The 10 Most Fundamentally-Sound Players in College Basketball

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IFebruary 23, 2013

The 10 Most Fundamentally-Sound Players in College Basketball

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    Shooting and dribbling. Passing and catching. Footwork and defending.

    The fundamentals of basketball are still essential for success in college hoops.

    Just putting a group of great athletes on the floor doesn't guarantee W's.

    Players today that have mastered the basic skills of the game can maximize their physical features and get things done for their teams.

    Here are the 10 most fundamentally sound players in college basketball.

    Fundamentally-sound comes in all shapes and sizes.

    And, saying that a player is fundamentally-sound shouldn't be an empty statement reserved for low-producers.

    The players on this list are some of the best in the country because they are fundamentally sound.

    Looking at stats like shooting percentages, especially FT and 3-Pt, assist-to-turnover ratio, steals and rebounds helps to start creating this list.

    But, non-measureables and intangibles like blocking out, defensive footwork and decision making were also notably considered.

    Let's go!


    Stats provided by

10. Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State)

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    Marcus Smart has stepped up as not only one of the top freshmen in the country, but one of the best players overall in college hoops.

    Smart combines raw physicality with versatile skills on both ends of the court.

    The 6’4” 225 lbs PG from Flower Mound, TX is No. 5 in the nation in steals (2.9 SPG).

    One of the reasons Smart scores 15 PPG is that he is adept at getting to the line and knocking down his freebies (77 percent from the line).

    His 4.4 assists per game average is quite good considering the scoring load that OSU coach Travis Ford puts on him.

9. Lorenzo Brown (NC State)

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    Lorenzo Brown is an astute floor leader who makes most of what happens possible for the Wolfpack.

    Brown leads the ACC in assists (6.8 APG) and is No. 2 in the league in steals (2.0 SPG).

    The 6’5” PG shoots 43.1 percent from the floor and 77.8 percent from the line.

    While he is not known primarily as a scorer, Brown still drops in 12.7 PPG.

8. Phil Pressey (Missouri)

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    Phil Pressey is one of the most dynamic PGs in college basketball.

    He not only is a Top Ten dime-dropper (6.9 APG) but he is also a capable scorer (11.8 PPG).

    At 5’11”, Pressey is a surprisingly good rebounder (3.3 RPG).

    If the Tigers need someone to hit a late-game free throw, he is ready (79.7 FT percentage).

7. Aaron Craft (Ohio State)

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    Aaron Craft is the perfect example of a player whose value extends way beyond the imperfect assessment of scoring average (9.2 PPG) to determine "how good" a player is.

    Craft is the best on-ball defender in the country. His ability to limit or shut down opponents can’t be marginalized. He changes games with his defense.

    His 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio demonstrates his skill and smarts in leading the Buckeyes attack.

    He knocks down 80.3 percent of his FTs and he rebounds his position well (3.7 RPG).

6. Ben McLemore (Kansas)

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    Ben McLemore is a good example of how shooting the basketball is not a lost art.

    The red-shirt freshman from St. Louis is hitting 50 percent of his shots from the field, 87.1 percent from the line and 43.1 percent from beyond the arc.

    McLemore is No. 2 in the Big 12 in scoring (16.3 PPG) and is one of the best rebounding SG’s in the game (5.5 RPG).  

5. Jamaal Franklin (San Diego State)

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    Is there a more multi-talented player in college basketball than Jamaal Franklin?

    The Aztecs 6’5” SG does everything well. He leads SDSU in all five major stats:

    • Scoring (17 PPG)
    • Rebounding (9 RPG)
    • Assists (3.2 APG)
    • Steals (1.6 SPG)
    • Blocks (0.9 BPG)

    No one else in the nation leads their team in all of these categories.

    Franklin takes advantage of his ability to get to the line (77 percent FT).

4. Doug McDermott (Creighton)

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    Doug McDermott proves that you can be a player of size (6’8” 225 lbs)., and still have an amazing shooting touch.

    The No. 2 scorer in the nation (22.5 PPG) hits 54.9 percent of his shots from the field, 86.1 percent from the line and 47.9 percent from beyond the arc.

    McDermott has great box-out technique on the boards (7.8 RPG).

    New-World numbers with Old School game.

3. Victor Oladipo (Indiana)

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    If you were creating a great college shooting guard, you might just use Victor Oladipo as your prototype.

    Because of his outrageous physical abilities, the 6'5" 214 pound high-flier doesn't get nearly the credit he deserves in the basics of the game.

    Oladipo is both a lethal slasher and a deadly shooter, hitting a ridiculous 63.9 percent from the field, 75.2 percent from the line and a surprising 51.1 percent from beyond the arc.

    He is a ferocious defender with more steals (64) than turnovers (59).

2. Cody Zeller (Indiana)

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    Cody Zeller will never have a colorful nickname that describes his extreme athleticism.

    Zeller just gets things done by doing almost everything flawlessly.

    His overall skills are disregarded by some because he uses great positioning and footwork to outplay opponents instead of major hops and crazy quickness.

    People lose track of the fact that he is the leading scorer (16.6 PPG) and rebounder (8.1 RPG) on the nation’s No. 1 team.

    As a seven-footer, Hoosier head coach Tom Crean doesn’t think about removing Zeller down the stretch because he knocks down 75 percent of his shots from the line.

    Zeller is one of the most efficient players in the game

1. Trey Burke (Michigan)

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    Trey Burke does it all!

    Because he is an exceptional scoring point guard (18.6 PPG; No. 2 in the Big Ten), many people lose track of the fact that he leads the Big Ten in assists (6.9 APG) by more than 2.5 assists per game.

    His absurd 3.8 assists-to-turnover ratio is No. 2 in the nation among starters (behind UCLA’s Larry Drew II; 3.9).

    At 6’0”, Burke is a solid rebounder (3.2 RPG) and an annoying defender.