LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 03: Myck Kabongo #12 of the Texas Longhorns celebrates during the second half of the game against the UCLA Bruins at LA Sports Arena on December 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Texas won 69-59. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
and we're back! The list of Big 12 returners (remember, no Freshmen or transfers, yes TCU and West Virginia guys) returns. For the second straight grouping, no KU guys are featured.
15. LeBryan Nash, Sophomore, Oklahoma State
By all accounts, Nash's first season in Stillwater was a colossal disappointment. He has a 29% usage rate and took 29.7% of the shots while on the floor, but his eFG was just 41.8%. I'm putting Nash here however because of his enormous talent. He was the 4th ranked recruit in the class of 2011 according to Rivals, and he came on at the end of the year a bit before injuring his left arm late in the year. He went 12-18 from the field in Oklahoma State's upset of Missouri and shot 50% or better in 3 of his last 6 games, just missing it by one make in a fourth. If he can shoot 50% with how much he will shoot for the Cowboys this year he could be an all league type of player and his NBA draft stock should rocket up.
14. Tyrus McGee, Senior, Iowa State
The least assertive player in the top 15, McGee played under 20 minutes a game and had just a 17% usage rate, but he was incredibly efficient when he did shoot. McGee shot 49% from two, 39.4% from three and 84% from the line. He had a pretty damn good for a guard 12.2% defensive rebounding rate and also rarely turned it over, just a 9.8% turnover rate. Obviously players get less efficient if they shoot more, but had McGee played full time and kept those numbers he'd be among the best 5 players in the league.
13. Jordan Henriquez, Senior, Kansas State
Like McGee, Henriquez saw less than steady playing time, but when he was on the floor he was very good for the Wildcats. He made 54% of his twos and had a 13.1% offensive rebounding rate which was 67th in the country and while some of that was due to the system that Kansas State employed under Frank Martin, it should be mentioned that Henriquez was the best offensive rebounder on the team. He was also the second best shot blocker in the Big 12 and 7th in the nation at 13.1%. He's not great offensively other than at the rim (though his FG% on two point jumpers was better than Thomas Robinson and equal to Elijah Johnson), but he can defend, block shots, and grab rebounds on both ends. He should have gotten more PT last year and that should be objective #1 for Bruce Weber.
12. JP Olukemi, Senior, Oklahoma State
Olukemi's value hinges on how well he can return from an ACL injury that saw him miss much of last season. He was Oklahoma State's second best athlete (because Markel Brown is awesome) and, small sample size warning, had increased his eFG from 45.8% to 51.2%. Olukemi drew the 36th most fouls in college basketball his Sophomore year, and he drew 5.1 per 40 last year before his injury. He also shoots better than 75% from the line. There is a good shot he doesn't have as good of a year as the two names preceeding him on this list, but his ceiling is much higher
11. Myck Kabongo, Sophomore, Texas
The popular sentiment after last year was that Kabongo was a disappointment, but I admittedly have a tough time seeing him as such. His weaknesses are readily apparent: he can't shoot, making 31% of his threes and just 29% of his two point jumpers. He wasn't very assertive with the ball either, with just a 16.1% shot rate, making it easier for opponents to key in on what he is doing. He also had a 26.5% turnover rate. But to counter each of these: a player's jump shot can be improved much more easily than the tremendous athleticism he possesses, him not shooting is a sign he was mature enough to understand his role, and his high turnover rate can be explained by the simple fact he was a Freshman. Kabongo had a pretty crazy high 32.5% assist rate and he had the 19th best free throw rate in the country. He can get into the lane at will and go pretty much wherever he wants to on the court, but needs to improve his jumper and turnovers. Sounds a lot like one Tyshawn Taylor doesn't it? Throw in the fact that he is Canadian and that should explain why I love him so much.