Under the Radar
By Kevin Payne
RotoWire Staff Writer
Many colleges seem to produce players who succeed at certain positions, no matter the sport. Penn State has the nickname of "Linebacker U," boasting the likes of Mother Dunn, Shane Conlan and LaVar Arrington. In recent history, USC and Purdue seem to know how to produce NFL caliber quarterbacks - Matt Leinart, Carson Palmer, Matt Cassel, Drew Brees and Kyle Orton. The mecca of college basketball is no different. UCLA has provided its share of dominant big men - Alcindor, Walton, Eaton and this year's rookies Kevin Love and Luc Mbah a Moute. Connecticut has graced the NBA with shooting guards - Rudy Gay, Ben Gordon, Rip Hamilton and Ray Allen. So who is the best school in recent years for point guards? I give you the Lone Star State's own: the University of Texas. Over the last eight years, Texas have become the premier point guard producing college. Here are the last four point guards from the Longhorns: D.J. Augustin, Royal Ivey, Daniel Gibson and T.J. Ford. While Augustin and Ford are the only current NBA starters in the group, it's pretty remarkable that the last four point guards from the same college are playing in the NBA in any capacity. The latest Texas product, D.J. Augustin, is highlighted in the Minutes portion of this article.
Here's the players who have seen an increase in PT over the last week.
D.J. Augustin, PG, CHA - The first-round draft pick out of Texas has been given a big boost in playing time, averaging more than 38 minutes the last four games while Jason Richardson has been out. During these four games, he's averaged 21 points, 6.8 assists and 2.5 three-pointers. Expect Richardson's return this week to cut into his playing time, but count on Augustin to still make a fantasy impact going forward.
Jason Thompson, F, SAC - A player from the team formerly known as the Rochester Royals seems to be highlighted here almost every week. That's what happens, though, with a team in the rebuilding process. Thompson, a rookie, is a key part of the youth movement in Sacramento, arriving from college basketball powerhouse Rider. Prior to dropping a goose egg on Monday, he averaged 14 points and 8.5 boards the previous four games. He was second in the nation last year, pulling down 12.1 boards a game for the Broncs, so the rebounding is for real.
C.J. Miles, G, UTA - Miles has taken advantage of the injuries sustained by the Utah Jazz, which include Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer. Miles has seen his numbers rise to the tune of more than 32.2 minutes and 15.5 points a game over his last four. Williams is expected back this week, but keep an eye on Miles. Most forget he was drafted out of high school, and already has three years of NBA experience under his belt at the ripe old age of 21.
Damien Wilkins, G, OKC - After being mentioned in this article last week, Wilkins benefited from the firing of P.J. Carlesimo as new coach Scott Brooks inserted him into the starting lineup at shooting guard. The darkhorse this week of the Minutes section, Wilkins has seen his minutes jump to 26, 27 and 26 minutes over the last three games, respectively. He'll probably be eating turkey with Gerald and Dominique this week, so the pedigree is there. Wilkins has some upside, so keep an eye on him, especially if you need scoring or three-pointers from the guard position.
Here's our weekly look at players who may be on you waiver wire, waiting to help your team in specific categories.
Russell Westbrook, PG, OKC - The rookie out of UCLA has seen a bump in playing time, which has translated into scoring production. Westbrook has scored 13.6 points, 4.3 assists and 1.7 steals over his last nine games. Learning while on the job, expect Westbrook to maintain and build on these numbers as the season goes on for the rebuilding Thunder.
Maurice Evans, G, ATL - Evans has averaged two three-pointers in his last four games. Hitting 48.9 percent of his treys so far this year, he's attempted 45 threes in 13 games (3.4 attempts per game). Playing with Al Horford, Zaza Pachulia and Marvin Williams, look for Evans to keep getting open looks from downtown.
Larry Hughes, G, CHI - Hughes saw his playing time increase to more than 33 minutes the last three games, and responded by averaging 18 points, four rebounds and 2.6 three-pointers. Luol Deng is set to return this week, but expect Hughes to still see significant minutes for the struggling Bulls. Remember, Hughes averaged 1.5 steals a game last year so the thievery should be there for the Bulls.
Anthony Randolph, F, GS - A definite darkhorse, Randolph played 13, 28 and 19 minutes respectively in his last three games. The irony? The game he played 13 minutes in, he had four blocks while adding two in the each of the 28- and 19-minute games. If he sustains any kind of playing time, he'll help you in this category.
Larry Hughes added small forward eligibility last week, filling in for the injured Luol Deng. Both Adam Morrison and Corey Maggette added power forward status in most leagues.
Article first appeared on 11/26/08