In the months leading up to the 2016-’17 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a new series called the 'BTPowerhouse 25,' which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point
Coming in at #8 on the BTPowerhouse staff countdown is Indiana’s O.G. Anunoby. While all of the attention for the Hoosiers last year was typically centered around Yogi Ferrell and Thomas Bryant (and deservedly so), Anunoby began to make more and more of a name for himself as the year went on. Now that Anunoby is a fully established fixture in the Hoosiers’ rotation, let’s take a look at some areas of his game and how he projects in 2016-17’.
BTPowerhouse 25 - #8 O.G. Anunoby
- Eligibility: Sophomore
- Career Totals: 34 games, 165 points, 90 rebounds, 27 steals, 26 blocks, 18 assists
- 2015-’16 averages: 13.7 mins, 4.9 pts, 2.6 rebs, 0.8 blks, 0.8 stls, 0.5 asts
- Positional Role: Forward
In his freshman season, Anunoby was more of an x-factor type player for much of the year. During the non-conference schedule, Anunoby reached double digits in minutes only four times. Once conference play came around and the defensive ability of Anunoby became more and more evident, he began seeing more playing time.
During conference play, Anunoby played double digit minutes in every game but one, a matchup with Iowa. Anunoby was a big part of the Hoosiers getting their defensive intensity in order and making their run to the Big Ten regular season championship. With a Big Ten title on his resume, Anunoby will look to bring more success the Hoosiers way and build on their Sweet Sixteen run a year ago.
For being a Top 10 ranked player on our countdown, Anunoby does not boast big scoring numbers at all. What he is, however, is a very talented defensive player and a big, athletic body that projects very well for the coming season. While his offensive numbers certainly won’t jump off the screen at you, projected over 40 minutes he averages 14.2 points, which is certainly respectable.
The bigger per 40 minutes projection for Anunoby and the Hoosiers, however, is his 2.3 steals and 2.2 blocks per game. For a team that had some monumental struggles defensively at the beginning of last season, Anunoby should bring the defensive ability and intensity to build a defensive prowess throughout the course of this season.
Areas for Improvement
While his two point and three point percentages were both very efficient, he struggled at the free throw line. Granted, he didn’t get there at a high rate at all. As big, strong and athletic as Anunoby is, he only went to the free throw line at a rate of 3.6 attempts per 40 minutes. While some of that has to do with not being much of a focal point of the offense, the Hoosiers would certainly like to see Anunoby at the foul line more often, while improving his percentage.
He struggled at the line, shooting only 47.6% from the charity stripe. If he can raise his percentage while also raising his opportunities, he could see a steady increase in his offensive numbers. He didn’t shoot the ball much in his freshman season, largely because that simply wasn’t his role.
With Yogi Ferrell gone, it will be interesting to see how Anunoby might have his role changed within the offense. With James Blackmon Jr. and Thomas Bryant returning for the Hoosiers, it would be a bit of a shock if Anunoby saw a massive increase in his offensive role. With that being said, it isn’t a stretch to think he’ll increase his scoring to between 9-11 points per game while also increasing his rebounding average.
The true impact of Anunoby though, is his defensive ability and his athleticism for his size. The 360 dunk from a year ago was a testament to his athleticism and his ability to spark a crowd, and the last thing that any opposition wants in Assembly Hall is a big play to get the fans any louder than they already were.
When you take everything that Anunoby does for the Hoosiers on both sides of the ball, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that he finds himself at this spot in our player rankings for the coming season. Don’t be surprised if around the end of the year, Anunoby is at or near the top of a list of best wing players in the conference.
'BTPowerhouse 25' Rankings:
- #26-31 - Players That Just Missed The Cut
- #24 - Josh Langford (Michigan State)
- #24 - Kam Williams (Ohio State)
- #23 - Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (Michigan)
- #22 - Jalen Coleman-Lands (Illinois)
- #21 - Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State)
- #20 - Jae’Sean Tate (Ohio State)
- #19 - James Blackmon (Indiana)
- #18 - Eron Harris (Michigan State)
- #17 - Corey Sanders (Rutgers)
- #16 - Derrick Walton, Jr. (Michigan)
- #15 - Isaac Haas (Purdue)
- #14 - JaQuan Lyle (Ohio State)
- #13 - Bryant McIntosh (Northwestern)
- #12 - Miles Bridges (Michigan State)
- #11 - Zak Irvin (Michigan)
- #10 - Vince Edwards (Purdue)
- #9 - Bronson Koenig (Wisconsin)
- #8 - OG Anunoby (Indiana)
- #7 - to be continued ...