This week we have a player of the week not named Keenan Evans, and that’s already a surprise. In the last two games we saw two notable collective efforts, as against Iowa State three players had double-figure performances and in Manhattan that goal was reached by four. In this group, I selected Zhaire Smith because he was almost perfect against the Cyclones and he was the most spectacular player by far.
On Wednesday against Iowa State, Zhaire put on a show, scoring 21 points in 33 minutes, going 7/8 from the field, 1/1 from beyond the arc, and 6/6 from the free-throw line. He also added eight rebounds, two assists, three steals, and two blocks, and he was the key that opened the door latch of the Iowa State defense.
Three days later, in the away game against Kansas State, Zhaire didn’t reach the numbers he had with Iowa State, as he closed with 11 points, five rebounds, and four assists, but he played 36 minutes and helped the team in its spectacular defensive performance.
In this moment, Smith averages 10.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. These are good numbers for a freshman, but in some recent games, he had some bad performances that lowered his numbers. If he’ll find more continuity, it will be a useful step for the Red Raiders entering a period in which every single game counts.