CBS’s “Top 100 Players in College Basketball” Is A Very Silly ListPosted by KCarpenter on October 19th, 2011
We all know that lists of top players tend to be very silly. For a sport as big and expansive as college basketball, these lists can quickly become incredibly silly. Strange inclusions and weird snubs are almost inevitable. That said, the latest CBS Sports list of The Top 100 Players in College Basketball is just ridiculous. Still, lists are fun so let’s talk about this one and all the reasons that it’s just goofy.
Of the top 100 players in college basketball, twelve are from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Of the twelve best players in the ACC, half of them come from North Carolina, a quarter of them come from Duke, and one player each comes from N.C. State, Miami and Virginia. Here is the list of rankings, players, and schools. Below that, we’ll have ourselves a talk.
2. Harrison Barnes (UNC)
8. John Henson (UNC)
10. Austin Rivers (Duke)
12. Kendall Marshall (UNC)
13. Tyler Zeller (UNC)
70. Ryan Kelly (Duke)
72. Seth Curry (Duke)
82. C.J. Leslie (N.C. State)
83. James McAdoo (UNC)
90. Durand Scott (Miami)
97. Dexter Strickland (UNC)
100. Mike Scott (Virginia)
Okay, now let me make one thing clear. I love Dexter Strickland. I like his speed, his defensive intensity, and his propensity for nasty dunks on the fast break. On the miserable 2009-10 North Carolina squad, Dexter Strickland looked like the only guy who was still trying at the end of the season. He seems like a great guy and I’d want him on my team. That said: c’mon, y’all. Dexter Strickland averaged 7.5 PPG and 2.2 APG last season. He was good for around one steal a game and he committed just enough turnovers to cancel out those steals. Mike Scott, the last guy on the list averaged 15.9 PPG and 10.2 RPG. He averaged a double-double. Listen, I know stats go beyond basic points per game and rebounds per game, but do you know which of the players listed above scored more points per game than Mike Scott? None of them. Do you know which one of the players listed above rebounded more per game than Mike Scott? None of them. He scored more than Harrison Barnes and rebounded more than John Henson. I’d still prefer Harrison Barnes and John Henson on my team, but you get the point, right? Mike Scott, the worst player on this list is actually pretty damn good.
Sadly, the minds behind these lists seemed to be blinded by the bright marquee lights of the ACC and have overlooked some very real talent. Ryan Kelly showed some sure flashes of talent this summer in China, and I don’t object to his place on the list at all. Still, it seems odd that Kelly makes the list while Mason Plumlee who was easily the better player for most of last season doesn’t make the list at all. Durand Scott is a fine player and will be a big help for Miami, but he’s almost certainly the third best player on the team. Malcolm Grant is the team’s leading scorer, star, and the only player on the team that was named to one of the all-ACC teams, while Reggie Johnson put together a scary-efficient season that had him shooting nearly 60% from the field and posting a top ten offensive rebounding rate in the country. Yet somehow Durand Scott gets the nod and they don’t? There is no love either for Erick Green of Virginia Tech or Terrell Stoglin of Maryland who have been spot-lighted as potential break-out stars in the league. I just can’t figure out the logic of the list.
Like I said, it’s a silly exercise and I promise I’m not going to get too worked up over something so trivial as an arbitrary list. Still, ACC fans have at least some cause to be disappointed in a national media that doesn’t seem to be paying attention to many of the great players in the conference who don’t happen to reside on Tobacco Road.