RTC 2009-10 Impact Players – Mid-Atlantic Region

Posted by zhayes9 on September 9th, 2009

impactplayers

Last week we took a look at the five impact players in the Northeast Region, so now we’re ready for the second installment of our ten-week RTC 2009-10 Impact Players series.   Each week we’ll pick a geographic area of the country and break down the five players who we feel will have the most impact on their teams (and by the transitive property, college basketball) this season.  Our criteria is once again subjective – there are so many good players in every region of the country that it’s difficult to narrow them down to only five  in each – but we feel at the end of this exercise that we’ll have discussed nearly every player of major impact in the nation.  Just to be fair and to make this not too high-major-centric, we’re also going to pick a mid-major impact player in each region as our sixth man.  We welcome you guys, our faithful and very knowledgeable readers, to critique us in the comments where we left players off.  The only request is that you provide an argument – why will your choice be more influential this season than those we chose?

impactplayers mid-atlantic

Mid-Atlantic Region  (NYC, NJ, PA, WV, MD, DE)

  • Scottie Reynolds - Sr, G – Villanova. There might be players in this region who can score more points or dish out more assists or shoot a higher percentage from the floor than Reynolds.  There might be more physically imposing and athletically gifted players than the 6’2 guard from Northern Virginia.   There could even be a few ‘upside’ guys you’d pick before him if you were starting an NBA franchise.  But is there any player as capable of putting his team on his back and doing this (ok, maybe Vasquez, but he hasn’t done it yet)?  Is there another player on this list who you’d prefer to have the ball in his hands as the clock is ticking down, knowing that he’ll give your team a superb chance to win?  Reynolds is the player that every coach loves to have on his team – he plays heavy minutes, never misses a start, shows great leadership and clearly has a calming effect on his team whenever he’s on the floor.  This is a long way removed from the early days of his career, where the ‘Nova legend has stated that he had trouble seeing the ‘big picture’ due to trust issues with coaches and other players.    There are no such issues now, as everyone in the Big Five (and the Big East, for that matter) understands who the top dog in the Philadelphia area is.  If things come together right for Reynolds and VU in 2009-10, he could look back on a collegiate career that includes three all-Big East nods, an all-american selection, the second-most number of steals (he needs 58), and the most points (Kerry Kittles) in the long history of the Villanova program (he needs 624).  Considering all that, Reynolds will captain the best team in the Big East and may also have another Final Four appearance in his sights.
  • Da’Sean Butler - Sr, F – West Virginia. If there’s a team that should challenge Villanova (on paper) as the class of the Big East in 2009-10, it should be West Virginia.  The biggest reason for that is Butler, the 6’7 wing set to replace Pitt’s Sam Young as the most multi-dimensional player in the conference.  Butler scores (17.1 ppg), rebounds (5.9 per game) and even finds time to play the passing lanes (1.7 spg).  Last season he seemed to really find his groove in the conference slate, as his numbers all rose, culminating in his 43-pt explosion during a blowout win against Villanova on Friday the (Feb.) 13th.  But it was his performance over the summer at the World University Games that really caught our eye – on a team with shooters such as Robbie Hummel and James Anderson, it was Butler who led the squad in three-point percentage (55%) by nailing nearly two per game.  His perimeter shooting has always been solid (~35%), but if his shot improves next season to the 38-40% range to replace Alex Ruoff’s deadly range, Butler’s ability to get to the rim and finish becomes even more of a threat.  With sophomore Honorable Mentions Devin Ebanks’ size and rebounding, Truck Bryant’s scoring and playmaking, plus the addition of two five-star recruits to the roster, it’s clear why WVU looks to improve on last year’s 23-12 record and first round NCAA exit.  Mountaineer fans have an expectation of a top ten team in Morgantown and it’s understandable why they think so – it’ll be up to their star Butler to deliver on those expectations.
  • Jeremy Hazell - Jr, F – Seton Hall. Jeremy Hazell’s inclusion on our Mid-Atlantic all-region team was the toughest decision we had to make.  There’s absolutely no question that the 6’5 guard/forward who blew up on the Big East last season has talent.  You don’t score 20+ against sixteen Big East defenses without the ability to score the ball from every which way (22.8 ppg).  The primary issue was that it’s difficult to claim to be an impact player if your team isn’t very good, and last year, the Hall finished 7-11 in the conference with all seven of those wins against fellow bottom-feeders.  Nevertheless, we recognize that past results do not necessarily predict future outcomes, and with three impact transfers arriving (Herb Pope, Jeff Robinson and Keon Lawrence) amidst a much leaner Big East landscape, it wouldn’t surprise us if Seton Hall, led by Hazell, made a run at the NCAAs this year.  Getting back to Bobby Gonzalez’s star player, his scoring numbers might actually decrease this season depending on how well the new players orient to North Jersey, but with fewer shots (he took 32% of SH’s shots last year) he could become a more complete player by improving his shooting percentages (43%/36%) and offensive efficiency (28th in the Big East).  Regardless of how this season goes, Hazell is undoubtedly one of the most talented players the nation has yet to hear about.
  • Talor Battle – Jr, G- Penn State. While the electric Penn State point guard Talor Battle may have been known within Big Ten circles and around Happy Valley, national attention wasn’t forwarded his way until one performance on February 1 in East Lansing, MI. The heavily favored top-ten ranked Spartans, a team that would reach the championship game just months later in Detroit, fell to the underdog Nittany Lions, who were 0-16 in their Big Ten history at the Breslin Center. During that game, Battle emerged as one of the top scorers in the conference and the nation. In a league where hard-nosed defense on every possession is the norm, Battle averaged 16.7 ppg, including seven 20+ point performances in conference play. And on that night in East Lansing, Battle scored 29 points on 11-19 shooting and 6-12 from three, leading Penn State to a 72-68 upset win. Battle certainly has some areas to improve – namely shooting 34% from deep and hitting just 70% of his free throws – but the scoring guard truly has the capability to put up 30+ points on any given night. With Jamelle Cornley and Stanley Pringle no longer at PSU, the onus lies almost completely on Battle to lead the way for Penn State and coach Ed DeChellis if they have any hope of reaching postseason play again. Considering such a lackluster supporting cast, one could argue Battle will have the most singular impact of any player in this entire region, as on many nights Penn State will completely rely on Battle’s scoring potential to win basketball games.
  • Greivis Vasquez – Sr, G- Maryland. Love him or despise him with every bone in your body, there’s no denying the talent of Greivis Vasquez. There’s also no denying that Vasquez’ decision to stay at Maryland for his senior season rather than enter the NBA Draft had the greatest impact of any April decision in the country, vaulting the Terrapins from a likely-NIT team to a possible top-six seed and ACC contender. Much like Battle’s performance against Michigan State, one 2008-09 performance from Vasquez defined his season and launched the fiery Venezuelan into Maryland basketball lore – a 35-11-10 triple-double in an 88-85 overtime win against #3 North Carolina in College Park when Maryland was lingering around the bubble. Vasquez backs up his never-resting mouth with impressive play on the court, notably being named to the all-ACC second team for the second straight campaign and, in Oscar-like fashion, leading his Terps in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and minutes, becoming just the sixth player in ACC history to accomplish said feat. The main knock on Vasquez during his first two seasons in College Park was a recurring propensity to commit foolish turnovers, but that criticism is quieting after Vasquez finished third in the conference in assist/turnover ratio a season ago. There’s no argument against Vasquez making a tremendous impact for Maryland and Gary Williams once again this season.
  • Ryan Thompson (MM) – Sr, G- Rider. In doing research for this feature, I have yet to find one thing that Ryan Thompson does not do well on the basketball court. The younger brother of Kings forward and fellow Bronc Jason Thompson, Ryan is surely creating his own identity as a bona fide NBA prospect.  A first team all-MAAC performer a season ago as a junior, Thompson did it all for Rider: ranking second in the conference in scoring, first in minutes played (he played 40+ minutes in nine games), second in three-point percentage, seventh in assists, eighth in field-goal percentage, eighth in free-throw percentage and eighth in rebounding. That’s right, Thompson can shoot from deep, score inside, rebound, pass and play nearly every minute. While the competition doesn’t always rank with other elite performers in college basketball, one could argue Thompson is the top all-around player in the game this season. He also plays his best when the stakes are high, totaling 57 points and 17 rebounds in two conference tournament games for his Broncs, including a bucket with 3.4 seconds left to knock off Siena last year. The sky’s the limit for Thompson in 2009-10, an already immensely talented individual playing with motivation as Rider has yet to reach the NCAA Tournament in his three seasons in Jersey, and coming off of a rare and disappointing seven points on 2-13 shooting against Liberty in his season finale.

impact players mid-atlantic

Honorable MentionLavoy Allen, Temple.  Sean Baptiste, FDU.  Jamal Barney, Loyola (MD).  Darryl Bryant, WVU.  Jermaine Dixon, Pittsburgh.  Devin Ebanks, WVU.  Corey Fisher, Villanova.  Darrin Govens, St. Joseph’s.  Rodney Green, Lasalle.  Charles Jenkins, Hofstra.  Anthony Mason, Jr., St. John’s.  Herb Pope, Seton Hall.  Mike Rosario, Rutgers.  Damian Saunders, Duquesne.  Corey Stokes, Villanova.  Devin Sweetney, St. Francis (PA).

zhayes9 (301 Posts)


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7 Responses to “RTC 2009-10 Impact Players – Mid-Atlantic Region”

  1. VUhoops.com says:

    The Boys from Rush the Court have named Scottie as an "Impact Player" in the MidAtlantic Region http://tr.im/yjtb

  2. J says:

    Hey dipshit, Vasquez is from Venezuela, not Puerto Rico.

  3. zhayes9 says:

    Calling me a dipshit just makes you look like a dipshit.

    Corrected.

  4. zeusmagoose says:

    “…..Rider has yet to reach the NCAA Tournament in his three seasons in Jersey….” – or the previous 14 years and never since they joined the MAAC.

  5. factcheck says:

    If you claim Ryan Thompson to be an NBA prospect, what you are saying is that Rider, with two future NBA prospects has never been able to make the NCAAs. They get in the CBI CIT tourney because Harnum (the Rider AD) is on the board of that tournament. Siena’s Ubiles numbers would dwarf thompsons if put in the same situation. Not to mention, Ryan Thompson is actually about 6’4-6’4.5″. Rider belongs in the NEC with their low D1/D2 facilities, dismal fanbase and inability to make it to a legitimate post season tournament with two NBA prospects.

    Responding to someone calling you a dipshit by calling them a dipshit has eliminated any legitimacy that this ‘article’ may have had.

  6. Zach says:

    You don’t sound biased or anything.

    Seriously, throwing out opinions like “Ubiles would dominate in that same situation” and “Rider belongs in D2″ and “they just get to the CBI/CIT because of their AD” without presenting any facts isn’t helping your cause. Good effort though.

  7. jstevrtc says:

    Factcheck: I don’t think there’s much doubt out there that Ryan Thompson is an NBA prospect. If you mean to imply that he can’t be an NBA prospect because Rider didn’t go to the tournament while both he and his brother Jason were there, well…it’s not an everyday occurrence, I admit, but sometimes you don’t go to the Dance no matter how many NBA prospects you have. Biggest example last year was the University of Kentucky (Patterson, Meeks, some would say Darius Miller). And what do you mean by “the same situation” when referring to Ubiles/Thompson? Maybe the other guys understood that, but I didn’t. As far as numbers, I know they don’t necessarily go up against each other, but in two games last year, here’s how they did when playing the other team:

    Thompson 16p, 5r, 6a, 4st, 1b in 40 minutes.
    Ubiles 19p, 5r, 4a, 0st, 1b in 33 minutes.
    (1/9/09, Rider loss)

    Thompson 13p, 5r, 3a, 3st, 2b in 32 minutes.
    Ubiles 10p, 4r, 0a, 1st, 0b in 31 minutes.
    (2/7/09, Rider win)

    I don’t think anyone’s dwarfing anyone. So, go back and read what ZH wrote about Thompson in the piece. He’s saying that the guy has potential and he’s someone who could have a breakout year (true), he is an impact player in this geographic region of the country (true), and that he is an NBA PROSPECT, meaning someone who COULD play in the NBA at some point, someone who has exceptional talent compared with others in this geographic region whose skills may enable him to play in the NBA (true). He didn’t say the guy was going to be a #1 draft pick or a future MVP. I don’t see what the problem is, here.

    Now, as for your last line, ZH didn’t call him a dipshit. ZH said calling him one made the ‘commenter’ look like one. Listen, we encourage commenting, we encourage discussion, especially where the takes are well-constructed and literate. And we’re all big boys so we can take petty insults. But what kind of guy calls someone a ‘dipshit’ from behind a computer screen on a college basketball website’s comments section? Probably the same kind of guy who calls his friends after doing it and shows them what a big man and a winner he is because he called someone a dipshit (“Dude, did you see it?!? Yeah! That was me!!). I hope he enjoyed his eight seconds of excitement. If this is the same ‘J’ who has commented here before, he’s better than that. Actually, since we’re older than twelve, we’re all better than that. So the author made a mistake, big deal. Why not just tell him so he can correct it (which he did)?

    Anyway, as far as the article, come back and find us at the end of the year and we’ll look at it again. Then we’ll see how much legitimacy it has. I think you’ll be surprised.

    John Stevens
    RTC

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