Mid-Major Player of the Week: Ahmad Nivins
As a companion to CHN's National Player of the Week, we will be presenting a Mid-Major Player of the Week as well this season. All non-BCS players are eligible for this award. In the case that the National POY is a non-BCS player, they will be repeated here as well.
Ahmad Nivins - Saint Joseph's
3 Games: 16 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 3 bpg
Sure there are plenty of guys that had better stat lines this week, but no one did it against stiffer competition than the Hawks big man in the middle. A double-double against a potential Final Four team in Texas and a strong 16 and 8 showing against a talented Alabama team in the Maui Invitational were enough to give Nivins the honors for this week. Yes, he beat up on an outmanned Indiana squad in his second game, but you can't deny the performances in his other two games. Don't be shocked to see Nivins pop up on this list several more times this year.
Just Missed Out
Josh Akognon - Cal State Fullerton
3 Games: 24.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2 apg
The Anaheim Classic turned out to be some entertaining basketball thanks in large part to the play of the undersized Akognon. He lit up stiff competition by dropping 24 points on both Wake Forest and Saint Mary's, then finished off the weekend with 26 against Charlotte. We knew the California native could score in bunches, and while he was a little trigger happy from the perimeter this week, he proved he could do it against big name programs.
Josh Heytvelt - Gonzaga
3 Games: 15 ppg, 6 rpg, 1.7 bpg
The Bulldogs announced themselves as a legitimate Final Four contender by winning the Old Spice Classic, and Heytvelt announced his return as a strong presence inside. He started slow in the tournament opener with Oklahoma State, but rebounded nicely for two fine showings versus Maryland and Tennessee. With the balanced scoring attack the ‘Zags have it is doubtful that the senior will put up huge numbers on a regular basis, but when Heytvelt is on his game, 15 and 6 should be the norm.
Stefon Jackson - UTEP
3 Games: 20.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.3 apg, 2 spg
Highlighted by a brilliant performance against Wake Forest, Jackson may have had the best showing from anyone at the Anaheim Classic, and with the cast of characters present this weekend, that's saying something. The senior torched the Demon Deacons for 31 points, hitting 13 of his 14 attempts from the free throw line. His 17 and 10 showing against Saint Mary's shouldn't be overlooked either.
A.J. Slaughter - Western Kentucky
His numbers for the week aren't anything to write home about, but any time a player scores 25 points and grabs 9 rebounds in helping his team upset a top five opponent, that is worth some ink. So with that in mind, kudos to Slaughter and the Hilltoppers for pulling the major upset over then #3 Lousiville yesterday.