Big Ten's Top 25 Players: 25-21
August 23, 2012INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
With the official start of practice less than nine weeks away, Inside the Hall and UM Hoopshave 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 will be broken into five parts and our first installment of players 25-21 is available below:
25. Mitch McGary, Michigan (6-foot-10, center, freshman)
Mitch McGary was a top-5 prospect nationally when he committed to Michigan, choosing the Wolverines over the likes of North Carolina, Duke and Florida. His stock slipped a bit during his post-graduate year at Brewster Academy but there’s little doubt that his size, versatility and sheer energy will make an instant impact on a Michigan front line that has been undersized for years. Last season Michigan’s primary options at center were Jordan Morgan, a solid and consistent but somewhat limited post player, and Evan Smotrycz, a 6-foot-9 player known more for shooting threes than defending or rebounding. McGary is probably not the Kevin Love or Tyler Hansborough type of player that many compared him to a year ago but he will provide John Beilein with more size in the post than he’s had since Ekpe Udoh patrolled the lane in 2006.
24. LaQuinton Ross, Ohio State (6-foot-8, wing, sophomore)
Simply put, Ross did nothing last season to deserve a spot on this list. He was ineligible throughout Ohio State’s first semester and failed to crack the Buckeye rotation during the second half of the year, playing a total of 35 minutes in nine games. Despite his freshman season to forget, Ross has a golden opportunity this year in Columbus. Jared Sullinger and William Buford combined to take nearly 54% of the Buckeyes’ shots a year ago and not even DeShaun Thomas can swallow up that many extra attempts. Ross was a top-50 player out of high school and has the talent to be a Big Ten playmaker on the wing with his 6-foot-8 frame. Whispers on the summer circuit were that Ross showed flashes of his potential at various offseason camps and he could be read to take the next step under Thad Matta next season.
23. Terone Johnson, Purdue (6-foot-2, guard, junior)
Johnson still hasn’t put all the pieces together – there’s a ceiling for 6-foot-2 players that shoot 30% on 3-point attempts – but he made progress last year. He scored in double digits in Purdue’s final eight games while averaging 15 points while helping Purdue to a late season push. The Boilermakers lost three starters to graduation (Robbie Hummel, Lewis Jackson and Ryne Smith) and Johnson should be provided with every opportunity to become the man in West Lafayette. The first place to start his improvement is obvious: at the charity stripe. Johnson is a career 47% free throw shooter which negates his ability to attack the basket and draw free throws. A few more offensive opportunities combined with modest shooting improvement should result in a solid junior year for the former top-100 recruit.