RTC 2009-10 Impact Players – Wrap-UpPosted by rtmsf on November 8th, 2009
Over the course of the last ten weeks we’ve broken down sixty players from around the country whom we expect will have the biggest impact on college basketball this season. We performed this exercise geographically, choosing five high-major and one mid-major player from each of the somewhat arbitrary ten regions of the country. If you’d like to read through the individual regions (and we highly encourage that), you can check all ten here.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to read through all of the previous posts, we’ll summarize here for you by rating the strongest to the weakest regions.
(ed. note: we started this so long ago that Binghamton still had a promising basketball program, and DJ Rivera still had a place to play)
1. Lower Midwest Region (OH, IN, IL, IA, NE, KS)
Overview. This seemed pretty clear just at a first glance. Aldrich, Collins and Harangody are three of the 1st team AAs on the RTC preseason list, and Brackins and Turner are on the 2d team. This group has unbelievable scoring ability, size and experience. The only weak link is the mid-major inclusion of Eldridge, who is a fine player, but not in the class of the rest of these superstars. The nation’s heartland is the epicenter of college basketball talent this year.
Best Players Left Out. Where to start? The depth in this region is incredible. Gordon Hayward and Matt Howard at Butler, Robbie Hummell and E’Twaun Moore at Purdue, even Lance Stephenson at Cincinnati. The #6-10 players in this region would probably be better than all but a few of the other regions.
2. Mid-South Region (KY, TN, MO, AR, OK)
Overview. It was a very close call between this region and the South Atlantic, but we felt that the guard play of Warren and Wall with Anderson on the wing would compensate for what this team gives up in size. And it doesn’t give up much, considering Patterson, Smith and Jordan are all exceptional inside. Tough call, but Wall is the likely #1 pick, so he’s the x-factor.
Best Players Left Out. Plenty of raw size here, including Samardo Samuels at Louisville, Michael Washington at Arkansas and DeMarcus Cousins at Kentucky. Throw in the skilled size of AJ Ogilvy at Vanderbilt and Wayne Chism at Tennessee and this area will punish you on the interior.
3. South Atlantic Region (DC, VA, NC, SC, GA)
Overview. This is the third region that’s chock full of NBA talent – each of the rest below have smatterings of it, but not nearly as much. Aminu, Booker and Singler all define skilled versatility, while Monroe could end up the best big in the entire country if he wants it enough. Sanders is a little undersized but relentless as well.
Best Players Left Out. Ed Davis at UNC was a lighting rod topic, as some felt that he’d be an all-american this year with his length and skill set. Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal are two others. A good argument could be made that this region had the best players left out, but it sorta depends on how this year plays out due to their relative youth and inexperience.
4. Mid-Atlantic Region (NYC, NJ, PA, WV, MD, DE)
Overview. This region has a group of very strong guards, with no-fear Vasquez and Reynolds leading the way. With Butler and Thompson checking in at 6’7ish, the scoring will be there, but they’ll have trouble banging against the top three regions.
Best Players Left Out. Devin Ebanks at West Virginia and Mike Rosario at Rutgers were the most interesting left-out players here, but both still have to prove their mettle a little more in the Big East wars.
5. Deep South Region (FL, AL, MS, LA, TX)
Overview. An interesting team with a solid mix of offense and defense, and arguably could have been #4 on our list as well. There are potential issues with the fiery Coleman and the moody James playing on the same team, though. (ed. note: when we made the selections, Asprilla was still at FIU).
Best Players Left Out. Some really good players were left out of this team, including the Texas freshmen of Avery Bradley and Jordan Hamilton, Kelvin Lewis at Houston, Kenny Boynton at Florida, LaceDarius Dunn at Baylor and JaMychal Green at Alabama. None are superstars, but they’re all very effective all-conference level players.
6. Upper Midwest Region (MI, WI, MN, SD, ND)
Overview. The Dakotas don’t provide anything here, but the state of Michigan more than makes up for it, with the all-american Lucas and his teammate Morgan back from the national runner-ups along with the two Michigan stars of Sims and Harris. Which state has the most talent within it this year – Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky or North Carolina?
Best Players Left Out. As good as the top five is here, the talent level drops off quickly. The best remaining players were Trevon Hughes at Wisconsin and Lawrence Westbrook at Minnesota. Johnathan Jones, the nation’s assist leader last year at Oakland, should also be mentioned.
7. Northeast Region (ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT, Upstate NY)
Overview. Rivera, of course, was booted from Binghamton, but the backcourt of Dyson and Walker is still nasty. Onuaku and Trapani can handle the inside while the guards (including Harris) put up all of the shots.
Best Players Left Out. Wesley Johnson at Syracuse comes immediately to mind, as he may be Cuse’s best player this year. There’s an awful lot of strong mid-major talent in this region, including the Siena trio of Edwin Ubiles, Ryan Rossiter and Alex Franklin as well as the two-time Am East POY, Marqus Blakely.
8. Northwest Region (AK, WA, OR, Northern CA)
Overview. West coast bias this year, as the region has been decimated by the NBA over the last two years. Still, if guardplay is all that you needed, this region would be right at the top with two of the top backcourts in America at Washington and Cal, plus Bouldin and Lowhorn picking up the slack. There’s just no skilled size in this region whatsoever.
Best Players Left Out. More guards, such as Quincy Pondexter at UW and Tajuan Porter at Oregon. The best big in the region regardless of school size might be Omar Samhan at St. Mary’s, though.
9. Southwest Region (NM, AZ, NV, HI, Southern CA)
Overview. Interestingly, Babbitt might be the best player in this region even though he’s a mid-major selection. There are several good players here, including Wise and Lewis, but nobody really stands out as exceptional.
Best Players Left Out. A Southwest region without a single UCLA player on it? That’s the problem. The Bruins lost so much production that it’s difficult to guage who among their young players — Malcolm Lee, Jerime Anderson, J’Mison Morgan — are going to step up for the next year.
10. Mountains Region (CO, UT, WY, MT, ID)
Overview. This is essentially a group of mid-major players (Colorado plays like a low-major), although it’s clear that Fredette and Tavernari could play for just about anyone. Typical for many mid-majors, there’s no size to speak of in this group either.
Best Players Left Out. The two Utah State returnees, Jared Quayle and Tai Wesley, are interesting, and could have been included, but there’s just not much depth in a region with so few schools.