Last summer I came up with my list of the Top 100 players in the country. Might as well see how I did, right? With the benefit of hindsight, I've re-ranked the top 100.
In parentheses next to each name you'll find the rank that I originally assigned to that player, along with where the same player was slotted in the CBS preseason top 100. I can only rate myself against what other people thought -- it's tough to be too mad at myself for having never heard of Preston Medlin before -- and I chose CBS as the basis of comparison because I think they do a great job over there. I'm positive they would disagree with a lot of my new re-rankings, so needless to say my new list looks "better" than it would if they were doing the grading. Also keep in mind the CBS list probably looks better than my original one, period. They made more sensible picks, and I made more reaches. When I scored a hit, I look great; when I missed, I look terrible. (Some day soon I'll revisit guys that I or CBS or both ranked who didn't make this new top 100, and that's when I'll look really terrible.)
I fully plan on coming up with a Top 100 for 2012-13, and on learning so much from this exercise that my list will be the best around this time. And the women will flock.
100. SG Preston Medlin, Utah State, So. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
So Tyler Newbold, Pooh Williams, and Brian Green all graduated after Utah State's excellent 2010-11, and, of course, Stew Morrill reached into his endless bag of fantastic shooters and grabbed Medlin. Jared Quayle's really the only Aggie shooter in the last few years that brought as much to the table as Medlin, who shot 43 percent on well over 200 three-point tries, but also got to the free throw line and shot 58 percent inside the arc as the Aggies' No. 2 offensive option. Nor was Medlin was a mere spot-up shooter, as he largely was before his 2011 redshirt season. He was an outstanding all-around scorer.
99. PG Maalik Wayns, Villanova, Jr. (Me: 37; CBS: 44)
Wayns just didn't improve. He took the reins on offense from Corey Fisher, but he didn't create much more than he did in 2011 (to be fair, that means he created quite a bit). Long underrated for his combined ability to get to the line and never miss, Wayns shot an excellent 141-158 (89 percent) from the stripe, Then again he really didn't learn from his ugly shooting season in 2011, taking 151 three-pointers and making less than 30 percent. Nova had a lot of ability last season, between Wayns and Dominic Cheek and Mouphtaou Yarou and college-sized freshman Jayvaughn Pinkston. But they struggled with ball pressure (the best part of their offense was rebounding), and it's tough not to pin a good chunk of that blame on their point guard.
98. PF Herb Pope, Seton Hall, Sr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
There probably is one, but I can't think of a college basketball story from 2012 that made me happier than the emergence of Herb Pope. I'm stunningly immune to most everything on the human-interest side of sports, but just check out this October 2010 story by the Star-Ledger's Brendan Prunty. Now realize the dude in that story made this list, and totally deserved it. That's awesome.
97. SF Dominique Morrison, Oral Roberts, Sr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
Morrison was almost this good in 2010-11. Last year, though, he played virtually every minute and took Oral Roberts to 17-1 in a Summit League that threw Nate Wolters, Reggie Hamilton, Alex Young, and Frank Gaines in his face a combined eight times. So Morrison deserves more respect this time around.
96. SG Ramone Moore, Temple, Sr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
I said before the season that I'd rather have Moore's teammate Khalif Wyatt, and that's still true. But Moore played almost every minute his senior season and scored every way you can score.
95. PF Ian Hummer, Princeton, Jr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
I don't think the average basketball fan realizes just how solid Princeton was. In addition to a road win over Florida State (in triple-OT) and home Ws against Harvard and Buffalo, they went on the road and took Harvard, NC State, and Drexel to the wire. Hummer used 32 percent of their possessions.
94. C Greg Mangano, Yale, Sr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
Mangano used 28 percent of Yale's offense, and added fantastic rebounding and scary defense to the mix. He was the least-known name on the World University Games roster, and in his senior year he demonstrated why he made the team.
93. SG Allen Crabbe, California, So. (Me: Honorable Mention; CBS: 77)
Last summer I said my honorable mention picks weren't necessarily representative of the guys who just missed the Top 100 -- but actually Crabbe did just miss. Kevin Pelton reminded me he should be on the list, and I didn't listen. He (Crabbe, not Pelton) put up nearly identical numbers for a second consecutive year, in a marginally expanded role. A nice and predictable season.
92. PF Brian Conklin, Saint Louis, Sr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
Conklin was underhyped this season -- the methodical style of the Billikens kept his per-game numbers in check -- but few players in the country were as dangerous in the post, especially at 6-6.
91. PF Mike Glover, Iona, Sr. (Me: Honorable Mention; CBS: 56)
Glover wasn't quite as close to making my Top 100 as Crabbe, but he wasn't far off, and he too had a Prospectus advocate (John Gasaway). I didn't think Glover could repeat the season he'd just had, but as it happens his numbers were indeed basically identical. This one's on me.
90. C Brock Motum, Washington State, Jr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
Motum was an entirely deserving member of the ten-man All-Pac-12 first team, shooting 59/40/74 while using 29 percent of Washington State's possessions.
89. PG Erving Walker, Florida, Sr. (Me: 47; CBS: unranked)
Walker improved as a point guard, but he wasn't the same scorer he was as a junior. He lost 30 points from threes, 18 points from twos, and 44 points from free throws. I didn't expect much improvement, but I did expect a little. Walker has no conscience as a shooter, and I thought people were underrating him because of that fact. I think I was right about that, but it was probably unfair of me to expect a repeat of his 2011.
88. SF C.J. Leslie, NC State, So. (Me: 52; CBS: 82)
Last summer I said no player had a wider range of possible 2012s than Leslie. Well, he just improved normally. How boring. If Mark Gottfried has made Leslie into just another basketball player, that's one of the more impressive accomplishments from any coach last season.
87. PG Jordan Theodore, Seton Hall, Sr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
It's easy to forget now, but for a minute there Seton Hall looked like a tournament lock. In fact around New Year's there were All-American cases to be made for both Pope and Theodore. As it is Theodore finished the year No. 10 nationally in assist rate and was a reasonably efficient high-usage scorer.
86. SG Michael Dixon, Missouri, Jr. (Me: 72; CBS: unranked)
Marcus Denmon got more hype, and he was indeed the better player. But Denmon had a slightly lower usage rate, and shot 53/41/90. Dixon shot 58/37/88. He'll be the Tigers' primary scorer as a senior, and I think people will be surprised at how naturally he takes to the role.
85. PG Kendall Marshall, North Carolina, So. (Me: 70; CBS: 12)
I understand everyone ranks Marshall higher than I do. Believe me, I do. But Marshall can be largely discounted as a scoring threat, and he has very real turnover problems. Listen, I'm all for having a distributor as a point guard. I'm just not sure I understand why someone who can only pass is hailed like this while someone who can only rebound is (rightfully) dismissed. It's a team game, and Marshall makes his team's offense run considerably smoother. There's a reason I'm ranking him No. 85 -- I would love to have him on my team. But I do think people got a little too caught up in his fantastic passing ability and therefore have failed to put him under the microscope as a defender, scorer, and, most importantly, as a passer who takes far too many chances.
84. PF Perry Jones, Baylor, So. (Me: 18; CBS: 5)
I doubted his ability to live up to expectations, but I certainly didn't expect Jones to fall this far short. He was better than he was as a freshman, but not wildly better. On a regular basis he gets called "soft," a title comes from an aversion to contact that earned Jones just 102 free throws versus 331 two-point attempts. People will always expect prospects to turn into players overnight, and it's not entirely fair to those, like Jones, who don't. Jones was third team All-Big-12 as a sophomore, and we're frowning at that.
83. SG Terrell Stoglin, Maryland, So. (Me: 63; CBS: unranked)
You won't find many guys who attempted at least 200 shots worth one, two, and three points each -- last year that club was comprised of Stoglin, Damian Lillard, Reggie Hamilton, and Darryl Bryant. Which is why it's so impressive that Stoglin still shot 44/38/79. He has since declared for the draft (a decision he made after he was suspended from the team), and I realize there are Maryland fans who think the loss of Stoglin is addition by subtraction. I could not disagree more. He may not have been the prettiest to watch, but Stoglin got results and he did it without turning the ball over.
82. C Jake Cohen, Davidson, Jr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
Cohen used 27 percent of Davidson's possessions, and his offensive rating was 117, shooting 53/37/88. He was an excellent rebounder and his block rate ranked in the top 100 nationally. For more on Cohen and Davidson, see my No. 77, De'Mon Brooks.
81. PG Phil Pressey, Missouri, So. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
I really don't understand why Kendall Marshall was so much more hyped than Pressey last year. Marshall was the fourth-best player on a No. 1 seed; Pressey was the third-best player on a No. 2 seed. Marshall's assist totals were far better because his team played faster and he was tossing the ball up to better players (although to be fair Marshall's assist rate was also considerably better than Pressey's). Pressey turned the ball over far less, and he represented a realistic scoring option that opposing defenses had to respect. He ranked in the top 50 nationally in steal rate. Sure, Marshall's a better passer -- I'm not ranking Pressey 30 spots higher or anything. But this is a guy who can do a lot of the things that Marshall can't do, and isn't too far behind on a lot of the things he can. The perceived ability gap is confusing to me.
80. SG Austin Rivers, Duke, Fr. (Me: 8; CBS: 10)
He wasn't a consensus All-American, but Rivers still had a very good year. He was first-team All-ACC! The NABC named him third-team All-America! It's seasons like this, though, that people forget about when getting excited about the next crop of top-top prospects. I fully expect Rivers to be a good NBA player, but it may take a while.
79. PG Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga, Fr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
Few freshmen step on the floor as such fully-realized shooters and floor leaders. Pangos shot 48/40/85 and turned the ball over barely half as often as his backup, David Stockton. Gonzaga will be loaded in 2012-13, and Pangos may be the best of the bunch.
78. SG Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati, So. (Me: 67; CBS: unranked)
Getting true starter's minutes instead of drawing half of the Bearcats' available time, Kilpatrick played slightly worse per-possession than he did as a freshman. I think if he'd been a more highly-touted recruit, expectations across the board would have been more like mine going into last year -- people would have caught on faster during Kilpatrick's freshman season.
77. PF De'Mon Brooks, Davidson, So. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
Brooks used 31 percent of the Wildcats' possessions yet maintained an offensive rating of 114. He dramatically increased his usage from 2010-11 without much dropoff in efficiency, while simultaneously turning turnovers from a weakness into a strength. Between Brooks and Cohen, Davidson's 1-2 punch is downright scary. Here's a list of every team I'm pretty sure has a better duo for 2013: Arizona, Baylor, Gonzaga, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio State, UCLA, UNLV. And that list might be too long.
76. PF Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State, Jr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
Illinois State was a quietly solid team, beating Wichita State in the Missouri Valley tournament semis and taking Creighton into overtime in the title game. Carmichael was the catalyst for the Redbird offense, and he ranked fifth nationally in defensive rebounding rate while making the Valley All-Defensive squad.
75. PF Chris Udofia, Denver, So. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
Udofia used 28 percent of the Pioneers' possessions offensively, and he made 61 percent of his two-point tries. He won the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year award, ranking No. 40 nationally in block rate (at 6-6!), and he posted the highest assist rate of any Denver starter. He and Royce O'Neale will present a serious problem for WAC defenses as the Pioneers switch leagues in 2013.
74. PF Robert Covington, Tennessee State, Jr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
The best player on the team that gave Murray State its first loss of the season, Covington shot outrageous percentages of 57/45/78 while using 26 percent of the Tigers' possessions. Tennessee State was just a good OVC team, but there aren't many players who are their team's first offensive option, most efficient offensive player, best rebounder, best shot-blocker, best interior scorer, and best shooter.
73. PG Aaron Craft, Ohio State, So. (Me: Honorable Mention; CBS: 25)
I knew Craft was a good defender, and I knew he was a solid point guard. But it wasn't until I came up with my Grand Unified Theory of Point Guards and started paying more detailed attention to his defense that I really understood what all the fuss was about. I do think that he's been overrated due to a lack of standout high-major point-guards, but this one's on me for not being up on the full power of his perimeter defense.
72. SG Michael Snaer, Florida State, Jr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
Snaer made huge strides last year. He cut his turnover rate from 27 percent down to 18 percent and made twice as many free throws. Snaer looked like a much more comfortable shooter, particularly on the buzzer-beating game-winners he hit at Duke and at home against Virginia Tech. He was also the most dominant perimeter stopper on Florida State's excellent defense.
71. SG Doron Lamb, Kentucky, So. (Me: 44; CBS: 69)
I expected too much from Lamb. When someone's value is largely tied up in maxing out one skill -- as for instance with Lamb's 49 percent three-point shooting as a freshman -- it's unfair to put them down for serious improvement.
70. SF Colt Ryan, Evansville, Jr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
Ryan singlehandedly took Evansville from a team with an awful defense and a subpar offense to a team with a subpar defense and a very good offense. He used 28 percent of the Aces' possessions, shooting 44 percent from three and 84 percent on his 218 free throws. Ryan was absolutely deserving of his first-team All-Missouri Valley selection.
69. PF Mason Plumlee, Duke, Jr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
Plumlee is still viewed as a disappointment by some, but he's too good for that title at this point. He made 57 percent of his twos last season (although his 53 percent free throw shooting on 176 attempts is definitely an area of concern). And Plumlee was one of the very best rebounders in the ACC, grabbing 12 percent of available offensive boards and 25 percent of available defensive rebounds.
68. SG Jason Clark, Georgetown, Sr. (Me: unranked; CBS: 50)
Georgetown was Jason Clark's team last year. He made an incredible 60 percent of his shots inside the arc and played excellent perimeter defense on his way to a first-team All-Big East selection.
67. PG Joe Ragland, Wichita State, Sr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
Ragland's junior year made him look like a nice third option, as he posted a 117 offensive rating while using 19 percent of his team's possessions. But as a senior he expanded his role and shot better than everyone else in the country. He shot 81 percent from the free throw line, which is very good but not mind-blowing. Then he shot 62 percent on twos, which is excellent at this usage rate for someone who's seven feet, much less someone who's six-foot-nothing. And then he had to also shoot 50 percent on threes. Doing all three of those things at once is generally impossible.
66. PF Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State, Jr. (Me: unranked; CBS: 98)
This was a great high-upside pick to fill out the Top 100 by the CBS guys. There was a time when Moultrie was a legitimate sleeper Player of the Year candidate, but that time passed as Mississippi State fell to pieces. He was no world-beater as a UTEP Miner in 2009-10, but he stepped onto the floor as a force for the Bulldogs. Moultrie was one of the better rebounders in the country and shot 56 percent from the floor and 78 percent from the line as a major contributor.
65. PG Scott Machado, Iona, Sr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
Machado combined passing on the level of Kendall Marshall with the rest of the game of Phil Pressey. He still turned the ball over too much, and you'd like to think he could've done more for Iona's very shaky defense, but Machado was an electric point who could step up and score when the Gaels needed him to do so. He really improved his shooting stroke as a senior.
64. C Kyle O'Quinn, Norfolk State, Sr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
My Prospectus colleague Corey Schmidt profiled O'Quinn last September, and once again I should have listened to my co-workers. O'Quinn essentially repeated his junior-year numbers, but at a higher usage rate while halving his number of unnecessary three-point attempts. I've long had a theory that big upsets are much easier for teams built around one superstar who can absolutely play with the big boys. Your O'Quinns, your Kenneth Farieds, your C.J. McCollums. (Quiet with your VCU comments!) The past couple NCAA tournaments have been kind to that theory.
63. C Henry Sims, Georgetown, Sr. (Me: unranked; CBS: unranked)
Sims wasn't as efficient as some of the other players in this section of the list, but he used 29 percent of the Hoyas' possessions, rebounded well, and anchored his team's excellent interior defense. What stands out about Sims is his incredible 27 percent assist rate at a listed height of 6-10. That's first by a mile nationally for players his size and above; second was Montana's Derek Selvig at a relatively paltry 19 percent.
62. SG William Buford, Ohio State, Sr. (Me: 39; CBS: 18)
I consider this a win for me. Buford had basically the same season three times in a row, with what turned out to be a one-year three-point shooting spike as a junior. I figured he'd have basically the same season again, which he did.
61. SG Khalif Wyatt, Temple, Jr. (Me: 83; CBS: unranked)
Second-team All-A-10? What does Wyatt have to do to get respect around here? He used 25 percent of the Owls' possessions and shot 55/38/86! And it's not like it's hard to tell how effective he is watching him. My best guess is Wyatt's excellence in producing points at the foul line (high FT rate combined with high FT percentage) is causing the underrating here, but I'm still confused. Chaz Williams and Ramone Moore are both fine basketball players, but I thought Wyatt made it pretty clear that he was an A-10 first-teamer last season.
Coming soon: The countdown continues.
Drew Cannon is a regular contributor to Basketball Prospectus. Click here to see Drew's other articles. Follow him on Twitter at @DrewCannon1.
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Drew Cannon is an author of Basketball Prospectus.
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