The natural Small Forward position in today’s game has seemingly become somewhat extinct although the versatility and athleticism in today’s “slashers” is just as relevant as ever. Brace yourself for Tate’s Take on the Top 5 Small Forwards entering the NCAA College Basketball season.
5) Ryan Anderson, Boston College, Sr. 14.3ppg, 7.3rpg 48% FG
Arguably the most well-rounded SF on the list. A natural scorer that overachieves on a regular basis and owns a complete all-around game. Just ask then-#1 nationally ranked Syracuse during last season’s win at the Carrier Dome nearly ending in a double-double effort: 9pts, 14reb, 4ast, 2stl, 1blk… IN A GAME WHERE HE STRUGGLED MIGHTILY OFFENSIVELY!
4) Dez Wells, Maryland, Sr. 15ppg, 4.3rpg, 48% FG, 81% FT
Unfortunately, a second-tier traditional program that has underachieved success in recent years has steam coming out of the ears of Terps fans in College Park. The ultimate fearless competitor in Wells leaves optimism for a team making it’s rookie debut in the Big Ten Conference this season. His shooting touch from the field and charity stripe are his bread and butter.
3) Branden Dawson, Michigan State, Sr. 11.2ppg, 8.3rpg, 61% FG
If only he can stay healthy, we may actually witness the promises fulfilled by Spartans head coach Tom Izzo, quoting “BJ” has yet to scratch the surface of his maximum potential and could do more than just show flashes of production but must stay off the sidelines in street clothes and off the IR. Clearly regarded as the most athletic wing on the list and massive strength added to an NBA-ready frame, the occasional Power Forward recorded a career-high 26pts, 9reb and 24pts, 10reb in huge victories during the NCAA Tournament last postseason vs. a scrappy Harvard ball club looking to play spoiler alert and #1 seeded Virginia (team with the stingiest defense).
2) LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State, Sr. 14ppg, 5.5rpg, 52% FG
Year after year, many players go on to forgo their collegiate career and make a huge mistake by hiring an agent and declaring early for the NBA Draft. After it seemed that would likely be the case for Nash, he remained in Stillwater even after the Marcus Smart era which is a tad bit shocking I must admit. Most importantly, he’s not only working on his receiving his degree but has worked hard on his overall game (on offense and defense) and even harder on raising his IQ. Thanks to the decision-making by the former 5-star highly touted recruit, the future looks bright for the Pokes as they also add Michael Cobbins who returns from injury, providing a dynamic inside/outside duo.
1) Treveon Graham, Virginia Commonwealth, Sr. 16ppg, 7rpg, 43% FG
Add him to the list of guys who are underappreciated and underrated that thrive in the system under Rams head coach Shaka Smart such as Juvonte Reddic and Larry Sanders. True work-horses that aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, showcase their hard work-ethic and do-it-all putting their teams on their backs. Add in a quality brand of basketball, a coachable attitude and a basketball natural known for making savvy basketball plays, and you’re primed another NBA first round selection in June 2015.
Don’t you dare call these guys honorable mention. Brace yourself for Tate’s Great 8 List of unsung heroes. Remember these names as we inch closer to the NCAA Tournament. Keep your eyes on the guys. Trust me, you’ll be lucky you did. You can thank me later!
- Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
- TaShawn Thomas, Houston
- LaDontae Henton, Providence
- Darrun Hilliard, Villanova
- Zak Irvin, Michigan
- Anthony Drmic, Boise State
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona
- Jabari Bird, California
It’s not often that we’re graced with the opportunity to receive a double dosage of SF talent and production on the exact same team. These 3 teams feature exactly that and rank as the very best in the nation amongst Small Forward dynamic duos:
3) Ohio State
- Sam Thompson
- Marc Loving
2) San Diego State
- Dwayne Polee II
- Winston Shepard
- Shavon Fields
- Terran Petteway