After a monster game against Minnesota in which he looked nearly flawless en route to a 30 point, 7 rebound effort, Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell has been named the national college basketball player of the week by CBS Sports. Harrell was razor sharp from all over the floor as he connected on 9-12 field goals (including 3-4 from downtown) and also drained 9 of 10 free-throw attempts. Harrell’s jumpshot (form and technique) looks completely different than a year ago and if Friday night was any kind of sign of things to come, Louisville fans could be on the verge of watching something very special this season. Harrell was named a consensus 1st-team preseason All-American by all the major college hoops publications and through a couple of exhibitions and the regular season opener, he looks every bit the part.
The first week of the season was actually just three days, according to the typical Monday-through-Sunday calendar folks use for the sport. So I’m working with limited data here, and that’s not ideal when trying to select the first CBSSports.com Player of the Week.
Still, there has to be a CBSSports.com Player of the Week.
So I decided to simply select the big-time player who was most impressive against legitimate competition in a win, and that player is Louisville‘s Montrezl Harrell. The 6-foot-8 junior took 12 shots, made nine of them and finished with 30 points, seven rebounds and two steals in Friday’s 81-68 victory over Minnesota in Puerto Rico.
“Montrezl Harrell [was] phenomenal,” said Minnesota coach Richard Pitino.
Not to mention different.
The most interesting thing about Harrell’s performance is that he took four 3-pointers against Minnesota and made three of them, meaning the 240-pounder has added a new dimension to his game. (Harrell only took three 3-pointers through his first two years of college.) Suddenly, it appears, this physical specimen and unique athlete is now also capable of scoring 20-feet from the basket. That, I think, makes him nearly impossible to guard — and suggests this won’t be the last time Harrell’s name appear in this spot.