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Top 25 Big 12 Returners: 10-6

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Andy Lyons

We have (nearly) reached the end of our countdown. Starting now, Freshmen basically cease to matter in the rankings. I love Cliff Alexander, Kelly Oubre, and Myles Turner as much as the next guy, but I wouldn't be shocked to see all three of them lagging behind everyone left on this list.

10. LeBryan Nash, Senior, Oklahoma State

I honestly forgot Nash was still around for a second. After coming into college with a ton of hype (and an ESPNU spurning of Kansas), Nash struggled in his first two years in Stillwater, posting eFGs of 42% and 48% in his first two years. Last year, however, Nash blossomed, with a 52% eFG. He also cut his turnover rate down to 15%, had a 3% block percentage (not much, but up from less than 1% as a Freshman and Sophomore) and had his highest rebounding percentages on both ends of the floor.

One thing Nash has always done well is draw fouls. This was the third year in a row he had drawn either 5.2 or 5.3 fouls per 40 minutes. Nash also benefited from not taking so many damn threes. After taking 50 or so his first couple seasons, he shot just 6 of them last year (not making any).

Nash came to Oklahoma State expecting to be a one and done lottery pick, and now isn't even ranked as one of the top 5 Seniors by Draft Express, but he has a lot to offer to a college basketball program. Nash's efficiency numbers will likely take a hit this year, as offensively it will basically be him and Phil Forte running the show, but with opponents having to keep an eye on Forte, and with Michael Cobbins and Brian Williams presumably providing something down low, Nash might get some more open jumpers, a shot he excelled at last year, making 42% of them.

9. Jonathan Holmes, Senior, Texas

Holmes played just over 20 mpg for the Horns, but took quite a few shots in that time (24% of them, 2nd on the team) and made 56% of his twos. He was also the Horns' second best shot blocker (third percentage wise, but Prince Ibeh played in just a third of the team's minutes) and rebounder. Texas was the best offensive rebounding team in the league, grabbing an astounding 40% of their misses, and much of it is thanks to Holmes.

So then it is a bit puzzling that Holmes played in just over half of the team's minutes. If Rick Barnes is not crazy or has any idea what is going on (I know, I know) Holmes should get a big boost to that playing time this year and Texas's frontcourt will look even more imposing. They also might do a bit better than 7th in the Big 12 offensively.

8. Wayne Selden, Sophomore, Kansas

Selden really struggled defensively last year. In 1 on 1 situations he was sometimes able to manage due to his impressive strength, but the overly restrictive foul rules sapped him of his one major advantage on the perimeter. When forced to play mainly with his lower half, however, he frequently found himself in trouble. Speaking of which, Selden was completely lost off the ball too many times. We saw it with everyone a lot last year, but with Selden saying he wanted to be Travis Releford, his struggles were the most concerning.

When it was revealed that Selden had played much of the year with a bad knee, these struggles were much more easily forgiven. When he posted some insanely athletic dunks on instagram, the hype machine went into overdrive. And in truth there is a lot to be excited about. Selden, even with needing to do a bunch of double clutches due to his bad knee, shot 70% at the rim. However, because of said knee, he couldn't get to the rim as often, attempting just under one-fourth of his shots there (for comparison's sake, the "ultra passive" Andrew Wiggins took over a third of his FGA at the rim). If Selden can take 30%+ of his field goals at the rim, it will result in a scoring boon, especially when factoring in the added free throw attempts, where Selden went just 89 times last year.

I also think Selden will see his three point percentage increase. His form is a bit funky, but it looks like he repeats it well. He also, assuming health, won't be forced into as many tough guarded threes as he was last year. Selden shot just 33% from beyond the arc last year, but with some more selective shooting and without wearing down at the end of the year like he did last year I think he can add a couple of percentage points to that and become an even more valuable offensive player.

7. Dustin Hogue, Senior, Iowa State

Hogue had the 29th best eFG in the nation last year at over 61%, and he was the Cyclones' best rebounder (9% and 20.4%). He and Georges Niang spent a lot of time alternating the 4 and 5, but Hogue was probably the Cyclones' nominal center (despite standing just 6'6") due to how often Niang started and finished possessions outside the lane.

Hogue didn't get to shoot a lot with Kane, Ejim, and Niang on the roster, but with the former two gone my bet is he will have a lot more shots come his way this year.

His one drawback is that he isn't great defensively (and he's not much of a passer) but if he shoots over 60% from two and rebounds as well as he did last year, that won't be much of a concern for Fred Hoiberg. Iowa State was quietly not very good in Big 12 play offensively last year, but Hogue and the remaining Cyclone on this list will probably fix that.

6. Cameron Ridley, Junior, Texas

Cameron Ridley, to put it kindly, doesn't look like he could run up and down the court once much less 100+ times over the course of a two hour period, but somehow he does it and also became one of the most impressive players in the Big 12 last year.

Ridley's best asset is probably his defense. His 9% block rate is good without being spectacular, but he was a very good overall rim protector for Texas, as shown in Kansas's loss to the Horns in Austin.

Meanwhile, Ridley was elite at getting to the free throw line last year (25th), and shot just under 55% from two. He also was the Horns' best rebounder, with an offensive rebounding rate of 13.5% and defensive rebounding rate of 20.4%.

Ridley is a giant man who is impossible to get position against. It's also, one might imagine, really tough to move him off the block or to get position on him in competition for rebounds.