We wrap up our top 25 Big Ten players list today with the top five.
In order to determine the listing we voted on which players should be in the top 25. After narrowing down the player list down to 25 guys, we had 15 voters rank each player from 1st to 25th. For the scoring system a 25th place vote was worth 1 point, while a 1st place vote was worth 25 points. To see who voted you can head to the bottom where there is a list of the voters, including a mix of BTP staff and outside writers that cover the Big Ten.
Anyway's, let's see who landed in the top five.
5. Sam Dekker (304 points)
Junior Sam Dekker was one of the main players responsible for Wisconsin's Final Four run last season and will look to improve once again in his third year in Madison. Coming off of his best season statistically, the 6'9 forward added 12.4 points per game and over six rebounds an affair while shooting a solid 46.9% from the field. The forward also has some range to his game, converting on over 32% of 129 treys, though the number was considerably lower than the 39.1% he shot in 2012-13. Dekker is a strong option at forward, doesn't commit turnovers and if he improves once again this year he could enter NBA Draft talk as a potential lottery pick. If Wisconsin wants to get back to the Final Four it will be heavily based around if guys like Dekker can keep it going and everything so far makes it look like the junior should be set for his best season yet.
4. Terran Petteway (307 points)
The Texas Tech transfer absolutely blew up for the Cornhuskers last season, leading the way with 18.1 points per game with Petteway almost always having the ball in his hands when Nebraska was on offense. Petteway's offensive ability was impressive to say the least and it should be no surprise that Petteway was setting the conference on fire during Nebraska's late season surge. If the Cornhuskers want to stay where they're at and return to the postseason it will be dependent on if Petteway can provide an encore performance. Considering how consistent he was offensively throughout all of last season (compared to guys like Rayvonte Rice, who tailed off as the season went on last year), one has to imagine the junior is ready for bigger and better things this season.
3. Yogi Ferrell (311 points)
Yogi Ferrell is basically the one last hope for Indiana this season if they want to get back to the NCAA Tournament. The junior showed dramatic improvement last season and he was one of the two bright spots for the Hoosiers in a disappointing season (the other was Noah Vonleh). Coming off of a season where he averaged 17.3 points per game and 40% from beyond the arc, Ferrell is hands down the best offensive point guard in the conference. He could stand to improve his ability at actually running the offense, though, with Ferrell committing far too many turnovers and too few assists last season. If Ferrell can improve his ability to run the offense cleanly it'll go a long way for the Hoosiers, especially considering their lack of proven options pretty much everywhere else on the roster. Ferrell is more or less forced to be the man for Tom Crean this season and if Ferrell can turn into a leader for the Hoosiers it could improve Indiana's odds of climbing out of the bottom half of the Big Ten.
2. Caris LeVert (335 points)
It's now Caris LeVert's time in Ann Arbor. Last season LeVert emerged as a solid option on the wing for the Wolverines, adding 12.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. He was an effective enough shooter (43.9%) and a capable option from deep (40.8%). The question now is if LeVert can be the main option in Michigan, as he thrived last season under the shadow of Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III, as well as even Mitch McGary when the big man was healthy. With the Wolverines losing plenty of key contributors and having next to no experience in the frontcourt, it means guys like LeVert will need to step up if Michigan wants to maintain the same level of performance this season. Opponents will likely now be keying in on LeVert, making things a bit more challenging as he's now the teams top option on offense, but if he can take the role in stride LeVert will likely be the next Wolverine to end up drafted by a NBA team.
1. Frank Kaminsky (367 points)
Pretty much no one saw Frank Kaminsky coming last season. Coming into 2013 there was some talk on if Kaminsky would even be the guy starting down the line for the Badgers and scoring 10 points combined versus St. Johns and Florida didn't really help his case. Then the junior scored 43 points versus North Dakota and every potential doubt and criticism of the forward went out the window. After a season that ended with the junior earning first team All-Big Ten honors, Kaminsky decided he preferred the college game and returned to Madison. Now the question is will the Big Ten preseason player of the year capitalize off the hype or if he'll let it go to his head. Everything on paper suggest Kaminsky will be business as usual for Wisconsin, which is definitely a good thing. The seven footer became the Badgers top scorer, rebounder and anchored the Badgers defense down low. Anytime a guy can go from an "eh, who?" status and transform into a surefire NBA Draft pick there's a reason why and Kaminsky dominated opposition week in and week out for one of the conference's best teams. If Kaminsky can simply match last seasons numbers it'll be a success, but there's a real shot that Frank could be primed for an All-American caliber season. Don't be surprised if you see Kaminsky leading the way to another lengthy NCAA Tournament run in 2015 and if by this time next year Kaminsky is active in the NBA.
List of Voters
Thomas Beindit (BT Powerhouse), Bryan Steedman (BT Powerhouse), Scott Manning (BT Powerhouse), Benno Martens (BT Powerhouse), Andrew R Holmes (BT Powerhouse), Chad Markulics (Black Shoe Diaries), Andrew Emmer (Testudo Times), Drew Hallett (Mazine N Brew), Chris Vannini (SpartanTailgate.com), Jim Vainisi (the Champaign Room), Bucky's 5th Quarter, Travis Miller (Hammer & Rails), Mike Wilson (SpartanDigest), On the Banks, @OSUBballInsider