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'BTPowerhouse 25': Just Missed The Cut

BTPowerhouse's staff counts down the best players in the Big Ten heading into the 2017-’18 season.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Gonzaga vs Northwestern Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

In the months leading up to the 2017-’18 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.

Today's edition will take a brief look at the six players that just missed the cut for the Top 25 players list. These players come from a variety of teams and are expected to make major contributions this season.

'BTP 25' Just Missed List:

-- Mark Alstork (Illinois)

  • Eligibility: Redshirt Senior
  • Career Totals: 97 games, 2,574 minutes, 1,209 points, 408 rebounds, 218 assists
  • 2016-’17 Averages: 30.2 min, 19.0 pts, 4.7 rebs, 3.5 asts, 0.6 blks, 0.8 stls
  • Positional Role: Combo Guard

Although Alstork is a newcomer to the Big Ten, he’s expected to make a substantial impact in his first season. He is coming off a remarkable 2015-’16 season for Wright State and will be hoping to put up similar numbers on a bigger stage at Illinois.

During last season, Alstork’s efficiency numbers weren’t excellent (98.9 offensive rating), but he was leaned on heavily by the Raiders, leading the Horizon League in usage. And considering the youth of Illinois heading into this season, that should prepare him well for his role in Champaign.

-- Vic Law (Northwestern)

  • Eligibility: Redshirt Junior
  • Career Totals: 68 games, 1,935 minutes, 668 points, 362 rebounds, 104 assists
  • 2016-’17 Averages: 32.1 min, 12.3 pts, 5.8rebs, 1.8 asts, 0.5 blks, 1.0 stls
  • Positional Role: Small Forward

There’s no debating that last season was a substantial breakthrough for the Wildcats last season. The program made its first ever NCAA Tournament and appears to be turning into a nationally relevant program. And while players like Bryant McIntosh deserve credit for that success, Vic Law was another major reason Northwestern heard its name called on Selection Sunday.

Law will now hope to transition from a quality starter into one of the Big Ten’s better players. He was a solid three-point shooter (39.9 percent) during last season and hit 81.7 percent from the line in Big Ten play, but he still needs to improve his overall consistency and interior play. In fact, he only shot 40.6 percent from two-point range. If he can do that, he should be set up for a great season.

-- Jaaron Simmons (Michigan)

  • Eligibility: Redshirt Senior
  • Career Totals: 98 games, 2,745 minutes, 1,101 points, 254 rebounds, 512 assists
  • 2015-’16 Averages: 32.9 min, 15.9 pts, 3.5 rebs, 6.5 asts, 0.1 blks, 0.9 stls
  • Positional Role: Point Guard

No transfer in the Big Ten has gotten more overlooked this offseason than Jaaron Simmons, who will join the Michigan Wolverines after previously playing for Houston and Ohio. He was an All-MAC player last season and Wolverine fans will be hoping his impressive stats can translate to Ann Arbor.

Perhaps the only major question about Simmons is how his game will translate to a new system and more challenging opponents. His efficiency numbers (99.7 offensive rating) weren’t particularly impressive, but he was productive, despite major usage with the Bobcats. Expect Simmons try to fill in for the now departed Derrick Walton.

-- PJ Thompson (Purdue)

  • Eligibility: Senior
  • Career Totals: 100 games, 2,198 minutes, 529 points, 173 rebounds, 228 assists
  • 2016-’17 Averages: 28.6 min, 7.4 pts, 2.1 rebs, 2.9 asts, 0.0 blks, 1.0 stls
  • Positional Role: Point Guard

Rotational players can often be overlooked on championship rosters and PJ Thompson likely fell into that category last season. He has continued to develop during his career with the Boilermakers and projects to have an even bigger role in his final season with the program.

While Thompson never put up monster numbers, he was incredibly efficient (128.4 offensive rating) and shot 40.2 percent from three-point range. The question will simply be whether he can expand his offensive role while maintaining those numbers. If so, Thompson could be one of the league’s better players.

-- Cassius Winston (Michigan State)

  • Eligibility: Sophomore
  • Career Totals: 35 games, 724 minutes, 236 points, 64 rebounds, 182 assists
  • 2016-’17 Averages: 20.7 min, 6.7 pts, 1.8 rebs, 5.2 asts, 0.1 blks, 0.7 stls
  • Positional Role: Point Guard

Let’s be honest, Cassius Winston had an underwhelming performance last season. He was, admittedly, a true freshman, but he rarely lived up to the hype he had received on the recruiting trail. It was one of the major reasons why a team ranked 12th in the preseason had to fight for positioning on Selection Sunday.

However, Winston had some bright spots. He was an excellent passer and had some really nice games toward the end of the season. In fact, if he can build off his initial campaign, the sky is the limit for the Spartan guard. Expect him to be far more consistent in his second go around in East Lansing.

'BTPowerhouse 25' Rankings To Date:

  • #26-31 - Players That Just Missed The Cut

#25 ... to be continued.