Last week we covered the 10 Mid-Major guards to watch in the upcoming season, and today we move to the front line.
1. Doug McDermott – Creighton
Like the No. 1 guard (Isaiah Canaan), McDermott really needs no introduction. He’s not simply one of the best at the mid-major level, he’s one of the best in all of college basketball. Creighton lost Antoine Young, but will be loaded in 2012-13, so anyone who didn’t catch on to McDermott yet will get plenty of opportunities.
2. Mike Muscala – Bucknell
It’s a shame more people don’t get to watch the Patriot League, because they’re missing out on Muscala, who does everything you want a center to do. He’s an elite rebounder on both ends of the court. He draws a remarkable 6.9 fouls per 40 minutes (and makes over 85% from the line), he blocks shots, and he doesn’t turn the ball over. On the season he averaged 17 points and 9.1 boards.
3. Tony Mitchell – North Texas
Tony Mitchell was the consensus No. 20 recruit in the nation (and No. 2 in Texas behind Perry Jones) and committed to Missouri out of high school (which, ironically, could have saved Mike Anderson’s job). But that didn’t work out so he tore it up with Team USA for a bit before ending up as the most highly anticipated recruit in the history of the Sun Belt Conference. He averaged a double-double (14.7 points and 10.3 boards) this season as a freshman, had the 4th best DR% in the nation, and for kicks made 44% of his 3s.
4. Robert Covington – Tennessee State
Covington is a long, lean kid out of Chicago who can really light it up. Two years ago he made 46% of his 3s, and then proved that wasn’t a fluke by making 45% last season. Not only can he score (17.8 a game) but he was in the conferences top-7 for offensive rebounding %, defensive rebounding %, and blocks, and was 11th in steal %.
5. Ryan Broekhoff – Valparaiso
The Aussie is a 3-point specialist who can also do work on the interior. He took roughly half his shots from beyond the arc (making 39%), made 60% of his 2s, rarely turned the ball over, made it to the line 4.5 times a game, and played 81% of the team’s minutes.
6. Mike Moser – UNLV
A transfer (Moser is from UCLA), Moser did a lot of good things in his first season at UNLV, and of the players on this list he’s probably the 2nd most likely to move to the top (we’re getting to No. 1). He was an elite rebounder, averaged a double-double, was in the top-6 in blocks for the MWC, and was the only player in its top-15 in steal% who was taller than 6-7 (Moser was 4th). He needs to become more efficient (51% on 2s and 33% on 3s).
7. Julian Boyd – LIU
Two sesaons removed from sitting out with a heart condition it’s hard not to root for Boyd every time he steps on the court. LIU capped off a great season by making the NCAA Tournament, and a large part of that was Boyd. He was the best rebounder in the conference and had a very solid 116.1 offensive rating. He made 58% of his 2s, and it will be interesting to see if he takes more 3s as a senior considering he made 42% of his limited attempts.
8. De’Mon Brooks – Davidson
Brooks has all the tools to be the No. 1 person on this list. He’s a terror of a matchup, making 56% of his 2s, 37% of his 3s and 72% of his free throws. He’s one of the best rebounders in the nation, rarely turns the ball over, and generates a steal on 2.5% of opponents possessions. The problem? He can’t stay on the floor (though he led Davidson in scoring despite playing less than 23 minutes a game). He fouled out of six games and drew four fouls in another ten. If he can clear that up he’ll be getting votes on the AP All American Team.
9. Mike Groselle – The Citadel
How do you stand out on a 6-24 team? You have the season that Mike Groselle had. Despite constant double-teams he averaged 16.7 points and 9.6 rebounds and managed to make 59% of his 2s while he was at it. He’ll never get the credit he deserves because so few people see him play, but his footwork and angles in the post should be made into a video and sent to every high school big in the country.
10. Alec Brown – Wisconsin Green Bay
The 7-1 stick thin Brown makes this list due to his rebounding and shot blocking. He was elite in both those categories, and while he only shot 47% from the field, he did make over 77% of his free throws.