Big Ten’s Top 25 Players: 20-16

  • 08/29/2013 1:13 pm in

082913jcxWith the official start of practice less than five 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 2013-2014 season.

Our selection process involved much deliberation to arrive at a list that we hope will provide plenty of reaction and debate. The series will be broken into five parts (25-21) and our second installment of players 20-16 is available below:

20. D.J. Newbill, Penn State (6-foot-4, guard, junior)
36.5 mpg, 16.3 ppg, 5 rpg, 4 apg, 1.2 spg, 42.8 eFG percentage

Newbill’s role took on a major shift just four games into last season when Penn State lost Tim Frazier for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. The transfer from Southern Miss instantly became a go-to scoring option for Pat Chambers as he used 30.9 percent of his team’s possessions, the highest usage for any Big Ten player. On a winning team, Newbill’s stats would have been good enough for All-Big Ten status, but Penn State finished in the league cellar. Efficiency wasn’t really Newbill’s calling card as he shot just 43.4 percent on 2-point field goals and a dismal 26.7 percent on 3-pointers. He did, however, draw 5.8 fouls per 40 minutes and posted an assist rate of 29.5, which was fourth among Big Ten players. As a redshirt junior, he’ll welcome Frazier back into the lineup and form what should be one of the league’s more potent backcourts.

19. Branden Dawson, Michigan State (6-foot-6, forward, junior)
26.9 mpg, 8.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.6 spg, 1.3 apg, 53.1 eFG percentage

As remarkable as Dawson’s speedy return from a torn ACL was, his production didn’t make the leap that many projected after a solid freshman campaign. Despite a rise in playing time by more than six per minutes per game, his overall numbers only took a modest leap and his shooting numbers were down across the board. He was also less effective on the offensive glass as his offensive rebounding percentage dropped from 13.3 percent as a freshman to 9.9 as a sophomore. His assignment on this list was one of our tougher tasks because of his unquestioned talent and upside, but the reality to this point in his career is that Dawson is an undersized forward who hasn’t proven he can shoot outside of ten feet.

18. Nik Stauskas, Michigan (6-foot-6, guard, sophomore)
30.5 mpg, 11.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.3 apg, .6 spg, 59.7 eFG percentage

Elite shooters are a commodity at any level of basketball and that’s exactly what Stauskas was last season at Michigan. Surrounded by two first round NBA Draft picks in Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. and two future first rounders in Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary, Stauskas hit 44 percent of his 3-pointers, which is exactly the role John Beilein needed him to fill. His 22 points against Florida in the NCAA Tournament helped push the Wolverines to their first Final Four appearance since 1993. As a sophomore, Stauskas will likely find himself with more opportunities in screening situations, where he scored 1.18 points per possession as a freshman. That was the highest of any Big Ten player with more than 25 attempts.

17. A.J. Hammons, Purdue (7-foot-0, center, sophomore)
23.1 mpg, 10.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2 bpg, 49.5 eFG percentage

Despite a proclamation that Hammons could be a contender for Big Ten player of the year by ESPN college basketball analyst and radio host Dan Dakich, we’re not ready to cast the Purdue sophomore in that role just yet. Hammons had a very good freshman season as he ranked in the top ten in the conference in offensive rebounding percentage (11.6) and block percentage (8.7). But as dominant as Hammons was at times, he also had games where he either battled foul trouble or just wasn’t in the condition to play more than 20 minutes. The good news for Purdue fans is that Hammons has reportedly trimmed down even more. He was listed at 280 pounds last season and is now listed at 256 on Purdue’s official site, which makes him a candidate to outperform his spot on this list.

16. Roy Marble, Iowa (6-foot-6, guard, senior)
30.5 mpg, 15.0 ppg, 4 rpg, 3 apg, 1.1 spg, 46.6 eFG percentage

Iowa got another taste of the postseason last year under Fran McCaffery – albeit in the NIT – but the Hawkeyes look poised for the NCAA tournament this year and Marble is a big reason why. Marble led the Hawkeyes all the way to the NIT finals last season as he averaged averaged 20.6 points, 2.4 steals and four rebounds in five games. Iowa returns the core of its team, led by Aaron White and Marble. One of the strengths of his game is getting to the line as he posted a free throw rate of 44.0 percent last season and hit 81 percent from the line. The 3-point shot became a much bigger part of his offensive game as a junior as he took 150 shots from beyond the perimeter, where he hit just 32.7 percent. As a senior, Marble may be best served to become a little more selective offensively, especially on the perimeter, and look to distribute more (22.4 assist rate as a junior).

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  • HoosierFan08

    Does this mean that Vonleh, Farrell, and Sheehey are all top 15 or did someone get left off…

  • Joe B

    I don’t like doing this but.. even if you don’t want to declare Hammons as a contender for B10 POY, having him at 17th on this list is still low.. He’s top 10 IMO. I would guess his production as a 2nd year player will be higher than Vonleh.. Ok, now back to normal.. PU is awful.. That feels better..

  • CreamandCrimson

    I’d take so many guys (way more than 18) over Branden Dawson. He can’t shoot. His decision making is questionable. There have been multiple behavior issues. He is touted as a great rebounder but as the article points out, that has regressed. He is pretty good defender and he looks like a physical specimen but I have never been impressed by him for than 2-3 minute stretches.

  • Stephen Ochs™


  • MillaRed

    If Will and Yogi are good nuff to play for ‘Merica, they good enough to be top 15 players in the B1G. (see what I did there IUMike? I am a literary gangsta)

    Vonleh hasn’t seen the floor. Not sure we can wiggle him in here.

  • Dee McDonald

    I wish this list was based on what all of there returning players actually did last year instead of trying to look into a crystal ball and predict how good they’re going to be. Dawson has never proven to be anything more than a big ball of potential. If he plays like he did the last 2 years, he is NOT one of the 25 best players in the B1G. Admittedly, this is an inexact science, but why can’t we just judge the guys based on what they actually did or have done over the summer instead of guessing. We can expect small impovements, but that would have to be it for some of these guys, IMO

  • Kyl470

    So far I don’t have any real problems with this list. It’s all opinion based and nothing is really that out of place.

  • Crimson&CremeFraiche

    Remember when Derrick Nix said that Dawson could do everything that Oladipo could? Hahaha

  • ScoopGeoff

    So why don’t you make that list…

    How about you make a list that is based on last year’s performances, therefore also leaving out all eligible transfers and incoming freshman, and we’ll compare it to this list at the end of the season to see which is a more accurate portrayal of the best 25 players in the B1G.

    Have fun making a list that predicts Jon Horford is better than Noah Vonleh.

  • ScoopGeoff

    Wud up gangsta… Just wanted to point out that Zak Irvin hasn’t suited up yet either, but they wiggled him into the list. Pretty sure Vonleh is in the top 15. He’s more highly regarded, has a body ready for D1 basketball, a transferable skill (rebounding), and no experienced front court players ahead of him… He’ll get lots of minutes.

    Irvin has to battle with Stauskas and GR3, 2 wings who averaged over 30 minutes/game last season, to see the floor. Caris LeVert also showed a lot of promise, and deserves minutes at the 2…

    Vonleh better be on the list or its already flawed.

  • ScoopGeoff

    Also, I’m pretty sure that AD/HD girl is in the top 15… That is an impressive skill “set”

  • DetroitHoosier1

    Make your own list so you wont have to complain about the work other people out into their list…That’s my humble opinion…..

  • DetroitHoosier1

    Sorry, should have said “put into their list”…..

  • IUJeff

    AJ was dominant vs IU so we know about his potential. I am pretty sure he threw down over 30 that day in the loss. If he put in the work and has decided he will not be denied, he will easily be top 10. Also heard he has dropped around 40 lbs since last season. Ditto..PUke…that does feel better.

  • Dee McDonald

    I want saying it the way either of you guys took it. I’m also not saying that we shouldn’t include freshman. Perhaps I should have clarified that. I’m simply saying that expectations should be based on last year’s performance and anything this off-season that is documented. I just feel like this list is predicting based on assumed improvement rather than what we’ve actually seen or heard. Does that make more sense? Since this is an IU board, for example, if could use the World University Games to judge Ferrell, Sheehey, Payne, & White (I think that’s all of them) and their predicted improvement.

  • MisterSlippery

    I could see Marble and Hammons both in Top 10 by years end, but this seems reasonable.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I’m just saying that if you

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Polled all the coaches in the B1G, every single coach would pick vonley over nick s…

  • HoosierFan08

    That’s a good point, but when was the last time the highest ranked incoming freshman to the Big Ten not one of the top 15 players in the conference?

  • HoosierFan08

    definitely has the potential, the question is does he have the heart and the work ethic. You can’t teach that, you either do or you don’t, and last year he didn’t. My guess is with the awful talent or lack there of that he has surrounding him and the poor coaching, he will have a few games where he looks like a stud and alot of games where he looks like a dud

  • HoosierFan08

    haha…yeah that was way beyond a joke, but then again Derrick Nix was a joke too.

  • HoosierFan08

    Dee…that’s a good point. It seems as though many of the players on these lists are where they are due to their potential coming into College and not how they’ve performed recently. (What have you done for me lately?) Not knocking the list or the effort that these guys have put into it, just wondering what it might look like with different variables. But then again its all opinion, so who really cares at this point?

  • ScoopGeoff

    Well, at least 11 would. I guess there’s a chance Beilein would back his guy.

  • HoosierFan08

    And then there’s the flip side…DJ Newbill is ranked pretty high on this list considering his status and ranking coming into college. I’m assuming he’s ranked this high due to his offensive output and leadership this past year. But, with Tim Frazier coming back, my guess is he drops a bit in production. Probably doesn’t crack the top 35 by season’s end


    I bet he can still taste green shoe leather. lol


    Four shore, I best be seeing it, else I be getting a MillaRed cap busted up my a……

    Ok, it’s pretty obvious that you are much more accomplished at gangsta than me. I be watching fo dat cap. LOL

  • HoosierFan08

    Best guess at the top 15…

    15. D. Valentine
    14. S. Dekker
    13. S. Thompson
    12. W. Sheehey
    11. T. Jackson
    10. K. Appling
    9. Yogi
    8. G. Rob III
    7. T. Frazier
    6. Vonleh
    5. McGary
    4. Payne
    3. White
    2. Craft
    1. Harris

    (Note: no MINN, ILL, or NW players crack the top 25)

    Who have I left out?

  • Punjab

    I dare say that Hammons and McGary are interchangeable. Both have massive potential, but McGary showed no signs of consistency. He put on a show for a few games in the NCAA tournament, and all of a sudden he’s a likely top 15 NBA draft pick. Hammons is every bit as capable at a given time– he put on a show against the #1 team in America– yet he’s not even #15 in the conference?

    Sometimes it’s all about timing.

  • Punjab

    I hate to use the ever-present Oladipo reference because he’s kinda the exception to the rule, but given that criteria where would he have been ranked on this list last year?

  • HoosierFan08

    I think your’re on to something. Both have huge potential, but I’d say neither has been consistent. If you ask me, Hammons has more upside but I think McGary wants it more. Personally I wouldn’t have taken McGary in the draft this year until at least mid to late second round if at all, My guess is with a year under his belt on a good team surrounded with talent and descent coaching, not great he’ll flourish and gain a little more consistency. He’ll go late first round, and Hammons will end up staying for his junior season

  • HoosierFan08

    definitely not number 1, which is how he finished. No list is perfect, and no one can predict how a season is going to turn out regardless of what you use to measure it.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I don’t know whether or not you’ve left anyone out but if this is in order….there’s no way there are 13 guys better than Sam Dekker.

  • E Foy McNaughton


  • You’re way off.

  • MillaRed

    We all are loving us some Noah. I understand. But the B1G is LOADED. We can pretend this kid is already one of the best 15 players but that just isn’t realistic IMO.

    Anxiously waiting for him to show me he is!

  • HoosierFan08

    So who would you put in front of Sam Dekkar? I think he’s good but I’m not convinced he’s top ten

  • HoosierFan08

    Haha…I guess you’re not offering me a job anytime soon huh?

  • Crimson Shouter

    I have a new category for shady college coaches, those “Kentuckians”. Seems likely to me that the Calipari notion of college basketball may be becoming the norm (1 and done). I am still pissed about Zeller. He should have stayed at least one more year (at least). I wish I could banish those NBA leeches from college basketball games. I, personally have NO use for the NBA. None. But Isuppose that that is just me. What’s up with IU de-commits? To Pitino? Boheim? That seems shady to me, too.