Big Ten’s Top 25 Players: 10-6

  • 08/27/2012 9:27 am in

With the official start of practice less than nine weeks away, Inside the Hall and UM Hoops have partnered to bring you a preseason breakdown of the top 25 players in the Big Ten for the 2012-2013 season.

Our selection process was hardly scientific, but it did involve much deliberation and compromise to arrive at a list that we hope will provide plenty of reaction and debate.

The series is broken down into five parts (25-2120-16, 15-11) and our fourth installment of players 10-6 is available below:

10. Branden Dawson, Michigan State (6-foot-6, forward, sophomore)
20.6 mpg, 8.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 57.7 eFG%

Dawson’s inclusion in the top ten of this list will likely be scrutinized as there’s no guarantee he’ll be 100% when the season tips in November. As a freshman, Dawson was playing some of his best basketball before tearing his left ACL in Michigan State’s loss to Ohio State to close out the regular season. Early reports on his recovery have been very favorable and the graduation of Draymond Green should thrust Dawson into a more prominent role for Tom Izzo this winter. Dawson’s offensive stats were modest in his rookie campaign, but he was the Big Ten’s best offensive rebounder (13.3 OR%) and had emerged as Michigan State’s go-to defender at the time of his injury. If Dawson can become more consistent from the free throw line (59.4% last season) and knock down some perimeter jump shots, it’ll make his knack for getting to the basket even more valuable.

9. Tim Hardaway, Jr., Michigan (6-foot-6 ,guard, junior)
34.2 mpg, 14.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 48.4 eFG%

Hardaway Jr. was a trendy pick for All-Big Ten honors prior to last season, but his inconsistency from the perimeter derailed an otherwise productive season. Fortunately for John Beilein and the co-Big Ten champion Wolverines, Trey Burke’s fantastic freshman campaign helped negate Hardaway’s spotty shooting. The main crux of the problem a season ago was Hardaway’s shooting from behind the 3-point arc, where he fell from 36.7 as a freshman to 28.3 percent as a sophomore. His Big Ten drop off was even more dramatic: 26.5 down from 44.2% in league games. At his best, the Michigan junior is a future pro with a polished offensive game that allows him to score from anywhere on the court. With an offseason of working with Burke both on campus and at various camps like the LeBron James Skills Academy, Hardaway will benefit from better spacing and in turn, should get the ball in better positions to make shots.

8. Tim Frazier, Penn State (6-foot-1, guard, senior)
37.1 mpg, 18.8 ppg, 6.2 apg, 4.7 rpg

After a surprising run to the NCAA tournament two seasons ago, Penn State fell back to the bottom of the Big Ten last season. The lone consistent bright spot in State College was Tim Frazier, who transformed from role player into the definition of go-to guy. Frazier led Penn State in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals, but forcing one player to do so much, particularly a minute guard, is a poor recipe for winning in a major conference. Still, it’s tough not to respect how valuable Frazier was in getting Penn State to four league wins. His assist rate of 45.3 led the Big Ten and was second nationally and he was also second in the conference to Aaron Craft in steal percentage. The other side of the story, of course, is the lack of efficiency in many of Frazier’s numbers, particularly his 44.6 effective field goal percentage. As Pat Chambers continues to rebuild, expect Frazier to continue putting up big numbers in his senior season.

7. Drew Crawford, Northwestern (6-foot-5, guard/forward, senior)
34.6 mpg, 16.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 56.0 eFG%

While teammate John Shurna grabbed headlines and conference accolades in his final collegiate season, Drew Crawford quietly emerged as one of the league’s best players with far less recognition. Crawford improved his 3-point shooting by close to nine percentage points (32.7 to 41.2) and his effective field goal percentage ranked 12th in the Big Ten. When Northwestern pushed Ohio State to the brink at Welsh-Ryan Arena in late February, it was Crawford’s 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting that nearly pushed them over the top. Shurna’s departure means that Crawford will likely see his usage continue to increase and his scoring numbers continue to rise on a team with few other legit scoring options. As one of the Big Ten’s most complete wings, he should flourish in a more prominent role.

6. Keith Appling, Michigan State (6-foot-1, guard, junior)
30.8 mpg, 11.4 ppg, 3.9 apg, 2.9 rpg

Given his progression from his freshman to his sophomore season, Keith Appling looks like a prime candidate to continue his ascent into the discussion of the Big Ten’s elite players. The former McDonald’s All-American saw a steep regression in his 3-point shooting percentage, but those woes were negated by Appling’s ability to get to basket and either score (50.7 percent shooting on 2’s) or get to the foul line. Only Indiana’s Cody Zeller and Ohio State’s Aaron Craft posted a better free throw rate and Appling converted on close to 79 percent of his 178 free throw attempts. Appling also emerged as one of the Big Ten’s best distributors as his 4.1 assists per game were good for 5th in league play. Provided he continues his hard-nosed defense and regains some of his shooting touch, all-conference honors aren’t out of the question for Appling.

This edition of  the Big Ten’s top 25 players was written by Alex Bozich of Inside the Hall.

Filed to:

  • Indiana has four players in the top 25 on the list, which is as many as any team.

  • HoosierTrav

    I dont agree. As much as i love Jordy, He’s no JJ Reddick. You have to do a lot more than stand at the 3 point line to score as much as JJ scored. Jordy definitly deserves to be in the top 25 and i believe he will prove that this season. Get on youtube and watch some JJ Reddick highlights. Also, please tell me what position would Hulls play if he were to step foot into an NBA game? He’s more Tom Coverdale than JJ Reddick and I’m OK with that!

  • Jethro troll

    My problem with DeShaun Thomas is that he cant guard anybody. He’s defintiely a top ten offensive weapon in the B1G, but there’s more to the game than just that.
    Frazier’s the real deal. He’s as good a guard as this conference has, especially in the clutch.

  • HoosierTrav

    their dad boned their mom.. Jk.. but probably!

  • Jethro Troll

    Chambers has actually done a pretty good job with the talent he’s had so far. You cant say his team’s dont give max effort, and that’s step one. The next step for him is improving the talent level in the program.

  • HoosierDD

    He signed a summer league deal w/ the Hawks

  • OhioHoosier

    To have Dawson over Oladipo and especially Watford is pretty ridiculous.

  • Oldguyy

    Terone and Ronnie are brothers (and cousins of Jeremy Hollowell), and Anthony is unrelated.

  • ace132

    top 5? chmon now. hulls is great and i love him. u could make an argument for top 20, ranked above the incoming freshman. hulls’ value on this team is high, but if you put him on penn state or any other bottom of the barrel, his skills don’t translate as well. that is why he isnt sniffing the top 5 and not even in the top 25

  • ace132

    Name a PG in the NBA right, that his only skill is to shoot? and oh yeah, cant stay in front of people on defense. You’re looking at a 38 year old derrick Fisher. Hulls’ skills dont translate. plain and simple

  • ace132

    Inadvertent is right about Vic’s left hand. I am pretty sure you cant find a layup last year where he finished with his left. Not that it hurts him to much because he is dunking all the time.

    I think the jumpshot would be huge for his stock. Also he has to play the whole year like he did at the end, attacking the basket at will

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall


  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I don’t believe I said anything about effort at all in my comment. Obviously that is the logical goal of his. I was also giving Frazier some respect by agreeing he is a top 10 player in the new conference in the country. Next time you try to shred my comment please do not misquote me or put words out there I did not say. No I can’t say they don’t give max effort. That’s why I didn’t say it.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Push shot almost. He Jordy has a bit of a push to his shoulder launch as well.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I agree. Top 6 players should be on the list if Harris’ ranking is solid.



    Look at it this way guys. We have 25% of the top 25 players on our team. Impartial or not, who cares. We are a contender for a banner and that is all that matters!

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    17 in one game!

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I would take a TC and JH backcourt on my team in a pick up game anytime and any place against anyone in the state of Indiana. Just sayin’ #Bombsaway

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    If Creek comesback healthy and is stellar he should get a 6th year of eligibility just the same as Mbakwe did. BIG IF here, but if he could be at 12 or 13 a game this year and 16 or 17 a game next year I guarantee you IU would want him for a 6th year.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Deshaun Thomas will struggle without Sullinger. Part of his game was feeding off the double teams on Sullinger….

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I would like to see a list of the top 25 best athletes in the conference. I would bet a silver dollar Hanner, Vic, and Will would be in the top 12. I would say the nod right now would be given to Lenzelle Smith at this point though. Vic prob strong at number 2 and closer to number 1 than number 3 would be to him. Hanner down the list just because nobody has seen him yet in college play, but could finish the season at the top if he blossoms.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    You are right. Lots of theories were being tossed around.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Hulls will straight put it in your eye next time back down the court if you try to out shoot him. Reference last year late in the 2nd half against Ohio State on New Year’s Eve in Bloomington at “THE REAL ASSEMBLY HALL” Hulls is no joke as a gunner brother. Pure as central Indiana snow.

  • achurt

    I’m also curious. Can we see the ballots?

  • Oldguyy

    Beware of recency bias. But you may prove to be right; my own bias is to disrespect a slashing guard who can’t hit his free throws.

  • INexpat2001

    FWIW — Hutchens posted on his blog yesterday that Creek “passed the look test” (his words) and was walking without a limp but that Hutchens did not see Creek run or shoot.

  • Dagwoods

    I knew I would get criticism, but here’s my opinion. This is supposed to be a ranking of the top players in the Big 10 (not NBA potential players, and the incoming freshmen haven’t proven themselves yet). Just like many of ours did not get much accolades in the past due to how badly our team played, now, we have a team many expect to be #1 (and not just in the Big 10). All of our key players should be getting their just dues now. Jordy is a key player and leader on that team (on & OFF the court). What kind of value can be put on that? If we are really #1, then 2 or 3 of our guys should be in the top 10. I guess I would also rate players based on what they mean to their teams. As far as individual talent or upside is concerned, well, I guess that’s more where this ranking seems to be going – more like the player rankings out there, and we all know how much that really means.

  • HoosierDD

    Mario Chalmers. Darren Collison can’t shoot, pass, or defend and teams keep signing him.

  • 888

    CTCsaid that creek is activated. He looks good and is doing everything that all the other players are doing. Hes not as strong as they want him to be yet but hes back. This is very bad news for all the other college basketball teams because he could very well be the second best player on this team. We all know thats saying alot too cause were friggn loaded. If he stays healthy IU just becomes ridiculous. Thats gonna be too many scorers and hes a 6’7″ shooting guard that can flat out score.

  • ace132

    those guys are limited, i will agree, but both are better than average defensive players. chalmers was co-big 12 defensive player of the year his last year at kansas(junior year). he can D up. Collison’s lateral quickness is up there with the best in the NBA. Clearly both guys were head and shoulders above hulls on D.

    Hulls won’t be able to guard anyone, with that in mind you have to score like monta or jamal crawford to make it in the NBA.

  • ace132

    I buy that. He is definitely our leader and that is tough to replace. Though I don’t believe we are entitled to dues at this point, we have not won anything yet.

    so lets say you can make trades the NCAA. Penn state offers you frazier for hulls, would you pull the trigger?

  • Arch_Puddington

    Hulls not in the Top 25 is a farce (no offense, Alex, you da man). Never mind what I think, just ask coach Cal, who stuck his 6’7″ future lottery pick (Kidd-Gilchrist) on Hulls. Or coach Crean, who has identified Hulls as a winner nonpareil. The shooting alone is enough to alter entire game plans. Add the savvy and leadership, and you have a truly fearsome weapon. Yes, his game has some holes, but he is one of those players who defies his limitations and adds something to his team that can’t be quantified. I place him in the top 15, easy.

  • stevetodd73

    What’s that you don’t have a 40″ vertical? No worries, neither does VO, his is 42″! Lol

  • Kelin Blab

    My argument begins and end with Dawson. Even when healthy he was not one of the top players in the league. A nice Freshmen but alot to prove.

  • Miamihoosier

    OK, so you guys have to include Zeller, Burke, Thomas, Craft, and Mbakwe as our top 5 (as Calbert40 already mentioned) so let’s talk about who should have been on the list, and who they should replace: 1.Basabe is twice the player Marble is, and they are on the same team. If you could pick 12 guys out of the Big Ten right now for your team, you’re taking Basabe as one of them. 2. Adam Woodbury over Mitch McGary. Woodbury earned his 5 star rating by dominating on the AAU circuit, McGary’s became inflated because he held out his recruitment. Every Big Ten coach (except Beilien) if given their choice of the two, takes Woodbury. 3. ,Lenzelle Smith Jr, over Laquinton Ross….Smith is a tough cover, got his looks on a loaded roster, while Ross, couldn’t even make it off the bench. I want to borrow the crystal ball you fellas used to perceive Ross makes a huge leap this year, and Smith idles. Will Sheehey over Terone Johnson. Again every coach in the Big Ten possibly even Painter take Will over Terone.

  • I agree with Alex. Hulls is just outside of the top 25 in my opinion. Yes he is a lights out shooter but that’s essentially his game. Knock down the three. He can’t take anyone off the dribble. He can’t finish in the lane and he’s not a great assist guy (mostly cuz he doesnt get in the lane). He can’t stay in front of anyone on defense and quick guards that pressure the ball makes him look bad. Ik this is an IU sight and I bleed crimson, there is no better feelin when jordy pulls up for a three because you know it’s goin in every time. But everything Else is not up to par with the athletic pg’s of today’s game.

  • Dagwoods

    Respectfully, no. Frazier racks up the stats because he is on a bad team (Verdell did the same), and I’m sure their offense runs around him. Jordy brings so many intangibles to the table. He led his high school team to an undefeated state championship season without lighting up any stats that scream “superstar” – but, he was the leader of that team. That “one game season” quote so many players referred to last year when we were on our way to an undefeated preseason I bet came from him (who else had that experience?) I smell a stellar senior season for Hulls. I’m excited about having Yogi (and I think he’ll make a difference), but he ain’t replacing Hulls. This ranking was fun and controversial, but I’d take our 5 over anybody else’s (and the scary this is, we have more!) We can all laugh at these rankings together when the season is over.

  • Dagwoods

    I always felt he was a jump shot away from the NBA.

  • Arch_Puddington

    Fair points all. But dang it, he just has something that matters. The three ball is a big thing; if he starts throwing them in, the other team has a serious problem. Plus, while he does not finish at the rim, his mid-range game is almost as deadly as his deep game. But beyond all that, he just has a presence that contributes to winning. Can you imagine what he is like in practice? Im probably in the minority, but I’d take him over all but the elite in our conference.

  • ScoopGeoff

    Apparently he had a late growth spurt…

  • Lebron has a 40.3 inch vertical and Vic has 42..thats awesome

  • b_side

    Let’s not get carried away with vertical leap…Miles Plumlee comes in at 40.5.

  • MillaRed

    MSU will always be a thorn in our side as long as Izzy Whiner is over there. He’s a great coach but that whiny face makes me want to hurl.

  • Exhibition starts when. Meet the players and bios. I hate TOP whatever lists. Another man opinion.

  • Geoff_85

    To be fair, all you have to do is foul the guy. He was a 43% FT shooter last year. Pathetic.

  • Jethro Troll

    Thomas played just fine without Sully when OSU played at Kansas last year, scored above his average. Thomas was a highly rated recruit coming out of HS, and he’s a very good offensive player. His offensive numbers will most likely improve some this year.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    He is a great player, but that team will be completely different without Sullinger long term. Lots will change, and it will be on him to carry the load.

  • C_Manuel37

    I dont know how Watford is not a top 10 player in the BigTen and Hulls isnt even on the list.. I know this is a talented conference but come on!

  • MisterSlippery

    I can’t tell if you’re joking or not.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    First off to misquote someone it does not have to be in exact words. Changing the intent of a statement or message can be viewed as misquoting someone. Especially, by adding statements or points in that were not made or part of the conversation. That is where the misquoting came in and here is an example:

    You said ” You can’t say his teams don’t give max effort…..” I NEVER SAID THAT!! Nor would I say that because that is not what I have observed or to believe is true. I have observed the attitude issues in game by coach and player and also towards the officials. This goes beyond Indiana playing Penn St, but the problems I saw observed where against other Big Ten teams. By you telling me I can’t say that (about the effort) implies that the notion of my comment was completely different than it actually was.

    Repeatedly said attitude problems? I spoke of Chambers once and and Frazier once with a closing comment that if he can fix that issue he will become an even better ball player and tough to handle.

    My whole point was agreeing that Frazier is a Top 10 player in the conference and was agreeing with the ranking. I was also stating how he could be better and improve himself to challenge for All Big Ten. My issue is that with Chambers’ sideline behavior and verbal beatings of the officials over every small call or non call then he sends the wrong message to his players and especially to Frazier who seems to lose his head at times.

    All I am saying is maybe you should have commented on what I actually said, instead of what you were wanting to believe I said. We have our individual rights of opinion. You have yours and I have mine. I don’t disagree entirely with you about Chambers’ team and what he is doing. I do believe he needs to carry himself other than a bully towards officials. There were some instances last year that were down right pathetic and he should have got tossed.

  • Jethro Troll

    LMFAO!! There is definitely a reason why most of you posts are rated unfavorable.
    All I can say is WOW! as I move away from that disaster.