Welcome all to 2015. Before we depart from the origin point of a brand new 365-day journey, this edition of the College Campus Tour will reflect upon an action packed New Year’s Eve that was loaded with notable performances. The following handful of players closed out the 2014 calendar in fantastic fashion and certainly set the stage for the early winter portion of the NCAA Men’s Basketball schedule.
The first leg of the trip brings us to South Orange, New Jersey, where the Pirates of Seton Hall are hoisting their sails after plundering a seven-game winning streak away from 15th ranked St. John’s with a 78-67 victory. Led by an extremely impressive 25-point outburst from junior guard Sterling Gibbs, Coach Kevin Willard’s now 11-2 squad notified the Big East that they mean business. In support of Gibbs’ effort, which also included eight assists and five treys, backcourt mate Jaren Sina tied a personal season-high of 14 points while sinking 4-of-8 shots from beyond the arc.
Moving on, we find ourselves in Big 10 country. Most college basketball fans need no introduction to Wisconsin’s Wooden Award contender Frank Kaminsky. The 7’0” senior put up a strong 18-point, 14-rebound double-double in an 89-72 win over Penn State on December 31, proving once again that he is not only a huge part of the now 13-1 Badgers but one of the nation’s top players. Kaminsky seems to be at top form heading into conference play, as he has averaged 19.0 points, 11.0 boards and 2.3 blocks through the last three games.
Staying in the Midwest, but a bit to the south, Iowa State Head Coach Fred Hoiberg, who made 183 three-pointers as a standout for the Cyclones from 1991-95, was all smiles as he watched junior guard Naz Long knock down seven treys en route to a 50-point drubbing of Mississippi Valley State. After their sharpshooter went off for 24 points against the Delta Devils on New Year’s Eve, the Cyclones will ride a seven-game winning into a battle with South Carolina on January 3. Concerning his big night, Long closed out 2014 with a comical understatement that pretty much sums up how No. 9 Iowa State’s (10-1) season has gone to this point. “It felt good.”