Victorian Dejan Vasiljevic has turned up the heat for Miami to tip off his senior year with the Hurricanes, exploding for a new career-high this week.
'DJ' has kick-started his final year in Miami in great style, delivering consistent scoring performances on his way to averaging career-high's in points (15.6ppg), rebounds (4.6rpg), assists (2.0apg), field goal shooting (51.9%) and three-point shooting (44.1%) across the Hurricane's opening 5 games. No outing was better than when he took to the court against Missouri State at the Charleston Classic.
Vasiljevic was a standout throughout, helping his establish a first half lead before coming up big down the stretch. He drained two of his four triples for the game as part of a 22-13 run to close out the first half with his side leading by 8 points. While Miami would extend their advantage to 18 in the third, Missouri State would stage a furious final quarter fightback to close the margin to within 2 points with just 1.8 seconds remaining in a 24-10 run. Yet as he had done all game, Vasiljevic stepped up with the big play.
DJ was fouled on an inbound pass, coolly draining both from the line to ice the game and ensure his side came away with a 74-70 victory.
Vasiljevic finished with a game and new career-high 25 points on a red-hot 9 of 13 shooting, including 4 of 7 three-pointers. Unfortunately for Vasiljevic and the Hurricanes, their charge to a potential third Charleston Classic title was thwarted by Florida the very next game, with a difficult second half resulting in a 58-78 loss. DJ would add 8 points in that game.
Also enjoying a terrific start to the season is Cameron Healy with the Great Danes. The 6'3 guard from Sydney has continued on where he left off from his freshman year, racking up two games of 20+ points and guiding Albany to a 2-2 record.
Healy's first two outings resulted in a 21 point outburst in a narrow 4 point loss to Lehigh before adding a further 20 points on 70% shooting in a big 26 point win over Canisius. He then added 15 points and 7 rebounds to a last start 78-52 win against Division III team SUNY Potsdam.
While Healy leads Albany in scoring with 16.2 points per game, fellow Australian sophomore Adam Lulka has also been impressing for the Great Danes in averaging 8.3 points and 5 rebounds per game in playing three games to date.
Stepping out for the California Bears is 6'8 forward Grant Anticevich, and the versatile big man is enjoying a great start too.
Anticevich would score 16 of a new career-high 23 points in the first half against Cal Baptist, as the Bears closed out the second half strongly to register a commanding 82-62 win. The sharpshooting forward blew apart his previous best of 11 points, shooting a scintillating 9 of 11 from the field which included a perfect 5 of 5 from three-point territory to lead all scorers in the win. He also pulled down 9 rebounds and handed out 4 assists in the best performance if his career to date.
Three Aussies also hit the court for Cal Baptist, with freshman Tre Armstrong coming off the bench to add 5 points, while Reed Nottage added 3 and Glenn Morison going scoreless.
Chier Maker, the cousin of Detroit Pistons forward Thon Maker, is making a big impact for Idaho State. The senior 6'8 forward is breaking out, scoring 15 points or more across his last three games.
In an 89-79 win against Air Force, Maker poured in a new career-high 21 points (8-14 FG) which included 4 of 8 three pointers alongside 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 blocked shot in an impressive performance. He backed up by hitting 4 of 6 three-pointers in finishing with a game-high 18 points and 7 rebounds, as the Bengals earned a second straight victory in taking down NAIA school Montana-Western 80-48.
While Idaho State's winning streak would come to a end at the hands of Washington State 81-72, Maker was again prominent. He contributed 15 points and 7 rebounds in that loss, leaving him with season averages of 13.7 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists per game so far.
The best performed freshman to date is none other than Arizona star Josh Green. A 20 point, 5 rebound and 2 assist performance in a 90-69 win against Illinois is his best scoring output to date, however his most recent outing has arguably been his best all-round performance.
In a tight 71-64 win against South Dakota State, Green not only collected 15 points with 2 rebounds, but it was his outstanding defensive skills that captured the attention. While Arizona needed a strong finish to shake off the Jackrabbits in what was the first time the Wildcats had struggled this season, Green's defense and 3 steals were importance in grinding out a victory.