NCAA Basketball: Top 25 Players on Top 25 Teams
Who have been the best 25 players on the top 25 teams in college basketball so far in 2011-2012? I'm here to bring you up to speed on who has shined for the top teams. All players were chosen from the AP Top 25 teams.
Note that this is not an opinionated list of the best 25 players in college basketball or a prediction of who the best 25 players will be this year. Instead, I used my own formula based on statistics and team ranking to determine the best players from the AP Top 25.
Note*: Stats are only through Thanksgiving. Friday games were not taken into account.
Who Missed the Cut?
Some of the most talented players in the nation missed the cut.
Austin Rivers, a highly touted freshman guard from Duke, was actually not close to making the list. He contributes little other than scoring, and he only averages 14 points per game on just 43% shooting from the floor.
Another similarly hyped player, North Carolina sophomore forward Harrison Barnes, did not make the cut mostly because of his horrendous 0.33/1 assist/turnover ratio.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a talented freshman from Kentucky, averages an outstanding seven rebounds per game from the small-forward position. However, he averages just 12 points per game and more than three turnovers per game.
Baylor's senior forward Quincy Acy was the second-to-last cut. He averages seven rebounds and three blocks per game and shoots 61% from the field. However, his 11 points-per-game scoring average was not enough.
Ashton Gibbs was the last cut from the top-25 list. The senior guard averages 20 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and just 1.5 turnovers per contest. What kept him off the list was his atrocious 38% field-goal percentage.
25. Seth Curry, Duke Blue Devils
This guard is the main reason why Duke won the Maui Invitational, remains unbeaten and is ranked No. 6.
Curry averages 15 points per game and has been remarkably efficient, shooting 51% from the floor, 57% from deep, and 93% from the line.
Curry has also contributed three rebounds, three assists, and two steals per game. He averages two turnovers per game.
If Curry scored more, he would be higher on this list, but his efficiency has been remarkable enough to get him on at No. 25.
24. Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan Wolverines
Tim Hardaway Jr. is asked to do a lot for 15th-ranked Michigan. He is both the main scorer and the main distributor, and he has done so while averaging just 1.5 turnovers per game, a remarkable feat.
This son of an NBA star has averaged 17 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3 assists per game to start the season. Hardaway also led his team to an impressive third-place finish at the Maui Invitational.
Additionally, he has shot the ball well from the floor, with a 49% average. However, he needs to raise his free-throw and three-point rates of 69% and 31% if he wants to become more effective.
23. Brad Beal, Florida Gators
Brad Beal makes this list despite making just 27% of his threes to start the season. He has been an effective scorer despite his poor shooting from long range, as he has scored 16 points per game so far.
This freshman guard has also contributed in other areas besides scoring. He averages five rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block per game.
Beal has helped Florida to a strong start and No. 10 ranking in the AP poll.
22. Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga Bulldogs
Gonzaga's freshman guard has had a great start to his college career. In his first start, Pangos knocked down nine three-point shots.
Pangos averages 19 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. He has also only turned the ball over four times in three games, which is impressive for a freshman.
His shooting percentages of 50% from the floor, 89% from the line and 63% from deep have made him remarkably efficient for No. 19 Gonzaga.
21. Terrence Jones, Kentucky Wildcats
Terrence Jones, the sophomore forward from Kentucky, averages just 11 points per game. So what is he doing on this list? Well, he plays for Kentucky, which means that he is not called on to shoot often. When he is, however, he makes it in 51% of the time.
Jones has contributed in other ways besides scoring, as he has averaged eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks per contest.
If Jones did not play for No. 2 Kentucky, odds are he would score a lot more points.
20. Tony Mitchell, Alabama Crimson Tide
Tony Mitchell is someone you probably have not heard of. Let me hit you with some knowledge: This kid averages 15 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block per game.
He is also efficient, as he has made over 40% of his threes and almost half of his field-goal attempts.
Mitchell is a junior forward for Alabama, which you probably did not realize is ranked 13th in the country. If you couldn't guess by now, Tony Mitchell is a key reason why.
19. Kenny Boynton, Florida Gators
What's the big deal about Florida guard Kenny Boynton? It's that he scores lots of points and scores them efficiently, too.
I'm talking 19 points per game, and shooting over 50% from both the floor and three-point land.
Boynton also has a great 3/1 assist/turnover ratio. Without him, Florida would not be ranked ninth in the country.
18. Mason Plumlee, Duke Blue Devils
I know what your thinking. Isn't this a little too good of a ranking for the Duke forward?
I thought the same thing, too—before I looked into the numbers. Plumlee has been ripping down boards like a madman, averaging 10 per game to start the year.
He has also made 63% of his shots, scored 11 points per game and contributed with some steals, blocks and assists, too.
Of course, playing for No. 6 Duke helps. On a lesser team, he would score more points.
17. Doron Lamb, Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky's Doron Lamb is one of the most underrated players in the country. He averages 16.5 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists per game—and doing so efficiently.
Lamb has turned the ball over just twice in four games. He has also converted half of his shot attempts from the floor, including making over half of his threes.
Doron Lamb is just another great player on the No. 2 team in the country.
16. Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State Bulldogs
If you live on either coast, you probably haven't heard of Moultrie. All that he has done this year is average a double-double and get Mississippi State ranked in the AP Top 25.
Moultrie currently averages 15 points and 11 rebounds per game. He has made 47% of his shots and 85% of his free throws. He has also made two-thirds of this three-point attempts.
15. Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette Golden Eagles
Johnson-Odom has been lighting it up for 16th-ranked Marquette. He has averaged 20 points per game to start the season, which is obviously good.
But averaging 20 points on 57% shooting with a 2/1 assist/turnover ratio? That's very impressive.
If Johnson-Odom can keep up his stellar play, Marquette could make a lot of noise this year.
14. Tyler Zeller, North Carolina Tar Heels
There isn't really a whole lot to say about Zeller. He's a very good big man on the top-ranked team in the country right now, UNC.
Zeller averages 15 points and 11 rebounds per game. He has made almost 85% of his foul shots. Simply put, if Zeller were on a worse team, he would be scoring 20 points per game.
13. Marcus Denmon, Misouri Tigers
Another relatively unknown player who has been terrific this year is Missouri's Marcus Denmon.
Denmon averages 20 points per game with excellent shooting percentages. He has made 54% of his shots, 92% of his free throws, and 44% of his shots from deep.
He also averages six rebounds and under one turnover per game. He is the main reason why Missouri is ranked 21st right now.
12. Tu Holloway, Xavier Musketeers
Finally, we get to a true star player. Xavier is ranked 12th in the country, and Holloway is their best player.
On the season, he has averaged 16.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists. Holloway is shooting 46% from the floor and turning the ball over just 1.5 times per game.
While some predicted stars have disappointed to start the year, Holloway has met every expectation.
11. Robert Sacre, Gonzaga Bulldogs
Unless you are from the west coast, you probably don't know who Rob Sacre is. Let me educate you.
Sacre, who plays center for 19th-ranked Gonzaga, averages 18 points and 10 rebounds per game. He has also blocked two shots per game while shooting over 50% from the field and 85% from the line.
If Gonzaga is to go on a run in March, they will need Sacre to play like he has to begin the season.
10. Will Barton, Memphis Tigers
Barton has been the best player for eighth-ranked Memphis so far this year. He has been quite the lethal scorer, as he has averaged 20 points per game on 48% shooting from the floor.
He has contributed in other ways, too, averaging six rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal per game.
Memphis is the highest ranked team from a mid-major conference. Without Barton, they might not be ranked at all.
9. Jae Crowder, Marquette Golden Eagles
Marquette has two players on this list, Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom (No 15). Though Crowder has scored fewer points than Johnson-Odom, Crowder has made more of an impact in other areas. He has also scored 18 points per game.
Crowder has averaged eight rebounds, two assists, two steals, one block and one turnover per game. He has also made almost 60% of his shots from the field.
Crowder and Johnson-Odom certainly give No. 16 Marquette a deadly one-two punch.
8. Mark Lyons, Xavier Musketeers
Xavier, the 12th-ranked team in the country, is lucky to have Mark Lyons. He is an efficient and volume scorer and a well-rounded player.
The volume-scoring part? Twenty points per game so far.
The efficient-scoring part? Over 50% from the floor and from deep.
The well-rounded-player part? Five rebounds, four assists and two steals per game.
7. Thomas Robinson, Kansas Jayhawks
Thomas Robinson has been an absolute beast for Kansas to start out the year. He is not only among the best rebounders in the NCAA, with 12 rebounds per game, but he is also an effective scorer.
Robinson has averaged 16 points per game and converted on 49% of his field-goal attempts. He has also contributed two assists, one block and one steal per game.
Without Robinson, 14th-ranked Kansas would be lucky to be in the AP Top 25.
6. Anthony Davis, Kentucky Wildcats
Okay, so Anthony Davis only averages 13 points per game. He plays for the second-best team in the country, Kentucky, so how much do you want him to score?
He has an other-worldly field-goal percentage above 72%. If Davis played for a team that needed him to score, he could put up close to 25 per game.
Davis has blocked a dominant 4.5 shots per game. He has also added eight rebounds, two assists and one steal per game.
5. Travon Woodall, Pittsburgh Panthers
What do you look for in a point guard? Assists? How does 8.5 per game sound? High shooting percentage? How about 63% from the floor and 58% from three? Scoring? Is 18 points per game enough?
He even rebounds well, averaging five boards per game to start the season. The only thing holding him back are his four turnovers per game.
No. 17 Pitt will go as far as Woodall takes them this season.
4. Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut Huskies
UConn is ranked fourth in the country. This would not be the case if Jeremy Lamb weren't so damn good. The big number that jumps out at you is his 23 points per game.
He contributes in other ways, though, as he has averaged four rebounds, two assists, three steals and one block per game.
He has made a solid 49% of his shots from the field, but has shot just 32% from long distance.
3. Shabazz Napier, Connecticut Huskies
To much surprise, Shabazz Napier, not Jeremy Lamb, has been the best player for UConn to start this season. According to my rating system, that is.
Napier has displayed a fantastic all-around game, averaging 19 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists per game this season.
Napier has also been efficient, as he has converted on over half of his shots and almost half of his three-point shots.
2. John Henson, North Carolina Tar Heels
The rise of John Henson has been remarkable. Though he oozed with potential last year, not many predicted he would be THIS good for top-ranked UNC.
Henson has been a monster on the boards and blocking shots, averaging 11 and 4, respectively. Toss in his 16.5 points per game and field goal percentage of 63%, and it is easy to see why he ranks so high.
If it weren't for another dominant big man, Henson would hold the top spot.
1. Jared Sullinger, Ohio State Buckeyes
As good as Henson has been, Ohio State's Jared Sullinger has been just a little bit better. Sullinger is the only player on a top-25 team to have averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per game to this point.
That is a great start, but once you add in his 64% shooting from the floor and 90% shooting from the line, it becomes clear that he has had the best start to the season.
For good measure, Sullinger has also averaged one assist, steal and block per game.