Big Ten’s Top 25 Players: 25-21

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Wow, I am pretty surprised Isaiah Roby didn’t make this list. I am super high on his game. Versatile scorer, very good rebounder, and fantastic shot blocker already. Has the potential to guard a number of positions, as well. Could definitely see him making the league if his improvement continues on its upward trajectory.

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Back of the list is always tough… Deciding between Copeland, Roby or both was tough. I think Copeland is probably a bigger part of what they do offensively, but you could argue that Roby has more ceiling because he’s a year younger.

I could definitely see (and probably would pick) Copeland over him. I just didn’t think of it as a 1 for 1 between those two Nebraska players.

No Zavier Simpson. I would have left him off as well but I wonder how everyone else feels about that.

Simpson off the list just shows how there’s so much bias towards offense. Simpson should be a favorite for defensive player of the year. I also thought Pardon should have made the list.

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Simpson will be one of the best defensive players in the conference, but he’s still very much a one side of the floor player. If his offense can improve to a bit above replacement level, then he’d probably be closer to the top 25 players in the league.

I’m more surprised at Eastern being left off. I’m VERY high on Eastern, I think he could be an All-Big Ten talent this season and wasn’t surprised at all by his NBA Draft declaration. If he develops a better three-point shot and plays to expectations I think Purdue will have the most dangerous back court in the conference.

Like the list so far. Ryan Taylor and Jalen Smith were two guys I totally forgot about when thinking about my own list. That Maryland front court with Smith and Fernando is going to be incredibly interesting to watch.

Eastern is an interesting one. What do you base your high expectations off of? He wasn’t very good statistically last year, but obviously has some talent and should have a lot of opportunity this year.

I thought eastern looked very average last year.

A lot of it is definitely physical and based on potential, but he’s already 6’6" with the passing ability of a very solid point guard (at least, by my view). He rebounds well and I think is going to develop even more so in terms of body size and presence. (EDIT) Also he drives to the rim very well and I think that’s an aspect he’s going to improve on even more so.

He’s got plenty too improve on, especially turnovers and developing a three-point shot, but I think he’s going to see a huge uptick in minutes and plenty of run time next to arguably the best guard in the entire country. I think Painter likes him and he’s going to average 28-30+ minutes per game. That alone is going to help him improve a lot.

I understand but if there’s an exceptional offensive player who is replacement level or worse on defense there’s no doubt in my mind they would be on the list

Z’s offense was below replacement level last year? That’s a strong statement and suggests you’re focusing on his weakness (outside shooting) rather than his strengths.

In B1G play:
He was 9th in assist rate - three of the guys ahead of him have moved on, and one of the returnees (Happ) is not a point guard.

He was 21st in turnover rate - only two or three of the guys ahead of him were point guards (depending on whether you consider Carsen Edwards a PG), and one of those graduated.

He was 21st in 2 pt% - none of the guys ahead of him were point guards (unless you want to give Jae’sean Tate a pass and a few more uncalled walks just for old times’ sake).

Given that Z started the last 15 conference games and all the postseason, it’s not as if he was putting up these numbers in limited minutes. Since assists and turnovers are pretty key statistics for point guards, I think you’re selling Simpson short.

And, of course, short is a key word in evaluations of him. It’s difficult to look at a guy who is imaginatively listed at 6’ and project an all-conference player - he’s going to have to prove it on the floor. And because he is so often overlooked - figuratively and literally - he plays with an enormous chip on his shoulder, which makes him a hell of a lot of fun to root for.


Not a player on that list I would take over Simpson.


I wish I had more hands so I could give this reply, 4 thumbs up. Simpson’s offense is underrated due to poor shooting.

For a starter in the big ten I would say hes average offensively. For pgs last year from an offensive perspective I would put him behind:


Shooting is a pretty important part of offense. I do think X is an underrated passer, but until he can hit open shots consistently it is going to be hard for him to reach the level offensively that Michigan wants/needs out of the position.

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My favorite player so no comment if you get what I mean.

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Not really meant to be something against X, just why we decided not to include him in the top 25. And as I said above, the last five spots are very tough. You could probably make an argument for just about anyone we included in the “also considered” list to be included in these final few spots.

Re Z: I guess you are saying the HEART AND SOUL OF THE TEAM doesn’t mean too much in this type of pole. Remember I am biased when it comes to the Z man.

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