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Monday, December 27
Some satisfied surprises approximately the country
By Andy Katz
derekwadsworth.comSirValiant Brown (Val if you"re speak to him) hasn"t surprised Tom Penders.

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He bought right into Brown"s act, both the written and also spoken type of his name, once he experienced him together a high institution junior while Penders was still coaching in ~ Texas.

Penders bolted for George Washington. Brown was a hit at Lee High in Springfield, Va. Penders envisioned the combination guard shooting, and ultimately scoring, at will for his squad. The just shock because that Penders to be it taken place at GW, not at Texas.

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SirValiant Brown has been named Atlantic 10 rookie of the week four consecutive weeks.

"He want to go to GW as soon as we acquired here," Penders said of the 6-1 Brown. "In mine system, if you"re yes, really good, you"ll love the challenge. There"s no excuses. You"ve gained the environment-friendly light. It"s all on you."

In one semester under Penders, Brown has maximized his time ~ above the court. He"s averaging 27 points for the Colonials, down only one indigenous what he average as a senior in high school.

While Penders supposed Brown to produce, Brown"s penchant because that scoring puts the atop derekwadsworth.com"s early-season surprised list together we revolve from non-conference to conference gamings after brand-new Year"s.

Brown is definitely flawed. His shot selection early in the video game is quiet high school. But his passing of late, especially versus Maryland, is all division I.

"When the game is top top the line, that hasn"t take away a questionable shot," Penders said. "His stats are meaningful because he"s playing against a lot of of difficult defenses from an excellent teams. That doesn"t take place to freshmen too often, at least not this soon."

But do the list of early on surprises isn"t just about scoring. Stanford"s Curtis Borchardt, a lanky, freshman facility isn"t placing up SirValiant-like numbers. But he"s been just as much of a surprise for the Cardinal, and also perhaps virtually as important.

When note Madsen walk down v a hamstring injury versus Duke in the season opener, Borchardt to be guaranteed much more time in the post. He"s made the most of it, giving needed support, specifically with his shot-blocking skills, to the Collins" brothers, Jason and also Jarron, for the No. 1 Cardinal.

"As soon as that happened, ns knew the safety and security net wasn"t about me anymore," Borchardt claimed of Madsen"s injury. "Having the Collins twins has actually really aided me. I don"t take the strongest guy on the court. That helps with blocking shots and rebounds."

Borchardt even hit the win 3-pointer to beat Auburn. Not bad for a player who didn"t receive the West coast hype the end of Washington state the method players from California did last summer.

"It walk to show you the basketball is basketball, regardless of the hype," Borchardt said. "We have such a presence inside the I"m not always guarded outside. I"m not surprised I"m law well since I was confident this summer, functioning out with the Sonics. I"m just surprised I acquired the opportunity."

So are we. Here"s the remainder of ours early-season surprised list. No every conference has earned a representative -- yet.

America EastHuggy Dye, Maine: The 6-2 guard has seen his average jumped from 9.7 to 16.4 points in top the black Bears to a 7-3 start in the America East. They go into the new Year with a realistic possibility to catch Delaware.

Atlantic 10SirValiant Brown, George Washington: The powerful mix guard is averaging 27 clues a video game as a freshman. He played with DerMarr Johnson ~ above the D.C. Attack AAU team, but few teams knew he existed.Bernard Barrow, George Washington: The complimentary point pertained to the Colonials from a small college and also is dishing the end 4.1 assists a game. He also hit the game-winning jumper to beat Maryland. This pair still needs to mature, top GW come a 5-5 mark.

ACCWill Solomon, Clemson: while the Tigers have struggled to obtain to 5-6, Solomon has risen his typical from 6.3 come 22 clues a game. The 6-2 sophomore is the Tigers" ideal hope to complete in the ACC.

Big EastTroy Bell, Boston College: The huge East recruits typically are known to the nation, but not Bell. Somehow he escaped the remainder of the Northeast and also is averaging 21 point out a game for the revamped Eagles. Boston university is a respectable 8-3 ~ a brutal "98-99.Jeremy Holmes, Pittsburgh: with the Panthers make the efforts to make due v a handful of players, Holmes has come with with 6.8 assists in his last season in Pittsburgh. Not lot was intended of the after the dished out 74 assists complete last season.

Big 12J.R. Raymond, Oklahoma: many Prop 48 players require an convey period, but not Raymond. He"s popping off v 18.2 point out a game for the 9-1 Sooners.Drew Gooden, Kansas: It"s no a surprised if you saw Gooden ~ above the West Coast, yet he"s end up being the influence recruit for the Jayhawks. He"s averaging 11.3 points and 7.9 rebounds because that 9-2 Kansas. Gooden has actually made any thoughts of lacking Lester Earl a garbage of time. He could end up being the best offensive rebounder in ~ Kansas.

Big 10Jamal Crawford, Michigan: Crawford got an extra year that high school because of transfer difficulties from Los Angeles to Seattle and his game is reaping the benefits. Crawford has actually outshined heralded recruits LaVell Blanchard and Kevin Gaines with 19.8 points and 4.5 assists because that the 7-2 Wolverines.Dusty Rychart, Minnesota: He was an afterthought because that the Gophers a year ago, only gaining time in the NCAA competition first-round loss to Gonzaga. However he scored well in the loss and carried it through on a summer tour of Europe and also into the season with 14.6 point out a game for the 7-1 Gophers.

Big SouthMatt Gladieux, coastal Carolina: He started at Toledo, saw Bellarmine university in Louisville and ended up because that his an elderly season in ~ Coastal. He"s make the most of his final year, averaging 20.9 points for the 2-7 Chanticleers.

Colonial athletic AssociationBrett Blizzard, UNC Wilmington: The freshman guard native Tallahassee has actually made an affect with 16.6 clues a game, top the 6-2 Seahawks to a victory over Washington.

Conference USAPaul McPherson, DePaul: The Blue Demons have actually received outstanding play out of the JC transfer with Lance Williams noble the first month the the season. McPherson average 14.2 points and also shot 58.9 percent for the 8-3 Blue Demons.

Metro Atlantic athletic AssociationDemond Stewart, Niagara: The shoot guard from Mercyhurst College transferred in and has lit up opponents with 27.1 points a game. Stewart might have a to speak in Niagara (6-2) bring about fits because that MAAC favourite Siena.

Mid-Eastern strong ConferenceDemetric Reese, Maryland-Eastern Shore: He"s viewed his median leap from 14.1 to 21.8 points with in keeping the MEAC favourite at 3-5 in non-conference games.

Mid-American ConferenceAnthony Taylor, Miami (Ohio): Taylor has made up for the ns of Wally Szczerbiak by elevating his median from 3.9 come 20.1 points a game as the RedHawks to win Xavier because that a 4-3 record.Tamar Slay, Marshall: The undefeated Thundering Herd (8-0) have been led through the rejuvenation of Slay"s production with his average soaring from 6.0 to 18.3 points a game, to go along with his 6.9 rebounds.

Mountain West ConferenceRon Grady, Colorado State: The Oregon State transfer has played in four games. CSU won all four, consisting of a victory over UCLA in the semifinals that the Pearl Harbor classic in Honolulu. Coincidence? Not v Grady averaging 9.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and also shooting 90 percent at the line throughout those 4 games.

Pac-10Curtis Borchardt, Stanford: He most likely wouldn"t have actually seen much time had Mark Madsen not obtained hurt. However he"s make the most of his minutes (hitting a 3-pointer come beat Auburn) and also averaging 5.9 points, 5.3 rebounds in 16.4 minutes because that the No. 1-ranked Cardinal.Gilbert Arenas, Arizona: He to be the sleeper recruit for the Wildcats, that was an alleged to beat behind Ruben Douglas. Instead, Douglas transferred to brand-new Mexico and Arenas averaged 12.9 points in earning the MVP that the Preseason NIT for the 9-2 Wildcats.

SECDan Langhi, Vanderbilt: The senior center placed up kind numbers critical season (17.7 ppg) but has pumped it as much as 23.4 and led the Commodores to a one-loss, non-conference record.Brian Beshara, LSU: The previous Rice forward wasn"t this trusted in Houston yet he"s placing up 14.1 points for the undefeated Tigers.Stromile Swift, LSU: that shouldn"t be a shock that the top-five high school phenom has pushed his numbers from 7.6 a year ago (when he to be a freshman in fifty percent a season) to a team-high 21 and also 8.9 rebounds.Rahim Lockhart, Mississippi: The Rebels have actually one ns in 11 games and also its largely because of Lockhart, who is scoring 14.6 points and 11.1 rebounds ~ averaging 7.4 and 4.6 a year ago.Anthony Evans, Georgia: The depleted Bulldogs required all the assist they can get when the JC forward arrived. He"s developing 16.8 points and also 9.9 rebounds because that the 7-4 Bulldogs, that pulled turn off a shocker end Wake Forest.

West shore ConferenceKenyon Jones, mountain Francisco: Jones transferred from Cal come get more time and also score an ext points. He"s doing both because that the Dons (9-1), averaging 16.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and averaging 67.4 percent.

Western strong ConferenceDavid Shelton, Tulsa: The gold Hurricane have one that the most experienced teams yet the addition of Shelton and his 13.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 49.3 percent shooting has made them even stronger. Tulsa (11-1) won the Puerto Rico Holiday classic last week.

See more: " The Lesson Play - That’S Just Absurd

Roy Smallwood, UTEP: The 6-6 freshman has actually been the catalyst for first-year coach Jason Rabedeaux, averaging 11.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and shooting 60.7 percent because that the 7-2 Miners.

Andy Katz is a senior writer in ~ derekwadsworth.comALSO SEEThe Weekly indigenous on college basketball