College basketball preseason: 15 least appreciated players
CBS Sports Network and CBSSports.com's Jon Rothstein says this group of college basketball players has not received enough credit. With this list, that all begins to change.
Some guys just don't get enough credit. Check out our list below for the 15 least appreciated players in college basketball. In no particular order ...
Tyreek Duren, G, La Salle: There may be point guards in college basketball that are as good as this four-year starter, but nobody is better. Cool, calm, and beyond confident, the 6-foot Duren is one of the main reasons for the Explorers' turnaround during the past few seasons.
Josh Huestis, F, Stanford: Armed with a lethal second jump and an obvious nose for the ball, Huestis emerged last season as one of the better players in the Pac-12. A phenomenal athlete and exceptional defender, the 6-7 forward nearly averaged a double-double (10.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg) as a junior and should form one of the better power forward/center combinations in the country along with Cardinal big man Dwight Powell.
Pierria Henry, G, Charlotte: This 6-4 point guard is the epitome of a swiss-army knife. Why? Because he does a little of everything. Last season, Henry averaged 10.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 2.5 steals per game for the 49ers, who won 21 games and reached the NIT.
Patricio Garino, G/F, George Washington: If Garino could shoot, people would say he has a chance to be a right- handed Manu Ginobili. Seriously. The 6-6 sophomore does a little bit of everything and possesses an unbelievable feel and IQ. If Garino adds a reliable jump shot, he has a legitimate chance to have a long career at the next level.
Chris Crawford, G, Memphis: Simply put, Crawford is the unsung presence in the Tigers' backcourt. While people from the periphery will immediately focus on Joe Jackson or now even Michael Dixon when they discuss Memphis' perimeter, Crawford is the cement that solidifies things in between the cracks. Last year's Conference USA tournament MVP, this senior always seems to make the big play when the Tigers are in a pinch.
Langston Galloway, G, Saint Joseph's: A terrific two-way player, Galloway has been incredibly productive during the past few seasons for Phil Martelli and the Hawks. Often required to defend the other team's top perimeter scorer, Galloway always has his imprints on all aspects of the game. There isn't a program in America where this 6-2 senior wouldn't have a chance to start. He's that good.
Justin Cobbs, G, Cal: Regularly overlooked because he played the past two years next to Allen Crabbe, Cobbs is one of the savvier floor generals in the sport. If you need him to score, he'll score. If you need him to dish, he'll dish. And while Cobbs isn't a deadly outside shooter, he makes shots when they matter the most. The fifth-year senior was a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range when they Bears beat UNLV last March in the NCAA tournament.
Sean Armand, G, Iona: If Armand was at a BCS program, he'd be compared to former UConn sharpshooter Rashad Anderson. Sporting a textbook stroke as well as intergalactic range, Armand has made a combined 191 three-point shots in the last two seasons. What can he do for an encore? Lead the Gaels to a third straight appearance in the field of 68.
Daniel Miller, C, Georgia Tech: If there's a better post defender in the ACC, we'd like to see him. Miller regularly neutralizes the opponent's best interior scorer and has given Brian Gregory stability in the pivot as he attempts to rebuild the Yellow Jackets program.
Anthony Ireland, G, Loyola Marymount: This 5-10 point guard is one of the better mid-major players in college basketball. Crafty, creative, and always in attack mode, Ireland affects the game in a plethora of areas. The Lions lost several close games last season, but look primed to bounce back this year in the WCC thanks to Ireland, who averaged 20.2 points per game as a junior.
Fuquan Edwin, G/F, Seton Hall: How do you hide a borderline first-team All-Big East player? It's not an easy to thing to do, but that's exactly what's happened to Edwin. One of college basketball's best kept secrets, the 6-6 wing is an elite defender and has made himself a reliable three-point shooter. If the Pirates become a surprise team in the Big East, Edwin will be a major reason why.
Melvin Ejim, F, Iowa State: Ejim proved last season that he's much more than a glue guy. The 6-6 forward has worked relentlessly on his outside shot and nearly averaged a double-double (11.3 points, 9.3 rebounds per game) last year for the Cyclones, who are aiming to reach their third straight NCAA Tournament under Fred Hoiberg.
Devon Saddler, G, Delaware: The Blue Hens staff should have been arrested for grand theft and larceny after they secured a commitment from Saddler out of high school. This isn't a CAA guard -- it's a BCS guard. A volume scorer, Saddler has averaged just under 20 points per game in each of the last two seasons. Built like a free safety, the 6-2 senior absorbs contact as well as anyone in college basketball when he attacks the rim.
Isaiah Sykes, G, UCF: There's a legitimate possibility that Sykes will lead the Knights in all major statistical categories this season. Skilled, versatile, and crafty, the 6-5 wing is at the core of everything Central Florida does on both sides of the ball. Last season as a junior, Sykes averaged 16.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 2.3 steals per game.
Marcus Thornton, G, William & Mary: Several CAA coaches believe Thornton is the conference's toughest player to defend. At 6-4, the bouncy guard can beat you inside or out. Thornton made 93 three-point shots a year ago en route to averaging 18.8 points per game.
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