My “game balls” column has gotten a slight tweak and is now a basketball edition.
I’m going to give a Player of the Week award out weekly in addition to recognizing the runner-up and a player to watch.
Given that players don’t magically gain the offensive or defensive gene if they don’t already have it, giving out those kinds of awards would have the same players winning most weeks.
This gives some guys a shot to be recognized regardless of what aspect they strive in, whether it be one, the other, or both.
On that note, let’s get this show on the road.
Player of the Week: A.J. Lawson
Or shall I call it “Player of the Game,” because he was AWOL against Houston logging only 19 minutes for defensive reasons, according to head coach Frank Martin.
He wasn’t playing too well offensively either draining 2-of-10 shots for only 10 total points in the game.
Lawson was thought of as this team’s most talented player, with possible NBA aspirations as well, entering the year and this performance isn’t going to cut it for a player of his caliber.
That’s just my recency bias talking, though.
He had a solid game in South Carolina’s win versus UMass, dropping 24 points on 61.5% shooting overall and 40% from behind the arc.
Lawson logged the most minutes of any Gamecock in that game with 35, but defense was obviously still an issue with the Cocks giving up 80, which is much more than what should be allowed in the college game.
Hopefully we will see more of his play from last Wednesday and less from Sunday.
Runner-up: Maik Kotsar
If anything, at least he’s consistent.
You know what you’re getting with Kotsar and that is effort, a solid mid-range game, and scoring that won’t blow you away but also won’t disappoint.
One of the most telling stats for him is that he recorded no blocks over the last two games and for this team’s big man, that stat needs to change.
It wasn’t all bad defensively, though, with Kotsar logging three steals in the matchup against UMass.
He shoots a high percentage and (usually) doesn’t take any low-percentage shots, and that’s what we saw this week.
Also, with Lawson off the floor for a majority of the Houston game, there were instances where the offense was run around the big guy, and it was an unusual sight but not as ineffective as one might think.
Kotsar still has things to improve, but he still played well enough to get a shoutout for this week.
Player to Watch: Jermaine Couisnard
Here’s a guy I will enjoy watching in games to come.
Couisnard sure does love to shoot the basketball, but I love it more when it goes in the basket.
The freshman has shown flashes of brilliance on offense, like his game against UMass shooting 7-for-11 and finishing with 16 points, and also flashes of pure chaos, like his game against Houston shooting 1-for-11 and finishing with 3 points.
Although his stat line versus Houston left a lot to be desired, he still has time to polish his game considering these are still some of his first encounters on the college level.
Couisnard’s game is inconsistent at this point, but he has shown he can get buckets when he’s hot.