With the WIldcats finishing off the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday night and claiming the 2013 Battle 4 Atlantis title, they have now skyrocketed to claim the #14 ranking in the AP Poll. This tournament really proved that this is not just a skilled team, but a group of soldiers who are willing to go to battle for one another every minute of every game. Here are the grades for each Wildcat player from the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament.t.
The man nicknamed "Arch" on the mainline was an essential part of the Wildcats' run to take the Battle 4 Atlantis title. His catch and shoot three with just over 10 seconds left against Kansas solidified the upset and his two late threes against Iowa helped force an overtime period. Prior to the tournament, Arch was struggling with his three point game shooting an atrocious 16% on 3-19 but finally found his stroke by going 7-20 for 35% from three in the Bahamas. What keeps Arch from receiving an A is shot selection where at times he took ill-advised deep threes with plenty of time left on the shot clock. Overall, a very impressive showing from Arch.
Hilliard played an outstanding game against the USC Trojans going 5-8 from the field and 3-6 from downtown. In the game against Kansas with his team down 11-2 and looking very overmatched, Hilliard rose to the occasion and hit two straight threes to get his team back into the game both on the scoreboard and mentally. What keeps Hilliard from reaching a B+ was the amount of times he turned the ball over especially in the championship game and fouling out which he needs to avoid in the future because he is a very key part of this team when they are at their best. Free throws win and lose games and Hilliard struggled from the free throw line finishing the weekend with a 7-15 showing which is a very ugly 46% and this number is much too low to be acceptable.
The tournament MVP and Senior captain stepped up big for the Wildcats in the Bahamas. Against the Trojans, he shot a decent 8-18 from the field and finished with 17 points. Although he struggled on the offensive end against the Jayhawks, he compensated by playing outstanding defense and drawing charges to help halt any momentum that the Jayhawks were attempting to build. In the Championship game, Bell single handedly brought his team back from a big deficit by drilling three straight three point attempts in the second half and finishing 4-9 from three with 20 points. He also helped control the boards against the Hawkeyes by leading the team with 9 boards, 4 of which were on the offensive end. Overall, very deserving of an MVP with his numbers and intangibles he brings to the floor every night.
Pinkston had a very solid tournament as he contributed with 12 points on 50% shooting in the USC game, 13 points on 4-13 shooting against Kansas and 14 points on 50% from the field in the championship game. What made his showing even more impressive was how well he handled being forced into the center position as an undersized power forward against the Hawkeyes by grabbing 6 defensive rebounds. He also shot a decent 70% from the charity stripe for the weekend. At times however, Pinkston tried to force plays that were not available which resulted in a few unnecessary turnovers but a very good showing from the big man.
Saying this was a bad weekend for "The Chef" would be an understatement. This simply was not a good weekend for Ochefu as he was a turnover machine by being guilty of 10 turnovers in the three games which is way too high of a number for a man that is not asked to handle the ball very often throughout each game. On the weekend, Ochefu shot 33% on 3-9 shooting from the field, numbers that are way too low for a player whose shot attempts come from right around the basket. Although some say he was benched because of receiving a technical foul, one has to think that his quality of play was a major factor in Jay Wright's decision to keep him on the bench for the entire second half against Iowa. Down the road, Ochefu is going to have to step up his game against teams who have very strong interior players. What keeps him from receiving an F or D- is the defensive presence he provided in the first two games of the tournament by recording 6 blocks.
Ennis certainly did not play as though this was his first organized basketball game since March 20, 2012 when he suited up for Rice. In his first game back against USC, Ennis shot 75% on 3-4 from three point land and 4-5 overall shooting finishing with 14 points on the day. He followed that up with another strong performance against Kansas by drilling a couple of deep contested threes and making all three he attempted and repeated his total shooting and points from the first game. With yet another strong outing against Iowa, shooting 2-5 from three, Ennis capped off a very impressive weekend and showed the instant offense he can provide off the bench on any night.
The freshman really took a huge step forward in the Bahamas. After struggling a bit in the first game against USC, as he was held without a basket, he seemed to put that behind him very quickly as he hit the only two shots he took against Kansas, both of which were three pointers. However, he really left his mark in the championship game, as at some moments in the game it looked as though he was the only Wildcat physically and mentally into the game as he was diving all over the floor trying to grab loose balls. His energy and hard work really had a major effect on the rest of his team as everyone rallied around him shortly after his determination was on full show. He finished with 14 points on the night in the final game and finished 3-4 from the line including two big ones toward the end of the game which helped solidify the win.
Along with fellow freshman Hart, Jenkins also took his play to the next level throughout the weekend. He left his mark in the championship game when he finished with a season high 12 points including shooting 2-5 from three point land. His biggest shot came when the Cats were trailing early in overtime 78-75, a three from the top of the arc which tied up the game at 78. What was even more impressive about Jenkins was his composure at the free throw line in crunch time as he hit two huge free throws to help increase the lead in the overtime period and he finished a perfect 4-4 from the line on the night. A very solid tournament from the freshman forward.
Chennault was a very under appreciated player during the tournament as he finished the weekend with 7 assists and only 2 turnovers in 37 quality minutes of play. Although he only recorded 5 points in the three games, he avoided turning the ball over and proved to be a very reliable backup point guard off the bench. I am a big fan of Chennault myself because he makes smart passes and avoids turning the ball over which is a great thing to have when the team is struggling with turnovers. He can come in and solidify the offensive end with his smart decision making which he did a great job at in the Bahamas.
Not much more can be said about how great of a job Wright has been doing this season by managing a solid rotation that now includes 9 players with the return of Dylan Ennis. This whole suit thing is ridiculous because no one cares what he wears as long as he's doing his job well. This weekend, Wright found himself coaching against Bill Self, who has the privilege of three NBA lottery picks in Wiggins, Selden, and Embiid and a team full of the top recruits across the nation. Wright knows what kind of team and talent he has and he gets the most out of his players as he showed this weekend. His players will go to battle for him and this is a very important aspect of coaching, having players respect you. The best decision he made was drawing up a screen play to get the ball in the hands of Arcidiacono at the end of the Kansas game and Arch responded by hitting that huge three at the end of the game. This team is in good hands with Wright as their leader.