If you’re like me, it always takes awhile to get into the college basketball season.
And who can blame you? Early on, the games are boring, the play is sloppy and Bobby Knight isn’t even bitter yet. Nobody wants to watch that.
Then, before you can blink, the holiday’s hit, bowl season passes and you’re thrown into conference play, cold turkey.
Well this season don’t go in unprepared. For those of you who haven’t been watching, don’t worry. I’ve gone ahead and gotten together all the information, on every player that you need to know for the remainder of this season.
But my rankings aren’t based on boring stats or archaic win loss records. Those things are soooo last decade. Nope, I’ve come up with an intricate ranking system this year, that bases college basketball’s best players on…wait for it…wait for it…that’s right, the characters from America’s new favorite TV show, Jersey Shore!
So while you might be a bit behind early on this season, don’t worry, The Situation, Pauly D and Snooki will get you caught up on everything you need to know.
Mike aka “The Situation”: Originally from Staten Island, “The Situation,” (a self created nickname) is the undisputed star of the Jersey Shore, and nothing short of a cultural phenomenon at this point, having appeared on the Jay Leno Show Monday night, and ESPN’s Sports Nation last week.
He is prominently featured in every single episode, and has proven himself to be one of the most versatile reality TV stars of all-time. Around the house, The Situation is known for his culinary prowess and impeccable comedic timing, while internationally, he’s known as one of the least successful womanizers in modern human history. Basically, there’s nothing the guy can’t do.
But what’s most fascinating to me about The Situation is that he seems to resonate with just about every male anywhere between the ages of 16 and 45. Every guy I know, claims to either have a friend just like him, or believe that they themselves are similar.
But here’s the thing: The Situation is the Michael Jordan of reality television. There’s only one MJ, and there’s only one The Situation.
And just like The Situation, there is one college basketball player that stands out above all others in 2010…
John Wall, Kentucky: He’s the single most galvanizing player in the game since Greg Oden, and some say the single best point guard prospect since Jason Kidd. He’s also the undisputed biggest storyline of the 2010 season.
Having seen Wall in person earlier this year, my opinions are well documented: He’s a terror if he’s playing against your team, and scarier than Rosie O’Donnell in a bathing suit when he’s in the open court. When he’s got the ball in crunch time, you just know that not only is Wall taking the big shots, he’s making them. Which is the sign of any truly great player.
Maybe my favorite thing about watching John Wall, is that he’s a player who not only makes everyone around him better, but raises their level of play as well.
I’ve seen a bunch of Kentucky games this year, and the thing I’ve noticed above everything else, is that once Wall gets going, everyone around him gets going too. All of a sudden, guys are making the extra pass, everybody is diving on the floor for loose balls, stuff like that. Kentucky isn’t just John Wall, they’re a really good team that’s only getting better. And that’s scary.
The only apparent flaw in Wall’s game at this point, is a jump shot that needs to be improved. But that’s really about it.
Until then, Wall will just have to settle for being the game’s best player, a future No. 1 NBA Draft pick, and The Situation that everyone in college basketball is talking about.
Pauly D: Pauly D is a DJ from Rhode Island, owns his own tanning bed, and spends 20 minutes, twice a day doing his hair. He’s also my favorite person on the show.
What I like about Pauly D, is that despite being a superstar, he doesn’t have the ego of one. He doesn’t do crazy things just for the sake of doing them, and for a guy who consumes enough vodka to kill a water buffalo, he’s always under control. Basically he’s the “Every man,” of the Jersey Shore house. You know, if every man owned his own tanning bed.
Maybe my favorite thing about Pauly D, is that even though he’d be the star of the show if he lived in any other shore house in Seaside, he knows his place with this group. He never steps on The Situation’s toes, while still stealing virtually every scene he’s in.
Which is a lot like college basketball. Just because there’s only one John Wall doesn’t mean other guys aren’t having great years. These are the Pauly D’s of this year’s college basketball season:
Jerome Dyson, UConn: Although Stanley Robinson gets more hype, it’s Dyson who makes this team go. He’s the only guy in college basketball averaging 19-5-5, has scored double figures in every game this season and dropped 10 assists in two of his last three.
And watching him, what I like about Dyson, is that although he defers to teammates early, he wants the ball and makes the biggest plays down the stretch.
How far UConn goes is March hinges on Dyson’s play more than anyone else.
Jon Scheyer, Duke: Look it’s easy to hate on Duke guys, and through the years nobody’s been more guilty of that than me. After all, I am the guy who once referred to Shelden “The Landlord,” Williams as “The Slum Lord.” But we’re not here to talk about the past.
As for Scheyer, he has turned himself into one of college basketball’s most versatile guards, and is the biggest reason why Duke will probably win the ACC. He’s second in the conference in assists (6.1), and for the first time in his career, is more than just a jump shooter on offense. And for my money, he might be the most improved player in the game.
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame: Alright, I’m just gonna throw it out there, I’m not quite sure how this guy still has eligibility. At all. Quite frankly he might be old enough to have fathered some of his teammates, I’m really not positive.
Either way, ‘Gody is getting it done once again this year, averaging 24.9 points and nine rebounds, while somehow inexplicably, continuing to get his stats when everyone knows he’s getting the ball. Look for him to win his second Big East Player of the Year in the last three seasons.
Evan Turner, Ohio State: Far and away the second best player I’ve seen all year.
He’s an athletic forward that does it all: Handles the ball, rebounds, shoots threes, bails his teammates out of jail (Kidding), everything.
The guy is a triple-double threat every time he steps onto the court (He’s already got two in 10 games), and may be the most versatile player in college basketball.
At this point, Turner’s only weakness is staying healthy, as he already missed six games after a violent fall on his back earlier this year.
Vinny: Vinny got off to a rough start on the Jersey Shore, as he’s not only the youngest person in the house, but also the only male that isn’t on Sammy Sosa’s “workout plan”… If you know what I mean.
He has come on strong of late however, most recently, by hooking up with the boss’s ex-girlfriend.
Here are the Vinny’s of college basketball, the guy’s coming on the strongest as we get deeper into the season.
DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky: I had my concerns about Cousins early on, mainly that he was lazy and disinterested (Not that those are necessarily bad traits of course). My buddy Matt even chipped in, “How many NBA coaches you think he’ll get fired? Three or four?”
But after starting slow, Cousins has come on of late, going for 18 and 18 against Louisville in his best game so far this season. And watching him, the talent is most definitely there; Cousins is a prototypical NBA power forward, with the full range of size, skills and strength.
Whether he continues to develop those skills at the next level will remain to be seen. But right now, nobody is getting better, faster, than DeMarcus Cousins.
Cole Aldrich, Kansas: Anyone think the expectations on Aldrich might have been a little too high coming into the season? Sure he was good in 2009, but the talk of National Player of the Year in 2010 were never realistic.
What Aldrich is, is an instinctual rebounder and defender, and an underrated athlete, that has a still developing offensive post game. Luckily for Kansas fans, it’s a post game that seems to be getting better every day.
Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall: Look at the stats: 41 points against West Virginia; 38 against Syracuse; 33 against Cincinnati. To steal a line from The Situation, “If you don’t know about Jeremy Hazell, you’re gonna get to know him real quick.”
Avery Bradley, Texas: I’ve seen a few Texas games this year, and have been stunned how quickly Bradley continues to develop.
He’s a little undersized for the next level, and of every player on this list, probably most needs to find a team that’s the “right fit,” for him in the NBA. But he’s a perfect fit at Texas, as he’s third on the team in scoring, and just dropped a career-high 29 points on Colorado Saturday afternoon.
Ronnie: I’m just going to throw it out there, I don’t like Ronnie. There I said it. Man do I feel better.
Ronnie came to the Jersey Shore with big aspirations, big biceps and even bigger talk, introducing himself with the quote, “You don’t fall in love on the Jersey Shore.” Only once he got to the house he shacked up with Sammi “Sweetheart,” (more on her coming), and hasn’t been heard from since.
Think of Ronnie as the buddy we all have that’s settled down with a girlfriend, and now only comes over for the first half of Monday Night Football every two weeks, and blows off Tuesday night at the strip club because of “real responsibilities,” and “his job.” In other words, he sucks.
When you break it down, Ronnie’s basically just a big guy whose head isn’t in the right place right now. Maybe he’ll learn and maybe he won’t. Quite frankly, he reminds me a lot of this guy…
Greg Monroe, Georgetown: To the Monroe supporters, the argument is clear: He’s an athletic big guy with great passing skills, that’s playing in an offense that doesn’t fairly display his abilities. Ok, I get it.
But to us outsiders who watch him every game, he’s an innately skilled big man that chooses to hang out on the perimeter, too often makes not only the extra pass, but the unnecessary one, and doesn’t have a killer instinct on offense.
There’s no doubt the talent are there, I’m just not sure Monroe’s head is. Of course, maybe he just has a “Sweetheart,” who’s distracting him, that none of us know about.
Jenn aka “JWoww”: Much like Vinny, JWoww got off to a shaky start on the Jersey Shore, even breaking up with her boyfriend early on, after seeing Pauly D’s penis piercing (Quite frankly, who could blame her). But she too, has come on strong of late.
J Woww’s greatest attribute is her consistency: She’s good for a thrown drink, some pulled hair and a bar fight every night. Run her out there on a Saturday night and you’ll never be disappointed. She always comes through.
Just like JWoww, there are several steady hands in college basketball. Here are a few of them…
Scottie Reynolds, Villanova: Reynolds won’t “Woww,” you with crazy athleticism, deep range or any awesome neck tattoos. But over the last four years, he’s been nothing if not the most consistent player in college basketball.
In his Villanova career, he’s averaged between 14-18 points and 3-4 assists every season. And there’s no way the Wildcats would have wound up in last year’s Final Four without him.
Sherron Collins, Kansas: The Kansas senior has always been one of my favorite players in the game, a point guard who’s built like a linebacker and plays like one too.
Maybe my favorite thing about Collins, is that even though he was Kansas’ go to guy last year, he’s altered his game in 2010, and been willing to defer to freshman Xavier Henry. Sure his points per game are down from 19 to 15, but who cares when you’re winning, right?
Dexter Pittman, Texas: Ok, we get it, when Pittman came to Texas he was 400 lbs., and is now down to 280. Can announcers talk about something else? Maybe, like how he’s averaging 14 and 7, and has played his way into the first round of the next NBA Draft? How about that? Please?
Robbie Hummel, Purdue: Hummel easily could have found himself in the Pauly D category, but he’s really a JWoww if ever there was one.
He doesn’t lead Purdue in scoring, E’Twaun Moore does. And he doesn’t lead them in rebounding either (thanks JaJuan Johnson). What Hummel is, is the engine that makes the 15-1 Boilermakers go. And who knows, they may go all the way to the Final Four.
Sammi “Sweetheart”: Sammi entered the summer house as the girl that got all the males blood flowing, eventually choosing to settle down with Ronnie. However, lately it’s become apparent that her “nickname,” might be a bit misplaced.
The first signs of Sammi’s true colors (Well true colors besides her orange tan that is) came a few episodes ago, when, after The Situation cooked an extravagant lobster dinner, Sammi refused to help clean up, an action for which I will never personally forgive her.
But recently, Sammi Sweetheart has gone from annoying to indefensible, she instigated a fight that left her boyfriend Ronnie with a black eye, and their relationship in tatters. Afterwards, she had the nerve to take no blame for her actions.
Anyway, what you see isn’t necessarily what you get with Sammi. Just like these guys…
Ed Davis, North Carolina: Look, it’s not that I don’t like Davis. His stats are nice enough (15 points and 10 rebounds a game), and North Carolina is winning. I know what you’re thinking, how is he overrated?
It’s not so much that he’s overrated, as that his skills are just misrepresented. He’s called “athletic,” but watch him play, he’s really not. He’s called a “low post scorer.” I don’t see much instinct around the basketball. He’s called a sweetheart…Ohh wait nevermind, wrong rant.
Now look, I’m not saying that Davis can’t be a really good NBA player for a really long time, because he can be. All I am saying is that if you’re using a lottery pick to build a team around him, well, you might be picking again in the lottery next year. And the year after that too.
Willie Warren, Oklahoma: When Warren first decided to come back to Oklahoma last spring, I commended him for wanting to play without the shadow of Blake Griffin hovering over him.
Now, after a 10-6 start, and with his coach questioning him earlier this year, well, I’m not so sure it was a good idea.
Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech: A young guy who’s getting better every day. But “it,” just isn’t there yet.
Nicole aka “Snooki” aka “Snookers,” aka “Snickers,”: Snooki has been a lightning rod in the shore house since her very first night, when she consumed too much alcohol and passed out before the rest of the roommates were even ready to leave. Since then, Snooki has been known for her hot tub makeouts, dance floor back flips and my personal favorite moment, when she spent a night with a guy, referring to him by the wrong name the whole time.
On a serious note, Snooki’s most memorable moment was an unfortunate one: When she was punched in the face by a male bar patron. While that incident was most definitely not a laughing matter, it helped unite the housemates and bring the group closer together.
Look, Snooki will never be the star of the show, but her unifying force is something that’s undeniable. Just like in college basketball, not everyone can be the guy, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of “Snooki’s”…
Andy Rautins, Syracuse: Think about everyone Rautins has played with since he got to Syracuse: Donte Green, Jonny Flynn, Wesley Johnson and of course the great Gerry McNamara.
He’s never averaged more than 10.5 points, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t valuable. During the 2007-2008 season when he went down with a season ending injury, the Orange limped to their worst record in 30 years without him.
Gavin Edwards, UConn: Don’t bother looking at the stats with Edwards, you won’t be impressed.
Just watch any UConn game and take note of all the little plays he makes- extra passes, tipped loose balls etc- that help the Huskies win. You’ll be shocked.
Mike Gerrity, USC: I suppose at some point I’ve got to mention the Pac-10, even though they might literally be a one bid league this year.
The player I’ve been most impressed with is Gerrity, a point guard in his third school in five years. And once he did become eligible at USC in December, the Trojans have rolled to a 6-2 record. They were just 4-5 before.
Herb Pope, Seton Hall: Maybe the most relentless rebounder I’ve seen all year (11.5 per game).
Angelina: Remember Angelina? The self proclaimed Kim Kardashian of Staten Island (Remind me to never to go to Staten Island. Well, at least until they make The Situation’s childhood home a National Historic Site, then we’ll all roadtrip together), Angelina left the Jersey Shore early on, after a fight with her then-boyfriend.
Believe it or not, the show moved on without Angelina, and quite frankly, has been better for the wear without her. And as all her former roommates have become celebrities, think she regrets leaving now?
Tyler Smith, Tennessee: Tennessee’s second leading scorer was thrown off the team by Bruce Pearl recently after a New Year’s Day arrest. Don’t know if you caught this, but the Vols are 2-0 since, including a win over No. 1 ranked Kansas on Sunday.
(Loved the article? Hated it? Let Aaron know by commenting below or e-mailing him at ATorres00@gmail.com. Also, for all his thoughts one everything to do with sports, follow him on Twitter @Aaron_Torres and Facebook: www.facebook.com/aarontorressports)