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Best Players No One Knows About – 2017-18 edition

November 10, 2017 Columns No Comments

As Cincinnati continues to be one of the signature programs in the American Athletic Conference, the Bearcats have had their share of stars. All-Conference honors during their last Big East years as well as their early years in The American have been plentiful. All the while, they have had players contribute who don’t get a great deal of acclaim.

Gary Clark is one of those players, and he is our pick this time around as the best player no one knows about.

The North Carolina native doesn’t have an overly imposing body; at 6’8″, 225, the senior forward blends in well with everyone else on the court. He hasn’t put up eye-popping stats, either; he’s never averaged 11 points or nine rebounds per game. But he’s been a remarkably consistent presence, starting all but two games, and he’s posted 18 double-doubles in his career. Look at his scoring and rebounding numbers in his three seasons: 7.8 points, 7.2 rebounds per game as a freshman, 10.4 and 8.8 as a sophomore, and 10.8 and 7.9 last year.

As a sophomore, he was the a second-team All-American Athletic Conference pick and the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, for good measure. But that’s all for accolades, as he’s another in a long line of players who hasn’t racked those up, he’s just done his job as the Bearcats keep winning.

College basketball always has plenty of players who fly under the radar, even with more games on national television and more media outlets that cover the sport in at least some capacity.

With that, here are a dozen more players that have not received the acclaim they deserve, but should start to do so this season.

Chris Clemons, Jr. G, Campbell  If Campbell is to contend in the Big South, Clemons will be a big part of that. He was third in the nation in scoring last season.

Geno Crandall, Jr. G, North Dakota  Quinton Hooker was the big name, but Crandall was a fine supporter who was fourth in the Big Sky in assists and should now step into the go-to guy role. He shot over 50 percent from the field, a terrific percentage for a guard.

Nana Foulland, Jr. F, Bucknell  The Patriot League Player of the Year last year is a solid bet to repeat this season, just like his team is a solid pick to repeat as league champions as he leads a very experienced cast.

Brandon Goodwin, G, FGCU  The Eagles figure to be the class of the Atlantic Sun once again, and he’s a big reason why. He was fifth in the conference in scoring, but also hauled down 4.5 rebounds and handed out just over four assists per game as well last season.

Rob Gray Jr., Sr. G, Houston  Quick, who led the American Athletic Conference in scoring last year? It was Gray, who helped lead the Cougars to 21 wins and the NIT.

Tyler Hall, Jr. G, Montana State  The Big Sky’s second-leading scorer last season, he shot 43 percent from long range and now hopes to lead his team higher in the standings.

Calvin Hermanson, Sr. F, Saint Mary’s  Jock Landale gets a lot of the pub, and between that and what Gonzaga has done, it’s easy for him to get lost. But he’s one of the WCC’s best players as well and led the conference in three-point field goal percentage last season.

Chandler Hutchison, Sr. G, Boise State  Quick, who was the Mountain West Player of the Year last season? It was Hutchinson, who waited his turn in a smaller role his first two seasons before breaking out when the Broncos needed him to lead the way.

Austin Luke, Sr. G, Belmont  The nation’s leading returning assist man is your prototypical Belmont star: solid, underrated and he gets results.

Chima Moneke, Sr. F, UC Davis  The Big West Newcomer of the Year last season, he led the conference in nine different categories, including double-doubles and blocked shots, and nearly averaged a double-double.

Giddy Potts, Sr. G, Middle Tennessee  The best player on a hidden gem of a team, he didn’t shoot as well from deep last year as a year earlier, but he did plenty of other things well and will be one of Conference USA’s best players this year.

Myles Stephens, Jr. G-F, Princeton  The Tigers’ great run in league play last season owed to many factors, but Stephens’ emergence as an All-Ivy player might been the biggest contributor to the end result of a league title.

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