Road to the Final Four at Ford Field: Best Sixth Men in the Nation

Jameson FlemingSenior Writer INovember 7, 2008

10. Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons brought in one of the most impressive group of freshman big men in the country. The player that headlines the class is Al-Farouq Aminu. There's no room in the starting lineup for Aminu, but he'll be a big impact scorer off the bench when given the chance.

Aminu will play the four spot in college but has the skills to someday reach the NBA as a small forward. Aminu could sneak into the starting lineup at some point if he can outperform current guard L.D. Williams, who's a two-year starter.


9. Edgar Sosa and Reginald Delk, Louisville

Yes, two players from the same team are getting recognition as a top sixth man. Sosa and Delk are both guards who will challenge returning starter Andre McGee for his starting spot. McGee emerged as a starter after Sosa quickly entered Rick Pitino's doghouse.

Sosa is a former double-digit scorer and Big East All-Rookie team member who is poised to break out if he gets his act together. Delk is a Mississippi State transfer who started over 90 percent of the games he participated in as a Bulldog.


8. Isaiah Thomas, Washington

The second of two freshmen to make the list will be a big-time scorer off the bench for the Huskies. Thomas is a four-star recruit, but he is a shoot first guard that will be able to put the ball in the basket when he's on the floor.

Thomas will sit behind two guards, Justin Dentmon and Venoy Overton, who aren't going to scare anyone, so minutes won't be hard to come by.


7. Micah Downs, Gonzaga

A former All-American, Micah Downs hasn't quite panned out to be the star some thought he would be, but that doesn't mean Downs won't be a key contributor on the nation's top mid-major. Downs is a senior winger who can step out and hit the three.

At 6'8'', Downs is a tough matchup for most teams. He primarily backs up another winger who stands even taller at 6'10''.


6. Blake Hoffarber, Minnesota

The nation's only sixth man with two ESPY nominations for incredible shots will also be one of the nation's best men off the bench. He's a tremendous long-range shooter at 42.7 percent who, if he gets an increase in playing time, will average double-digit points off the bench.

Hoffarber tends to only shoot three-pointers (70 percent of his field goal attempts came from three), but if he can extend his game inside the arc as well, Tubby Smith might insert the sophomore into the starting lineup.

5. Corey Fisher, Villanova

Last year, Villanova brought in two five-star recruits with the first name of Corey. The other Corey, Stokes, is in the starting lineup. But Corey Fisher will come off the bench and prove to be a good distributor and a guard with a nice shooting range.

Fisher struggled at times shooting the ball overall because of poor shot selection, but if he can make good decisions, Villanova will have a great asset off the bench.


4. Weyinmi Efejuku, Providence

Who? Providence's newly appointed sixth man will be one of the best in the country. He's been a starter for over half of his three years so far during his time at Providence. The senior will be pushed back to the bench with the return of stud point guard Sharaud Curry.

Efejuku is a very good shooter and scorer in general (11.6 ppg in 2008, 14.7 ppg in 2007). He'll provide new coach Keno Davis with a great option off the bench for one of the most underrated teams in the country.


3. Greg Paulus, Duke

The senior point guard will find himself riding the pine at the start of games. Sophomore Nolan Smith won the starting point guard spot on the first day of practice. Does this mean Paulus won't be a key figure in the Blue Devils' attempt to take down UNC as the top team in the ACC? Absolutely not.

Paulus will be the first man off the bench, bringing experience and long-range shooting. Having a senior and former five-star recruit coming off your bench will be a nice luxury that Coach K will exploit.


2. LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor

LaceDarius Dunn is the fourth guard on a team loaded in the backcourt. Luckily for Dunn, the Bears like to play three guards at all times while running up and down the court. Dunn emerged as the Big 12's best sixth man as a freshman last year.

Dunn is a terrific three-point shooter at over 40 percent but can also score in the paint. Dunn averaged 13.6 ppg coming off the bench last year for the Bears. With talented guards Curtis Jerrells, Henry Dugat, and Tweety Carter in the starting lineup, Dunn will be the sparkplug off the bench.


1. Danny Green, UNC

Three Tar Heels declared for the NBA draft last spring, but all withdrew. Two of them were potential All-Americans Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson. The third is the nation's best sixth man, senior Danny Green. The winger has spent virtually his entire career coming off the bench, but when he's on the floor, he has the potential to be the most dynamic player on the floor.

Green will likely start to begin the season with Marcus Ginyard out with a foot problem, but when Ginyard returns to the lineup, expect Green to get 20-25 minutes off the bench and produce double-digit points.


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