Santa Clara’s Brandin Podziemski earned the top spot in Honor Roll, which highlights last month’s top college basketball stars.
It’s officially March. All eyes are on the conference tournaments and the latest bracketology updates, and our minds are aflutter with dreams of sugarplum Selection Committees.
Still, before you bury your nose completely in the rosy scents of March basketball, it’s worth taking a look back at the month of February. The shortest month of them all can often be the most important, and that was arguably the case for the 15 players listed below.
We’ll start as we always do, by taking a look at our top performers in the Gold Star Guide fantasy scoring system, before doling out Arthur Awards for college hoops’ most exemplary performers.
GOLD STAR PLAYER OF THE MONTH
Brandin Podziemski, Santa Clara
- Averaged 39.10 gold points per game in eight February contests
- No. 6 overall player in the Gold Star Guide (34.34 gold points per game)
After wrapping up a stunning February, AirPodz was named WCC Co-Player of the Year on Wednesday, and he also takes home our top honor as the Gold Star Player of the Month. Podziemski has led the Broncos to seven consecutive victories since a Feb. 2 loss to Gonzaga. In his eight games last month, the Illinois transfer averaged a double-double with 22.3 points and 10.3 rebounds, not to mention the 3.6 assists and 1.4 steals — or the 50 percent clip on seven 3-pointers per game. That run pushed Santa Clara into a third-place finish in the WCC, and it also landed Podziemski atop our February honor roll.
GOLD STAR PERFORMANCE OF THE MONTH
Jalen Pickett, Penn State
- Scored 58.14 gold points in Feb. 18 win over Cornell
- No. 2 performance of the 2022-23 season
Pickett’s performance against Illinois was rated behind another game when it first dropped (Chris Ledlum’s 35-and-11 with six steals in a Harvard romp over Cornell), but the SOS adjustment has moved into the No. 2 spot. Let’s recap: the Penn State point guard went for 41 points, dished out eight assists and gave the Nittany Lions a win that is teetering closely to becoming a Quad 1 home win over the Illini. It’s also worth noting that Pickett was the original pick for February’s Floor General award (more below) before he moved into first for this one. Penn State may have the best point guard in Division I hoops.
GOLD STAR RISER OF THE MONTH
Demarcus Sharp, Northwestern State
- Raised gold point average by 3.18 points last month
- Rose 85 spots in Gold Star Guide from No. 112 to No. 27
The Demons have won 20 games for the first time since 2013, and just the second time since 2006. Wouldn’t you know it — Northwestern State made the NCAA Tournament both of those years, and lest we forget, they pulled a 14-over-3 upset in ‘06. Also worth remembering: This year’s Demons beat TCU and a 25-win Southern Miss team. NSU could be a sleeper Cinderella if Sharp keeps up his recent level of play. In eight February games, the Missouri State transfer averaged 26.0 points, 5.3 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 1.3 blocks and shot 53.7 percent on 2-pointers, 66.7 percent on 3s and 79 percent at the line.
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