College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, November 24, 2010
After bouncing #2 Michigan State out of the Maui Invitational on Tuesday night, Kemba Walker delivered a suitably virtuoso encore in the tourney final, leading the UConn Huskies to an 84-67 win over the #8 Kentucky Wildcats, putting the Huskies back on the top-ranked map.
For the Wildcats and head coach, John Calipari, it's back to practice and the drawing board. Kentuky certainly has more than their share of fine, young talent, but they were no match for the determined Huskies and Walker, who led all scorers again with 29 points and was named tourney MVP.
Walker was 12-0f-16 from the field, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. He was a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line, adding six assists and a pair of steals.
The Huskies, who exit the tournament with some hardware and a 5-0 record, were not ranked going into the tourney, but almost surely will be in the top 15 next week. A very youthful Kentucky team will have to develop over the course of the season if they plan to make any noise in the NCAA tournament come March.
Michigan state bounced back from their semi-final loss to upend #14 Washington, 76-71 in the consolation match.
Walker started the season with 18 points in the Huskies' win over Stoney Brook, but has been a terror to opposing defenses ever since, scoring 42, 31, 30 and 29 in his next four games. He leads the nation in scoring with a 30.0 average, but is followed closely by Nicholls State's Anatoly Bose, at 29.0 and Xavier Silas of Northern Illinois, with 28.8.