There’s a couple of reasons why we’re Jaray Mathews fans over hear at Sunflower Slate. For one, if you just look up, you’ll see Mathews is part of our banner. And as far as I know, he’s the only player still active that’s part of our banner. Which means that even though we haven’t quite turned two years old yet, we’ve got some history. So there’s that. And then there’s the main reason: The Man goes hard. To prove my point, let’s take a look at what JM did last week in leading Newman into sole possession of first place in the Heartland Conference. In a win over Dallas Baptist he dropped 19 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks and 2 assists. In a win over Arkansas Fort-Smith he went for 18 points, 12 rbounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. That’s called filling up the stat sheet.
And that’s why he’s the Heartland player of the week and the jump-off for The Return of Roll Call.
And away we go …
Our Kansas schools were shut out of the weekly awards for hoops, but it’s worth noting that both the No. 5 Fort Hays State men and No. 6 Emporia State women are atop the league standings. In track, however (yes, they’re running track right now), Emporia State sprinter Derwin Hall and triple-jumper Josh Honeycutt, who is the defending national champ, took home athlete of the week awards.
We’ve talked about Justin Diggles here before … you remember the kid with the hi-top fade, right? I don’t know if the Southwestern guard is still rocking the old-school cut but I do know he’s still putting up big numbers for The Jinx and he’s got the KCAC Player of the Week award to prove it. Diggles averaged 20.5 points and 5 assists in wins over Tabor and Bethany last week and get his squad squarely in third in the KCAC race. On the women’s side, this is looking more and more like another banner year for No. 14 Sterling, which has cruised to a 9-0 start in KCAC play and have won 12 straight games. And nobody has played a bigger role in that start than 6-foot-1 sophomore forward Cathryn Wiebe, a Whitewater product who went for 26 points and 11 rebounds in a 69-66 win at Bethel (no easy task, the Threshers ain’t bad) and then for 23 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals in a rout of McPherson. For that, my friends, she’s Player of the Week.
Speaking of Mathews … somebody who reminds me a lot of him — as in they’re both the same size and have kind of the same type game — is Butler’s Caleb Walker, who had a breakout season as a freshman last year and is keeping it rolling this season. This week he’s the NJCAA DI player of the week for scoring 19 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in a loss to Hutchinson (his hometown team) and scoring 16 and grabbing 15 boards in a win over Barton County. Walker is a 6-4 guard/forward type and I’m curious to see how DI coaches think his game might translate to that level … it seems like, considering how well he plays defense and rebounds, that he might be a nice fit for an MVC school.
And just look at that picture … in the immortal words of Delonte West, how player is that?