Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Best Players No One Knows About

November 11, 2015 Columns No Comments

Hassan Martin isn’t one of those players who was always on the radar of college coaches. Rather, he’s more like your classic late bloomer. In an age where many players repeat a year of high school at some point, or even repeat in junior high, and come into college at least at the age of 19, Martin was 17 years old at the beginning of his freshman season in college. This year, the junior forward will be a key cog on a team that will contend in the Atlantic 10.

While E.C. Matthews gets a lot of attention, and understandably so, Rhode Island doesn’t win solely from him. Martin is long, very athletic and has developed the way teams often hope a player with his body and skill set would. He was first a defensive star, blocking a lot of shots, and his offense has come along. This season, he will at least move into second all-time in blocked shots in program history, with an outside shot at surpassing all-time leader Kenny Green (Martin comes into the season with 183, while Green had 328; Martin had 103 last season).

There’s still a lot more untapped potential, evident in the Rams’ season-ending loss at Stanford in the NIT, where he had 16 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots. If he taps a lot of that potential this season, the Rams will go a long way this year – maybe even back to the NCAA Tournament.

Martin leads our 2015-16 edition of the best players no one knows about – the hidden gems of college basketball. Here are ten more players who are hidden away in smaller conferences, on bad teams, or, like Martin, with a teammate who seemingly gets all the accolades.

Mo Alie-Cox, Jr. F, VCU One of the more fun players to watch, he has a great motor and can really impact a game when he’s rebounding and running the floor. The Rams will need that even more from him this season.

DeAndre Bembry, Jr. F, Saint Joseph’s See a pattern here? Three Atlantic 10 players already, with Bembry being a candidate for Player of the Year. Winning that will probably hinge on how well his team does, and the Hawks are a potential sleeper in the conference.

Robert Brown, Sr. G, UAB Last year’s Conference USA Tournament MVP then scored 46 points in the Blazers’ two NCAA Tournament games. The Blazers are the favorites to win again this season, and he will lead the way.

Octavius Ellis, Sr. F, Cincinnati He’s not going to wow you with big numbers, although he led the Bearcats in scoring and was right behind Gary Clark in rebounding. He makes his mark with defense on an unheralded team.

A.J. English, Sr. G, Iona He makes the high-powered Gaels’ offense go with his ability to score and get teammates involved, and will close out a fine career this season.

Marvelle Harris, Sr. G, Fresno State He should be a serious candidate for Mountain West Player of the Year this season, and on a middling team overshadowed by others. Last season, he went for 40 points in a game en route to a fine season.

Maodo Lo, Sr. G, Columbia After Alex Rosenberg went down for the season last year, Columbia wasn’t the same team. But Lo had a big year, and now with Rosenberg back, they will combine to form the Ivy League’s best 1-2 punch.

Stefan Moody, Sr. G, Ole Miss In his career, he’s played on a team overshadowed by others in the SEC, and has been overshadowed by teammates. This year, it’s his team, and he should step into the limelight in the SEC.

Wesley Person, So. G, Troy He has the pedigree as the son of a former NBA player, and he was the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year last year.

Alec Peters, Jr. F, Valparaiso The Horizon League Tournament MVP is the first player in Valpo history to score 1,000 points by the end of his sophomore season. He’ll be a Player of the Year candidate this season as the Crusaders are favored to repeat as champions.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Coaching Changes

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 6, 2018

April 6, 2018 by

In our first podcast in the postseason, we look back one more time on the NCAA Tournament, which was just what we needed at this time. We also look at the NIT, CBI and CIT, as well as important transactions with players leaving early for the NBA Draft and coaching changes.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 3, 2018

April 3, 2018 by

The 2018 national championship is in the books, and with it another season of college basketball. We break down the national championship game and some of its implications to wrap up the season.

College Basketball Tonight – April 1, 2018

April 2, 2018 by

Welcome to our Final Four edition of College Basketball Tonight. In this edition, we look ahead to Monday’s national championship game, and bring on two guests – long-time Villanova radio play-by-play broadcaster Ryan Fannon and Radford head coach Mike Jones – to get their thoughts and insights on the game.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 1, 2018

April 1, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we break d own the national semifinals, where one game went back and forth while the other was never really a ballgame thanks to an impressive performance for the ages by the winning team.

College Basketball Tonight – March 26, 2018

March 27, 2018 by

With the Final Four all set, we look back on the regional finals and ahead to the final games of the season. We are joined along the way by veteran writer Ken Davis and Towson head coach Pat Skerry for their insights as well.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.