College Basketball 2012-13: Top 10 Overlooked Big Men in CBB
To no one's surprise, Indiana's Cody Zeller was selected as the No. 1 big man in CBB.
The rest of their Top 10 rounded out like this:
2. Doug McDermott (Creighton)
3. Nerlens Noel (Kentucky)
4. Mike Moser (UNLV)
5. Tony Mitchell (North Texas)
6. James Michael McAdoo (North Carolina)
7. Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota)
8. Jeff Withey (Kansas)
9. C.J. Leslie (NC State)
10. Gorgui Dieng (Louisville)
No serious arguments here.
But, looking through the rest of the list, I was surprised that several names were missing.
While I wasn't expecting them to be up at or near the top, I was not expecting them to be non-existent.
No offense to the defending national champs, but it's hard for me to accept that Kentucky has three names on this list (Nerlens Noel - No. 3; Alex Poythress - No. 14; Kyle Wiltjer - No. 44) while these players go unacknowledged.
Here are the Top 10 Overlooked Big Men of CBB:
10. Arsalan Kazemi (Oregon)
Over the last few years, Arsalan Kazemi has been one of the most efficient players in college basketball.
He has scored in double figures in each of his three seasons at Rice, while taking a minimal amount of shots. Kazemi has pulled down almost 1,000 rebounds.
All together he has accumulated 45 double-doubles so far as an under-sized PF.
And now he has transferred to Oregon and filed a hardship waiver in order to play in the 2012-13 season.
Because he may not be eligible, I have chosen to put him at No. 10. Otherwise, he would be further down into the middle of this list.
9. Dewayne Dedmon (USC)
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Dewayne Dedmon is the classic player that is loaded with potential and has a huge upside.
In considering the role that Dedmon might play in the resurrection of the USC basketball program, ESPN's Andy Katz blogged recently:
USC has a legitimate shot to be markedly improved...if highly touted big man Dewayne Dedmon is healthy and effective (as he has been in practice so far).
8. Reginald Buckner (Mississippi)
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Reginald Buckner may be the most under-the-radar player on this list.
Because he is not a big-time scorer (averaged 6.9 ppg last year as a junior) and, quite frankly, he plays for Ole Miss, you may have never heard of him before.
But, the 6'9" 235 lbs senior forward does work down low and in the paint.
Last year, Buckner averaged 8.1 rpg (No. 4 in the SEC) and 2.2 blocks per game.
He enters his senior season already holding the school shot blocks record with 228, which is sixth in SEC history.
7. Gregory Echenique (Creighton)
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Overshadowed most of the time by the outstanding play of his teammate, Doug McDermott, Gregory Echenique is a super-solid post player.
The 6'9" 260 lbs center was the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year, first player to receive that honor in school history.
Last year, Echenique averaged 9.7 ppg and 7.3 rpg, while shooting over 60 percent from the field.
The truth is: if Echenique doesn't do his thing in the paint and down low, the Bluejays would not be a ranked mid-major.
6. Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona)
Even though he hasn't played an official game yet for Sean Miller, the 7'0" 255 lbs center has already received a ton of recognition for his talented post play.
ESPN's scouting report on Zeus says:
Tarczewski is a true center with great size and tremendous upside. He runs the floor extremely well and has good mobility for a 7 footer. He has excellent hands and finishes drop off passes and clear paths above the rim. He has become an explosive and powerful finisher with both hands around the basket and his good hands allow him to catch tough passes and turn them into baskets. He has a good left shoulder hook with a high release and is gradually developing his right shoulder as well. He is a excellent area rebounder especially on the offensive end and is also a decent on ball shot blocker. Physically he is becoming more and more immovable in the paint as his frame continues to fill out. Tarczewski is also a big man who takes to coaching and has shown great improvement over the course of his career as a result.
Arizona's website calls Tarczewski " the rarest commodity in basketball - a traditional back-to-the-basket center."
His absence from the "Top 50 Big Men" list is strange since freshmen who were rated lower in the Class of 2012 than he was, such as Isaiah Austin (Baylor), Anthony Bennett (UNLV) and Cameron Ridley (Texas), are included.
5. Jordan Henriquez (K-State)
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Jordan Henriquez emerged during K-State's final games of the 2011-12 season.
Former Wildcats head coach Frank Martin finally began to utilize the 6'11" 250 lbs center from Port Chester, NY.
He was a beast during the last six games of his junior season. Henriquez averaged 15 ppg, 10.6 rpg and 3.5 bpg.
Because he broke the school career (146) and single-season (77) marks for blocked shots, he was selected for the Big 12 all-defensive team.
CBS' Doug Gottlieb predicted that Henriquez would have a break-out season in 2012-13. He said:
"[Henriquez] is a rim protector deluxe. Henriquez has tremendous timing and hands to block shots on or off the ball, and he keeps his blocks in bounds. Additionally, Henriquez has a decent face-up jumper and can finish off penetration. With the need for NBA teams to protect the rim with long, athletic and rangy big men, Henriquez, if used right, can be that guy."
New K-State coach Bruce Weber must be excited about inheriting a big man like Henriquez, even if it is just for one season.
4. C.J. Aiken (St. Joseph's)
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C.J. Aiken is one of the premier shot-blockers in CBB.
In 2010-11 as a freshman, Aiken was No. 3 in the country in blocks with 117, a St. Joseph's freshman record.
Last year as a sophomore, the 6'9 201 lbs forward rejected 120, which placed him at No. 4 in the nation. He recorded at least 2 blocks in almost every game last year, with highs of 9 against Drexel and Duquesne.
But Aiken is not a one-trick pony. He is more than just a sultan of swat. While his offensive game is still developing, he averaged 10.9 ppg and 5.1 rpg. in 2011-12.
3. Jared Berggren (Wisconsin)
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Jared Berggren was a little-used post player for his first two seasons in Madison.
Last year he surfaced in the Badgers starting lineup, starting all 36 games and averaging 10.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg and 1.7 bpg (No. 3 in the Big Ten and the third highest single-season total in UW history).
One of Berggren's weapons is his ability to step outside and knock down shots from beyond the arc. The 6'10" 235 lbs center hit 37 percent of his 3-pointers in 2011-12 .
1-2. David and Travis Wear (UCLA)
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My guess is that they are used to this type of inconsideration and insensitivity.
Regardless, the Wear twins have found a home at UCLA.
After a failed start to their college careers at North Carolina, David and Travis are establishing themselves in Westwood.
In their redshirt sophomore seasons playing for Ben Howland, Travis was second on the team in both scoring (11.5 ppg) and rebounding (5.9 rpg) while David led the team in rebounding (6.3 rpg) and was the Bruins No. 3 scorer (10.2 ppg).
Though they are both 6'10 and 230, they can each play multiple positions along the frontline.
I honestly don't know how Josh Smith, the Wear's "stocky" teammate, can be on CBSSports.com's list while the Wear twins are not.
There is no way that either David or Travis should be excluded from any "Top 50 Big Men" list.