By Kavin Mistry:
Dezz Ramos and Brandon Clarke have put themselves in the Mountain West Player of the Year conversation after having finished last week with 60 points, each, over two games and navigating through January with outstanding numbers on the season.
Both have established themselves as dominant scorers in their second seasons as Spartans. But each have a unique style to take over a game.
Ramos has been scoring 22.4 points per game, good enough for the top spot in the conference while dishing out 5.4 assists (third in MW). Her shooting dominance culminated last week when she hit a buzzer-beating fadeaway jump shot in overtime to give the Spartans the win over San Diego State.
“I am always really confident in her when she has the ball in her hands,” said women’s basketball head coach Jamie Craighead.
That confidence has paid off as Ramos has been the focal point for the entire offense this season, knocking down clutch shots and being able to go off at anytime.
“We always wait for it to be Dezz time,” Craighead said. “When we run the ball well, they lose Dezz and she is able to be open or find other people.”
While Ramos has been attacking defenses all season, her biggest step up has been when the Spartans need her most, in conference play. She is scoring 30.2 points per game and has 28 assists in five conference matchups this season.
“Dezz is a pretty unique player, in that she can pretty much dictate the tempo of the game,” Craighead said.
The Spartans are 3-2 in conference play.
Clarke has established himself as a go-to scoring weapon for the Spartans this season. He is growing as an all-around player each game, to the point of being mentioned by ESPN’s Kevin Connors after his phenomenal 36 point, five rebound, five assist and five block game at Air Force on Saturday.
Clarke’s dominance has gone past just putting up high point totals each night, his efficiency from the floor is astounding. To go along with the forward’s 17.6 points per game (third in MW), he is shooting 60 percent from the field (first in MW).
“He’s an all-league player, top five player in the league in my mind,” said men’s basketball head coach Dave Wojcik. “What has impressed me is he is gifted with great stamina. Not much I can say other than he is a hell of a player.”
Along with being a premier scorer for the Spartans, Clarke has been strong on defense, specifically blocking. After having 39 blocks his freshman season, Clarke already has 39 blocks this season with 13 games still remaining.
Both players have caught the eyes of Spartan fans this season, but now, all that’s left for them is to receive conference hardware.