College Basketball's All-Mid-Major Team: Christmas Edition

Jesse KramerCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Conference play is starting to get under way.

With non-conference play coming to an end, it is time to evaluate the best players competing at the mid-major level.

This team will consist of five starters (two guards, two forwards, one center) and seven bench players.


Gordon Hayward (So.), Butler Bulldogs, Guard 

PPG: 17.4

RPG: 8.7

FT%: 87

Gordon Hayward, only a sophomore, came onto the stage last year and has continued to play well this season. He has scored in double digits every game this year with a season-high 24 points against both Georgetown and Ohio State. In addition to this, he has four double-doubles. 

Also, his presence is even more than his stats. Hayward is always involved in making plays happen and playing good defense. Without him, the Butler Bulldogs would be struggling immensely. 

He is 6'8" and has the ability to play like a forward or a guard when his team needs him to.

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Jeremy Lin (Sr.), Harvard Crimson, Guard

PPG: 18.6

APG: 4.6

RPG: 5.3

If Jeremy Lin had to be described in one word, it would be sensational. Lin made a huge mark this season with an outstanding game against the Connecticut Huskies, where he reached a season-high 30 points. He has scored in double digits in eight out of nine games. 

Why is he sensational? Against Connecticut, it looked like Harvard was in the dump with under two minutes remaining. That was when Lin took matters into his own hands. Lin scored 11 points in a 1:32 span. Not many players can do that, especially against one of the top teams in the country.

Lin has the ability to shoot, drive, block shots, and play "in your face" defense. In addition to the remarkable stats that were listed above, there are more that show how much of an all-around player he is. Lin makes more than half of his shots and averages more than two steals a game. 

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Charles Garcia (Jr.), Seattle Redhawks, Forward

PPG: 23.3

RPG: 10.2

PPS: 1.52

Charles Garcia has simply dominated this year. This is his first year playing Division I, and he has been off to a hot start. In an 84-83 loss to Wofford, Garcia scored 41 points, nearly half of the team's scoring. He has failed to reach double digits once (against Oakland), where he only played 20 minutes. He is a dominant offensive presence down low.

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Marqus Blakely (Sr.), Vermont Catamounts, Forward

PPG: 17.8

RPG: 8.8

SPG: 2.9

BPG: 2.3

Marqus Blakely does not have one area where he completely dominates the game, but he has strength in just about every aspect. He plays strong defense (2.9 SPG, 2.3 BPG). He limits opponents' second chance opportunities with seven defensive rebounds per game. He also has the ability to score, with a season-high 32 points against Quinnipiac.

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Artsiom Parakhouski (Sr.), Radford Highlanders, Center

PPG: 22.5

RPG: 15

BPG: 2.1

Artsiom Parakhouski has the ability to completely dominate other mid-major big men and even some of the big men from the better teams. He has scored at least 20 points in all but one game against Presbyterian, with a season high of 31 points against Lynchburg.

He has also reached double digits in rebounds every game, giving him eight double-doubles this year. Parakhouski's high for rebounds is 20 against Duquesne.

Parakhouski showed his ability to compete with top teams when he scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds against the Duke Blue Devils. His post presence will give Radford a chance to repeat as Big South champions and make a second straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

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Kenneth "K-Time" Faried (Jr.), Morehead State Eagles, Forward/Center

PPG: 16.8

RPG: 13

BPG: 1.8

Everyday, Kenneth Faried can be counted on to score and grab rebounds. It is that simple. He has scored in double digits in every game but one (against East Tennessee State) and has recorded six double-doubles. In his one test against top competition, Faried scored 17 points against Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins of Kentucky.

He will only progress as he finishes his junior year and continues into his senior year with Morehead State.

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Reggie Holmes (Sr.), Morgan State Bears, Guard

PPG: 25.4

SPG: 2.2

Currently, Reggie Holmes is second in the nation in scoring. He has scored at least 30 points on four different occasions, with a high of 34 against Arkansas. He can shoot and he can drive, giving him multiple ways to put the ball in the basket. Holmes has also shown quick hands with more than two steals per game.

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Adnan Hodzic (Jr.), Lipscomb Bison, Center

PPG: 22.5

RPG: 7.8

Adnan Hodzic led the Bison to 17 wins last season. This year, he has only shown improvement. Hodzic scores more than 20 points per game and is the main contributor for the Bison.

The Bison were picked in a tie with Jacksonville for first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference. As long as Hodzic keeps up his strong playing, the Bison will have a chance to live up to expectations.

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Omar Samhan (Sr.), Saint Mary's Gaels, Center

PPG: 21.8

RPG: 12

Leading the Gaels in scoring and rebounds, Samhan is the reason for Saint Mary's potentially being a top 25 team. He has scored in double digits every game with a season high of 33 against the Cal Poly Mustangs.

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Corey Hassan (Sr.), Sacred Heart Pioneers, Guard

PPG: 23.3

RPG: 8.7

3P%: 45.2

Corey Hassan has been outstanding to this point. He has scored at least 20 points on eight occasions. At only 6'4", he is aggressive on the boards, averaging nearly nine rebounds per game. His only weakness is that he turns the ball over a little more than he should (3.4 TOPG) if he expects to be the leader for the Pioneers.

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Larry Sanders (Jr.), Virginia Commonwealth Rams, Forward

PPG: 13.9

RPG: 8.4

BPG: 2.7

Still only in his junior year, Larry Sanders continues to improve on both offense and defense. He has always been an outstanding force on defense and the glass, but up until about January 2009, he could not be counted on to be a consistent scorer. This season, Sanders has been consistently scoring in double digits, and his defense and rebounding stats have remained similar to last year's.

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Charles Jenkins (Jr.), Hofstra Pride, Guard

PPG: 19.3

FT%: 78.3

This last spot came down to Charles Jenkins of the Hofstra Pride and James Florence of the Mercer Bears. Although statistics give a minor edge to Florence, Jenkins deserves the last spot.

The one time that I saw Florence play (against Belmont), he did not seem as dominant as I thought he would be. It was not his best game of the year, but it was still about an average game for him.

Jenkins has the ability to dominate the game against other mid-majors. When his team needs him, he can take the game into his own hands. Jenkins has scored as many as 38 points in a close win over the Fairfield Stags. This was one of those instances where he took charge down the stretch and gave his team the win.

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Please feel free to comment and/or disagree with any of the players that I included in this and add other players that you might think deserve to be included. All stats are as of Monday, Dec. 22.