Player of the Week: Notre Dame’s Bonzie Colson
This was Notre Dame’s most important week of the season.
They had lost four straight games and five of their last six, falling well off of the ACC title pace and out of the top 25, and Colson was having none of it. On Tuesday, he went for 27 points, 16 boards and five blocks as the Fighting Irish knocked off Wake Forest. On Saturday, in a dominant win over No. 14 Florida State, Colson had a career-high 33 points and 13 boards as he totally dominated Florida State’s big, physical front line.
Colson is the difference-making piece for the Irish. He’s their post presence. He’s a shot-blocker despite standing just 6-foot-5. He can space the floor and he allows them to play small-ball when the timing permits. And he does all of it while being able to hold his own on the glass against players that are five, six, seven inches taller than him.
And he showed up when Notre Dame needed him the most.
His 27 points on Tuesday were a season-high. That record lasted all of four days.
THEY WERE GOOD, TOO
- Josh Jackson, Kansas: The Jayhawks had a pair of road games against potential tournament teams this week and Frank Mason III, their star point guard and a favorite to win National Player of the Year, didn’t play well in either one. The Jayhawks still managed to escape the weekend with a 2-0 record thanks to Jackson, who had 18 points in the win at Kansas State and followed that up with 31 points and 11 boards at Texas Tech.
- Derrick Walton, Michigan: Has any point guard in the country been better than Walton the last three weeks? He’s gotten the Wolverines on the brink of a tournament bid by leading them to four wins in their last six games, including five straight where he’s scored at least 20 points. This week, in wins over Michigan State and at Indiana, he averaged 22.5 points, 6.0 assists and 5.0 boards.
- Semi Ojeleye, SMU: The Mustangs had their best week of the season, scoring 30 points in a midweek win and following that up with a team-high 18 points as SMU landed a critical win over No. 11 Cincinnati to move into first place in the AAC.
- Luke Kennard, Duke: Kennard finished with 20 points as Duke knocked off North Carolina on Thursday night, a win that more or less signified their return to national prominence, while he had 25 points and was the only scorer in double-figures as Duke avoided disaster 39 hours later, beating Clemson.
- Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina: Thornwell was the only Gamecock that came to play this week. In a four-overtime loss on Wednesday, he had 44 points and 21 boards in a game where SC managed just 86 total points. On Saturday, he spurred a come-from-behind win with 28 points at Mississippi State.