#1 Star: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Alma Mater: UCLA
Stats (11/3 – 11/8): 20.7 Ppg, 5.3 Rebs, 8.0 Asts, 1.0 Stls, 49% FG Pct , 1.3 3 Pters
With the Oklahoma City Thunder off to a somewhat hot start of 3-3 (they hadn’t won their third game until game 27 last year), they can thank the solid play of second year point guard Russell Westbrook. Although only going 1-2 last week, the Thunder did get a big win against the Orlando Magic, and Westbrook led the Thunder in assists in all three games.
On November 6th against the Houston Rockets, Westbrook put up his best game of the week (in a losing effort) going 14 for 25 from the field with a team high 33 points and team high seven assists. In the lone win for the Thunder, on November 8th against the Orlando Magic, Westbrook notched his third double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 assists.
I still wouldn’t consider the Oklahoma City Thunder any threat to make the playoffs in the Western Conference this year, but with their run and gun style and Russell Westbrook maturing into a speedy and smart point guard, they should at least be exciting to watch this year.
#2 Star: Matt Cassel
Alma Mater: USC
Stats (11/8): 23 for 39, 262 Yards 2 TDs 0 INTs, 96.3 QB Rating
With all the talk this week about Larry Johnson getting suspended by the Kansas City Chiefs, not many people were giving them much of a chance to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. Although the Chiefs (1-7) did end up coming up a little short on Sunday, they were reminded that they have a pretty good quarterback on their team when given the chance to throw the ball more.
Down 24 – 6 with 4:26 to go, Cassel showed an amazing no-quit attitude and did everything he possibly could to get his team back in the game. Cassel’s biggest play came with 2:32 left in the game when he connected with Chris Chambers for a 54-yard touchdown pass down the right side of the field. Moments later, after an onside kick recovered by the Chiefs, Cassel again drovethe Chiefs down the field and completed a five yard pass to Chambers to make it 24 – 21 (Cassel completed the two point conversion as well). Matt Cassel also completed passes to nine different receivers in the game, making it difficult for the Jaguars to know who to defend.
Although the Chiefs weren’t able to complete the comeback, many good things can be taken from this game. Maybe with Larry Johnson out of the lineup the Chiefs will start to focus on throwing the ball a little more, and Cassel will be able to show why he got paid so much money in the off-season to be the starter of this team.
#3 Star: Maurice Jones-Drew
Alma Mater: UCLA
Stats (11/8): 29 Rushes for 97 Yards, 1 TD, 3 Receptions for 37 Yards
After another upsetting loss for the Jacksonville Jaguars last week against the 0-6 Titans, they bounced back by yet again giving most of the workload to Maurice Jones-Drew. His 32 total touches made up for 47% of the Jaguars total plays ran, and proved once again that when he is given the ball a lot, good things are going to happen.
With the Jaguars up 17 – 6 late in the fourth quarter, Maurice Jones-Drew struck for his lone touchdown bursting up the middle for a 10 yard gain making it 24 – 6. This proved to be the game winning touchdown for the Jaguars, and his nine yard rush with 55 seconds left iced the game officially for Jacksonville, who moved to 4 – 4 on the year.
Eight Games into the season we are all starting to see a very noticeable pattern with the success of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and how their star running back Maurice Jones-Drew performs. If they have any chance of going into New York and beating the Jets, they are going to need to continue to give Maurice Jones-Drew the majority of the touches and see where he can take them.
Stanford’s Brook Lopez (19.0 Ppg, 8.7 Rebs, 1.3 Asts, 1.7 Blks, 53% FG Pct)
USC’s Brian Cushing (12 Tackles, 1 Pass Deflection)
USC’s Terrell Thomas (9 Tackles, 1 INT, 1 Pass Deflection)
Arizona’s Andre Iguodala (20.3 Ppg, 5.0 Rebs, 3.0 Asts, 2.0 Stls, 54% FG Pct)
Stanford’s Greg Camarillo (5 Receptions for 71 Yards)