On the season, he is now averaging 22.2 points and 10.0 rebounds, while shooting nearly 53 percent from the field and 48 percent from behind the arc.
Collegehoops.net Players of the Week
January 27th - Jerryd Bayless, FR, Arizona
January 20th – Davon Jefferson, FR, USC
January 13th – Michael Beasley, FR, Kansas State
January 6th -
Shan Foster, SR, Vanderbilt
December 30th - Brian Butch, SR, Wisconsin
December 23rd - Dwayne Curtis, SR, F, Mississippi
December 16th - Gary Forbes, SR, F, UMASS
December 9th - Joe Alexander, JR, F, West Virginia
December 2nd - Jerryd Bayless, FR, G, Arizona
November 25th - DJ Augustin, SO, G, Texas
November 18th - Jon Brockman, JR, F, Washington
November 11th - Michael Beasley, FR, F, Kansas State