View Full Version : Best Players 2017-18: 14-20

04-09-2017, 11:35 AM
Offseason is upon us. We need some other type of stimulation. It's going to be a long 6 months.

14. Frank Jackson, Duke Blue Devils

Jackson started Duke's last eight games, and his ascension coincided with a moment when many observers thought the Blue Devils were finally living up to their preseason No. 1 ranking. We now know it didn't turn out that way, but the decision to start the freshman was sound. His shot selection is excellent, and though Jackson coughed up five turnovers against South Carolina in the NCAA tourney, his stewardship of the ball against less formidable defenses (i.e, the rest of D-I, more or less) suggests big things to come for the point guard. Certainly, he won't lack for teammates who can boost his assist totals.

15. Trevon Duval, Uncommitted

As the highest-rated point guard in the Class of 2017, the 6-foot-3 Duval is considering offers from Duke, Kansas, Arizona, Baylor and Seton Hall. He's billed as a slashing lead guard who can finish at the rim. True, there was a time when a reader might have paused over the line in the scouting report that says Duval is still working on his jumper. No longer. We are in a post-De'Aaron Fox world. If a point guard has good size, takes care of the rock and creates his own chances at the tin, we know from experience that he adds measurable value to an offense that can get its 3s elsewhere.

16. Kelan Martin, Butler Bulldogs

The Butler offense has featured Martin virtually since day one of his career in Indianapolis, even when he was a freshman coming off the bench who didn't get that many minutes. This season the junior logged big numbers for possession usage, fouls drawn and defensive boards, while posting small figures for turnovers. Martin rounded out February (and, perhaps, previewed 2017-18) by going off for a combined 47 points on 16-of-26 shooting in back-to-back road wins at Villanova and Xavier.

17. Landry Shamet, Wichita State Shockers

If the reports are correct and Wichita State jumps to the American Athletic Conference, the Missouri Valley's defenses will not be entirely sorry to see Shamet depart. The freshman put up numbers during conference play that were nothing short of ridiculous. Shamet posted 62 percent shooting on 2s and 52 percent on 3s, and again, this was over the course of 18 games. Replacing Fred VanVleet is no task for the faint of heart, but coach Gregg Marshall's point guard is well on his way to forging his own path.

18. Nick Ward, Michigan State Spartans

Ward's per-minute numbers in limited playing time as a freshman ensure that he will be at or near the top of every list for breakout sophomores next season. Rightfully so: Coach Tom Izzo's post scorer was striking in spots on both sides of the ball this past season. He will enter 2017-18 as the presumptive best offensive rebounder in the nation, and his rim defense is already outstanding.

19. Mohamed Bamba, Uncommitted

With a listed wingspan of 7-foot-9, Bamba's height is almost beside the point. (Though, for the record, it's 7-foot.) A freshman with a global sphere of influence on defense can alter the environment in the paint significantly, provided he stays out of foul trouble and gets to the right spots. Bamba could fit that profile. Plus, his 7-of-10 shooting to go along with four blocks and only one foul in 17 minutes at the McDonald's All American Game is just a snapshot, but at least a supportive one. His short list is down to Kentucky, Duke, Michigan and Texas.

20. Angel Delgado, Seton Hall Pirates

If the hoops gods in their Valhalla somewhere in the clouds, and/or the Seton Hall coaching staff in their offices in South Orange, New Jersey, had possessed a little more scheduling imagination last summer, we could have seen Delgado head-to-head and toe-to-toe against players such as Purdue's Caleb Swanigan or North Carolina's Kennedy Meeks. The Pirates would have been neutral-floor underdogs in both would-be NCAA tourney games (in actuality, they fell to Arkansas in the first round), but the real show would have been the battle for rebounding supremacy. The 6-foot-10 Delgado is possibly the game's best all-around rebounder, and he holds that title while averaging 33 minutes a game.