- ICYMI – Bryce Cotton Named 2nd Team All-American by NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster
- FriarBasketball.com – Craig Belhumeur – Importance of Chartered Flights
- NY Post – Zach Braziller – Revamped Big East back at the Garden
- Projo – Jim Donaldson – What is the only original Big East team to never finish first?
- Fayetteville Observer – Bret Strelow – Appalachian State fires Jason Capel; what’s next for Devonte Graham?
- ESPN (insider) – John Gasaway – Ranking the nation’s top 25 players
Now that the regular season has been in the books for a few hours, I decided it’s high time that I update my rankings of the top 25 players in Division I. The premise of my list is simple:
The NBA doesn’t exist. If we were evaluating these players purely on college production and not on anticipated professional potential, who would rise to the top as the best performers in Division I?
To find that answer, I’ve gone back to a number of my preferred information sources, including but not limited to:
• My observations based on watching hundreds of hours of college hoops (I like my job)
• The excellent individual player stats generated by Ken Pomeroy at kenpom.com
• Data on play-by-play performance collected by Jeff Haley and available at hoop-math.com
• Translations that project NBA performance based on college metrics, compiled by Insider colleague Kevin Pelton
Here are my choices for the 25 best players in the college game.
Before he played a mere 37 minutes in the Friars’ season finale at Creighton, Cotton had sat out a total of one minute over the previous 15 games. Repeat: Ed Cooley’s star played 629 out of a possible 630 minutes throughout the balance of January and February and on into March.
Maybe Cooley is onto something. Far from looking fatigued, Cotton has been outstanding. A little like Russ Smith, the senior has transitioned from a combo guard to a scoring point guard. In his new role, Cotton has drawn fouls, hit 3s and distributed the ball for an offense that scored 1.09 points per possession in Big East play. Cotton’s performance is a big reason why Providence is in the mix for the program’s first NCAA tournament bid in 10 years.