EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week, college basketball columnist Kyle Tucker will name a Starting Five — his favorite five players from across the country at that particular moment in time. As guys heat up and cool off, this list will change over the course of the season.
G TRAE YOUNG, 6-2, FR. OKLAHOMA
Young is not cooling off. He’s had 60 points, 18 assists and 6 steals in the two games since making last week’s Starting Five. Ridiculous is the only word to describe what he’s doing. He now leads the nation in points per game (28.7) and ranks third in assists (8.7). He averaged 33 points over the last five games. Ridiculous.
— OUHoops (@ouhoops) December 1, 2017
G TREVON BLUIETT, 6-6, SR., XAVIER
The No. 13 Musketeers won consecutive games over ranked teams — Baylor and Cincinnati — and also have a win at Wisconsin on their resume. Bluiett is the reason. He hung 28 on the rival Bearcats on Saturday, then followed it up with 26 against Kent State on Wednesday. He has scored 25-plus in five of nine games this season and is averaging 21.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and shooting 47 percent from 3-point range. We hear Mick Cronin is a big fan.
— Xavier Basketball (@XavierMBB) December 7, 2017
G MIKAL BRIDGES, 6-6, JR., VILLANOVA
This isn’t the M. Bridges we thought would make an early appearance in the Starting Five, but he belongs after dropping 28 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal in the fourth-ranked Wildcats’ dismantling of No. 12 Gonzaga on Tuesday. Bridges had an 11-second sequence — jaw-dropping poster dunk over two towering big men, then an emphatic rejection on the other end — as good a single flurry by any player in America this season. He’s averaging 19 points, 6.2 rebounds and shooting 51 percent from 3-point territory.
— VU Hoops (@VUhoops) December 6, 2017
F LUKE MAYE, 6-8, JR., NORTH CAROLINA
Remember when Maye’s story was just “walk-on becomes meaningful contributor off the bench for the Tar Heels?” A good story. Remember when Maye’s story became “former walk-on hits unlikely Elite Eight game-winner against Kentucky?” Terrific story. But the latest version of his story — “walk-on to National Player of the Year candidate” — is just too absurd to be true. Only it is. Maye continued his monster season with 3 consecutive double-doubles in the last week and is now averaging 19.9 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.1 blocks and shooting 48 percent from 3-point range. He scored 28 points on Arkansas and 27 on Michigan earlier this season. This is some story he keeps rewriting.
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) November 30, 2017
F MARVIN BAGLEY III, 6-1, FR., DUKE
Also not cooling. Bagley extended his streak to 6 straight double-doubles — and 8 in 10 games to start his college career — with 40 points and 23 boards the last two games, in which the big man made 71 percent of his shots. That included 3 of 5 from 3-point range. It’s not fair for a guy his size to be able to do the things he’s doing. Bagley and Young look like they’ll battle for national freshman and player of the year honors.
— Overtime (@overtime) December 7, 2017
RELATED: Last week’s Starting Five
ON THE BENCH
- Minnesota junior Jordan Murphy recorded 2 more double-doubles to make it 10 straight to start this season — but he was held to 4-of-12 shooting in an upset loss to Nebraska on Tuesday night.
- Notre Dame senior Bonzie Colson averaged 18.7 points and 7 rebounds in three games since making last week’s Starting Five — but he made just 1 of 8 3-pointers in that span and the Fighting Irish lost twice (Michigan State and Ball State).
- Alabama freshman Collin Sexton has come back to earth after scoring 20-plus points in five of his first six college games. He’s produced just 18 points the last two games, a loss to Central Florida and narrow win over Rhode Island.
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