Thanks to big performances in big games, Georgia Tech’s Michael Devoe and Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis are among the top risers in our college basketball player rankings at The DPI Gradebook.
Now that we have some real meat on the bones to talk about with MTEs underway, the Gold Star race is starting to heat up. One player is sitting head-and-shoulders above the rest of the field — Justin Bean of Utah State — following an incredible run of performances. He is far from the only one showing out, though.
As a reminder, every week we will bringing an update on the Gold Star race in the form of regional coverage. Below are the top 10 players from each region, as well as the five best individual performances on the season from each of the country’s four quadrants.
For the uninitiated, the four Heat Check CBB regions are:
Heat Check CBB Northeast
- 82 total schools
- States represented: N.Y., Pa., Md., Mass., N.J., Conn., D.C., R.I., Del., N.H., Maine, Vt.
- Conferences represented: AEC, AAC, A10, ACC, Big East, Big Ten, CAA, Horizon, Ivy, MAC, MAAC, MEAC, NEC, Patriot
Heat Check CBB Southeast
- 118 total schools
- States represented: N.C., Va., Fla., La., S.C., Tenn., Ala., Ky., Ga., Miss., Ark., W.Va.
- Conferences represented: AAC, A10, ACC, ASUN, Big South, CAA, CUSA, Horizon, MEAC, OVC, SEC, SoCon, Southland, Sun Belt, SWAC
Heat Check CBB Midwest
- 72 total schools
- States represented: Ill., Ohio, Ind., Mich., Mo., Iowa, Wis., Okla., Kan., Neb., Minn., N.D., S.D.
- Conferences represented: AAC, A10, ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Horizon, MAC, MVC, OVC, Summit, WAC
Heat Check CBB West
- 86 total schools
- States represented: Calif., Texas, Utah, Colo., Wash., Ariz., Ore., Idaho, Mont., N.M., Nev., Hawaii, Wyo.
- Conferences represented: AAC, B12, BSKY, BW, CUSA, MWC, P12, SEC, SL, SUM, SB, SWAC, WAC, WCC
For more information on the Gold Star Guide, read up on our explainer here.
Got it? Good. Let’s boogie. Since our top player hails from the best coast, we’ll start our coverage out West this week.
Spotlight Player: Hunter Maldonado, Wyoming
The Cowboys have been one of the biggest surprises of the early season. They were a reasonable sleeper pick as a top-half team in the Mountain West, but now Wyoming looks like one of the league’s stronger squads. Maldonado stepping into the point guard role has been the major reason why. He is generating tons of offense for himself, as always, but his distribution to Wyoming’s weapons has been A-1 stuff. The basketball Border War between Wyoming and Colorado State should make for incredible television this season.
Spotlight Performance: Andrew Nembhard vs. UCLA
Forget Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren. When the Zags needed to make their loudest statement, it was lead guard Nembhard who answered the call. He put on a masterclass against UCLA, orchestrating the offense and getting basically everything he wanted against the Bruins. There was some All-America buzz around Nembhard coming into the season, and a performance like this one is a giant step in that very direction.
Spotlight Player: Jamal Cain, Oakland
Cain transferred to Oakland after four years at Marquette, and he has immediately brought his high-major game to Greg Kampe’s offense. The graduate senior had 33 of Oakland’s 59 points in a blowout loss to Alabama. He also had 29, 28 and 22 in wins over Toledo, Delaware and Vermont. With Jalen Moore by his side, the Golden Grizz are looking like serious contenders in the Horizon thanks to Cain’s early play. He has scored at least 14 points in all seven games so far.
Spotlight Performance: Johnny Davis vs. Houston
Davis had a fantastic week for the Badgers, helping them to a very unexpected championship trophy from the Maui Invitational. The sophomore turned heads in the semifinals when he dropped a 30-burger on the vaunted Houston defense. The Badgers were a team in desperate need of a bright, young star to drag them back to national relevance. Job well done, Johnny.
Spotlight Player: Michael Devoe, Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech suffered its requisite embarrassing loss on opening night, but since then, Tech is 4-0 and Devoe is leading the charge. He dropped a career-high 37 points on the road against Georgia, pitching in seven rebounds and five assists to boot. If he can keep up this level of play, Devoe could help drag Georgia Tech all the way up to its fringe-bubble potential. It is hard to imagine he will be able to keep up that astronomical 65-percent clip from deep, though.
Spotlight Performance: Patrick Good at Washington State
Good put on a shooting clinic in Pullman, scoring all 33 of his points via the long ball. His preposterous 11-for-19 performance from beyond the arc is something that has only been done 20 times in the past decade. Only two players have done it twice in that span — Good, who also did it once at ETSU, and Markus Howard, who did it twice at Marquette before parlaying that into a nice NBA career. Just saying.
Spotlight Player: George Papas, Monmouth
George Papas will always be associated with that play, but when he isn’t riling up the Twitterverse, he is a pretty darn good ballplayer. Monmouth was picked relatively lowly heading into the season, and it appears Papas is milking that bulletin board material for all its worth. After struggling in the opener against Charlotte, Papas has scored 18 or more in each of Monmouth’s four consecutive wins, including three games over 20. The guy is much more than a meme.
Spotlight Performance: RJ Cole & Tyler Polley vs. Auburn
Maybe this is cheating, but when two guys from the same team show up for the same game … it’s notable. The praise for UConn’s defense has been steady, but the questions about offensive production have been just as prevalent. In a major test against Auburn on Wednesday, Cole and Polley both showed that they are capable of putting points on the board in the absence of James Bouknight. The Huskies are gunning for Villanova’s throne in the Big East, and the game against Auburn showed that they might just have the firepower to pull it off.