CBS Sports recently posted their top 100 players list for the upcoming 2015-16 season, with a decent number of Big Ten players making the cut. We could breakdown and analyze the list, but the reality is that a lot of the list is entirely subjective and hard to really complain about either way, all things considered. Instead we'll be asking the question of which Big Ten player not making the list was the biggest snub.
To start things off, you're probably aware that BTP posted our top 25 players from the conference for the upcoming season. First, let's take a look at which players made our list, but not the list posted by CBS Sports:
- Kendrick Nunn
- Bryant McIntosh
- Thomas Bryant
- Rapheal Davis
- Derrick Walton Jr.
- Caleb Swanigan
- Shavon Shields
- Zak Irvin
- Jae'Sean Tate
- Alex Olah
- Jarrod Uthoff
So with that out of the way, which player not making the cut was the biggest snub? For simplicity sake we'll take a look at the three highest players we ranked that didn't make the cut, which can be seen below. That means a handful of very good players won't be discussed in this post. Of course there's a ton of potential for guys like Caleb Swanigan and Zak Irvin, but the lists on both sides tried to not overvalue potential and be based more on what the players have done so far, what they're realistically set to do this season and their respective roles with their team. So while Swanigan is probably good enough to be a top 100 player, with someone like A.J. Hammons also starting, he may be overshadowed quite a bit this season.
Tate not making the cut isn't a huge surprise because not a single player for Ohio State made the list, a sign of how little the media thinks of this Buckeyes team. It's kind of weird as well when you consider how strong their recruiting class was for this season. While some more prominent teams down south get yearly hype based on their highly touted recruiting classes, the media seems to think Ohio State is a fringe NCAA Tournament team at best. That lack of respect and pessimistic outlook means a guy like Tate is going to get overlooked when it comes to a top players list and that makes sense. Even more so as his freshman season saw him average 22 minutes per game and only 8.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. But with D'Angelo Russell now in the NBA, Tate has a strong chance of being the man in Columbus and could be primed for a monstrous season in 2015-16. I think if CBS decides to rank the top 100 players at the end of the season there's a highly likely chance Tate would make the cut.
The fact that Olah didn't make the cut isn't a surprise. He did have a pretty solid junior season in Evanston last year, averaging almost 12 points, seven rebounds and two blocks per game for the Wildcats. If Northwestern wants to improve this season and make a postseason run, it'll have to rely heavily on Olah. Also, with several Big Ten bigs (Nnana Egwu, Maurice Walker, Frank Kaminsky, etc.) no longer in the conference, Olah could be one of the best centers in the conference. So the idea of him being respected within the conference makes sense, but the idea of Olah getting much (if any) recognition outside of the midwest is more or less never going to happen unless the Wildcats end up in the postseason this March.
In his sophomore season Uthoff averaged 12.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.1 steals per game for the Hawkeyes. He showed the ability to score from all over for Iowa (37.2% from three), he was a capable rebounder, a solid defender and could even distribute the ball when need be. The 6'9" forward did a little bit of everything for Iowa and was one of the top players in the conference last year already. Another year with Iowa should have Uthoff set to have an even better junior season this year and the idea of him not being one of the top Big Ten players is absurd. I can see why the national media might not make a big deal out of Uthoff, because he unfortunately is a bit under the radar outside of the conference, but the idea of guys like Bronson Koenig, Malcolm Hill, Vince Edwards and so on making it in over him? That makes no sense whatsoever.
Especially someone like Edwards. I'm obviously a big fan of Vince, for the obvious reason, but as great of a freshman he was for the Boilers last season, his role could be set to diminish with the addition of Caleb Swanigan. Then you have guys like Koenig and Blackmon, who are included more on what they could do even though it's not guaranteed. What you're going to get with Uthoff in 2015-16 is basically set in stone, with the only variable being the fact that he could improve more than expected this season. But to not include him reeks of the media simply not paying attention to Iowa compared to some of the other Big Ten programs and flat out missing a player simply because he's not a household name.
All in all, who did you think was the biggest snub from CBS Sports Top 100 List? Overall the list wasn't that bad, but the oversight that led to Uthoff being not included was pretty unfortunate.