By Dennis Berry
Having already looked at the best mid-major teams for the 2012-13 season, let's look at some of the individual talent. There are great players across the country that do not play for a major conference team. Most people do not hear about them until March Madness rolls around and they see them making plays in the NCAA Tournament.
Here is our list of the best mid-major players for the upcoming college basketball season.
Alec Brown – Wisconsin Green Bay
Last year was a breakout season for Brown. He was named All-Horizon First Team as a sophomore. He led Phoenix in scoring last season at 13.8 points a game. He also averaged 8.2 rebounds a game and blocked 89 shots in 30 games, which was a single season school record. He also holds the school career blocks record after only two seasons. His 3.0 blocks per game ranked him ninth in the nation last year.
Mike Muscala – Bucknell
Having already established himself as one of the best big guy in the country, Mike Muscala is back for his senior year. Last season was another standout year from the big man. He averaged 17 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 35 games as a junior. He has increased those stats every year he has been in school. He led Bucknell to a 25-10 record, including 12-2 in the Patriot League.
De'Mon Brooks – Davidson
Brooks is another player coming off a breakout 2011-12 season. As a sophomore he averaged 15.7 points, to lead the Wildcats in scoring. He scored at least 20 points in 10 games. He also added 6.2 rebounds a game, while shooting 53% from the floor and 37% from behind the arc. He was named Southern Player of the Year for those efforts. Another strong junior year should get the attention of NBA Scouts.
Robert Covington – Tennessee State
Last year he was named All-OVC First Team after averaging 17.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and shot 53% from the floor and 45% from the three point line. If not for Isaiah Canaan at Murray State, he would probably be the favorite to win OVC Player of the Year in 2012-13.
Nate Wolters – South Dakota State
As a junior he led South Dakota State in scoring at 21.2 points, assists at 5.9 a game, and rebounding at 5.1. He did this despite playing mainly at the guard position. His 21.2 points a game ranked him ninth in the nation. He was an All-Summit League First Team selection and MVP of the Summit League Tournament. He is coming back looking to lead South Dakota State back to the NCAA Tournament.
Ray McCallum – Detroit
Last year Detroit made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999. The rise of McCallum was a big reason why. He averaged 15.7 points and four assists a game. He also added 57 steals. He was named to the All-Horizon First Team and was the Horizon Tournament MVP. With McCallum at the point, look for Detroit to be contenders in the Horizon League next year.
C.J. McCollum – Lehigh
If you did not know C.J. McCollum, you did after he led Lehigh to an upset of Duke in the NCAA Tournament. He scored 30 points in that game as many college basketball fans that dislike Duke became Mountain Hawk fans. McCollum is more than just a one-season wonder though. He is a two-time Patriot League MVP. He averaged 21.9 points, which was good enough to rank fifth in the nation. He scored at least 20 points in 20 games last year and went over 30 points twice. He could have gone to the NBA last year, but came back to finish school and to lead Lehigh deeper in the NCAA Tournament.
Tony Mitchell – North Texas
Last season Tony Mitchell was one of the best freshmen in the country. He was the only freshman in the NCAA to average a double-double with 14.7 points and 10.3 rebounds a game. He also led North Texas in blocks (3.0), field goal (56.7%) and three point (43.9%) shooting. Next season the Mean Green can expect even bigger things from their star forward.
Doug McDermott – Creighton
McDermott exploded onto the national scene last season. As a sophomore he averaged 22.9 points and 8.2 points a game. He shot 60% from the floor and 49% from behind the three point line. He was named the Missouri Valley Player of the Year and First Team All-American. At 6'8” he can beat defenders from the outside or in the post. He is the most versatile mid-major player.
Isaiah Canaan – Murray State
Canaan may be the best point guard in the country. Last season was his breakout season as he led Murray State to 31 wins, including 23 straight to start the year. He ended the year averaging 19 points a game. He will enter the 2012-13 with the chance to enter the 2,000 point club, sitting at 1,374 points, and is 41 made three point shots from being the Racers' career leader in three's. His return for a senior season makes Murray State favorites in the OVC.
Here's our Top Mid-Major College Basketball Teams in 2012-13.
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