College Basketball 2012-13: 10 Mid-Major Marvels
The label "mid-major" use to be synonymous with average talent.
The following list is filled with mid-major marvels who have demolished that idea and are ready to come back to challenge for national honors in the 2012-13 season.
While some of these players are not household names to the common college basketball fan, they are already attracting attention from NBA scouts, as they should be.
10. Mike Muscala: Bucknell
Mike Muscala is a multi-skilled big that gets things done for the Bucknell Bisons.
As a sophomore, Milky Mike won the Patriot League Player of the Year Award.
Last season, he elevated his game and averaged 17 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 1.7 bpg.
Look for Muscala to have a monster senior season as the Bisons (25-10; 12-2 Patriot) look to defend their regular season league championship.
9. Colt Ryan: Evansville
Colt Ryan will be one of the best scorers in the country in 2012-13.
The 6'5" wing averaged 20.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg and 3.3 apg last season.
Ryan is a dead-eye shooter knocking down 43.8 percent of his threes and 84.4 percent of his free throws.
He was named to the All-Missouri Valley Conference First Team.
8. Robert Covington: Tennessee State
From the time Robert Covington stepped on campus in Nashville three years ago, he has been doing amazing work for the Tigers.
The 6'9" rising senior has averaged double-figure scoring in each of his seasons so far, scoring nearly 1,400 points through the end of his junior year.
Covington has a sweet touch from beyond the arc, connecting on 45.3 percent of his threes last season.
NBADraft.net currently has Covington going in the middle of the second round of the 2013 draft.
Who knows? If he takes his game to another level, the lanky forward might work his way into a much higher place.
7. Alec Brown: Wisconsin Green Bay
Alec Brown carried the UWGB Phoenix (15-15, 10-8 Horizon) in 2011-12, leading the team in points (13.8 ppg), rebounds (8.2 rpg) and blocked shots (3.0 bpg).
The 7'1" rising junior was a First Team All-Horizon League selection last season.
NBADraft.net has the versatile big man going No. 11 in the 2013 draft.
6. Ray McCallum: Detroit
Ray McCallum is one of the top PGs in the country.
Physically, he is a beast and his passing and playmaking skills are outstanding.
McCallum has scored over 1,000 points, grabbed over 300 boards and handed out over 300 assists in his first two years at Detroit.
Look for the Titans to be right in the thick of things in the Horizon League, one of the most underrated conferences in the country.
5. Nate Wolters: South Dakota State
It's hard not to be impressed by Nate Wolters because he simply does it all!
Last year, the 6'4" guard hit the trifecta, leading the Jackrabbits in scoring (21.3 ppg; No. 9 in the nation), rebounding (5.2 rpg) and assists (5.9 apg; No. 16 in the nation with the third best assists-to turnover ratio overall).
He was literally one assist shy of being the fifth player in NCAA history of averaging 20/5/6.
Wolters was named as 2012 Associated Press All-America honorable mention.
ESPN's Eamonn Brennan lists him as one of his "10 potential breakout players for 2012-13."
4. Isaiah Canaan: Murray State
Isaiah Canaan didn't settle for having an exceptional junior season (19.2 ppg; 3.3 rpg; 3.7 apg) for Murray State.
He has demonstrated this summer at the Deron Williams and Amar’e Stoudemire Skills Academies that he is legit and worthy of national recognition as he heads into his senior season.
ESPN's Reggie Rankin says that Canaan plays hungry on every possession. How many current college players are described in that way?
With Canaan back, watch for the Racers to have another great season in 2012-13.
3. Tony Mitchell: North Texas
Tony Mitchell is a stud power forward that will be one of the best inside players in the country in 2012-13.
He turned heads in the college workouts at the Deron Williams and Amar'e Stoudemire Skills Academies last week.
Mitchell led UNT in scoring (14.7 PPG), rebounding (10.3 RPG), blocks (3.0 BPG), shooting percentage (56.7 percent) and three-point shooting (43.9 percent).
With new head coach Tony Benford in place, watch for North Texas to make some noise in both league and postseason play in 2012-13.
2. C.J. McCollum: Lehigh
After winning his second Patriot League MVP in three seasons, C.J. McCollum could have left Lehigh behind and moved onto the NBA.
But the 6'3" rising senior decided to come back to finish his degree and put the icing on the cake of what has already been a fantastic collegiate career.
Besides being the main reason the Mountain Hawks knocked off Duke in last year's NCAA tournament, McCollum was one of the best all-around players in the country.
NBADraft.net has the versatile guard going in the middle of the first round in the 2013 draft.
1. Doug McDermott: Creighton
Doug McDermott will be one of the best players (period) in the upcoming 2012-13 college basketball season.
The 6'8" combo forward is equally effective at posting up as he is stepping out and knocking down shots from beyond the arc (49.5 percent in '11-'12).
McDermott was the No. 3 scorer in the nation (23.2 ppg) last season, as well as pulling down 8.2 rebounds per game.
As a sophomore, he was named a First Team All-American and the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year.
While it might be hard to improve on a 29-6 (14-3 in MVC) record for some teams, I fully expect McDermott and his Blue Jay teammates to do just that.
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