In the months leading up to the 2020-’21 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 Miller Kopp of the Northwestern Wildcats, who came in tied at No. 25 in the rankings. The Wildcats are hoping he can be a productive player on an improved team this season.
'BTPowerhouse 25' - No. 25 Miller Kopp:
- Eligibility: Junior
- Career Totals: 63 games, 1,545 minutes, 562 points, 176 rebounds, 74 assists
- 2019-’20 Averages: 32.3 min, 13.1 pts, 3.5 rebs, 1.2 asts, 0.2 blks, 0.5 stls
- Positional Role: Small Forward
In what was a frustrating 2019-’20 season for fans, Kopp proved to be one of the more consistent pieces on the team. Fans are hoping he can help lead Northwestern back to national relevance this season.
There’s little debating Kopp’s best skill is his ability to hit shots from long range. He hit 39.6 percent of his attempts from three-point range last season and 39.8 percent during conference play, which ranked 9th in the league. Kopp also led the Big Ten in free throw percentage last season, hitting a ridiculously hit 88.1 percent of attempts.
Along with his elite shooting pedigree, Kopp has also done a nice job of avoiding mistakes when he has the ball in his hands. He avoids fouls and had one of the lowest turnover rates in the Big Ten, finishing 13th in the league. Those are nice skills to have for a player who finished with a 23.8 usage rate.
-Areas for Improvement
Most of the areas where Kopp could improve don’t really relate to his natural playing style and role on Northwestern. For example, he could really take steps forward as a ball handler, a rebounder, and as a passer. And while having those skills is always a plus, they’re generally not essential for a perimeter-focused small forward.
However, if there’s one area where Kopp could take a significant step forward, it would be on the defensive end of the floor. He was so-so there last season and his contributions to Northwestern would improve exponentially if he could take a step forward there this time around. Of course, it will be a big challenge with his limited athleticism.
Expect Kopp to pick up where he left off last season. He should be a consistent contributor on an upstart Wildcat squad. He should be a huge threat from deep and someone that can stretch a defense. He will also likely be a liability defensively and underwhelming on the boards. However, if he can elevate those skills and become a better ball handler, he might have a shot at serious All-Big Ten status.
The biggest question for Kopp’s production will be how his surrounding cast performs. If Northwestern’s backcourt can take a step forward and feed Kopp the ball, there’s a chance he could put up some special numbers. That will be a big question for him and the team.