College Hoops Barometer: Risers & Fallers

College Hoops Barometer: Risers & Fallers

This article is part of our College Hoops Barometer series.

Jalen Suggs has been as good as advertised for Gonzaga.  The top team in the country also has one of the top freshmen in the nation, as the dynamic Suggs is managing 16.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists through six contests.  The undefeated 'Zags have already beaten three ranked opponents, including Iowa most recently.  In that game, Suggs flexed on the Hawkeyes with a career-high 27 points.  He nailed seven three-pointers in that contest.  However, he barely shot any treys in the season opener versus Kansas, but still accumulated 24 points, four rebounds and eight assists in the 102-90 triumph.  Gonzaga is stacked with size (Drew Timme), scoring prowess (Corey Kispert), toughness (Joel Ayayi) and experience (Andrew Nembhard), but Suggs is the most gifted player on the roster.  With Suggs as the catalyst for this deep, extremely talented squad, there's no reason to think they can't get to the Final Four for just the second time in program history.

Here are some other noteworthy ballers in this week's College Hoops Barometer.

UPGRADE

Trevion Williams, F, Purdue

Williams has been on a tear for the Boilermakers, who rattled off three-straight wins before a loss to Iowa.  The 6-foot-10 junior imposed his will on unsuspecting Indiana State on December 12, pouring in a season-high 30 points while snatching 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.  The big man then showed impressive basketball instincts in the following contest, an upset victory over Ohio State.  The 265-lb junior nearly had a triple double with 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.  Williams is an unselfish player who seems to do whatever the team needs.  That can be extremely valuable not only in a team setting but also from a fantasy perspective in terms of versatility.  Williams leads the team in rebounding, is second in scoring and third in dishing.  Williams even held his own against Luka Garza, posting a line of 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in Tuesday's loss to the Hawkeyes. 

Tre Mitchell, C, Massachusetts

Mitchell has already had a couple of explosive games for the Minutemen this season.  He tormented Northeastern in the season opener with 31 points and 11 rebounds.  He subsequently posted a career-high 37 points in a blowout win over La Salle.  Mitchell is also managing 1.8 assists, 1.8 swats and 1.3 steals through the first four games of the season.  Mitchell can even shoot the long ball, as he is 5-for-7 (71.4-percent) from three-point range thus far as a sophomore.  Mitchell had some monstrous performances as a freshman as well, so this is not out of the ordinary for him.  It may not be hyperbole to say that Mitchell is the most talented UMass big man since Marcus Camby.

Quincy Guerrier, F, Syracuse

Guerrier was recently named ACC Player of the Week after two huge outputs.  Guerrier tallied 18 points and 16 rebounds against Northeastern.  In the next contest, he exploded for a career-best 27 points, while also pulling down 11 boards for his second-straight double-double, and fourth of the young campaign.  By contrast, Guerrier had three double-doubles last year during his entire freshman season.  The sophomore is shooting a blistering 66.2 percent from the field through seven tilts.  The sophomore leads the Orange in points and rebounds and has gone from a complementary player to arguably the focal point of the Syracuse squad.

Austin Reaves, G, Oklahoma

The Wichita State transfer already looks more polished than he did just a season ago.  Now in his second season with the Sooners, Reaves has demonstrated much more selectiveness and efficiency from the field.  He is also getting to the free throw line with great frequency, cashing in on a strength of his game.  Reaves has also doubled his assist figures from a season ago, averaging 6.2 dimes per contest, which is second in the conference only to Baylor's Davion Mitchell.  Reaves nearly tallied a triple-double in his last outing with 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in a triumph over Oral Roberts.  Reaves leads the Sooners in rebounds and assists, while placing second in scoring just behind forward Brady Manek. Reaves is a versatile threat who can impact the game in a variety of ways.

CHECK STATUS

Dalano Banton, G, Nebraska

Banton is an intriguing transfer from Western Kentucky who is thriving in his first taste of significant playing time at the collegiate level.  He was a top-100 prospect coming out of high school, but ended up at Western Kentucky and didn't play much as a freshman.  He sat out last season due to transfer rules.  A 6-foot-9 point guard, Banton is averaging 13.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists thus far this season for the Cornhuskers.  Banton compiled a triple-double versus the Doane Tigers, tallying 13 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in just 21 minutes of the 110-64 blowout.  He was by far the best player on the court for Nebraska in Tuesday's 67-53 loss to Wisconsin, managing 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists.  Unfortunately, the Cornhuskers are going to struggle in the Big Ten this season, so Banton's impact could be limited overall.  That being said, he should get all the minutes he can handle alongside another fresh face, JUCO transfer Teddy Allen.

Efe Abogidi, C, Washington State

The freshman from Nigeria has manhandled inferior competition of late.  Abogidi has collected back-to-back double-doubles for the still-undefeated Cougars.  He tallied 19 points and 15 rebounds in a victory over Montana State, then followed that performance up with 16 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks Monday against Prairie View A&M.  Abogidi averaged just 6.4 points and 6.4 rebounds through the first five games of the season, though, so it remains to be seen if this recent upswing is sustainable or just a mirage, especially considering the opponents.  He has also benefitted from the absences of D.J. Rodman and Tony Miller.  Pac-12 play begins for the Cougs on New Year's Eve, so we will see if Abogidi can continue surging.

Savion Flagg, F, Texas A&M

Flagg was held out of the last game for the Aggies due to a concussion.  The senior has been something of a Renaissance man during his time at College Station, particularly over the last three seasons.  During that span, Flagg has never averaged less than 10 points, grabbed fewer than five rebounds per game or managed less than two assists per contest.  With SEC play on the horizon, the Aggies are exercising extra caution with Flagg, who remains in the concussion protocol.  Any head injury is worth monitoring, though the expectation is that Flagg will return to the court sooner rather than later.  The Aggies visit LSU on December 29.

Matt Bradley, G, California

Bradley has missed the last two games for the Bears due to an ankle ailment.  The injury is not considered serious, though, and with Pac-12 play beginning in earnest for Cal on New Year's Eve, the Bears simply may be saving Bradley for when the competition stiffens.  Cal has already started conference play with a record of 0-2, and that was with Bradley in the lineup, so the Bears certainly will need Bradley's services if they are to have any chance of making some noise in the Pac-12.  Ryan Betley and Makale Foreman have led the Bears in scoring with Bradley sidelined, and would continue to shoulder heavy loads if Bradley is forced to miss additional contests.

DOWNGRADE

Keyontae Johnson, F, Florida

Johnson's scary on-court collapse and subsequent hospitalization once again brought everything into perspective in terms of basketball versus the pandemic.  Thankfully, Johnson is now out of the woods, having been discharged from the hospital and reuniting with his family.  Unsurprisingly, it was announced that Johnson would miss the remainder of the season, as he undergoes more testing following a diagnosis of heart inflammation possibly related to an earlier battle with COVID-19.  The preseason SEC Player of the Year will be missed by the Gators both on and off the court, but obviously the most important thing is his health.  Florida is now extremely thin in the frontcourt, as inexperienced players Osayi Osifo, Omar Payne and Anthony Duruji will likely be asked to shoulder an increased burden at forward.

Aaron Thompson, G, Butler

The leading scorer for the Bulldogs could be sidelined in the short term due to a right knee sprain.  Thompson has already missed two contests and could be held out even longer due to the ailment.  The senior has played in just two games thus far this season for Butler, averaging 17.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists per tilt.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Bulldogs lost both games in which Thompson did not appear.  Freshman Chuck Harris scored a career-high 22 points in Butler's most recent loss to Southern Illinois, while senior Jair Bolden collected 20 points in the previous game against Indiana.  The Bulldogs have limped to a 1-3 start and could be in even more trouble if Thompson continues to miss time.

Justin Champagnie, F, Pittsburgh

The sophomore will miss the next 6-to-8 weeks for the Panthers due to a knee injury.  Champagnie leads Pitt in scoring and rebounding, having secured three double-doubles through six contests.  He was averaging 17.8 points and 12.3 rebounds per game prior to suffering the injury, which occurred in practice. With second-leading scorer Au'Diese Toney also sidelined with an ankle injury, the shorthanded Panthers lost to Louisville on Tuesday and may be in trouble in the short term with matchups against Duke and Florida State over the next few weeks.  Freshman Femi Odukale led Pittsburgh with 16 points in the 64-54 loss to the Cardinals and could continue to see an uptick in minutes due to the aforementioned injuries.

Ian DuBose, G, Wake Forest

DuBose is out indefinitely due to undisclosed medical issues.  It is unclear whether this is COVID-19 related, as the Demon Deacons have played just two games thus far this season, and none in December, due to a bevy of cancellations and postponements.  It has already been determined that redshirt freshman Tariq Ingraham will not return to the squad this season due to complications from COVID-19.  DuBose, a graduate transfer from Houston Baptist of the Southland Conference, averaged 11.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals in the first two contests for Wake Forest.  The Demon Deacons are not scheduled to play again until January 3 at Georgia Tech, but it would appear unlikely that DuBose will suit up for that contest.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jesse Siegel
Siegel covers college football, college basketball and minor league baseball for RotoWire. He was named College Sports Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.
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