Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart was the fastest riser in this week’s Top 25 college players. After ESPN reported NBA scouts wanted him despite his shooting woes this year, Smart responded by going 8 of 12 in huge wins against Iowa State and at #2 Kansas, had nine steals in the two games and grabbed 8 offensive rebounds against Kansas and Jeff Withey. Indiana’s Victor Oladipo also surged. Here are notes on the top 25 players as of today.
The full list of all 2700 players will be released within the next 48 hours at www.valueaddbasketball.com, and you can go to the bottom of that link for the Breitbart story explaning the Value Add figure by each players, starting with Trey Burke’s national best 11.95%. References to statistical leaders generally refer to leaders listed at www.kenpom.com.
Top 25 NCAA Players
1. (Last week: 1) Trey Burke (Michigan , 6' 0 , So) 11.95
While Indiana finally slowed Burke down with a lot of defensive attention in the second half to pull him below a 12% Value Add for the year, there is still a large gab between Burke’s value and any other player in the country due to his shooting and unbelievable assists to turnover ratio.
2. (Last week: 3) Shabazz Napier (Connecticut , 6' 1" , Jr) 10.06
UConn’s probation made other players left and guaranteed Shabazz will not play in the Big East or NCAA tournaments, and all he has done is be among national leaders in shooting, assists, not turning the ball over, steals and getting to the line, where he hits 82% of his shots. Ryan Boatwright is No. 90 to form one of the best backcourts and the country, and he has even had to become a great rebounder with the big men gone. During the Huskies current three game win streak, Napier pulled out wins by hitting a 3-game total of 11 of 22 three-pointers, dishing out 13 assists, and against South Florida this weekend going down to grab 7 defensive rebounds to make up for UConn’s lack of size.
3. (Last week: 5) Erick Green (Virginia Tech , 6' 3" , Sr) 9.86
The nation’s leading scorer throughout the year has to do it all for a Tech team that has staggered to an 11-10 mark after a 7-0 start. The defensive attention he is getting as the best player on the worst team in the conference so far may be taking it’s toll, as both Miami and UNC avoided fouling him for the most part after seeing him sink 21 of 27 free throws in his previous two games.
4. (Last week: 9) Victor Oladipo (Indiana , 6' 5" , Jr) 9.50 SG/SF
Indiana proved that it is better to have two top 10 players than one when they beat Michigan to cap a weak that included beating Michigan State and going into rival Purdue for a 37-point road win. In the process, it was Victor Oladipo who shot up from 9th to 4th with great defense that finally slowed his high school teammate Burke. He looks like clearly the best all-around player. At 6-foot-5, he is fast enough to guard the best point guard and player in the country, but strong enough to go take rebounds away from centers. He is the fourth best shooter in the country, hitting 72% of his two-point shots and 51% of his three-pointers for an Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) of 69.7%. He is among national leaders in Offensive Rebounding, Shot-blocking, and getting to the line (FTRate), and is 13th in the country at steals. He will be able to play either shooting guard or small forward in the NBA,and he should be getting talked about for player of the year.
5. (Last week: 2) Mike Muscala (Bucknell , 6' 11" , Sr) 9.43
The best player college player who may not play in the NBA, Muscala was on full display when he destroyed Missouri to come within one possession of an upset.
6. (Last week: 7) Mason Plumlee (Duke , 6' 10" , Sr) 9.25
Plumlee has dropped slightly after being No. 1 for several weeks, but if Ryan Kelly comes back then Duke has five of the top 150 players with Quinn Cook, Seth Curry and Rasheed Sulaimon.
7. (Last week: 4) Bryce Cotton (Providence , 6' 1" , Jr) 9.22
The Big East’s top scorer hit another one at the horn yesterday to secure victory for the defensively challenged Friars.
8. (Last week: 6) Cody Zeller (Indiana , 7' 0 , So) 9.17
The drop from 6th to 8th is a tiny drop, and still means Zeller has All-American written all over him after dominating Michigan.
9. (Last week: 8) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Georgia , 6' 5" , So) 8.91
KCP as he is known, dominated three more games in the last eight days to get the Bulldogs into the top half of the SEC with road wins at Texas A&M and South Carolina. While the 4-4 mark doesn’t jump out at you, they have already lost at Missouri and twice against Florida, so the rest of the schedule is manageable and KCP could end up battling Nerlins Noel (#11) for SEC POY.
10. (Last week: 13) Kenny Boynton (Florida , 6' 2" , Sr) 8.66
Boynton runs the second best offense in the country, teaming up with #24 Erik Murphy and Patric Young, who ranks No. 54 in Value Add but is ranked No. 2 on www.kenpom.com. The best bet for a title game right now would be Florida vs. Indiana.
11. (Last week: 11) Nerlens Noel (Kentucky , 6' 10" , Fr) 8.63
If Noel continues to be the best defender of the last eight years with his record-setting blocked shots, steals, and rebounds, then he will just need to add a little offense to give Caliprari another All-American freshman.
12. (Last week: 10) Nate Wolters (South Dakota St. , 6' 4" , Sr) 8.45
The ultimate stat guru Luke Winn wrote a piece early this season called, “The Nate Wolters Show: Critically acclaimed, sparsely attended” in which he accounted NBA scouts asking if Wolters was a good as Jimmer Fredette. Neither Alabama nor a ranked New Mexico team had anyone who could guard him on the road as his shot can be unstoppable, but he is also in the top 2% of the nation in assists. Now that he was able to go into Western Illinois and get a road win and avenge an earlier loss to North Dakota State, Wolters has won seven straight and is tied with those two teams atop the Summit standings with a chance to emerge so that tournament fans can see him play as well.
13. (Last week: 14) Ray McCallum (Detroit , 6' 3" , Jr) 8.29
With Butler no longer in the Horizon Conference, coach Ray McCallum is hoping his son can help beat Valparaiso for the title and a trip to the tournament. He plays more than 89% of the minutes, and has the endurance to be in the national leaders in shooting, assists, avoiding turnovers, steals and drawing fouls.
14. (Last week: 22) Doug McDermott (Creighton , 6' 8" , Jr) 7.88
The preseason potential Player of the Year started a little slow, but has jumped from No. 22 to No. 14 in leading Creighton to three wins to take over first place of the Missouri Valley Conference, which is challenging the ACC for third best conference behind the Big Ten and Big East this year. Grant Gibbs and Gregory Echenique are also in the top 5% of all players – so they have the three stars to be a tournament threat.
15. (Last week: 45) Marcus Smart (Oklahoma St. , 6' 4" , Fr) 7.84
Apparently there is no ESPN curse, because they featured Smart this week and he went in and beat Kansas on the road. NBA scouts said he would go early in the drafter despite his shooting being way off because he is so dominant at steals (8th in the country), drawing fouls (top 4%) and assists (top 4%) and even nationally ranked in blocked shots despite playing guard. Now that his shot is starting to fall, he has jumped 30 spots in just one week and is on the verge of going All-American.
16. (Last week: 32) Taylor Smith (Stephen F. Austin , 6' 6" , Sr) 7.82
In the top 1% of shotblockers and defensive rebounders over the past two years, Smith is now in the top 4% in drawing fouls, just a little off his pace as in the top 1% of offensive rebounders in the country, and he is now the 5th best shooter in the conference with a 69.5% eFG%. With their 18-2 mark, opponents may have to start the Hack-a-Shaq strategy as he is hitting only 45% of his free throws as his only weakness.
17. (Last week: 39) Otto Porter (Georgetown , 6' 8" , So) 7.81 SF
After missing some early games with a concussion, Porter has shot up through the ranks while leading upsets at Notre Dame and against Louisville. The preseason Value Add Conference Player of the Year has Georgetown on a four-game winning streak.
18. (Last week: 15) Ben McLemore (Kansas , 6' 5" , Fr) 7.76
Don’t blame McLemore for the loss at Oklahoma State, as he poured in another 23 points in a dominant performance while taking just 17 shots from the floor. Teammate Jeff Withey did drop just out of the top 25 this week.
19. (Last week: 12) Leonard Washington (Wyoming , 6' 7" , Sr) 7.73
One of the top few shot-blockers and defensive rebounders grabbed a total of 27 rebounds in wins over Nevada and San Diego State, though the Cowboys have since lost four straight in the brutal Mountain West. The university where the jump shot first appeared still has a shot at a tournament bid despite the four-game losing streak because the conference is as good as the ACC this year and better than the SEC or even the Big 12 once you get past the top few teams.
20. (Last week: 16) Zeke Marshall (Akron , 7' 0 , Sr) 7.72 C
The Zips dominated the battle of undefeated Mid-American Conference teams this week by beating last year’s Sweet 16 team Ohio 86-72 Saturday. The Zips may be good enough for an at-large bid even if they do not win the conference tournament. Marshall has hit 71.3% of his shots (2nd in the country), and is sixth in blocking shots and seventh in drawing fouls as he is almost unstoppable inside. Alex Abreu and Brian Walsh are also in the top 10% of all palyers.
21. (Last week: 21) Jake Odum (Indiana St. , 6' 4" , Jr) 7.66
While there will never be another Larry Bird at Indiana State, Jake Odum is one of the top players in the country and has them chasing Wichita State and Creighton for the Missouri Valley title. He is one of the top assists players in the country, and the second best player at drawing fouls. He his 10 of 15 free throws and dished out eight assists in the huge upset of Mississippi, had six assists and went 4 of 4 in the stunning upset of Miami, and has currently hit 18 of 21 free throws in the last three games – including the final in a sweep of Northern Iowa and upset of Wichita State and a near loss to Drake.
22. (Last week: 28) Nick Johnson (Arizona , 6' 3" , So) 7.60
While Solomon Hill is a bigger NBA prospect at 69th in the rankings, Johnson’s overall game including being in the top 2% in steals, a great rebounding guard. Arizona is tied with Miami for the most road wins including 5-2 in the Pac 12, and with Kevin Parrom and Mark Lyons joining Hill and Johnson in the top 10% of all players, Arizona has the edge in the Pac 12 as shown in their upset of Florida.
23. (Last week: 17) Ian Clark (Belmont , 6' 3" , Sr) 7.59
The top shooter in the country with an incredible 51.4% on three-pointers (76 of 148) and 64.8% on two-pointers (81 of 125) while being in the top 10% in steal percentage. He helped the veteran team win at Stanford early in the season, and will now take them into Murray State to try for an 11th straight win and first place in the Ohio Valley Conference. Kerron Johnson, Blake Jenkins and J.J. Mann are all in the top 10% of all players and all are juniors or seniors who can win in the NCAA tournament.
24. (Last week: 29) Erik Murphy (Florida , 6' 10" , Sr) 7.50
See No. 10 Boynton.
25. (Last week: 27) Pierre Jackson (Baylor , 5' 10" , Sr) 7.49
While Baylor dropped two conference games last week to fall of the pace in the tough Big 12, the former JUCO player of the year has continued to run the point to perfection, just missing the top 10% in assist rate, while being in the top 10% in steals. Cory Jefferson ranks 42nd.
Players to drop out of the top 25 this week; Trevor Releford Alabama 6' 0 Jr 7.35, Cashmere Wright Cincinnati 6' 0 Sr 7.44, Ryan Broekhoff Valparaiso 6' 7" Sr 6.86, Cory Jefferson Baylor 6' 9" Jr 7.02, Anthony Bennett Nevada Las Vegas 6' 8" Fr 6.74 and Jeff Withey