Guard leapfrogs Jamal Reynolds at second spot
By José Colorado
A season-best performance from London Lightning player Garrett Williamson has the guard nipping at the heels of Sudbury Five's big man Grandy Glaze.
Williamson - who began the season a tad slow with three single-digit scoring efforts in his first six games - has really picked up his play of late, intensifying Canada's Court heading into week eight.
Although the Lightning may be in a transitional phase currently under its new head coach, the American- Canadian has remained solid – making him a serious candidate to overtake the No.1 spot in the New Year.
1. Grandy Glaze (Toronto, Ont.)
Team: Sudbury Five (8-8)
LW RANK: 1
Stats this week: 6.5 points per game (55.55 per cent field goal shooting), 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, two games played
Season stats: 13.9 points per game (56.3 per cent field goal shooting), 11.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists
Glaze struggled through the worst two-game stretch of his season thus far by tallying his lowest weekly rebounding and scoring totals of the year.
In a 132 – 114 thrashing at home to the KW Titans on Dec.29, the big man was blatantly absent as he failed to record a single field goal for the first time all year, finishing with season-lows in minutes (15), points (two) and rebounds (six).
The next night the Ontarian resembled more himself, going for 11 points (five-of-seven field goal shooting), seven rebounds and five assists (tied for a season-high) in a 105 -103 loss to the Lightning.
While the Five have struggled to duplicate its early-season success, Glaze has remained noticeably consistent making this past week all the more perplexing.
In particular the league's leading rebounder has not recorded a double-digit rebounding match or double-double for the past three games – both season-long streaks.
Either Glaze is hitting the wall or this is simply a little rough patch in a long-season ahead.
Regardless, the gap has shrunk between him and the pack.
2. Garrett Williamson (Lower Merion, Pa.)
Team: London Lightning (6-7)
LW RANK: 3
Stats this week: 22 points per game (65.3 per cent field goal shooting), four rebounds, 2.5 assists, two games played
Season stats: 16.8 points per game (57.3 per cent field goal shooting), 4.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists
Williamson posted the line of the week on Dec.28 when the floor general went for a season-best 29 points on a near impeccable 12-of-13 shooting from the floor to go along with four assists and two rebounds.
He followed that up two nights later with 15 points (five-of-13 field goal shooting) and six rebounds in a 105 -103 win over the Five.
Although the 30-year-old did only record five assists for the entire week, the veteran now leads all Canadians in scoring – usurping Carl English who missed his fourth straight game and has not fulfilled the 60 per cent participation requirement to be considered.
Williamson has steadily taken over the leadership role of the Lightning as the season has worn on.
He now leads the squad in points, field goal percentage, three-point percentage and assists.
Translation: opportunities should be aplenty moving forward.
3. Jamal Reynolds (Pickering, Ont.)
Team: Cape Breton Highlanders (9-4)
LW RANK: 2
Stats this week: 10.67 points per game (43.4 per cent field goal shooting), 5.67 rebounds per game, one block, three games played
Season stats: 16.6 points per game (55.7 per cent field goal shooting), 7.2 assists, one block
The ever-efficient Jamal Reynolds was uncharacteristically subdued this past week as the Pickering-native shot his lowest weekly field goal percentage since week three at 43.4 per cent.
Two single-digit scoring outings – including a season-worst six points – also stuck out for the Highlander as Reynolds had notched double-digits in his other 10 outings.
It's clear that Reynolds – who decreased nearly two points in his overall scoring average this past week – will not be used in the same fashion as he was at season's start with many of his teammates (i.e. Bruce Massey, Deshaunt Walker etc.) taking the scoring load now.
That isn't to say the NBLC veteran cannot still be a key contributor to his club when called upon - as was the case in his most recent game against the Saint John Riptide with 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
But rather the days of the forward challenging Glaze and Williamson for the top spot may simply be in the rear-view mirror.
4. Alex Campbell (Brampton, Ont.)
Team: Island Storm (2-7)
LW RANK: 4
Stats this week: Nine points (four-of-10 field goal shooting), 13 rebounds, four assists, one game played
Season stats: 13.8 points per game (45.3 per cent field goal shooting), 8.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists
Alex Campbell continued to show how his impact reaches far beyond simply points as the Brampton-native tallied a season-high 13 rebounds to go along with nine points and four assists in his lone game of this past week – a 116 -102 loss to the Moncton Magic.
The 13 boards represent Campbell's first double-digit rebounding effort in five outings while his four dimes ties for his second-highest total of the year.
Had the point guard been able to scrap together just one more bucket he would have surpassed Reynolds with his fourth double-double on the year.
As long as Campbell continues to wreak havoc on the glass and keeps his points and assists numbers where they are, he'll have a good shot at passing Reynolds in a couple weeks' time.
5. Ashton Smith (Scarborough, Ont.)
Team: KW Titans (6-5)
LW RANK: 5
Stats this week: 12 points (50 per cent field goal shooting), three rebounds, nine assists, three steals, one game played
Season stats: 12.7 points per game (52.7 per cent field goal shooting), three rebounds, 5.3 assists
As the Titans' play has elevated so has – perhaps not coincidentally – the play of its starting point guard.
Ashton Smith put together his second straight superb game by tallying 12 points (six-of-12 field goal shooting), three rebounds, nine assists and just two turnovers in 29 minutes.
The fact that Smith has been able to produce such steady numbers while averaging just 25.2 minutes per game on the year elevates his stock even further as he now ranks seventh in the league in assists and first when it comes to Canadians.
Yet with Campbell, Glaze, Reynolds and Williamson remaining relatively consistent to date, it may simply be a numbers game when it comes to Smith and getting out of the No.5 spot.
If the point guard can string together a few double-doubles – something he has yet to do this season– that should help his cause.
Otherwise he looks stuck to the fifth slot for the time being.
Tyrone Watson, Halifax Hurricanes
10 points per game (47.4 per cent field goal shooting), four rebounds, 2.6 assists