San Francisco’s Jamaree Bouyea and Duke’s Wendell Moore are shooting up the standings in our college basketball player rankings at The DPI Gradebook.
It’s been two weeks since we last checked in on the Gold Star race, and not surprisingly, there have been plenty of changes. On the other hand, like so many defensive rebounds, the No. 1 overall spot remains within Justin Bean‘s vice grip. That lead has shrunk considerably, though, especially after Bean’s two-point outing against Weber State this week.
There are a number of players champing at the bit to take his place — a pitchfork-wielding mob headlined by Jamaree Bouyea of San Francisco, Johnny Davis of Wisconsin, Ochai Agbaji of Kansas and Jamal Cain of Oakland.
As a reminder, we will be providing regular updates 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 to date from each of the country’s four quadrants.
—Duke’s AJ Griffin knows the best is yet to come
—Purdue’s Stefanovic is thriving in a crucial role
—DPI: Game Predictions | 1-500 Player Rankings
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 it’s the only region that hasn’t gotten to go first in one of these updates, we’ll start in the Southeast.
Southeast Spotlight Player: Wendell Moore, Duke
This year’s Duke team was supposed to be The Coach K Show off the court and The Paolo Banchero Show on it. However, through the first five weeks of the season, Moore has been the main attraction much of the time. It’s a situation not totally unlike the RJ Barrett/Zion Williamson dynamic, but comparisons aside: Moore is playing a central role in Duke’s success this year. As it stands, he is the only player from the Southeast region to be ranked in the national top 10 of the Gold Star rankings. He’s also the only one in the regional top 10 to average more than 5.0 assists per game. That fairytale ending for Mike Krzyzewski is looking more and more likely with Wendell Moore suddenly on track to have an All America-caliber season.
Southeast Spotlight Game: Jaden Shackelford vs. Gonzaga
The only new inclusion to the top five since our last update, Shackelford’s game against the Zags skyrocketed to the top of the list. The other four games certainly produced more eye-popping box scores, but to drop 28 on the preseason favorite to win the national championship? That’s big-time stuff. To be sure, Shackelford is not the only Tide player deserving of recognition — Jahvon Quinerly and Keon Ellis, to name a pair — but he is the highest-ranking Alabama hooper in these rankings. When this team is firing on all cylinders, it can clearly hang with anyone in the country. The question mark, though, is whether this team will continue to be as streaky as last season’s. With losses to Iona and Memphis on either side of wins over Gonzaga and Houston, the tentative answer appears to be “yeah, probably.”
West Spotlight Player: Jamaree Bouyea, San Francisco
San Francisco is still undefeated, and it’s hard to find a better reason why than the play of lead guard Jamaree Bouyea. Alongside backcourt mate Khalil Shabazz, Bouyea is instant offense for the Dons, ranking No. 41 nationally in effective field-goal rate and true shooting percentage, per KenPom. He is also a fine distributor of the ball, posting an assist rate over 20 percent for the third consecutive season. Just as importantly, he is averaging 2.6 ‘stocks’ per game and flashing big chops on the defensive end, too. Sure, it is probably unlikely that San Francisco wins out — they do have to play Gonzaga twice, you know — but thanks to Bouyea, the Dons can dream. Don’t be surprised to see him jump into the top spot with a big game against Grand Canyon this weekend. He’ll need Iowa to shut down Justin Bean a bit, though.
West Spotlight Game: David Roddy vs. Creighton
Well, we haven’t had a new game enter the West top five since Fardaws Aimaq‘s destruction of BYU. So, let’s take a look back at David Roddy’s big night against Creighton a few weeks back. The junior star for CSU amassed his 36 points from all around the court, going 6-of-10 on 2-pointers, 7-of-10 on 3-pointers and 3-of-3 from the free-throw line. The addition of a consistent outside game would make Roddy a cheat code, and it appears he might have done just that. Roddy is currently shooting 46.7 percent from deep while averaging a career-high number of 3-point attempts. Now that Colorado State has debuted in the AP Top 25, they should probably be there for the long haul. The Mountain West does not have a clear competitor for the undefeated Rams right now, but Roddy and the boys have a major test against Alabama next week. That game should be an incredible display of offense.
Northeast Spotlight Player: Ethan Wright, Princeton
The last time we saw Wright before this season was back in 2019-20, when he was getting about 24 minutes a game and scoring 7.2 points in those outings. Clearly, he put in some work during the Tigers’ long layoff. Wright is now averaging close to 15 points per game and logging over 31 minutes every night. When Wright goes over that 15-point mark, Princeton is 5-0 — including a road win at Oregon State. To be fair, Wright went for 14, 13 and 13 in losses to Minnesota, Monmouth and Hofstra, so it’s not as if he is the reason for those defeats. Wright picked up double-doubles in the losses to the Gophers and the Pride, including a season-high 16 rebounds against Minnesota. It seems as though he will play a major role in the Ivy League POY conversation this season, especially if the Tigers end up placing first.
Northeast Spotlight Game: Ron Harper Jr. vs. Purdue
I mean, what else was this going to be? Harper’s Shot Heard ‘Round The World knocked Purdue from its all-too-temporary perch as the No. 1 team in the land. But even before that half-court heave went down, Harper was carving up the Boilermaker defense, eventually finishing with 30 points. With Rutgers losing Jacob Young to transfer and Geo Baker to injury, there were some pretty reasonable questions about Rutgers’ ceiling this year. The Scarlet Knights are definitely struggling, make no mistake, but with Harper showing the kind of explosion he did against Purdue, Steve Pikiell‘s team does not appear to be in dire straits. It’s worth noting that the upset happened at the RAC. The team needs to show that its game can travel, too, and that will probably have to start with Harper.
Midwest Spotlight Players: Jamison Battle & Payton Willis, Minnesota
It’s a two-fer! It’s hard to identify just one player at the core of Minnesota’s surprise season, so let’s go ahead and shine on both of these guys. Coming over from lower-tier operations at George Washington and Charleston, there were some legitimate questions surrounding whether this was a Big Ten-caliber team. That still remains to be seen, but the nonconference schedule has gone much better than anyone had expected. Battle and Willis are combining for over 35 points and 11 rebounds per game, and they went off for 44 combined points in a win over Michigan. Whether or not this is a tournament team, the Gophers are much more competitive than most imagined. Battle and Willis are the major catalysts behind the hot start.
Midwest Spotlight Game: Izaiah Brockington vs. Iowa
Speaking of surprise starts, Iowa State is probably the biggest shock of the season to date. TJ Otzelberger put together a rag-tag group to go along with some returning Cyclones, and the result was supposed to be a last-place team in the Big 12. That eventuality is still on the table, technically, but ISU looks quite good through 10 games. Leading scorer Izaiah Brockington, who came over from Penn State, is playing the best basketball of his career right now. His 29 points against Iowa were just one shy of tying a career-high — a mark he set earlier this season when dropped 30 on Xavier’s head just before Thanksgiving. The hype around the Cyclones may yet prove to be hot wind, but if Brockington keeps up this level of play, then those storm clouds could ruin a few picnics around the Big 12.
Header image courtesy of Christina Leung/San Francisco Athletics.
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