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 Reggie Lynch of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who came in at No. 21 in the rankings. As the Gophers look to build on their breakout season last year, they will lean heavily on Lynch to continue protecting their rim at an elite level.
'BTPowerhouse 25' - #21 Reggie Lynch:
- Eligibility: Senior
- Career Totals: 100 games, 2,184 minutes, 875 points, 543 rebounds, 303 blocks
- 2016-’17 Averages: 23.1 min, 8.4 pts, 6.1 rebs, 3.5 blks, 0.5 stls, 0.5 asts
- Positional Role: Center
After taking not only the Big Ten, but the nation by storm last season, head coach Richard Pitino came away with Big Ten Coach of the Year. Though players like Nate Mason, Amir Coffey, Jordan Murphy, and Akeem Springs certainly played their part in the swift turnaround, no player did more in the unheralded trenches than Reggie Lynch.
Simply put, Reggie Lynch is one of the most dominant interior defenders in all of college basketball. Already an elite shot blocker at Illinois State, Lynch elevated his game upon his arrival at The Barn, finishing the season second in the country with 3.5 blocked shots a game en route to Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Lynch’s defensive prowess stretches further than his shot blocking. After denying so many attempts at the rim, his on-court production transitions to a mental game. Just his proximity to a play effects the confidence in which an opponent goes to the rim.
Areas for Improvement
Perhaps no area is a bigger concern for Lynch than his foul trouble. After all, there’s a reason why the nation’s second best player in block rate only played 54.9 percent of his team’s minutes. In fact, Lynch had three or more fouls in seven of Minnesota’s final eight games last season, including five against Indiana. The Golden Gophers desperately need him to find a way to stay on the court.
Despite Lynch’s 6-foot-10, 260 pound physique, he is surprising ineffective on the glass. The center averaged just 6.1 rebounds last season, which marked his career high. Lynch does all of his work at the rim on both ends of the court, and his ability to dominate the glass is an area that can certainly improve.
Outside of rebounding, Lynch is a complete non factor offensively. Considering his role and talent around him, he doesn’t need to be relied upon for scoring, however an uptick in this area will only improve an already impressive team.
A repeat Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year performance is likely in the cards for Reggie Lynch. He dominates the paint defensively, often with just his body standing near a play. At worst, he will be the same player we saw last year, and Pitino and the Gophers would certainly take that.
If Lynch improves on the glass and incorporates a bit more offense into his game, however, he will be one of the scariest players in the conference.