Because I took an extra day of X-Mas break yesterday, this week's MMBOW only has six days to rule over the mid-major world instead of the normal seven. I'm feeling a little guilty about this and it even kept me up last night for a few extra minutes, so I wanted to do something extra-special for this winner. So I went ahead and Photoshopped a Santa Hat on him.
Power forward Paul Millsap
of Louisiana Tech
is our seventh Mid-Majority Baller Of The Week. Last Monday, he scored 19 and took down 15 rebounds as the Bulldogs beat Memphis
Without a doubt, Millsap's calling card is the rebound, and I mean that literally. He should pass out cards that say: "Paul Millsap: Glass Cleaning Services." As a freshman last season, he had 374 of 'em (12.5 a game), leading the entire nation. He was only the second frosh to lead Division I in that category since the NCAA started keeping stats in 1951, and the first-ever Western Athletic Conference player to win the title. Not bad for a guy who was considered a 3-of-5 star player
out of high school and was rated in the fifties by most recruiting sites, or one who stands 6-8 and weighs 243 pounds. He also was 15th in the nation in field goal percentage during his first college season, which helped him greatly to obtain his jaw-dropping 20 double-doubles. In addition, he obtained the seven-slot on the school's all-time shot-block list with 52.
"The Nation's Best Kept Secret," who is once again leading D1 in rebounding, has his own website
(not surprisingly, it's a PR thing - a Whois search for the domain
leads directly back to the school) where you can see quotes by opposing coaches, read a full bio and stats, and thumb through a photo gallery of Paul doing what he does best. Rebounding and dunking.
Mid-major conferences have been won single-handedly by players like this (and yes, kids, the WAC is
a mid-major league... just two regular season games will be nationally televised
this year, neither of which involve LaTech). With Tulsa
taking a vacation in Oblivionville, Nevada
losing most of the scoring from its Sweet 16 team and Hawaii
a prime candidate for a crash after overachieving with their traditional homecookin'-heavy start, the Bulldogs' primary competition would seem to be Texas-El Paso
. Louisiana Tech's success will depend on how much magic Millsap can cast to mask his team's inefficiencies: shooting from the free-throw line and from any distance over 10 feet out.
His brother John is a senior forward at Texas-San Antonio
, a team that split a home-and-home in the early season that was dubbed the "War of the Millsaps". Paul was recruited by Arizona
, Mississippi State
, but was named "The Best Player Not Headed to a Major Conference" by USA Today after choosing Louisiana Tech. He averaged 25 points, 15 boards and three blocks during his senior year at Grambling (La.) High School, a team that went 28-1 and reached the state semis despite the school's diminutive nickname - the Kittens. So let's give a big "meow" to our latest Mid-Majority Baller Of The Week.