Top 10 Players: Big Ten
- Cody Zeller PF Indiana- 15.6pts. 6.6reb. Zeller is the favorite to win player of the year and barring an injury will be a top 10 pick in next year’s draft. He’s the most athletic Zeller yet, and possess all the necessary skills.
- Trey Burke PG Michigan- 14.8pts. 4.6ast. Burke is quick and smart, two things that are essential for a point guard his size. Even though he flirted with the NBA Draft last year, it was a good decision to stay in school.
- DeShawn Thomas PF Ohio State- 15.9pts. 5.8ast. Thomas couldn’t be stopped for stretches last year. He’s played in Sullinger’s shadow his whole career but will finally get his chance to be the man- he won’t disappoint.
- Tim Fraizer PG Penn State- 18.8pts 6.2ast. Fraizer might honestly be better than Burke, he just has less upside. Fraizer can score from all over the court and really gets the most out of his teammates. It’d be scary to imagine him on a powerhouse team.
- Trevor Mbakwe PF Minnesota- 14.0pts. 9.1reb. Mbakwe has run into some off the court trouble but assuming he plays, it will be interesting to see how he does. At his best, Mbakwe is a beast in the paint and can be unstoppable at times.
- Brandon Paul SG Illinois- 14.7pts. 4.7reb. Paul is coming off his best season and will look to build off the confidence he gained as a full time starter. A new head coach could lead to an adjustment issue, but I look for him to bounce back from a small fade at the end of last year.
- Keith Appling PG Michigan State- 11.4pts. 3.9ast. Appling possesses remarkable quickness and is one of the best defenders in the country. His three point shooting totally abandoned him last year, which led to countless hours in the gym over the summer. If his shooting improves he could be an All-American.
- Christian Watford PF Indiana- 12.6pts. 5.8reb. Watford hit the shot heard around the world last year in the game winner versus Kentucky. He fell off for a while after that but finished the year strong. He’s a talented senior presence that will be needed if they want to win it all.
- Drew Crawford SG Northwestern- 16.1pts. 4.7reb. Vastly underrated, but also inconsistent. The numbers are there, and he usually has a big impact on a game, but won’t receive the respect he deserves until he puts it all together game in and game out.
- Derrick Nix C Michigan State- 8.1pts. 3.8 reb. Nix hasn’t been asked to do too much in his career, but that will change for the newly appointed captain and he has the game to meet those demands. He totally dominated Sullinger in all three meetings last year, and while I could have put Hardaway Jr. or Aaron Craft here, neither of them possesses the upside Nix does.
Top 5 Freshman
- Sam Dekker SG Wisconson- Dekker comes in with as much hype as anyone this year. He will almost automatically start and be Wisconson’s best player from day one.
- Gary Harris SG Michigan State- Harris was yet another coup for Tom Izzo. He’s fast on the break, an able outside shooter, and tenacious on defense; all things Izzo looks for in a player.
- Yogi Ferrell PG Indiana- He’s being compared to Isaiah Thomas- enough said.
- Glenn Robinson III SG Michigan- He really shot up the recruiting rankings the last three months after barely receiving any scholarships before committing to Michigan. Has the talent to be great.
- Mitch McGary C Michigan- Went down the rankings while now teammate Robinson went up. Lots of questions about him as a person; few as a player.