Big Ten’s Top 25 Players: 15-11

  • 09/03/2013 1:29 pm in


With the official start of practice less than four 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, 20-16) and our third installment of players 15-11 is available below:

15. Drew Crawford, Northwestern (6-foot-5, wing, senior)
31.8 mpg, 13.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1 spg, 47 eFG percentage (10 GP)

Crawford had improved steadily throughout his career at Northwestern and appeared to be on his way to a big season when he was forced to undergo season ending should surgery in December. When healthy, he’s proven that he’s one of the more reliable wing guards in the conference with career per game averages of 13.5 points and 4.6 rebounds. He’s a capable finisher at the basket and shot over 41 percent from long range in his last full season. While his role in new head coach Chris Collins’ remains to be seen, Crawford sounds excited to play in Collins’s new system. “I enjoyed playing the Princeton offense. It’s a really unique way of playing basketball,” Crawford told ESPN. “But Coach Collins has brought us back to the fundamentals, and it’s brought me back to playing basketball the way I did before I was in college. It’s definitely an exciting time.”

14. Will Sheehey, Indiana (6-foot-6, wing, senior)
22.2 mpg, 9.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.3 apg, .8 spg, 54 eFG percentage

Sheehey had his most efficient season as a junior but was decidedly second fiddle to superstar teammates Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller. He brings a little bit of everything to the table on both ends of the floor. He can knock down the three (35 percent), get to the basket (55 percent 2-point shooting), draw fouls, and he doesn’t turn it over. While he was the best sixth man in the conference last season, it remains to be seen whether he’s ready to be relied on as a focal point of the Hoosier offense. He’s always excelled playing off of the ball and spotting up on the wings but it’s easier to do that when opponents are game planning for your teammates. After participating in adidas Nations and the World University Games in Russia, Sheehey looks like a player ready to take the next step in his development as a senior.

13. Keith Appling, Michigan State (6-foot-2, guard, senior)
33.6 mpg, 13.4 ppg, 3.3 apg, 3.4 rpg, 1.3 spg, 46.9 eFG percentage

Appling was one of our biggest misses on the list last year at No. 6 overall. He hit some big shots as a junior (most notably to help beat Kansas and Wisconsin) and made moderate statistical improvements but it never all clicked. Appling was supposed to go from good to great as a junior and it just didn’t happen. Playing the point guard position full time never quite worked out for Appling, who saw his efficiency regress in his junior season. His three-point shot is still wildly inconsistent (he went 5-of-36 from long range over a seven game stretch last season) and his assist numbers don’t rank favorably against top passing guards.

Michigan State returns more talent than any other team in the league but Appling is the player that will determine the Spartans’ fate. Can he finally master the point guard position and help Gary Harris and Adreian Payne flourish or will he be stuck in neutral for his final season?

12. Noah Vonleh, Indiana (6-foot-10, forward, freshman)

Vonleh is the highest rated freshman on the list and the only McDonald’s All-American headed to the Big Ten this season. He just had his 18th birthday in late August and is very young for his class, a sure sign that his best days are ahead of him. His measurables are off the charts. He measured in at 6-foot-9.75 inches tall (with shoes), 242 pounds with a 7-foot-4 inch wingspan at the Nike Hoop Summit this spring. Already earning significant NBA draft buzz, Vonleh will be expected to make an early impact for an Indiana team that lost its top four scorers from a season ago. Vonleh’s size and versatility should give Tom Crean lineup flexibility and his length and rebounding ability should translate immediately to the Big Ten level.

11. LaQuinton Ross, Ohio State (6-foot-8, forward, senior)
16.9 mpg, 8.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, .5 apg, .3 spg, 54.2 eFG percentage

We put Ross on the list last year and he didn’t live up to the hype. He had an improved season but still played just 15 minutes and scored six points per game in Big Ten play. But Ross had a tremendous NCAA tournament, averaging just shy of 18 points per game while helping Ohio State to the Elite Eight, and appears ready to take the next step. We might look silly once again by giving him a double-digit boost in the rankings after playing just 17 minutes per game last season but Ross should finally shine this season with Deshaun Thomas out of the picture. Ross turned the ball over a bit too much last year (23% of his possessions) but he’s a complete scorer at 6-foot-8. He shot a solid 52 percent inside the arc and 39 percent outside the arc and he will be much more comfortable being the go-to offensive player than Aaron Craft, Shannon Scott and Sam Thompson.

Filed to:

  • CreamandCrimson

    LaQuinton Ross could end up being a really, really good player. There’s no doubt about that. However, if I were picking a team for this coming season, there is no way I would take Ross ahead of Will Sheehey.

  • OhioHoosier

    Are those statistics for vonleh from prep school or projections? I don’t see any other freshmen with statistics so I was curious.

  • Those were from another capsule. Shouldn’t have been in there.

  • Kyl470

    I still haven’t seen Yogi on this list and I would not say Yogi is a better player than Sheehey.

  • drewheck

    Yogi will in my opinion be in numbers 10-5

  • Dr Dave

    I think it is obvious why Will has to be slotted at #14: Victor went from last year’s #14 to #2 in the draft, and ITH wants to tap into the mojo again.
    Not seriously wanting to put that kind of expectation on Will (I think Victor was a once-in-a-generation story), but trying to have some fun with the rankings.

  • Snookafly

    I know that seems to be the opinion of a lot of posters on ITH, but Yogi has a much better resume. He started at point as a freshman, while Will started once (?) last year. Will is a better scorer, but Yogi hasn’t really tried to be a significant scorer for us yet — not from a lack of desire or ability, but because he understands his role as a PG. Right now they are probably 1 and 1A on our team, but Yogi has a lot more potential down the road.


    Sounds like some damn good fun to me, I’m all about it ! If Will ends up having a super season it will be mandatory that Alex not only have this type of preview before every season, but that an IU player must always be slotted at # 14.

  • Kyl470

    I’m not anti Yogi, but I bet if you asked NBA scouts they are higher on Sheehey than Yogi. I see Sheehey as a less talented Richard Hamilton type guy.

  • plane1972

    Much less talented Rip Hamilton. He has a lot more to prove to be in that company.

  • HoosierTrav

    Noah Vonleh will be our best player. Book it. I’m taking all bets with all takers who say Vonleh won’t be our best player.

  • OhioHoosier

    Understood thanks!

  • yimyames

    Agree 100%! NV will have people forgetting about Cody by week 2.

  • Rie

    I like the enthusiasm, but no, we will never forget Cody nor should we expect Noah to be anywhere close to as impactful from the start.

  • Btown88

    Nobody will ever forget Cody Zeller!

  • I know NV is the favorite to be our best incoming player, but I’ll bet TW will be more productive

  • tmessIUfan

    This won’t even be close! Noah is going to score a sufficient amount of points. But where he will stand alone and in my opinion be an upgrade over Cody will be in rebounding. He is an animal on the boards. May not score as many points per game as Cody but will definitely outrebound him.

  • tmessIUfan

    P.S. We will never forget about Cody! He brought us back to the top of the heap fella’s!

  • BluegrassHoosier

    Vonleh the only All Americsn freshman in the Big 10. Amazing.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Shocking – really! Oh, I agree with everyone who says NV will be the no 1 option, Sheehey will be 1A, yogi will be 3rd team all B1G

  • Mr. Mitchell

    I will never forget Cody left before graduation. Zellers dont do that

  • Kyl470

    I think people are expecting way to much out of Vonleh. Yes he has a lot of potential, but his offensive game isn’t nearly as polished as Cody’s was coming out of high school. He also has always battled issues with getting into foul trouble. I do think he will lead the team in rebounding and blocks, but my guess he is our third option on offense and most of his points will come on offensive rebounds.

  • HoosierGrampy

    I doubt that CTC will rely on or even want Will Sheehey to be the focal point of IU’s offense. I firmly believe that Fisher, Vonleh, Williams, & Ferrell have sufficient skills and smarts to make any team think twice about doubling up on Will. I hope he does have an expanded role this year; I am equally confident that Will will give his best shot to accomplish whatever is asked of him!

  • HoosierTrav

    Agree to disagree. Not sure where you are getting that Noah is much less polished offensively than Cody in high school… Noah had some games that he fouled out, sure, but it wasn’t a problem for the most part. Noah is a better ball handler, offensive rebounder, perimeter shooter than Cody was in high school. He wasn’t as good in the post but he’s a 3/4, so that’s ok. Another thing I think you may be undervaluing is the level of comp Noah went against night in and night out. Not the same local southern indiana chumps Cody went against. Here’s a list of guys he played against EVERYNIGHT…. Georges Niang, Goodluck Okonoboh, Nerlens Noel, Mitch McGary, Chris McCullogh, Wayne Seldon, Kuran Iverson, Dominic Woodson, Jared Terrell, Kaleb Joseph, and some more I’m sure I missed… I’m not trying to talk down to you by any means, nor am I saying you don’t know what you’re talking about. I just think the hype is well deserved for many kids of his caliber. Cody lived up to his hype and there is no reason Noah can’t either. Just look at how he played at the Lebron James skills academy. He was on the court with current (upperclassmen) studs from big time programs, and many significant names in basketball thought he was the best on the court…. I definitlely respect that you have tempered expectations. I wish I could adhere to this same approach more in recruiting, but I think getting really excited about Noah is ok.

  • CheesyHoosier

    LaQuinton Ross better than Will and Noah? Not so sure about that one. Interested to see where Yogi lands.

  • ufo3

    Troy Williams is going to be a major surprise for the IU in the B1G. I look for Noah and Troy to be immediate impact players at IU.

  • HoosierFan08

    I think LaQuinton Ross is good, but my issue is that he is at best the fourth option on that team offensively behind Smith, Thompson, and Craft and maybe even Scott. I’m just not sure how often he gets to shoot and I don’t think his defense is much to write home about. I suppose if he plays like he did in the tournament last year they might have to give him looks. My guess is, he’s better than what his numbers are gonna show, probably alot like last year

  • SCHoosier

    Not big on comparisons..but with “I get to shoot it from anywhere” D. Thomas gone..I do believe Ross will have a breakout season. Has the entire package..especially offensively.

  • yimyames

    Why should we not have the expectations? NV is actually ranked higher than Cody coming out of high school. I know rankings aren’t everything, but the only advantage I can see for Cody is about two inches.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    Better perimeter shooter than Cody coming out of high school? No way. Cody shot and made 3’s in high school, and was an 80% free throw shooter. Noah will have trouble making 60% this year. I agree that overall, Noah level of competition played against was greater, but there are some excellent ballers down in southern Indiana. I doubt very much if Noah had to face match up zones with 3 people on him at all times.

  • HoosierTrav

    Yes a better three point shooter. Free throws are not considered on the perimeter. Noah is one of the best 3 point shooting big men in the country out of high school. Have you paid any attention to Noah Vonleh? I’m shocked that you think Cody was a better 3 point shooter than Noah. Cody made 0 3 pointers in his college career. I would bet that Noah hits at least one in the first game.

  • HoosierTrav

    I agree with you. Troy doesnt have to rely on just one area of expertise like a lot of frosh do. He will be a match up nightmare bc he is so big, long, and as athletic as Victor Oladipo. He will be the surprise for many.

  • HoosierTrav

    MUCH LESS.. Will Sheehey is a better athlete than Rip Hamilton… Thats it! If Will Sheehey is our 1 or 1A option offensively, we are in trouble. He’s great at what he does best. Come into a game and play very hard defensively and get buckets that were created by someone else. He cant create AT ALL off the dribble and looks horrible when he tries to do so….. .I’m sure i will get hated on for this comment but its true. Will is best as a energy guy who can knock down some open perimeter shots when into the flow of the game. Not the guy you roll the ball out to and say “take over!”

  • HoosierTrav

    I think Sheehey will be 3rd or 4th option offensively. Not able to handle the ball well enough to create for himself. He has shown little improvement in his ball handling skills. Yogi was a beast scorer in high school. I think we see the Yogi that we expected coming in.

  • marcusgresham

    Probably not, because he faced guys his size. Cody spent most of his high school career being guarded by guys who were 6’3″.

  • marcusgresham

    I’m thrilled to death that Troy Williams will be in candy stripes and he’s going to be a fantastic player, but he’s not a great shooter as of yet.

  • yimyames

    Really? “He” did? There’s a lot of credit to go around and Cody doesn’t get it all, not even close.

  • yimyames

    I forget a little more each day that passes. Geez people, He came for two years and bolted to the NBA. The best we get is a sweet 16.

  • yimyames

    I just don’t see him as legendary like some of you.

  • hoosier1158

    No, we won’t forget Cody. However NV will make it not as painful now that Cody is gone. I was really hoping to have him for 3 years. I don’t like it when kids leave early. We could have a starting line up of Yogi, Vic, Will, Noah and Cody. That would be the number 1 team in the nation.

  • Hoosier Cruiser

    Been a Hoosier fan for over 50 years [that makes me super old, I know]. Sheehey and Yogi are good players, not great players. The youngsters on this team will make or break the seasons outcome. And next season should be really special if that happens, in my opinion.

  • Hoosier Cruiser

    I hope they’re both monsters and tear up the Big 10. Along with the rest of the Hoosier young guys.