Naji Marshall was the conference freshman of the week this week, thanks to solid performances against not one but two top 25 teams. Aside from grabbing a start in that game, Naji has been coming off the bench for the whole season. That begs the question: is he the best sixth man in the conference?
First we have to identify the competition. It’s a simple process: take each team, eliminate the five players with the most starts in conference play, then grab the dude who’s left who has the most minutes.
That leaves us with the ten guys below and their stats in conference play, sorted by points per game:
|Ismael Sanogo||Seton Hall||Sr||5.0||3.8||1.0||.643||1.000||.417||108||71.4||5.6||14.4||8.2||22.1|
|Bryan Trimble||St. John's||Fr||2.8||1.7||0.3||.429||.417||122.7||60.7||2.1||9.5||3.4||7.9|
Click on any column on the header to sort by it.
As you can see, Naji is kind of in the middle of the pack right now. His numbers are down a bit from non-conference play, though that’s expected in the transition to Big East games. Encouragingly, Naji clearly had a good week last week and may well be hitting his stride. It’s also worth noting that, depending on your stat of choice, Naji has been one of the most productive freshmen on this chart.
Naji probably isn’t going to be Big East Sixth Man of the Year this year, thanks to Donte DiVincenzo. He’s also probably not going to be the conference’s Freshman of the Year (or whatever they call it), thanks to Omari Spellman. Aside from Nova once again ruining everything, what Naji already is and likely will continue to be is a remarkably productive member of the best bench unit in the Big East.