Introducing the RTC All-Big Ten Third Team

Posted by Eric Clark on November 12th, 2014

College basketball makes its return on Friday, and the Big Ten microsite’s writing crew has come together and formally voted on their preseason All-Big Ten teams. Having already released our pick for Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, we’ll release the rest of our preseason projections later this week.

RTC All-Big Ten Third Team

Shavon Shields, junior, Nebraska 6’7”, 221 lbs. (12.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 44.3% FG). Terran Petteway is the obvious catalyst for the Huskers, but Shields, a Big Ten honorable mention selection last year, will be his primary sidekick. Standing at 6’7”, Shields can pose significant match-up problems at the two-guard spot. The Olathe, Kansas, native ranked 11th in the Big Ten in defensive rebounding last season, pulling down over four caroms per game while leading Nebraska with 5.8 boards per game. His ability to get to the basket is what makes him truly indispensible, while all his work on the boards from the wing positions are gravy.

Shavon Shields Leads the RTC Big Ten Preseason Third Team  (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

Shavon Shields Leads the RTC Big Ten Preseason Third Team (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

Rayvonte Rice, senior, Illinois 6’4”, 230 lbs. (15.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.66 SPG). Rice made waves in his first season of play at Illinois (he redshirted the 2012-13 campaign due to NCAA transfer rules), leading the team in points and pulling down 210 rebounds, just one shy of the team high. Rice will be counted on even more this season after Tracy Abrams was lost for the season with a knee injury. If Rice can improve upon his three-point percentage (29.5%), he’ll be a far more dangerous player this season. Pairing a solid long-range game with his size, strength and overall toughness would serve the Illini well come postseason crunch time.

Shannon Scott, senior, Ohio State 6’1”, 185 lbs. (7.5 PPG, 3.4 APG, 43.2% FG). Ohio State was largely disappointing on the offensive end of the court last year, and Scott was not immune from that plague. The loss of Aaron Craft is a big dent in the Buckeyes’ defense, but Scott is no slouch on that end – he’s been named to the Big Ten All-Defensive team in each of the last two seasons, snagging 134 steals over that stretch. This season, Scott’s success will hinge on his ability to guide Thad Matta’s offense from his natural point guard position. The Alpharetta, Georgia, native was less than stellar on the attack last year, averaging only 7.5 points per game. He was able to amass 119 assists from the two-guard spot and in relief of Craft last year, and that total should jump as in his new role as the primary point guard. The RTC staff thinks that Scott will flourish in his native position and should lead a young but talented roster into March Madness again this year.

Denzel Valentine, junior, Michigan State 6’5″, 220 lbs. (8.0 PPG, 6,0 RPG, 3.8 APG, 37.7% 3FG). The do-it-all junior from Lansing, Michigan, can play almost anywhere on the court. As the team’s third-leading rebounder, Valentine made himself an invaluable asset to Tom Izzo’s 2013-14 squad. Replacing the production of stars Gary Harris, Adreian Payne and Keith Appling won’t be easy, but the Spartans can find facets of their departed players in Valentine. Averaging six rebounds per game from the shooting guard and small forward positions, Valentine trailed only Payne and returnee Branden Dawson in that category. He was second to only Appling in assists, and he made three-pointers at a better clip (37.7%) than Harris. Valentine’s versatility will be crucial for Tom Izzo this season, as the Spartans have to replace three starters with a shallow bench. Don’t be surprised if Valentine emerges as Michigan State’s primary ball-handler in pivotal moments.

Derrick Walton Jr., sophomore, Michigan 6’ 0”, 180 lbs. (7.9 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.9 APG, 41.0% 3FG). Losing weapons Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III will exponentially increase the pressure on second-year starting point guard Derrick Walton Jr. this season. Luckily for the Wolverines, Walton can handle it. The Detroit native will benefit from having the explosive Caris LeVert as his sidekick at shooting guard, but Walton can certainly handle his own from a scoring standpoint. He put up 19 points in a win against Michigan State and proved his worth from long-range by netting three-pointers at a 41 percent clip. Walton wasn’t heralded for his scoring ability last season, as he was overshadowed by the likes of Robinson and Stauskas, but expect that to change this season. Walton’s assist-to-turnover ratio was 1.89 last season, and Michigan could actually afford for it to drop – given Walton and LeVert play up to their offensive potential.

Eric Clark (30 Posts)

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