Monday, November 01, 2010

MAC Men's Basketball....Five Players to Watch

So, this isn't the kind of piece I usually write, but there was this guy, this guy on the Internet, and he wanted some MAC content for his website, and I wrote this, and then the website never, not to let it go to waste....

Trey  Zeigler, Central Michigan

There is no question that the #1 player to watch in the MAC is a freshman.  His name is Trey Zeigler, proud member of the ESPN 100 who spurned UCLA, MSU, Arizona State, and Michigan to play at Central Michigan….where his Dad was the Head Coach, and got a contract extension close to signing day.  It has been a long time since the MAC had an immediate impact recruit enter the conference like this.  Normally, you get a guy like Ron Harper who is a late bloomer.  Zeigler can be expected to light it up right away, driving to the hoop and shooting from the outside.  Added to a really strong CMU class, two leading scorers returning, and having two straight West Division titles, CMU is likely to be the favorite to the MAC.  But, everywhere Zeigler plays, eyes will be on him.

Notes:  Trey is not his real name---is it anyone’s?  He is really Ernie Zeigler III, so, Trey?  Get it?  And, yes, I know, winning the MAC West has been like winning the AL Central.

DJ Cooper, Ohio University

At 5’11’’, DJ Cooper was easy to miss, and I suspect if many MAC fans are like me, they didn’t really see what they had until Cooper had led the #9 seeds into the Big Dance and into an epic beat down of the Georgetown Hoyas.  Cooper had an incredible year.  In conference games, he led the league in minutes, assists, steals, and was in the Top 10 in Field Goals and Field Goal Attempts, Three Point FGs, Three Point attempts, and Three Point Percentage, and scoring.  He was 15th in rebounds, too.  He did use up his share of possessions, so his offensive efficiency rating has some room to grow.  Hard as it is to believe, Cooper was not first or second team All-MAC, but was Freshman of the Year.

Zeke Marshall, Akron

Before Trey, there was Zeke.   A legit 7’0”, Zeke was ranked as the #9 Center in the nation by ESPN coming out of HS, and signed with the Zips (though not after fans spent an agonizing year in which they were positive he would decommit.)  He did not produce much as a Freshman, playing only 16 minutes a game in conference games.  He shot over 50% from the field, and would have had 5 points, 8 boards and 4 blocks per 40 minutes.  And six fouls per 40.

I expect him to continue to develop in Akron and become a force in the conference.  He is on the list because of that…and because he’s big and hard not to watch.

Justin Greene, Kent

Justin Greene had a huge sophomore season at Kent and is set up to be a key contributor to the MAC’s most consistently successful program.  (Kent won the MAC regular season title last year).  He led Kent in scoring, rebounding, and FG% and FT% in only his second year.   The FT% was 80% and 3rd in the MAC, and that will bode well for an inside guy getting fouled a lot.  His Floor Percentage of 59 led the MAC.  As he gets more minutes and touches, he will blossom into one of the top inside guys in the MAC.

Brandon Bowdry, Eastern Michigan

It is hard to toil in more obscurity than at EMU, where crowds can number in the high three figures, but Brandon Bowdry is a very good college basketball player, and MAC fans should take the opportunity to appreciate him in what is expected to be an all-MAC campaign.  He didn't just lead the MAC in rebounding last year, he had an average of 2 more rebounds per game than the next player.  He just missed being among the 20 best rebounders in D1.  He gets to the line, and was the 6th best scorer in the MAC—a "double-double machine."  He plays on the inside, but is only 6'6".  With Carlos Medlock and Justin Dobbins gone, he will have a real opportunity to show what he can go as a feature player.

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