Sports

Rothstein Files: 10 Least Appreciated Players In College Basketball

(credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

(credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

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By Jon Rothstein
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BRIANTE WEBER, VCU

THE SKINNY: Like a predator in search of his prey, Weber is nothing short of relentless each time he guards an opposing floor general. Blessed with boundless energy and a daily desire to get better, Weber has quickly become one of the better defensive guards in the country. He’ll play more point guard as a sophomore for VCU, who should again be formidable under Shaka Smart.

ROOSEVELT JONES, BUTLER

THE SKINNY: The Bulldogs are much better suited to make the jump to the Atlantic 10 with this guy in their starting lineup. With brute strength and burgeoning point forward skills, Jones showed flashes of brilliance as a freshman, accumulating four double-doubles during the course of Butler’s season. Expect that number to at least double in 12-13.

CHRIS CRAWFORD, MEMPHIS

THE SKINNY: Steady, confident, and always under control, Crawford is the calming presence for the high octane Tigers. With good size at 6-4 and underrated strength, Crawford is big enough to defend multiple positions and possesses an uncanny knack to constantly refine his game. From his freshman to sophomore year, Crawford improved in all major offensive categories.

JAQUON PARKER, CINCINNATI

THE SKINNY: There’s not enough room in this space to describe how much Parker means to the Bearcats. Pound for pound the toughest player in college basketball, the 6-3 guard regularly played out of position at power forward last season and 15 times had six or more rebounds in a game. As a senior, Mick Cronin will rotate Parker at both the 3 and 4 with the hope that Cincinnati wins an NCAA Tournament game for the third time in three seasons.

JUNIOR CADOUGAN, MARQUETTE

THE SKINNY: Buzz Williams has regularly said that he doesn’t want to think about life in Milwaukee without Cadougan as his point guard. Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder may have gotten most of the headlines for Marquette last season but Cadougan was the real key to the Golden Eagles’ earning 27 victories. Marquette was 13-2 last year when Cadougan had two turnovers or less. He should be one of the better floor generals in the Big East next season.

ALLEN CRABBE, CAL

THE SKINNY: If Crabbe played on the East Coast, he’d regularly be compared to former UCONN wing Jeremy Lamb — he’s that good. With great length at 6-6, Crabbe scores and rebounds each and every time he takes the floor — and the best thing about him is he keeps getting better. Consider this junior a dark horse candidate for PAC-12 Player of the Year.

JARVIS SUMMERS, OLE MISS

THE SKINNY: Rebels coach Andy Kennedy always raves about how hard Summers works on his game and when you watch him play you can see why. Summers wasn’t one of the higher rated freshmen in the SEC heading into last season but he was easily one of the most productive once all the games were played. The 6-4 point guard filled the box score with regularity, averaging 10.4 points, 3.4 assists, and 2.4 rebounds per game in his first season of college basketball. Summers also shot an impressive 43.6% from three point range, helping Ole Miss win 20 games.

DEVON SADDLER, DELAWARE

THE SKINNY: If you’re a basketball fan and you haven’t watched Saddler play, you’re really doing yourself a disservice. Burly, tough, and nasty all at the same time, Saddler scored over 20 points in 15 games last season and averaged an impressive 18.8 PPG as a sophomore. His presence is the main reason why many, including myself believe the Blue Hens will make a major statement this year in the CAA.

SCOTTIE WILBEKIN, FLORIDA

THE SKINNY: How does a player that only averaged 2.6 points per game make this list? It’s real simple. Despite getting minimal publicity or attention last year when it came to the Gators’ fabled perimeter, Wilbekin was always ready to play and embraced his role as a key reserve. Now a junior, Wilbekin should be ready to run Billy Donovan’s offense from the first day of practice.

ANDREW STEELE, ALABAMA

THE SKINNY: Despite multiple injury problems over the course of his career, Steele has proved to be an invaluable asset to the Crimson Tide when he’s on the floor. Built like a blacksmith at 6-4, this red shirt senior has regularly been Anthony Grant’s best perimeter defender, often playing with the biggest weapon he has — his heart.

Who’s No. 11? Make your pick in the comments below…