Posted: 9:06 p.m. Monday, July 1, 2013
By Parks Smith
Last month we did our top point guards to keep an eye on for the upcoming 2013-14 season, today we give the big fellas some love. The mid-major ranks are losing plenty of talented big men like Mike Muscala, Kyle Barone, and others. Despite losing these cornerstones in the paint, some other talented players will certainly step up in 2014 and you should keep an eye on them.
Alec Brown, Wisconsin-Green Bay: It was a tumultuous offseason in Green Bay as the Phoenix narrowly avoided another Rutgers/Mike Rice situation. Senior big man Alec Brown should be able to give the Horizon League school some stability. The 7'1 Minnesota native is coming off a season in which he averaged 14 points and 6 rebounds per game. Brown's scoring numbers have gone up each year but his rebounding numbers dropped a bit this past season. If Brown wants to take his talents to the next level he'll need to hit the boards hard once again in his senior year.
Stephen Maxwell, Cal State Northridge: Maxwell was one of the lone bright spots on a pretty poor season for the Matadors a year ago. The 6'7 junior averaged nearly 15 points and 8 rebounds per game last year, which was top ten in both categories in the Big West. Maxwell will be a cornerstone for new coach Reggie Theus as he tries to build a winner at Northridge.
Juvonte Reddic, VCU: In our top point guards list we profiled VCU defensive spark plug Briante Weber. Weber's running mate Juvonte Reddic is just as talented a player but makes his living in the paint at the Siegel Center. Reddic is coming off a season where he averaged nearly 15 points and 8 rebounds per game. The 6'9 senior has blossomed into quite the player of the past three years at VCU and could become a next level prospect if he continues along his current trajectory. Could Reddic follow in the footsteps of Eric Maynor and Larry Sanders?
Mitchell Patton, IUPUI: Patton had an incredible year for IUPUI in 2013. The rising junior went from a 10 minute, 4 points per game contributor to the Jaguars offensive star. Patton finished the averaging 14 points per game and 5 rebounds and is now in a position where he could possibly become a dominant big man in the Summit League in 2014.
Chris Horton, Austin Peay: Horton got a baptism by fire with the Governors a year ago in his freshman campaign and now is a guy that OVC and Mid-Major fans should keep an eye on. Horton finished the year averaging 8 points and almost 7 rebounds per game, but it was the 6'8 forwards shot blocking ability that stood out. Horton finished first in the OVC and eight in the nation by averaging 3 blocks per game as a newcomer for Austin Peay.
John Brown, High Point: After redshirting for a year John Brown had quite a competition with Longwood's Michael Kessens for Freshman of the Year in the Big South. Brown would take home the hardware and Kessens would transfer to Alabama. After averaging over 16 points and 6 rebounds, a now healthy Brown may be set to dominate the frontcourt with running mate Allan Chaney for next year and the foreseeable future.
Allan Chaney, High Point: Speaking of Allan Chaney...he is certainly another big man that Mid-Major fans will want to keep an eye on. Chaney has one of college basketball's most unique stories after being one of the nation's most highly touted high school prospects and enrolling at Florida in 2008. He averaged about 10 minutes per game but decided to transfer to Virginia Tech but would only play two minutes over three years for the Hokies due to a heart condition. Chaney was finally cleared to play and transferred to High Point where he averaged almost 15 points and 8 rebounds for the Panthers a year ago. He has now received another year from the NCAA and has a game and body that can prove to be absolutely dominant in the Big South and among the Mid-Major ranks.
DJ Covington, VMI: Staying in the Big South, VMI's DJ Covington may be set to dominate the conference and anyone else he meets in the paint this year. After a pretty gruesome "Sophomore Slump", Covington responded his junior year to become the conference's Defensive Player of the Year. He finished the year averaging 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game which ranked among the nation's best. Look for this Keydet to be in the running for Preseason Conference Player of the Year.
Shayne Whittington, Western Michigan: The 6'10 rising junior from Paw Paw, Michigan was one of the nation's most efficient big men in 2012-2013 averaging over 13 points and nearly 9 rebounds per game. Look for this walking double-double's role to grow even more for the Mustangs in the MAC this year.
Corey Petros, Oakland: The junior big man should make the Golden Grizzlies maiden voyage into the Horizon Leauge a little easier. Petros lead the team in field goal percentage last year at 56.5% and added nearly 13 points and 8 rebounds per game. If Greg Kampe squad has immediate success in their new conference then a large part of it will be because of Petros.