The American Athletic Conference has released the first winners of the Conference Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week honors. Rutgers forward Kadeem Jack and was named AAC Conference Player of the week, while USF forward Chris Perry was named the AAC Rookie of the Week.
As I mentioned in my season preview of Rutgers, Jack will be one of the players that Rutgers has to lean on during the 2013-14 campaign. While the effort by the Scarlet Knights was questionable, edging out Florida A&M 92-84, Jack was sensational in the season opener, pouring in a career-high 30 points to go along with 12 rebounds. He went 12-18 from the field and 6-7 from the line, and unlike many premier scorers, did not attempt a 3-point shot. A forward with a lot of athleticism, Jack will look to continue his aggressive play during the course of the season.
USF freshman Perry, at 6-foot-8 and 266 pounds, established himself as a legitimate starter in the Bulls’ season opener against Tennessee Tech, after he posted 14 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Shooting seven of 10 from the field, Perry was able to become a valuable second option to team leader Victor Rudd.
Other notable performances during the first week of AAC play that all resulted in wins, include USF’s Victor Rudd (23 points, six rebounds vs. Tennessee Tech), Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier (18 points, seven rebounds, seven assists vs. Maryland), Cincinnati’s Sean Kilpatrick (22 points, seven rebounds, four assists vs. North Carolina Central), Houston’s Danuel House (24 points, eight rebounds vs. Texas St.) and Louisville’s Russ Smith (21 points, five assists vs. College of Charleston).
Come season’s end, I think Connecticut’s Napier will take home the most of the Player of the Week awards and take home the first AAC Player of the Year award. While the conference doesn’t compare to that of the old Big East, there are certainly a plethora of talented players for all of us to enjoy watching.