Big Ten’s top 25 players for 2018-19: 20-16

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I pretty strongly disagree with Langford’s inclusion on this list. Didn’t bring anything positive to the table last year except three point shooting and he ruined that by chucking up horrible mid-range bricks constantly. If you can coach that out of him (which I don’t think Izzo wants to) then he has some value as a Duncan Robinson type…which I don’t think is a top 25 player in the league.


I’ve written a lot about Langford after doing some MSU stuff over at The Athletic. Definitely agree about his shot selection, but the way that Izzo coaches he could have a big year. They need someone to be the go-to guy coming off of all of those screens and Langford fits. Then again, I said similar last year.

Is Poole’s inclusion any better? He played a lesser role by my guess a less efficient one than Langford last year. Poole has the opportunity to step into a void left and so does Langford. He has the talent and ability to do so and with Bridges and Jackson gone, there is definitely space for wing on MSU to make that play.

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Best guess at top 15.

15 DeRon Davis
14 Lamar Stevens
13 Tyler Cook
12 Amir Coffey
11 Jordan Bohannon
10 Jordan Murphy
9 Juwan Morgan
8 Nick Ward
7 Charles Matthews
6 Romeo Langford
5 James Palmer Jr
4 Anthony Cowan
3 Cassius Winston
2 Carson Edwards
1 Ethan Happ


Poole was a more effecient player using higher usage while also passing more (!!!). And that’s before you throw in the fact that he was just a freshman and that he showed hints of much more valuable skills than Langford did (ie pick and roll / iso).


Seems crazy to have Poole ranked at #17 and Z not ranked at all. Z was absolutely essential to the Final Four run, while Poole made one remarkable basket, and didn’t do much else.

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There’s obviously some projection in these lists (and they aren’t perfect) but it is just the best shot that Alex and I can come up with. We aren’t always perfect (we had Jaaron Simmons last year) which proves how we are trying to guess what is going to happen for the coming season. Most importantly it gets people talking about hoops!

RE: Poole vs. Simpson, who would you say has a better chance of making an All-Big Ten team this year? (i.e. being a top-15 player in the conference).

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It helps that we have the benefit of the Spain footage to get a decent snapshot of what Poole can do in his new role. I’d say his projection is probably going to be one of the more accurate ones on the list

Don’t you have to put Jordan Murphy in the top 5? His production has to put him there. Or will Eric Curry and Daniel Oturo take a little bit of the load off for him?

Elaborating on (or repeating) a point I made yesterday, some of Simpson’s contributions are harder to quantify and harder to include in a discussion of the “best” or “top” player. Consider Zak Novak – he was essential to a co-B1G championship team, but was he one of the “best” players in the league that year? While Simpson is a good individual defender, as big a contribution might be improving the defense of others simply by leadership, by the fact that other players defend harder because of X. But we don’t really include that when we talk about the “best” players.

And comparing Poole to Simpson isn’t so simple. For instance, Simpson score 20 more points than Poole in B1G regular season play – in twice as many minutes.

I would pick Z. There’s a reasonable chance that Poole is not even a starter in March while Z is a lock to be a starter. And to be All-B10, you need to be a starter.

Simpson! IMO

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And why do you guys think Simpson has a better chance of being an All-Big Ten player? Just because of his defense? Do you think he has a breakout year offensively? Because you don’t think Poole will end up a starter as @MrLG said?

Just feels like Poole’s ceiling this year is way higher and I’m not even a huge Jordan Poole guy.


Yall are blowing my mind with this Simpson>Poole. I love Simpson but I have a hard time believing that he would make an all conference team (except defense) over Poole


Z is elite in a few areas and pretty bad in exactly one area. Nairn stinks compared to Z, imo, because the only thing Nairn knew how to do was sprint fast and get an occasional layup in transition. Z in the 25-30 range seems reasonable.

Poole is one of the best prospects JB has ever landed, IMO. So yeah, slotting him as a top 15 player in big ten does not seem weird to me at all even if it is mostly based on his very high ceiling. Forgetting about the game winning shot–Didn’t we all see glimpses of Poole having upside as high as anyone else in the Big Ten except JJJ?

In what world is Poole not a starter in March?


Well now we’ve defined expectations for Poole as anywhere between the bench and All-American level. Gotta love the offseason.

I’m not sure I would use upside with Poole in the sense that you would think about it with JJJ because he doesn’t have some elite physical skill (length, athleticism, etc.) which probably limits his overall upside compared to some other guys.

I just think his offensive creativity is very intriguing if he can figure out to leverage it properly.


I love Poole’s skills and I do think his athleticism is underrated and still developing. He is still so young…