The 2021-22 NCAA basketball season is not yet two months old, yet there have been many sterling performances sprinkled with several surprises. I will look at the biggest early-season surprises.
Most Surprising Player Performances
Tavion Dunn-Martin, Florida Gulf Coast
Graduate transfer Tavion Dunn-Martin is far and away, having the best season of his five-year collegiate career. Dunn-Martin averages 20.3 points along with 3.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists as the Eagles (10-4) are off to their best start under fourth-year coach Michael Fly.
The 5-8 point guard, who is putting up 10 more points a night than his previous career-best, has scored 20 or more points in four straight games and eight times this season. He has topped the 30-point mark on three occasions and also produced two double-doubles.
FGCU is Dunn-Martin’s third stop as he began his college career at Akron (2016-17) and then spent three years at Duquesne.
Alondes Williams, Wake Forest
The 6-5 guard averaged 6.5 points in 17.5 minutes in his two seasons at Oklahoma. He is compiling 20.5 points along with 6.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists while shooting 55.7% from the field and 32.7% from beyond the arc this year with the Demon Deacons.
Williams has reached the 20-point plateau in six of his first 12 games and produced his first career triple-double against USC Upstate (Dec. 11). Williams also has three 30-point games, with two of them coming in his last two outings — 36 points vs. VMI, 34 points vs. Charlotte.
Walker Kessler, Auburn
It is not like everyone didn’t know the 7-1 sophomore was talented, but he has really taken off this year. Kessler turned in a spectacular triple-double performance against LSU on Wednesday, tallying 16 points along with 11 blocks and 10 rebounds. He was 6 of 8 from the field and 3 of 4 from the free-throw line.
Kessler has four double-doubles. He leads the SEC and ranks third nationally in total blocks and blocks per game.
David Jones, DePaul
After averaging 5.1 points in 14.7 over nine games last year, Jones is a major reason DePaul is 9-2 on the season. The 6-6 sophomore has posted two double-doubles and topped the 20-point mark on three occasions, including pouring in a career-high 33 points against Louisville on December 10. He leads the Blue Devils with 8.3 rebounds and second in scoring, behind Javon Freeman-Liberty, with 17.4 points a game. He shoots 52.3% from the field and drains 1.2 treys a contest at a 35.2% clip.