10 NCAA Basketball Players Who Will Be Dominant Rebounders in 2013-14 Season
Quick, name the best rebounder in college basketball of the last 20 years.
Did you say Kenneth Faried? If so, congrats. You're probably one of the few who
also knows the mascot of Morehead State. (It's the Eagles, for those about to do a Google search.)
Don't beat yourself up if you didn't know the answer. Rebounding isn't exactly the most appreciated skill in college basketball. Scoring leads to postseason accolades; rebounding leads to pats on the back.
That's why not all of the 10 players on this list are household names. A few you've probably never heard of, and they'll continue to fly under the radar unless scoring is something they also do well.
Note: All advanced stats used in this piece come from KenPom.com (subscription needed).
10. Akil Mitchell, Virginia
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If any player on this list deserves his rebounding stats to be examined with an analytical eye, it's Virginia senior-to-be Akil Mitchell.
The Cavaliers play one of the slowest paces in college basketball, and thus, Mitchell's actual numbers are hurt by the slow tempo. Mitchell averaged 8.9 rebounds per game, which was good, but his defensive rebounding percentage (24.9 percent) and offensive rebounding percentage (11.7 percent) suggest he would have been closer to a double-digit rebounder on a faster-paced team.
9. Rico Gathers, Baylor
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Once Rico Gathers gets more playing time at Baylor, he's going to be an elite rebounder. Gathers averaged 5.7 boards as a freshman in only 16.7 minutes per game.
In the seven games that Gathers played 22 or more minutes last season, he averaged 12.5 rebounds per game.
8. Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee
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Tennessee could have one of the rebounding frontlines in college basketball next season with Jeronne Maymon returning to join Jarnell Stokes. Maymon missed last season with a knee injury, and Stokes became the team's best rebounder.
Stokes is best on the offensive glass. He ranked fourth nationally in offensive rebounding percentage at 17.3 percent. He's also adept at scoring off putbacks. In his buckets at the rim, only 42 percent were assisted (according to Hoop-Math.com), which suggests a lot of his points in the paint come off rebounds.
7. Josh Davis, San Diego State
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San Diego State lost one of the best rebounders in the country when Jamaal Franklin declared for the NBA draft. So Steve Fisher went out on the open transfer market and signed the best available rebounder in Josh Davis.
Davis, who averaged 10.7 boards per game last year at Tulane, is a more well-rounded rebounder, while Franklin grabbed most of his boards on the defensive glass.
6. Eric Moreland, Oregon State
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Eric Moreland has a nice combination of size, speed and instincts on the boards. He averaged 10.6 rebounds per game last season.
He's best on the defensive glass, where he grabbed 27.5 percent of the available rebounds last season. That ranked fifth nationally.
5. Mike Moser, Oregon
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Mike Moser was never the same guy as a junior as he was as a sophomore at UNLV. Part of the equation was a dislocated elbow; the other hurdle was trying to co-exist with Anthony Bennett.
Moser will be in a more comfortable place next season at Oregon where he will once again play a role similar to his sophomore season when he averaged 14 points and 10.5 rebounds. Moser will be much needed on the boards as the Ducks lose Arsalan Kazemi, who led the country in defensive rebounding percentage last season. Moser ranked ninth in that category in 2012.
4. Adreian Payne, Michigan State
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Like everything else with Adreian Payne, the Michigan State big man leaves you wanting more on the boards. As in, Payne is already a good rebounder—he averaged 7.6 per game last season—but watching him play, you feel like he could be dominant on the glass.
His 2012-13 numbers tell a similar story. Payne finished in double digits for rebounds in four of Michigan State's first 25 games and went the first 12 Big Ten games without a double-digit rebounding game. Over Michigan State's last 11 games, he finished in double figures seven times, including a 14-rebound game and a 15-rebound game.
3. Melvin Ejim, Iowa State
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Melvin Ejim is the best rebounder per inch in college basketball. Ejim is only 6'6" and has a small forward's body, but he rebounds like a power forward. The Iowa State senior-to-be averaged 9.3 boards per game as junior to lead the Big 12.
2. Alan Williams, UC Santa Barbara
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From an advanced statistics perspective, Alan Williams was the best rebounder in the country last season. Williams has been a beast on the offensive glass his first two years at USCB. As a freshman, he led the nation in offensive rebounding percentage, grabbing 22.5 percent of his team's misses. He dropped to fifth last year with an offensive rebounding percentage of 17 percent, but he improved as a defensive rebounder, ranking sixth in defensive rebounding percentage at 27.5 percent.
Williams plays for a mediocre team—the Guachos went 11-20—but he put up good numbers across the boards with 17.1 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. Williams, at 6'7" and 240 pounds, is a space eater and does a good job positioning himself under the boards. He also has good hands, the combination of which makes him a dominant rebounder below the rim.
1. Mitch McGary, Michigan
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You can pretty much throw out the window what Mitch McGary did last season before the NCAA tournament when trying to predict what he will do next season. McGary was a different sort of beast once the lights went on.
In six tourney games, McGary averaged 10.7 rebounds, had 21 offensive rebounds and had at least nine boards in all but the national championship game. Next season Michigan will ask McGary to do even more. Expect his rebounding numbers from the tournament to carry over, maybe even get better.