ROAR!!!!!! Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE
Today's list counting down the top 25 players returning to the Big 12 features some Senior leadership as well as a couple of players who spent last year outside the league. How are they returners? Heck if I know.
20. Sam Grooms, Senior, Oklahoma
Grooms played almost 30 minutes per game for the Sooners, serving as their primary point guard. He didn't shoot much, just a 14.4% shot percentage, and that was for good reason as he made only 39% of his twos and 20% of his threes. But he did rack up a very nice 33.5% assist rate which was good for third in the league. He also led the Big 12 in assist to turnover ratio (2.8). With the bulk of his weapons returning to Norman as well, the Sooners could be in store for a surprising year.
19. Amric Fields, Junior, TCU
The (spoiler alert!) only TCU player on this list, Fields played in just 20 minutes per game for the Horned Frogs last year, but when he did he was surprisingly effective. He shot a lot when he was in there (23.2% shot rate) and was efficient in doing so, shooting 62% from two and making 34% of his threes. At 6'9", you'd like to see him rebound more (9.7% defensive rebounding rate) but he's athletic enough to not be overwhelmed by the Big 12 and if he puts on some bulk he could be a nice all around player.
18. Ty Nurse, Senior, Texas Tech
Nurse was one of the lone bright spots for a pitiful Red Raider team, but admittedly most of his value comes from shooting. He shot 39% from three and 90% from the line, but didn't venture inside much, taking only 12% of his shots at the rim. In fact, 60% of his field goal attempts were from beyond the arc. Objectively, he might not deserve to be ranked this high but I have always had an affinity for sharp shooters.
17. Deniz Kilicli, Senior, West Virginia
Kilicli is best known for his awesome beard, but he can play a bit as well. His playing time was limited a bit by fouls last year, as the Junior committed 4.4 per 40 minutes, but with the Big 12 being a bit less of a fouling league (I think anyways, I don't have very current numbers) he should be able to stay on the court more. While Kilicli has a more diverse than he is given credit for low post game, he can step out and hit the jumper as well. He took over half his shots from the field as two point jumpers and hit 35% of them. You'd like to see that (and his 55% from the line) get better, but he's a good passing big man, rebounds a bit and can score in a variety of ways.
16. Romero Osby, Senior, Oklahoma
As you can tell, I'm a bit of a sucker for Seniors. Osby shot just under 50% from two, which, as a 6'8" forward, could be better, but he helped out in many other ways as well. He drew almost 5 fouls per 40 minutes and shot 71.5% from the line. He also had a 9.6% offensive rebounding rate and a 18.2% defensive rebounding rate and defensively he has a 3.9% block rate. I already mentioned this, but with their entire starting 5 back, 4 of whom will be Seniors, I think the Sooners will surprise some people next year.