Is Jared Still on Top? Ranking the 10 Big Ten Players of the Year

Aaron TitinerContributor IIFebruary 25, 2011

Is Jared Still on Top? Ranking the 10 Big Ten Players of the Year

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    When I wrote my first article about this topic, I will honestly say I didn't know nearly as much about Big Ten basketball as I do now.  Since the tournament is right around the corner, it's not clear at all as to which teams will be in and who will be out.  

    On a more personal standpoint, though, some of the teams hanging around at the bottom of the standings have some stars that are making a run to be the Evan Turner of 2011 Big Ten Basketball.

    In case you don't remember (or didn't even read it), here was my list from a month back:

    10. John Shurna - Northwestern

    9. Durrell Summers - Michigan St.

    8. Kalin Lucas - Michigan St.

    7. E'twaun Moore - Purdue

    6. Jon Leuer - Wisconsin

    5. Talor Battle - Penn St.

    4. Jajuan Johnson - Purdue

    3. Trevor Mbakwe - Minnesota

    2. Demetri McCamey - Illinois

    1. Jared Sullinger - Ohio St.

    I feel pretty confident that this list will look a lot more realistic and probable than the one above.  Enjoy!

10. Darius Morris, Michigan Wolverines

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    Stats (as of 2/25/2011)

    MPG: 35.1

    PPG: 15.1

    RPG: 4.1

    APG: 6.8 (Leads Big Ten)

    FG percentage: .498

    The star for the Michigan Wolverines (17-12, 7-9) has had one of the best seasons we have seen from a Wolverine in quite some time.  Morris has been doing almost everything for the Wolverines, including wins in Michigan St., beating Penn St. both home and away, and a near win against Wisconsin at home. Morris is probably the best point guard in the Big Ten that has a losing conference record.  With that being said, their last two games in Minneapolis and at home versus the Spartans will be a huge hint if Morris is going to bring the Wolverines to just their third tournament bid since 1997-1998.

9. Jon Leuer, Wisconsin Badgers

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    Stats (as of 2/25/2011)

    MPG: 33.9

    PPG: 19.1 (third in Big Ten)

    RPG: 7.5

    APG: 1.9

    FG percentage: .480

    The guy who everybody thought would be the leader of the Badgers this season certainly hasn't disappointed.  He has produced in all aspects of the game and has proven that he is one of the best Dirk Nowitzki-like players in college basketball.  His high scoring total and above average rebounding total shows that he gets it done on both ends.  It's a given that Bo Ryan's Badgers will be seeded high come March, but it's up to Leuer to bring Wisconsin to their first Final Four since 1999-2000. 

8. Draymond Green, Michigan St. Spartans

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    Stats (as of 2/25/2011)

    MPG: 30.0

    PPG: 12.6

    RPG: 8.4 (third in Big Ten)

    APG: 4.0

    FG percentage: .448

    Kalin Lucas?  Nope.  Korie Lucious?  Ummm no.  Durrell Summers?  Not him either.

    Draymond Green has been the push of the Spartans through their more recent struggling weeks.  Even though they have lost at home to Michigan and bad away losses in Iowa and Illinois, Green has not failed to impress.  In the seven conference losses this season, Green has produced 11.6 PPG, 6.14 RPG, and a decent 4.14 APG.  He clearly is an all-around player even when his Spartans are struggling.  It's a huge surprise that Izzo's team has been playing as poorly as they have, but it'll be up to this 6'7" forward to fire up his team.  

7. Demetri McCamey, Illinois Fighting Illini

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    Stats (as of 2/25/2011)

    MPG: 33.1

    PPG: 14.5

    RPG: 3.3

    APG: 6.2 (second in Big Ten)

    FG percentage: .443

    Demetri and the Fighting Illini have had one strange season.  They have pulled off some great wins and tough close losses, but they never seem to go away.  They lost by two in Penn St., 10 in Wisconsin, three in Indiana, one at Northwestern, and four in Michigan State.  McCamey has been the backbone for Bruce Weber's Illini, and he has proven to be a great point guard throughout all of college basketball.  While he doesn't score a whole lot, he does pass the ball a lot, and his 6'3" stature can pull down a pretty good number of rebounds.  Illinois is definitely a bubble team now, and they will need big wins against Iowa, in Purdue, and against Indiana to get their big for the Tourney.

6. E'twaun Moore, Purdue Boilermakers

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    Stats (as of 2/25/2011)

    MPG: 33.6

    PPG: 18.6

    RPG: 5.5

    APG: 3.2

    FG percentage: .448

    The fourth leading scorer in the Big Ten has also been one of the best both-sides-of-the-court player in 2011.  Moore has a great surrounding core group of players and has guys who can do everything from shoot threes, cause great defensive pressure, and get tons of boards.  While Moore isn't the best player on the Boilermaker squad, he's clearly been the most successful over his four years in West Lafayette. Averaging 12.9 PPG his freshman year and on an increase ever since then, Moore will be a steal when it comes NBA draft time.  

5. Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin Badgers

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    Stats (as of 2/25/2011)

    MPG: 35.9

    PPG: 17.9

    RPG: 4.3

    APG: 4.9

    FG percentage: .459

    I feel kind of stupid not including Taylor as part of the original Top 10 players.  There is no dispute that Taylor is the best point guard on a winning team in the Big Ten.  Wisconsin, who is stacked with players of all shapes and sizes, gives Taylor the opportunity to do lots of different things with the ball.  While he doesn't rank in the top three in any category above, he is fifth in scoring, fifth in assists, and top 10 for minutes per game.  This junior, who is on a 7.9 PPG increase from last season and an incredible 4.16 assist/turnover ratio, will be a threat when the Badgers are awarded a high seed for the run for Houston.

4. Talor Battle, Penn St. Nittany Lions

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    Stats (as of 2/25/2011)

    MPG: 37.6

    PPG: 20.5 (Leads Big Ten)

    RPG: 4.4

    APG: 3.1

    FG percentage: .434

    Talor Battle is just a flat out freak.  You may disagree, but Carmelo Anthony is the best natural scorer in the NBA.  Talor Battle is the best natural scorer in the Big Ten and probably ranks third in the whole nation behind Jimmer and Kemba.  Battle has led a struggling Nittany Lions team to an 8-8 conference record including a nice 5-3 home record.  

    Their last two matches against Ohio State at home and in Minneapolis will be a teller if Battle's boys will receive a bid.  Talor has scored over 20 points 14 times this season and averages 22.5 PPG at home and 18.3 PPG away, including 31 point outings both times against Michigan.  He will definitely be a force to be dealt with in the Big Ten Tournament.

3. Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota Golden Gophers

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    Stats (as of 2/25/2011)

    MPG: 30.2

    PPG: 13.7

    RPG: 10.4 (Leads Big Ten)

    APG: 1.2

    FG percentage: .595 (2nd in Big Ten)

    "The Beast", as they call him in Minneapolis, has had a stellar year for the Gophers.  While most believed that Blake Hoffarber, Ralph Sampson III, or Rodney Williams would be the shiners for the Gophers, there is no question that Mbakwe has been the best player for Tubby's team.  Mbakwe has 16 double-doubles this year and is one of only a handful of players in the nation who average a double-double.  While Mbakwe's best scoring game was 24 points in Iowa, he managed only five boards in the 17 point shellacking.  His best game on the boards came at home in a loss against Illinois where he had 17 points, 16 boards (five were offensive), to go a long with two assists, two blocks, and a steal.  

    The Gophers have had a tough run without point guard Al Nolen, and they desperately need wins against Michigan and Penn State at home and in Evanston to face Northwestern.

2. Jared Sullinger, Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Stats (as of 2/25/2011)

    MPG: 31.7

    PPG: 17.8

    RPG: 9.9 (2nd in Big Ten)

    APG: 1.3

    FG percentage: .561

    Despite being a scary-looking freshman, the star of "Party in the OSU" has quietly cooled off in recent weeks.  After going on a tear and looking like he would be a 20/10 player on the season, his PPG has dropped and his rebounding, while still high, is not what he had started with.  Without a doubt, Sullinger has led the Buckeyes to another No. 1 seeding, and it will show a lot if he can bring this team far in the tournament as a freshman.  

    Somebody mentioned to me that he may go first overall in the draft to Cleveland.  While he would be playing for his hometown team, I think Coach Matta would be smart by keeping him around another year. Since David Lighty, Jon Diebler, and Dallas Lauderdale (finally!) are leaving Columbus, Jared finally has his chance to run the show for Ohio St.

1. JaJuan Johnson, Purdue Boilermakers

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    Stats (as of 2/25/2011)

    MPG: 35.0

    PPG: 20.4 (2nd in Big Ten)

    RPG: 7.8

    APG: 1.0

    FG percentage: .499

    You may think I'm crazy, and I'm sorry.  I think that even though Sullinger's numbers compared to Johnson's are so close, the edge has to go to JaJuan because of the problems the Boilermakers experienced before the season.  Losing their star Robbie Hummel told me, at least, that Purdue was screwed for the season.  I really had no idea that JJ would step up like he has and leads all F/C in points by 2.6 over Sullinger. 

    Even though his rebounds are about two less than that of his rival freshman, the fact that Johnson has brought the Boilermakers up to No. 8 and a great 12-3 conference record shows that this senior has a couple things left up his sleeve to prove that Hummel wasn't just all that.