In addition to highlighting last week’s stars, we’re also introducing a new twist to an old standby here at the HC+ Honor Roll.
There were a host of upsets around the Top 25 this past week, and we will talk about a few of them in a moment. First, though, let’s take care of some housekeeping.
Here in the Heat Check labs, we’re all about changing things up when the need arises. This week is no different, as we give one of our Arthur roles a facelift to include one of the game’s most well-worn cliches: The Glue Guy.
Instead of adding in a brand-new role for these oft-unsung heroes, we decided to retire one of the existing roles that had a bit too much overlap with the others. For a while now, the Swiss Army Knife role has felt too similar to aspects of the Main Attraction, Surgeon and Unicorn roles, so replacing it with the new distinction solves two problems.
For our purposes, the Glue Guy role is someone who plays a lot but doesn’t hog the ball (high minutes/low usage), rebounds on both ends (high ORB/DRB rates), distributes the ball with care (high assist/low turnover rates) and makes his presence felt on defense (high steal/block rates).
Looking at the season-long numbers, these markers bring up players like UConn’s Andre Jackson, Gonzaga’s Anton Watson and Purdue’s Mason Gillis — all quintessential glue guys. This week, we will honor our first-ever weekly Glue Guy near the end of our list.
Before we get there, though, there are plenty of other talents to highlight, starting with our three honorees from the Gold Star Guide’s weekly update.
—Rauf Report: Iowa State’s 3-point impact, Antonio Reeves’ emergence, more
—Bracketology: Kentucky sneaks into projected field
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GOLD STAR PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Aaron Estrada, Hofstra
- Scored 93.60 gold points in two games (46.8 per game)
- No. 16 overall player in Gold Star Guide (No. 1 in CAA)
It was a banner week for Estrada, one of the country’s best — and most unheralded — scorers. Estrada went for 40 points on 16-of-25 shooting (8-of-15 on 3-pointers) in a ridiculous display of offensive firepower. Doing that against one of the nation’s bottom 50 teams is one thing. Going for 25 points, seven boards, six assists and two steals in a road win against the No. 18 team in the nation to snap Charleston’s 20-game win streak? Yeesh!
GOLD STAR PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Tolu Smith, Mississippi State
- Scored 50.32 gold points in upset win over TCU
- No. 44 Gold Star performance of the 2022-23 season
Smith put Starkville on his back for a massive overtime win over TCU, which came into the week ranked No. 11 in the AP Top 25 poll. Smith didn’t care about that ranking, instead putting some impressive numbers of his own: 27 points on 11-of-13 shooting (all 2-pointers), and he added 13 rebounds, five assists and four blocks. Over at least the past 10 seasons, Smith is the only player to put up those stats without attempting a 3-pointer.
GOLD STAR RISER OF THE WEEK
Trenton Massner, Western Illinois
- Scored 136.90 gold points in three games (45.6 per game)
- Rose 77 spots in Gold Star Guide from No. 104 to No. 27
Thanks most of all to Massner, the Leathernecks have won their past five Summit League games, including three victories in the Dakotas last week. Massner’s monumental stretch started with 46 points and five assists against North Dakota, it continued with 23, six boards and six dimes against South Dakota, and it ended with 30 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in an OT win over the reigning league champs at South Dakota State.
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