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Most coveted players in college hoops

If you had to sit down and list a handful of the best players in college basketball, it seems likely most of you could do it fairly easily. Big Blue Nation fans know their basketball. But when CBS Sports anonymously polled nearly 100 college coaches, the opinions were widespread. The first question asked to the nameless group was simple: who is the best player in college basketball? Not surprisingly, college coaches are somewhat blind to what goes on outside of their program or conference, as these results show.

If you could add any one player to your team for next season, who would it be?

1. Cody Zeller (Indiana): 35%
2. Shabazz Muhammad  (UCLA): 12%
3. Aaron Craft (Ohio State): 9%
4. Doug McDermott (Creighton): 9%
5. Isaiah Canaan (Murray State): 7%
6. Nerlens Noel (Kentucky): 7%
7. Trey Burke (Michigan): 5%

Also received votes: C.J. Leslie (N.C. State), Patric Young (Florida), Otto Porter (Georgetown), Gorgui Dieng (Louisville), Lorenzo Brown (N.C. State), Phil Pressey (Missouri), Kyle Anderson (UCLA), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State).

We know there are plenty of critics who go against Coach Calipari’s one-and-done strategy. Nerlens Noel checking in at a mere seven percent in the poll suggests plenty of coaches aren’t equipped to teach such blinding talent for a single year. They will never be able to withdraw the player’s maximum potential.

But did you know some coaches are now so upset with Kentucky’s success; they are willing to settle for eighth place than to admit the strategy works? “I’d rather go to four Elite Eights with Aaron Craft than one title game with Nerlens Noel, because the headaches that come with the top players [sic] isn’t worth it.”

How cute is that? He is so mad.

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

16 Comments for Most coveted players in college hoops



  1. Ashy Larry
    6:12 pm August 6, 2012 Permalink

    Aaron Craft is doo doo



  2. putinrichie
    6:32 pm August 6, 2012 Permalink

    Don’t really undertsand the logic behind this post…….20% of the coaches responding chose a one-and-done prospect. I don’t really see how this is hating on UK or CAL. Out of 100 coaches, 12% chose Shabazz, 7% chose NERLENS, and 1% chose Kyle Anderson. That’s about what you should expect out of a class that many think is the worst in decades. NBA scouts at the Hoop Summitt this year left disgusted with the lack of talent in this class……yet, 20% of coaches still preferred the best one-and-dones out of this class.



  3. putinrichie
    6:36 pm August 6, 2012 Permalink

    Also, if there is 100 coaches responding, that tells me that they probably interviewed multiple mid-major coaches…..hence the love for McDermott and Canaan which is understandable. Also, if you are the coach of Akron, would you rather have Nerlens Noel at Akron for one year or McDermott for 4 years? You would rather have McDermott for 4 years. Schools like UK, Duke, Florida, etc..clearly would prefer the one-and-done talent when trying to win a title, but Akron isn’t trying to win a title. That’s why what is good for UK isn’t necessarily the best thing for every school.



  4. CATSCATSCATS
    6:37 pm August 6, 2012 Permalink

    I’m sorry but I will never be sold on Cody Zeller. Minimal athletic ability. Looks like my dad with some muscles.



  5. gossie21
    6:40 pm August 6, 2012 Permalink

    “I’d rather go to four Elite Eights with Aaron Craft than one title game with Nerlens Noel, because the headaches that come with the top players [sic] isn’t worth it.” Earlier the same coach is reported to have said, “The whole thing lasted less than 15 seconds, and when it ended it went down my leg.”



  6. Viren
    6:51 pm August 6, 2012 Permalink

    Alex, ‘Who is Thad Matta?’ Am I correct Alex, am I? I think Thad Matta knows he blew some great chances with some great recruits like G. Oden, E. Turner, J. Sullinger, etc. to win a national championship. Oh how sweet the victory felt when Brandon Knight hit that 8 foot jump shot to break the tie and give Kentucky a Sweet Sixteen win and advanced to the Elite Eight Date with cry baby’s in the blue of North Carolina. Go Cats



  7. Catfan
    8:27 pm August 6, 2012 Permalink

    The rankings seemed fair to me. What’s the fuss. I think most people would agree zeller and shabazz have the best potential to be impact players next year. Let’s not put the weight of the world on Noels shoulders because Davis exceeded everyones expectations. The star of next years team will be poythress. Last year at this time noel was still a sophomore in hs. Awaiting his jr year to begin.



  8. Rixter
    9:04 pm August 6, 2012 Permalink

    What headaches are associated with hoisting NC banners? Oh, yeah.. gotta do that damned bus tour around the state every year, showing off yet another trophy….



  9. Mudcreekmark
    9:24 pm August 6, 2012 Permalink

    If I had a choice of Cody Zeller and Noel for next year, I’d have to go with Zeller. I think he will be the best player in college basketball next year.



  10. Calforpresident
    1:24 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    I don’t see the big deal here. I hate IU but if I had the choice between Zeller and Noel I would take Zeller. We seen what he could do vs AD last year and Noel and all Freshmen are just hype untill they preform like our freshmen did last year. We have been spoiled by just how much Cal has gotten out of the freshmen.



  11. blue tinted
    5:22 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    I still don’t get why the writer had a problem with the results of the pool. It seems very fair and about right to me. It actually surprises me a little that 7 coaches preferred Noel to Zeller.



  12. Malcolm X
    8:36 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    So Aaron Craft is number 3 in the poll, but not a top player? What’s he really trying to say?



  13. DCS195
    9:16 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    That is the biggest compliment they could give Cal. He can, does and is more than willing to deal with the headaches and anxiety that working with one-and-dones may give you and can still take you to the championship game in addition to four Elite-eights. With Cal, it’s not either/or, it’s doing both.



  14. snoopaloop
    9:48 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    I feel as though college basketball is going to be loaded down with mediocrity. There are maybe, what, five great teams? There isn’t really an elite group of talent either. This list as well as the others receiving votes are nothing to write home about.



  15. Lou eaton
    10:00 am August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Anyone who saw Shabazz play and doesn’t think he will be the absolutely BEST player in college BB this year must have been watching handball instead. Insofar as best team and player fit etc then Zeller may be the one. Also, don’t worry about the NBA scout who believes Nerlens is weak as a prospect. How much did Davis have to score? Cauley will still be the real giant surprise for UK opponents this year. Write it down!!!!



  16. mark
    12:26 pm August 7, 2012 Permalink

    Craft doesnt go to any elite 8’s without that top recruit named Jared Sullinger.