2011-12 Big Ten Position by Position: Wings

Dylan Burkhardt

Ohio State v Purdue 0kN9i-fc5cpl[1]

Next up in our positional Big Ten previews, which will feature guards, wings, combo forwards and bigs, we have the wing guards and forwards. The wing group is highlighted by Ohio State senior William Buford, Michigan sophomore Tim Hardaway Jr. as well as a pair of true freshmen. [Previously: Guards, Bigs]

1. William Buford – Sr. – Ohio State

MPG PPG RPG APG ORtg Usage eFG% 3PFG% DR% OR% A Rate TO Rate FT Rate
32.4 14.4 3.9 2.9 113.2 23.2 53.2 44.2 11.4 3.8 17.7 15.1 16.2

Upside: Buford is the fifth most efficient returning player in the Big Ten that used over a fifth of his team’s possessions and should have even more opportunity this season with the departures of David Lighty and Jon Diebler. He’s a lethal three point shooter (44 percent last season) but has struggled a bit inside the arc, and needs to be more aggressive attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line.
Downside: One of the most underappreciated stars in the Big Ten, Buford has been overshadowed by his teammates’ starpower throughout his career. First it was Evan Turner and last season it was Jared Sullinger. Sullinger is back for another year which means Buford won’t be the featured player yet again.

2. Tim Hardaway Jr. – So. – Michigan

MPG PPG RPG APG ORtg Usage eFG% 3PFG% DR% OR% A Rate TO Rate FT Rate
30.7 13.9 3.8 1.7 108.8 24.1 52 36.7 12.1 3.1 12.1 11.1 31.4

Upside: Hardaway was among the top scorers in the Big Ten for the final month of the season and should have even more opportunity with Darius Morris’s departure to the NBA. He improved steadily over the season and is likely to continue that trend after a solid performance with the USA U19 team in Latvia this summer.,
Downside:  Hardaway made threes during the final two months of the season at a rate so prolific that it will be tough to sustain over the course of a season. He’ll also be the focal point of every defense without Darius Morris at his side.

3. Drew Crawford – Jr. – Northwestern

MPG PPG RPG APG ORtg Usage eFG% 3PFG% DR% OR% A Rate TO Rate FT Rate
31.4 12.1 4.7 2 103.7 22 49.5 32.7 14.3 5.3 13.4 11.9 17.1

Upside: Crawford was the freshman of the year two seasons ago and will be the clear number two option in the Wildcat offense this year. He doesn’t turn the ball over, does a solid job on the defensive glass and has shown signs of being a good shooter, Crawford is a likely candidate for a bounce back season.
Downside: Despite improving his scoring output, Crawford was noticeably less efficient as a sophomore. His struggles began inside the arc where his two point shooting percentage dropped 8 points from 58 to 50% last season.

4. Brandon Paul – Jr. – Illinois

MPG PPG RPG APG ORtg Usage eFG% 3PFG% DR% OR% A Rate TO Rate FT Rate
22.4 9 3.1 2.1 100.2 23.7 48.6 36.1 12.3 3.7 18.1 20.2 34.7

Upside: Illinois loses so many pieces from a year ago that there’s ample opportunity and right now Paul looks like the most likely focal point of the Illinois offense. He was improved as a sophomore and led the Illini in scoring on their trip to Italy.
Downside: Paul needs to improve inside the arc where he made 43 percent of his attempts last season (up from 38 percent as a freshman).

5. Brandon Dawson – Fr. – Michigan State

ESPN Rivals Scout
23 20 14

Upside: A perfect fit for Tom Izzo’s system, Dawson is a big strong wing forward whose game is centered around crashing the glass. Izzo has succeeded with strong forwards similar to Dawson in the past and the opportunity is there to make an early impact on the wing.
Downside: His offensive skill is a work in progress and most of his scoring will probably come around the basket and off of second chances. Dawson will have to prove that he can guard opposing wing forwards and that he can be efficient with the ball offensively.

6. Sam Thompson – Fr. – Ohio State
One of the most highly regarded recruits in Thad Matta’s freshman class, Thompson is a versatile 6-foot-7 wing that was a consensus top-50 recruit. Lighty is gone, Diebler is gone and classmate LaQuinton Ross didn’t qualify – opportunity is there for Thompson.

7. Zack Novak – Sr. – Michigan
Novak is almost impossible to define position wise (the 6-foot-4 guard could easily be included in the combo forwards post) but he was as effective of a three point shooter (39%) and defensive rebounder (17%) as most other players on this list.

8. Victor Oladipo – So. – Indiana
He was efficient offensively, scoring most of his points around the basket (59% on twos) and was Indiana’s best offensive rebounder. There are a lot of returning players in Bloomington (and Cody Zeller) but Oladipo showed promise as a freshman and is an intriguing breakout candidate.

9. Rodney Williams – Jr. – Minnesota
It’s tough to place Williams on this list… His god-given talent and ability is obvious but he hasn’t put all of the pieces together. If he starts making perimeter shots he’ll sky rocket up this list quickly.

10. Devyn Marble – So. – Iowa
Iowa returns several players at the wing position but it was Marble that was most impressive at the end of the season. Marble started the last five games of the season, indicating he might have the upper edge on fellow wings Eric May and Zach McCabe entering the new season.

Also considered (in no particular order): Kelsey Barlow (Purdue), Will Sheehey (Indiana), JerShonn Cobb (Northwestern), Myke Henry (Illinois), Toney McCray (Nebraska), Caleb Walker (Nebraska)

  • Mattski

    Nice to see Zack mentioned among the best B1G players–he has earned it. I wonder if he can surprise us this year, elevate another notch. . . Am very excited to see these guys play. 

  • Tom_McC

    I don’t think the attention Tim sees this year will be much different than what he saw at the end of his Frosh year. In fact, if Burke proves to be a threat as a shooter, there may actually be more space for Tim to work when he has the ball. With Morris, teams could play off him when the ball wasn’t in his hands but if Burke can shoot the ball at a good rate, teams won’t have that luxury.

    Teams will definitely focus on Tim but I think with Zack/Vogrich, Evan, Stu/Burke on the floor most of the time, teams will have to stay spaced out on shooters.  Tim showed a lot of promise on pick and rolls late in the year and I think that will continue to be a focus. Tim’s shot selection will be important…this was a huge issue for Manny, IMO and that was a factor in the struggles UM had in the ’09-10 season.

    • Definitely a fair take.. I think part of it will be coping with the pressure of being the “lead” guy every game. I’m not saying he isn’t up to it, but it’s something to consider.

      • Tom_McC

        Right…I like that Tim was played with the U-19 USA team this summer.  It sounds like his experience on that team really matured him and early reports from the players and staff is that Tim has emerged as a leader.  Hopefully, that will help Tim cope better with being the ‘go-to-guy’ on this team.  I’m sure he’ll have a few ups and downs but it’s easy to forget his is only a Soph.

  • SamGoBlue

    Not too many gripes about this one. I would probably move both the freshmen down a couple notches because, well, they’re freshmen. After that I’d probably move Marble up two and then flip-flop Sheehey and Oladipo. Oladipo is obviously an athletic freak that can get it done around the basket, but he will never make a shot outside of 10 feet. Sheehey, on the other hand, is no slouch athletically and has a much more versatile game than Victor.

    • Marble’s numbers last year were so underwhelming it’s tough to move him much higher. Sheehey vs. Oladipo will be interesting but Vic was more productive, more efficient and a significantly better rebounder.