CALGARY, Alta. — While the Vermont Catamounts look to be the clear favourite to win the America East title, there are several teams who they should be worried about as the conference tournament approaches.
One of those teams possesses one of the stronger guard-forward tandems in the conference, if not the NCAA as a whole.
The New Hampshire Wildcats boast junior forward Tanner Leissner inside, and senior scoring guard Jaleen Smith on the outside. The two have combined to average more than 32 points and 14 rebounds per contest this year, and they have helped to lead the Wildcats to a 17-11 record overall.
This past week, Smith put all of his talents on display in a pair of wins for New Hampshire. He can impact the game on so many levels, and that was prevalent over the past seven days.
After his impressive week, fans showed their support for the native of Freeport, Texas. Jaleen Smith has been selected by the fans as the College Court Report Fan-Voted Player of the Week for the week of February 13 – 19, 2017!
After his efforts this past week, Smith was also named the America East Co-Player of the Week, and for good reason.
The Wildcats came into the week riding the momentum of a road win over the Binghamton Bearcats that ended their four-game losing streak. Smith and company weren’t going to let the momentum go by the wayside, and they built off of it in front of their home crowd.
On Wednesday night, the Wildcats welcomed the Maine Black Bears to town, looking to build off their win over the weekend and move up in the standings. Behind Smith, who put together one of his best all-round performances of the season, the Wildcats held down home court with a 64-51 victory.
On 8-of-18 shooting from the field, Smith finished with 21 points. It was his 11th game of the season with scoring 20 or more points. Smith also recorded 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals in the victory.
Three days later, the Wildcats concluded their mini two-game home swing with a contest against Jalen Ross and the Hartford Hawks. Once again, Smith was at the forefront of New Hampshire’s game plan on both ends of the court.
In the Wildcats’ 82-52 victory, Smith recorded a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead the way. He also recorded 4 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal for his second straight strong performance on both ends of the court.
For the week, Smith averaged even numbers across the board. He put up 20.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 2.0 steals per contest while helping to lead New Hampshire to a pair of big wins to keep them in the top half of the conference standings.
It’s been a career year for Smith, who has always been a star for New Hampshire but hasn’t always received the national appreciation that a player of his caliber deserves. For the year, he is averaging 15.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game, all of which are career highs.
New Hampshire looks to be in good shape for another post-season appearance in 2016-17. They are one of the top threats to Vermont atop the America East standings, and could steal a bid into the NCAA Tournament. The play of Smith will be a big factor in how far the team can go in the post-season.
After posting an impressive stat line over two wins for New Hampshire this past week, fans showed their appreciation for the senior guard. Jaleen Smith has been selected as the College Court Report Fan-Voted Player of the Week for the week of February 13 – 19, 2017!
Feb. 6 – 12, 2017: Tyler Flack, South Dakota Coyotes
Jan. 30 – Feb. 5, 2017: Victor Sanders, Idaho Vandals
Jan. 23 – 29, 2017: Kevin Hervey, UT-Arlington Mavericks
Jan. 16 – 22, 2017: Dequon Miller, Missouri State Bears
Jan. 9 – 15, 2017: Nick Hornsby, Sacramento State Hornets
Jan. 2 – 8, 2017: Daniel Dixon, William & Mary Tribe
Dec. 26, 2016 – Jan. 1, 2017: Alec Wintering, Portland Pilots
Dec. 12 – 18, 2016: Devin Carter, Arkansas State Red Wolves
Dec. 5 – 11, 2016: Jeremy Morgan, Northern Iowa Panthers
Dec. 5 – 11, 2016: Joe Cremo, Albany Great Danes
Nov. 28 – Dec. 4, 2016: LaVell Boyd, UMKC Kangaroos
Nov. 20 – 27, 2016: Egor Koulechov, Rice Owls
Nov. 14 – 20, 2016: Josh Robinson, Austin Peay Governors
Nov. 11 – 13, 2016: Alize Johnson, Missouri State Bears
**College Court Report Player of the Week recipients are selected from teams in the following conferences:
America East, Atlantic Sun, Atlantic 10, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Conference USA, Horizon League, Ivy League, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot League, Southern, Southland, Summit League, SWAC, Sun Belt, West Coast, and WAC