College Hoops Barometer: Risers & Fallers

College Hoops Barometer: Risers & Fallers

This article is part of our College Hoops Barometer series.

The Ohio State Buckeyes are in the College Football Playoff, which may not come as much of a surprise.  The basketball team being ranked in the top 5?  That may turn some heads.  Yet here they are. Coach Chris Holtmann's squad is 9-0, having dismantled the likes of Villanova and North Carolina en route to a superb start to the 2019-2020 campaign.  The Buckeyes are led by big man Kaleb Wesson, but the strength may be the depth of this team.  OSU has eight players averaging at least seven points per contest.  With Maryland's torrid start and Michigan's Battle 4 Atlantis crown, the Big Ten is giving the ACC all it can handle in terms of being the best conference so far this season.  If Michigan State can overcome its early struggles, the conference could prove a true juggernaut.

Let's take a look at some movers and shakers in this week's edition of the College Hoops Barometer.

UPGRADE

Jordan Goodwin, G, Saint Louis – The 6-foot-3 Goodwin has always been an exceptional rebounder for his size, but he has taken his desire for the basketball to Dennis Rodman-like heights of late.  Goodwin has four-straight double-doubles to his credit, all wins for the Billikens.  He has not grabbed fewer than 13 rebounds over that span, though.  He snatched 19 rebounds against Southern Illinois on Dec. 1, then corralled 16 boards in a blowout win over Tulane on Sunday.  He had four assists and two blocks in the SIU game, and tallied five dimes and two steals in the victory over the Green Wave.  In sum, Goodwin is averaging nearly 16.3 boards over his last four contests, while also scoring at least 12 points in every one of those tilts.  Paired with junior forward Hasahn French, the Billikens are one of the best rebounding units in the country.

Jamarius Burton, G, Wichita State – Burton has done a little bit of everything for the Shockers thus far this season.  The sophomore was fairly close to a triple-double in Sunday's convincing win at Oklahoma State, as Burton accumulated seven points, eight rebounds and 11 assists in the 80-61 triumph over the Cowboys.  Burton leads the Shockers in assists, is third in scoring and fourth in rebounding.  Burton and company are off to an 8-1 start, with Wichita State boasting a young, potent trio of guards in the form of Burton, leading scorer Erik Stevenson and freshman Ty Etienne.

Nate Hinton, G/F, Houston – Hinton has been on a tear of late, averaging a double-double over his last three contests of 18.3 points and 11.3 rebounds.  That includes a monstrous 24-point, 15-rebound performance on Nov. 26 against lowly Houston Baptist.  He's performed well against stronger competition, too, tallying 17 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and one block against South Carolina on Sunday.  The sophomore leads the Cougars in rebounding and is second on the squad in scoring behind Quentin Grimes.  The Cougars were picked with Memphis as favorites to win the American this year, and Hinton and Grimes, among others, are making the pundits look smart so far.

Devin Vassell, G, Florida State – The Seminoles lost a lot of firepower from last season's squad that made the ACC Tournament Championship Game and also the Sweet 16 of the Big Dance.  Vassell was a complementary piece on that team, but has moved into a more central role as a sophomore.  He leads Florida State in scoring with 12.2 points per contest.  He is shooting nearly 45-percent from three-point range, and led a barrage of 15 treys made by the Seminoles in Sunday's win over Clemson.  Vassell is also second on the team in rebounding, almost tallying a double-double versus the Tigers.  He also swatted three shots and dished out two assists in the 72-53 thrashing.  FSU may not be able to reach the level it achieved last season, but Vassell certainly has the ranked Seminoles believing they can still be a force in the loaded ACC.

CHECK STATUS

Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota – The good news?  Oturu is averaging a double-double with 18.0 points and 11.0 rebounds through nine contests.  He has also been host to several block parties en route to an average of 3.6 swats per contest.  Oturu leads the Big Ten in rebounding, is second in both scoring and blocks, and third in field goal percentage.  The downside?  Oturu had eight turnovers last game in a blowout loss to Iowa, and is averaging an ugly 3.7 turnovers per contest.  Minnesota has also limped to a 4-5 start to the season, and a matchup with undefeated, surging Ohio State is on deck.  As such, despite five massive double-doubles and excellent rim protection, Oturu's stellar production has not led to many triumphs for his squad as conference play lurks.

Jericole Hellems, F, North Carolina State – Hellems was carted off the floor and actually hospitalized due to an undisclosed injury following a scary fall in Saturday's win over Wake Forest.  Reportedly he was being evaluated for a back injury as well as a possible concussion.  Hellems has since been released from the hospital, and seems to have avoided serious injury.  However, it remains to be seen when he will be able to get back on the floor.  Hellems is averaging 12.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game for the Wolfpack.  He is tied for second on the team in scoring and tied for third in rebounding.  Look for DJ Funderburk and Manny Bates to pick up some extra minutes if Hellems misses game action.

Shakur Juiston, F, Oregon – Juiston comes over to the Ducks as a highly-touted transfer from UNLV.  He played in just eight games last season, with his best numbers coming in 2017-2018 when he averaged a double-double with 14.6 points and 10.0 rebounds per tilt.  He's provided interesting production through eight games with Oregon, managing 8.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest.  However, it remains to be seen how he will respond to the jump up in competition being in the Pac-12, as well as if he can stay healthy.  Juiston missed Oregon's last game due to a lower leg injury, and has been labeled as week-to-week.  Freshman C.J. Walker had a career-high 18 points with Juiston out last contest, and looks to be the biggest beneficiary if Juiston missed additional time.

DOWNGRADE        

Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky – A double-double threat each and every time he stepped onto the floor, Bassey has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after suffering a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg.  Bassey was the reigning freshman and defensive player of the year in Conference-USA, and his absence is borderline catastrophic for the Hilltoppers, who had been once again favored to win the league this year.  Western Kentucky is extremely thin on the front line without Bassey; little-used 6-11 senior Matt Horton could suddenly find himself thrust into the spotlight.  Otherwise, the burden will fall on Taveion Hollingsworth to galvanize his squad in order to overcome the loss of their big man.

Sandro Mamukelashvili, F, Seton Hall – Saturday's win over a ranked Iowa State squad may have been a Pyrrhic victory for the Pirates, as Mamukelashvili broke his wrist and could miss as much as two months.  The 6-11 junior was second in scoring and third in rebounding for Seton Hall.  Towering centers Ike Obiagu and Romaro Gill, both listed at 7-2, could see an uptick in playing time while Mamukelashvili is sidelined.  Even more of the scoring load will fall on star Myles Powell, though, who is already second in the Big East in scoring behind Marquette's Markus Howard.  Powell is sixth in the entire nation in scoring, and should have even more shots available to him for the next month or two.

Elijah Mitrou-Long, G, UNLV – The oft-traveled Mitrou-Long, most recently of the Texas Longhorns, was off to a stellar start as a graduate transfer for the Runnin' Rebels.  The 6-1 guard was averaging 12.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.6 steals per contest.  Unfortunately, he suffered a broken thumb and will be sidelined for the next 6-to-8 weeks.  It's a crushing blow for UNLV, as the Rebels were off to a dismal 3-6 start even before the injury, and Mitrou-Long was their leading assist man and second-leading scorer.  In his absence, sophomore Bryce Hamilton could see an upswing, but even more responsibility will need to be shouldered by leading scorer Amauri Hardy.

Jordan Bohannon, G, Iowa – Bohannon has seen his numbers regress in each of the last two seasons following a standout sophomore campaign.  Currently, he is averaging career lows of 8.4 points, 1.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists per contest.  Poor shooting can partially be to blame, as Bohannon is hitting just 31.9 percent of his shots from the floor.  In Monday's win over Minnesota, he had 10 assists but failed to record a single point.  Offseason hip surgery could also still be a hindrance, as initially the Hawkeyes were unsure whether Bohannon would be able to play at all this season.  However, it appears the hip is still an issue, as Bohannon does not look like himself, and the Hawkeyes have lost three games already on the young season.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jesse Siegel
Siegel covers college football, college basketball and minor league baseball for RotoWire. He was named College Sports Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.
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