Big Ten’s top 25 players: 10-6

  • 09/12/2014 10:20 am in

With the official start of practice three weeks from today, UM Hoops and Inside the Hall have again partnered to bring you a preseason breakdown of the top 25 players in the Big Ten for the 2014-2015 season.

Our selection process involved much deliberation to arrive at a list we hope will provide plenty of reaction and debate. The series will be broken into five parts and our fourth installment of players 10-6 is available below: (Previously: 25-21, 20-16, 15-11)

10. Dez Wells, Maryland (6-foot-5, guard, senior)
30.6 mpg, 14.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.1 spg, 50.8 eFG percentage

While freshman Romelo Trimble could be the x-factor for the Terps, Wells is the leading returning scorer for Mark Turgeon and should be one of the Big Ten’s most versatile perimeter players. He used 25 percent of Maryland’s possessions as a junior and posted an effective field goal percentage close to 51 percent. Wells uses his body very well to draw fouls and gets to the line as evidenced by his free throw rate of 58.1. His 14.9 points per game rank him as the fifth leading returning scorer in the conference and if Maryland is to rebound from a shaky 17-15 campaign and excel in its first Big Ten season, Wells will have to lead the way.

9. Andre Hollins, Minnesota (6-foot-2, guard, senior)
30.5 mpg, 13.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.4 apg, .9 spg, 47.0 eFG percentage

Hollins battled a severe ankle sprain last season, which forced him to miss two games and had him laboring once he did return to action. His 3-point shooting percentage took a large dip from his sophomore season (nearly seven percent), but he did get to the line far more frequently (49.7 free throw rate) as a junior than in his first two seasons. If he can continue to make attacking off the dribble a bigger of his game rather than just settling for jumpers, Hollins can take advantage of what is one of the better free throw strokes in the conference (84.1 percent). His usage has remained in the 24 percent range throughout his career and he’s a solid pick for an all-league type season as he returns to full health.

8. A.J. Hammons, Purdue (7-foot, center, junior)
25 mpg, 10.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 3.1 bpg, .5 apg, .4 spg, 51.3 eFG percentage

Through his first two seasons in West Lafayette, Hammons has been an enigma. At his best, he’s capable of taking over in the paint like he did in Purdue’s 77-74 win over Minnesota last February when he finished with 20 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks. And at his worst, he’s foul prone and has minimal impact like his two points in 12 minutes performance last January against Wisconsin. With another year of maturity and offseason work, Hammons should emerge as the best true post player in the conference. His block percentage of 13.3 was seventh nationally a season ago and he was the Big Ten’s fifth best defensive rebounder (22.7 defensive rebounding percentage). For a player with NBA aspirations, a pivotal season awaits for Hammons.

7. Branden Dawson, Michigan State (6-foot-6, forward, senior)
28.3 mpg, 11.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.3 spg, .9 bpg, 61.3 eFG percentage

We’re not as bullish on Dawson as The Sporting News, which named him a preseason first team All-American, but the Gary, Indiana native will finally be the man in East Lansing with the departures of Gary Harris, Keith Appling and Adreian Payne. Dawson is arguably the best returning rebounder in the conference as he ranked in the top six in both defensive and offensive rebounding percentage last season. While he’s limited offensively, he did post an effective field goal percentage of 61.5, which would have led the league had he not missed seven games due to an injury. On paper, it looks like a transition year in East Lansing, but Tom Izzo is hoping that Dawson can finally live up to potential that once made him a McDonald’s All-American.

6. Aaron White, Iowa (6-foot-9, forward, senior)
28.1 mpg, 12.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1 spg, .6 bpg, 60.0 eFG percentage

White has flown under the radar for most of his career in Iowa City, but it’s time that he’s recognized for what he is: one of the most underrated players in the country. As a junior, he led the Big Ten in effective field goal percentage and was second in free throw rate. He shot over 63 percent on 2s and was also in the top 10 in the conference in defensive rebounding percentage. The one hole in his game is his perimeter game as he shot just 25.8 percent on 3s last season. Despite nearly collapsing down the stretch, Iowa finally reached the NCAA tournament last season under Fran McCaffery, but the Hawkeyes will have plenty to replace this winter with the graduation of Devyn Marble and Melsahn Basabe. White will be Iowa’s best player and how effectively he can lead in his final season could ultimately determine the outcome of the season for the Hawkeyes.

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  • Outoftheloop

    Good! Yogi makes the top 5!

  • calbert40

    I have no issue with this group at all, but I did not know The Sporting News put Dawson on the 1st team AA list!!! That is absurd! I think he is rated appropriately at #7 in the B1G. Top 5 in the nation? No way.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Hammons is a bust. He is a “good” college player but I don’t believe he will ever be a standout guy or a lottery pick. He has the size and tools but his work ethic is sub par at best. Dawson seems appropriately ranked but for Michigan St. to stay in the mix he will have to be better than this.

  • Gregory Spera

    Hammons reminds me so much of Joe Barely Cares.

  • Arsdale

    He’s a bust only if you thought he would ever be a good college player, which I did not.

  • kyle jenkins

    Top 5
    5. Sam Dekker
    4. Caris Levert
    3.Yogi Ferrel
    2. Terran Petteway
    1. Frank Kaminsky
    I think Yogi will make a huge leap from last year with the addition of Blackmon, Ziesloft, and Johnson taking pressure off him to be THE GUY. Dekker is a product of a system and has Kaminsky taking a lot of attention off of him, therefore is overrated but still in the top 10. IMO.

  • Alford Bailey

    Lol, thats a good one!

  • IMO Yogi’s turnover rate is too high to put him in the top 5 preseason.

  • Bryce Kepner

    Troy had a few nice plays last year but he is all “potential” as of right now. He hasnt shown enough to justify being in the top 25 preseason. I do think without a doubt he’ll be in it at the seasons end. As of right now though…he hasnt done much

  • INUnivHoosier

    IMO, Dawson is a SportsCenter guy. He makes a few great plays that get him in the SC top ten, so he stays on people’s minds.

  • MillaRed

    “Hammons should emerge as the best true post player in the conference.”
    “Should” This guy would drive me nuts if he was a Hoosier. Something “ain’t right.”

    “White has flown under the radar for most of his career in Iowa City, but
    it’s time that he’s recognized for what he is: one of the most
    underrated players in the country.” = 12.8 ppg and 6.7 rpg????

    I guess I am in the minority when it comes to being enamored with this kid. I like White don’t get me wrong. But the numbers are what they are. Unspectacular. He has reached the Aaron Craft level of media darling status.

    These are all very good players. I get it.

  • MillaRed

    When you talk to folks up here in BadgerLand, the consensus is that Dekker had a very disappointing season last year.

  • Bryce Kepner

    Can anyone tell me why Levert from Michigan is so highly regarded? Granted I only saw him play in a few games last year, but I was never impressed

  • Outoftheloop

    I said that Troy should be #17 in a previous post on numbers 25-21 and James.

  • Outoftheloop

    I could not agree more with you. It is good to have some data to back it up. Devin and Hanner just needed more minutes on the floor last year, playing with the starters: Yogi, Will and Noah. Stan was also “shorted” on the minutes. On a team that played so poorly so much of the time, not giving those three promising talents more playing time was just wrong!

  • CreamandCrimson

    Valid point. However, that hasn’t excluded others that made this list. Troy has had more production in his career than Zak Irvin (and all of the freshman). I totally understand the “all potential” thing but others on this list are “all potential” as well.

  • bk39

    JBJ is and should be on the list and has yet to play a single minute of big ten basketball so the argument of not making the list based on potential is inconsistent.

  • Bryce Kepner

    Yeah you are right. And “bk39” makes a good point as well, there are a few freshman on the list as well. I think Troy was probably on the fringe of the list but honestly last year he didn’t put up a whole lot, but that will change really fast this year

  • Bryce Kepner

    I think the only knock against Stan is that all he could do was drive and defenders figured him out fairly easily. Plus they could foul him and get almost a guaranteed 2 missed free throw haha. I think he will make a huge leap this year though

  • dwdkc

    Disappointing yes, only because they thought he would be dominant as opposed to just very good. Kaminsky was more consistent asserting himself offensively but Dekker is probably a tougher matchup; I could see him becoming a Gordon Hayward type this year. His upside is huge.

  • Michael Crawley

    The only reason Troy wasn’t on the list is because he tends to try and do to much and his D was not always the best.

  • Hoosier Pride

    Really hope he has corrected his FT game this year. For someone that get to the line/basket as he can (pretty much anytime he wants) it was almost hard to watch. Easy opportunities like that are going to be a HUGE telling point as far as this season goes. Have to capitalize.

  • Hoosier Pride

    Point on. Zak Irvin is a fantastic player but avg 6.7 ppg last year to Troy’s 7.3. Irvin avg 1.3 rpg to Troy’s 4.4. Irvin avg .4 apg to Troy’s .9.. Now I understand minutes per game were in troys favor to the tune of about 6 per game. However Troy bested Irvin in fg% 51 to 43. Troy did turn the ball over more. Irvin also shot a higher FT and 3FG% than troy.

    All in all, they are both full of potential. You may say well Irvin tore it up in Italy and was Michigan’s leading scorer and number one option. Ok. Pretty sure Troy was our leading scorer in Canada and probably not our sure fire number one option. Both great players but, IMHO, one is not leaps and bounds “better” enough to top the other on this list.

  • Ole Man

    Troy hasn’t earned his way onto this list yet. Even Alex said that. But he certainly has the talent and opportunity to do so this coming season.

  • Oldguyy

    Since the team’s most glaring deficiencies last year were in turnovers and outside shooting, it is difficult for me to understand how playing Davis and Mosquera-Perea more would have helped the cause. Both committed turnovers at a fairly high rate and neither took a single three-point shot last year.

  • Guyton25

    Wow.. Yogi is now a top 5 player in the league. Probably will be #5. We all know he’s #1 quality but let’s hope we can push him to be BIG player of the year!

  • TomJameson

    IMO, if the ‘all potential’ theme is consistently carried through this list, then Troy belongs on it. (again IMO) He did more than “a few good plays” last year. His last 4 games or so, he was looking a lot better and more consistent in his play. Then the Canadian tour, while just exhibition, did involve a couple fairly talented teams, and Troy did well there also. I wholeheartedly agree that he’ll be on this type of list at the end of the year though. BUT, we all know these type lists are very subjective, and I’m all for IU!! (read personal bias) lol

  • marcusgresham

    I agree. He’s a lot better than I expected him to be. I remember when we saw video of Jeff Howard abusing him in high school.

  • marcusgresham

    Victor Oladipo wouldn’t have been on the list following his freshman year, either, but he took a leap that next season. That’s what I’m hoping to see from Troy.

  • marcusgresham

    I think Blackmon was the leading scorer in Canada but your point is valid.

  • marcusgresham

    Same with Sam Thompson.

  • NateMH

    Seeing a traitor at that #7 spot is tough, especially a rebounder that we could use.

  • Hoosier Pride

    you’re right, JBJ ag 18.8 vs 18.4 for Troy

  • Alford Bailey

    Not the talent level we’ve been accustomed to in the conference this year.

  • Alford Bailey

    Off subject but did anybody see that RMK ran into a cow in Montana and totaled his vehicle? He’s fine. Interesting tidbit.

  • Alford Bailey

    I never really counted his as a traitor. IU has never had much luck with northern Indiana kids.

  • Alford Bailey

    Honestly, top five “best” players should be JBJ, D. Russell, Dekker, Kaminsky and Yogi.

  • Bryce Kepner

    Petteway is definitely top 5

  • Alford Bailey


  • fourputtsforsnowman

    Does Troy look like he’s put on 10+lbs of muscle? I think he’ll improve lots, echoing what you and others think, and I tend to think its a “given” if he’s added some bulk. If he’s improved his outside shooting its possibly an order of magnitude improvement.

  • Bryce Kepner

    Most ppg in the Big Ten.

  • IUfanforever

    Really OceanArcher? You got to be kidding me right???? Yogi is a top 5 point guard in the country….last year he had to do way too much scoring along with assists that contributed to him having those turnovers as a point guard…You take Yogi away from last years team and we may have won 5 games! Yogi may not lead the team in scoring this year but his assists per game could double with JBJ and the weapons on this years team! Don’t blame Yogi when he was passing the ball to guys who couldn’t shoot the basketball!

  • mark

    what I like is that IU has several guys that could easily crack this list by season’s end, or next season. Troy, Stan, eventually RJ.

  • mark

    will be very interesting to see his assist average this year, and assist to turnover rate. He has to be a better facilitator to make the NBA.

  • mark

    I for one was blown away by Lavert’s improvement over his frosh year. His athleticism really came out. His driving and D reminded a bit of Victor. His outside shot improved by leaps and bounds. He should take over for Michigan this year and be a 1st round pick IMO

  • The problem was he passed the ball too many times to the other team. He has the worst habit of leaving his feet before making a pass. He will never bring down his turnover rate if he can’t correct that problem.

  • IUfanforever

    You tend to leave your feet after you have passed to wide open shooters behind the 3 point line that would pump fake not shoot and pass the ball back! Again Yogi led the team in scoring and assists…..he had to handle the ball 80% of the time that will eqaute to a large number of turnovers. Yogi had to create shots for everyone on the team and including himself. If you look at turnovers per minute played you will find 4-5 other players will lead the turnover category! I would bet JH would be one of those 4-5 players!

  • No, he often leaves his feet before passing the ball. His turnover rate is 18%. Every 5 times he gets the ball, he turns it over. As an IU fan for life I hope you would expect better from our starting pg.

    Don’t get me wrong. I think he’s still a good point guard and very valuable to our team. But top 5 player in the nation’s best conference is hard for me to justify.

  • He’s a defensive monster. Nothing flashy on offense, but he’s efficient and doesn’t turn it over.

  • Kevin Tolliver

    Hammonds and Dawson, legends in their own minds and a the medias …Everyone else knows they are trouble and bring little to the team.