Tue, 02/16/2010 - 15:46 — Jeff Borzello
CollegeHoops.net Player of the Week: Jerome Randle, California
Valentine’s Day is always one of the biggest milestones of the year – mainly because it usually is the one-month mark from Selection Sunday. With only four weeks remaining until Judgment Day, tremendous individual performances were going on around the country throughout the week. You can’t start any talk of top-notch games without mentioning UTEP’s Randy Culpepper, who scored 45 points against East Carolina on Saturday, but he wasn’t the only one. There was Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson averaging 20.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in two wins; John Wall of Kentucky averaging 23.0 points and 7.0 rebounds; Richmond’s David Gonzalvez averaging 22.0 points in two wins; Dee Bost of Mississippi State going for 32 points and nine rebounds in a win over Auburn; Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds averaging 21.5 points for the week; Pitt’s Brad Wanamaker putting up 18.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists; and Vanderbilt’s Jeffery Taylor averaging 20.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in two wins.
With all of the standout performances, it was very difficult picking the best one for this week. However, the best two-game stretch that meant the most to his team belonged to Jerome Randle of California. Randle started the week with 33 points, three rebounds and three assists in an easy win over Washington to give the Golden Bears some breathing room in the Pac-10. He then followed that up with six three-pointers and 24 points in an 86-70 victory over Washington State on Saturday. Randle’s craftiness with the ball and ability to drive into the lane for acrobatic finishes is uncanny, and his shooting range is unbelievable. For the week, the 5-10 jitterbug of a guard averaged 28.5 points and 3.0 assists, going 9-for-14 from three-point range and 10-for-11 from the free-throw line.
Although the Pac-10 is in the midst of a historically down season, California is doing its best to be the lone representative from the conference in the NCAA Tournament. With the two wins this week, the Golden Bears are now 9-4 in the league, one game ahead of Arizona State. They are clearly the best team in the conference – for now, at least – and should be able to get to the Big Dance. If Randle has anything to do with it, Cal will get there. He is averaging a career-high 19.8 points per game, as well as 2.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists, while shooting nearly 92 percent from the free-throw line and better than 41 percent from three.