Hey, you guys. Since USF has about 45 sports going at once* right now, I'm going to stop hanging out at SMU football games for a little while** and write a few posts to help keep things running. Today, I'm here to present our fourth annual ranking of The Most Important Player For USF Basketball.
* - and we're losing to UCF in literally all of them.
** - more on this some other time.
This year we pulled out all the stops. We had a group chat on Sunday where we started talking about the players on our lists, and then we ranked the players individually. The list you'll see is the overall rankings from the six of us -- Andrew, Collin, Gary, Mike, Ryan, and myself.
The really encouraging thing about this list? In past years, once you got past #6 or #7, you'd look at the players left and say to yourself, "Man, I hope they don't have to play very many minutes." This year, when I made my own list, I got all the way down to #12 before I said that. I don't know how polished the group is, especially some of the newcomers, but this might be the most overall talented team USF has had since 2001-02, the Altron/BB/Reggie/Will McDonald outfit that should have made it much further than the NIT.
Click here to read the chat. It's really long, so we're not going to post the whole transcript here. The final result, though, is our combined rankings of The Most Important Player For USF Basketball. I've mixed in people's comments for each player as we go.
14. Josh Heath
Redshirt candidate on a loaded roster? This isn't a coaches' son situation, he can really play too... I'd rather have him for 4 years beginning next year... don't really need him this year.
13. Shemiye McClendon
Just caught in a numbers game. Shame we didn't have him last year... Played 2 years at Hofstra off the bench, so he's not a guy-off-the-street as 14th men go... If (Corey) Allen can't handle the ball, can Shem-Mac?... break glass in case of emergency.
12. DreKalo Clayton
Is his high school coach Chucky Atkins at USF next year? Does he help lure lots of Evans recruits?... We are thin inside, so we might need Dre Clay for minutes down low off the bench... Don't know how many minutes he'll get. But good to get a solid recruit out of Florida which Stan hasn't done since Fitzpatrick (Egbunu doesn't really count)... I like the idea of having Dre Clay available in the waning minutes to fend off comebacks.
11. Bo Zeigler
Insane that he's this low. Michigan basketball people love this kid... redshirt?... Ziggy is good, but not entirely sure how much time he'd see this year due to awesome depth.
10. Jordan Omogbehin
Plenty of size and everyone loves him but I'm just not convinced he can play power-conference basketball.... biggest guy on the roster, but playing ability is still to be determined... four functional minutes a half from him would be huge... you can't teach a guy how to be 7-foot-3... if it's a project, when will it be done?
9. Corey Allen
Same size as Collins, but does he have comparable skill?... If he plays the Blake Nash role from 2 years ago, move him up to about 8. If not, he's a redshirt candidate... Just love the upside here. Helluva athlete, and shot 62% at a JC powerhouse... The most important role player on the team. Has to keep the train on the track long enough to spell AC.
Another slasher. If he can make a difference handling the ball he'll be important... Has the body, athleticism, and skills. Can he put it all together and stay healthy too?... Could be lethal shooter if teams pack the paint to keep Egbunu and guys like Rudd from burning them at the rim. Needs to find his shooting touch... Hopefully he is recovered from injury and can contribute quality minutes.
7. Chris Perry
Against big lineups, he'll play a key role... The fact he's this far down the list is a testament to the depth. Could be starting by January... will need to contribute some minutes as a freshman to keep Egbunu/LeDay fresh... I like his size. He will hopefully prove to be a replacement for Toarlyn Fitzpatrick.
Best wing defender USF has. If he can score I think he might get more burn than Brock... our best defender, but more of a scorer than Hugh Robertson was... with Russ Smith & Shabbaz Napier in the league, the guy that guards them is a major piece.
Cited by Heath as most improved player. Backed up AC at the point last season. We'll need his scoring and versatility. I can see him playing 20-25 MPG off the bench in a variety of roles... Leading scorer in the USF-Miami scrimmage, can crash the glass. Best candidate to make a big leap... we'll need a consistent jumper from him.
4. Zach LeDay
LeDay should provide good relief for Rudd. With a good range, they can both stay fresh all game... will having some other post presence help him on the glass?... having him effective at the 4 is crucial to keep Rudd at the 3 where he is far more effective... of all the returning players I'm most excited to see him out there.
3. Victor Rudd
Feel like he got too many shots by default last year. Hopefully a better team around him helps confine Rudd to the things he actually does well, like rebound and get on SportsCenter... Will he finally figure it out? Needs to be a better passer and defender, but if he does, look out... if he is surrounded by a good team where opponents can't double him, could be our lead scorer... there are games when we'll need to score, and that's his role.
2. John Egbunu
If he's good, he instantly makes the rest of the roster better... Could be the dominant big man we have missed for so long. Will let everyone else play their natural positions... force inside was what we missed last year... All reports say he's the real deal. If they're correct, it instantly makes USF a better team in the block on both ends of the floor. They were terrible there last year.
The centerpiece to the team... Actually played really well last year considering he didn't have anything to work with. Still want to see him shoot more/better... he could get his number retired with two good seasons here... unquestioned leader... it's easy to get excited about the new talent, but Collins is still the straw that stirs the drink... like Sara Nevins, the most important player on the team as long as he's here.
Anyone too high? Too low? Tell us why in the comments.