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The Big Lead's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad List of Top 50 College Players

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At this point in the internet age, trolling is an art form which makes me something of an art critic. At the end of July, USA Today's Jason McIntyre wrote a trolling article that has garnered a lot of attention. I'm taking a look at how he ranked the Big Ten players that appeared based on his own purported standards.

Dan Friend-USA TODAY Sports

By now, you may have seen The Big Lead's ranking of the top 50 players in college basketball. Personally, I think it's pretty bad. But, in all fairness, I want to make sure it's at least presented here on its own terms.

Surely a name or two or 10 will outrage you. There’s a dozen or so players listed at the very bottom who "just missed." What constitutes "Best?" A combination of things: 1) How they’ve played in college or last year in high school, 2) How I project them as a player next year, 3) Individual skill and value to the team, 4) How I project them as a pro.

At least he admits that he's trolling. The qualifications, which don't seem to be listed in order of importance based on the list that follows, allow him leeway to justify practically any decision he makes going forward. I will note that that's good trolling,

I'm not a huge fan of the methodology used here but I am a huge fan of the Big Ten so let's take a look at where players in the B1G fall and share a guffaw.

08. Melo Trimble
16. Caris LeVert
23. A.J. Hammons
25. Eron Harris
29. Nigel Hayes
30. Denzel Valentine
34. Diamond Stone
37. Caleb Swanigan
40. Jake Layman
42. Yogi Ferrell

Does anyone see the season playing out like that? And how can some of these choices be justified using his own metrics? LeVert is an excellent player no doubt, and projecting him is especially difficult given the injury he suffered last year, but during the part of the year LeVert was playing several players on this list outperformed him. In fact, Caris had the lowest offensive rating among the returning Big Ten players who made this list.

Yogi Ferrell is the only returning player from last year's All-Big Ten first team and yet he is ranked behind guys like Caleb Swanigan who may not receive a ton of minutes. Yogi has the worst long-term NBA prospects of any of these guys but few turned in a better season that he did last year.

But the most egregious selection is anointing Eron Harris the 4th best player in the Big Ten. Over the more versatile Valentine who is a high usage player himself. Can Eron shoot? Sure, he's one of the best shooters in the nation. But Denzel can shoot, score, rebound, pass and dribble at a higher level and this distorted valuation can't be blamed on NBA prospects.Valentine will almost certainly play more, handle more, has a wider array of skills, and is probably more likely to make an NBA roster at some point than Harris is. I like Eron Harris. But he isn't the 25th best player in the country and he is not better than Denzel Valentine.

But maybe I'm missing the point. If your goal is to score clicks and incite commentary, well, nice work. But if you're trying to rank the top 50 players in basketball based on 1) How they’ve played in college or last year in high school, 2) How I project them as a player next year, 3) Individual skill and value to the team, 4) How I project them as a pro, this list is sloppy and doesn't seem to consistently rate any of the four metrics over the others.