Damian Arsenis takes on the monumental task of collating all the Aussie men’s stats for the 2013/14 NCAA Division I non-conference schedule for our readers to sift through, and then ranks his top 15 Aussies for the season to date (including games played on 29-Dec-13 US time). Whether you agree or disagree with his rankings, it will be sure to spark some interesting debates!
The Top 15
Ranking any athlete, team or sporting performance is always fraught with danger. Reputations are on the line, and there is always the chance that someone may be offended with a comment or selection. So right up front here are my disclaimers; I am undertaking this ranking without having seen every Aussie male player in at least one game this season, while on the other hand I have seen many others play several times, and with that comes a potential for bias. I would however like to point out that I do trawl through all the results, box scores, game reviews and news articles for the teams featuring the Aussies each and every day. I check in on their team’s official websites regularly and I would like to think I have come to develop a well-rounded view of where the majority of the players are currently at.
So whether you agree with me or not, this is how I have ranked the top Aussie men up to the conclusion of the non-conference schedule . . . please feel free to share your thoughts and your rankings if you beg to differ! And once you finish going through my top 15, check out the season stats for all the Aussie men for this season to date.
#1 | Cameron Bairstow | New Mexico
Was there ever any doubt that the #1 position would belong to the senior 6″9″ power forward playing in the Mountain West? He has been living up to my pre-season selection as the #1 Aussie in college hoops this season and has recorded three double-doubles and eight games where he has scored 20 or more points (out of 12 games).
The powerful big man has been a beast for the Lobos this season in averaging a career-best of 20.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2,3 assists and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting almost 55% from the field and 80.6% from the free throw line. He forms part of one of college basketball’s best front courts alongside center Alex Kirk (ESPN ranks them 9th best), and has collected a Mountain West player of the week honour. With his physical strength, improved post game and a consistent mid-range jumper, he has been the Lobos’ best and most consistent player to date and has NBA scouts watching his every move.
#2 | Anthony Drmic | Boise State
The only guy right now pushing Bairstow for the #1 spot on this list is sharp-shooting junior swingman Anthony Drmic, who also happened to be #2 on my pre-season list. Drmic has been the leading light for the Broncos, who are also expected to challenge the Lobos for the Mountain West title. With career-high averages of 19.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 2 steals per game, Drmic has always been known as a scorer, but he has improved defensively as well. He rounded out 2013 by leading Boise State to within 4 points of the title against #14 ranked Iowa State at the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii, averaging 22.3 points on the way to being named to the all-tournament team. There is no doubt that Drmic is now starting to come under increasing scrutiny from NBA scouts as a result of his exceptional play.
#3 | Venky Jois | Eastern Washington
This may be one of my more contentious selections, however Jois is the heart and soul of the Eagles and a reason why they will be challenging for the Big Sky Conference title. Jois has had a very good start to the season compiling three double-doubles and averaging 12.4 points, 8 rebounds (2nd best amongst the Aussies) and 2.5 assists per game. The versatile forward does what is needed for his team to succeed and although he may not be posting big numbers week in and week out, he is the barometer for his team. Despite losing the final of the 2K Sports Classic, Jois was duly recognised for his outstanding play by being named to the all-tournament team. Jois may need to step it up further for the team to make a march towards the NCAA tournament.
#4 | Corey Maynard | Bryant
Another one of my selections that hoops fans may not entirely agree with, but it was hard to argue against ranking the feisty point guard any lower. Corey Maynard is one of the key reasons behind Bryant’s rise from obscurity to favourites for the Northeast Conference championship. He comfortably leads all Aussies in assists with 5.1 dimes per game and also contributes through scoring, rebounding and by guarding the opposition’s best guard each game. With figures of 10.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game, Maynard is deserving of being in the mid-season top 5 but will need to work hard and continue to impress to stay there.
#5 | Angus Brandt | Oregon State
After returning this season as a 5th year senior after red-shirting last year due to a torn ACL, Angus Brandt has returned just as good if not better than ever. The 6’10” center with a sweet stroke to beyond the arc has been in outstanding form and holds his place at #5 as he was listed him in the pre-season. The Aussie had just come off scoring a career-high 27 points when he sent a scare through the Beavers camp in hyper-extending his surgically repaired knee in the first round of the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii. Thankfully it was nothing serious and he only missed two games before he returned to racked up 21 points against Quinnipiac. He now averages 12.9 points on 56.8% shooting alongside 4.6 rebounds per game. Without him the Beavers struggled, but with their star pivot, they look like they could do some damage in the PAC-12.
#6 | Hugh Greenwood | New Mexico If you had simply referenced his stats, you would make the mistake of assuming that the 6’3″ guard was not having a great season, something that could not be further from the truth. With New Mexico boasting three players averaging more than 15 points per game, Greenwood is not required to score and has been playing his role to near perfection in distributing and protecting the ball (2.9 assists and just 0.9 turnovers per game), rebounding (5.2 rebounds per game) and playing lock down defense. A wrist injury has hampered his shooting stroke and therefore his scoring, and as a result he was granted leave to allow him to heal ahead of conference play; he will be back on 4 January. If you have watched his games, you will appreciate why I have rated Greenwood so highly and ahead of other guards who have scored more heavily.
#7 | Sam Rowley | Albany
One half of the Great Dane’s dynamic Aussie duo comes in at #7 courtesy of his two double-doubles and consistent ability to rebound and score, having only failed to score in double-digits in three games. Rowley has thrived in the starting lineup, averaging 13.6 points (53.4 FG%), 6.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. The 6’6″ junior forward is one reason why the Great Danes are once again on the rise and a threat in the America East.
#8 | Peter Hooley | Albany
The other half of Albany’s dynamic duo is 6’4″ sophomore combo guard Hooley. Hooley has an ability to play the point or shooting guard role and he does either when required with aplomb. Like Rowley, he has been super-consistent and has only failed to score in double-digits in three games, averaging an impressive 14.5 points (3rd best among the Aussies), 2.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists per game while shooting an Aussie-best 88.7% from the charity stripe. When the game is on the line, if you are a Great Dane’s fan you want the ball in his hands.
#9 | Majok Majok | Ball State
With greater consistency, Majok could easily have entered discussions for being ranked in the top 5. He has collected 4 double-doubles is just short of averaging one with 8.4 points and an Aussie-best 9.4 rebounds in 28 minutes per game as a starter. He has shown an ability to score but is far from being the first option on offence for the Cardinals, so his efforts to date are outstanding. At his best he is a human vacuum cleaner with a season high of 16 rebounds with an ability to score in the paint. He is a walking double-double waiting to happen and is firmly entrenched in my top 10.
#10 | Chris Patton | UC-Riverside
The 6’10” power forward has monstered his way to 12.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game to what has proven to be a frustrating start to the season for the Highlanders. With an 4-8 record, six of those eight losses have been by 7 points or less, and five of were by less than 4 points. Patton has been nothing but consistent, record double-digit scoring in all but three of his games, with two games of 20 or more points, including a 21 point and 15 rebound double-double against Southern Utah. despite his team’s run of bad luck, Patton thoroughly deserves the recognition to round out my top 10.
#11 | Jordan Vandenberg | North Carolina State
Right on the edge of the to 10 is 5th year red-shirt senior Vandenberg. After injuring his ankle in the pre-season and therefore missing the first 4 games of the season where North Carolina State went 2-2, he returned and immediately had a positive impact. With the 7’1″ Aussie center patrolling the paint, the Wolfpack went on a 7-game winning streak before falling by just 4-points to then #25 ranked Missouri. Injury free, Vandenberg has been a revelation in averaging 7.8 points, 5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks game. His presence in the paint is being felt at both ends of the floor, including a game against East Carolina where he had a new career-high of 18 points on a sizzling 9/10 shooting that included 7 dunks, and another where he swatted 5 shots against Northwestern.
#12 | Daniel Trist | Lafayette
Like Vandenberg, Trist is one of the unlucky ones who just missed out on making the top 10. With averages of 12.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game he made a good case for inclusion. He has scored in double-digits 6 times, including an 18 point and 12 rebound double-double against Robert Morris and a 21 point outburst versus N.J.I.T. More recently, the 6’9″ senior forward’s scoring has dropped off, and for the Leopards to be successful they will need to fully utilise the Aussie big man’s size and touch around the paint.
#13 | Igor Hadziomerovic | Boise State
In somewhat similar fashion to the Lobos’ Greenwood, Hadzimerovic has played his role on a Boise State roster loaded with shooters to near perfection. The 6’4″ junior guard has been successful in helping control and distribute the ball, rebound and play solid defence on his way to averaging 5.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. His level head and consistency is just what the Broncos need on court to help keep their shooters well fed and under control.
#14 | Igor Nujic | UC-Davis
Another Igor is next up in the form Nujic who transferred from Texas-San Antonio and as a result red-shirted last season. The 6’8″ junior forward has really lifted over the past month, with 4 games scoring in double-digits as he has found his feet. Nujic is now averaging 7.2 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, but one would expect this to increase given his increasing confidence that only game time with your team mates can provide.
#15 | Christian Salecich | SIU-Edwardsville
Rounding out the top 15 is another transfer in the form of Salecich who previously played at Saint Louis. Salecich has quickly found his feet and is averaging 7.2 points and 2.5 assists per game. The 6’3″ guard has brought experience and savvy guard play to the Cougars and recorded a season high of 16 points against Texas-Pan American and 9 assists against Oregon State in a sign of what he can do.
The Mid Season Stats
Want to know how all the Aussies are performing, then check out the table below! The stats for all the Aussie men were tabulated and accurate for games through to 29 December 2013 (US time) sorted by PPG.
|1||Cameron BAIRSTOW||New Mexico||30.3||20.1||7.2||2.3||1.4||1.1||2.2||54.7%||0.0%||80.6%|
|2||Anthony DRMIC||Boise State||33.2||19.5||4.5||1.4||0.2||2.0||2.3||46.7%||33.8%||73.3%|
|5||Angus BRANDT||Oregon State||24.7||12.9||4.6||1.5||0.9||0.3||1.4||56.8%||33.3%||77.3%|
|8||Venky JOIS||Eastern Washington||29.9||12.4||8.0||2.7||1.5||1.0||2.9||50.0%||11.1%||50.0%|
|10||Majok MAJOK||Ball State||28.1||8.4||9.4||1.4||0.6||0.3||2.3||51.7%||–||44.4%|
|11||Jordan VANDENBERG||North Carolina State||23.8||7.8||5.0||1.1||2.6||0.1||0.5||76.9%||–||50.0%|
|15||Dexter KERNICH-DREW||Washington State||19.8||6.3||2.4||1.2||0.2||0.5||0.8||34.7%||28.3%||72.7%|
|16||Sam McBEATH||Nicholls State||16.0||5.8||4.8||1.3||0.3||0.8||0.8||36.0%||14.3%||50.0%|
|17||Joshua OSWALD||Miami (OH)||20.9||5.6||4.4||0.9||0.8||0.5||1.3||43.5%||33.3%||72.7%|
|18||Durrell McDONALD||De Paul||15.6||5.5||1.5||1.1||–||1.3||0.8||46.3%||45.5%||66.7%|
|19||Igor HADZIOMEROVIC||Boise State||23.4||5.5||4.6||2.6||0.2||0.6||1.2||38.4%||16.7%||77.8%|
|21||Jaryd EUSTACE||Miami (OH)||19.1||5.1||2.5||1.3||0.1||0.3||1.2||33.3%||25.0%||66.7%|
|23||Hugh GREENWOOD||New Mexico||31.1||4.6||5.2||2.9||0.1||0.6||0.9||39.0%||25.0%||33.3%|
|24||Matthew HODGSON||Saint Mary’s College||10.9||4.3||2.6||0.2||1.0||0.2||1.0||51.4%||–||45.0%|
|25||Nicholas DUNCAN||Boise State||14.1||4.2||1.8||0.1||0.3||0.2||0.3||41.9%||38.7%||77.8%|
|27||Piers CARROLL||Nicholls State||1.5||3.0||–||–||–||–||–||100.0%||100.0%||–|
|28||Liam THOMAS||Nicholls State||15.1||3.0||3.4||1.1||1.3||0.4||1.0||40.0%||0.0%||40.0%|
|33||Darcy MALONE||Louisiana State||6.0||2.3||1.7||0.2||0.1||0.1||0.3||52.9%||40.0%||25.0%|
|36||Cade TOWERS||Nicholls State||8.3||2.1||1.3||0.3||0.1||0.3||0.5||30.4%||25.0%||40.0%|
|37||Felix VON HOFE||Eastern Washington||8.0||2.0||0.4||0.2||–||0.1||0.4||35.0%||29.4%||50.0%|
|39||Dane PINEAU||Saint Mary’s College||4.9||1.8||0.9||0.2||–||–||–||60.0%||80.0%||–|
|40||James HUNTER||Washington State||2.7||1.7||0.7||–||0.3||0.3||0.3||100.0%||–||50.0%|
|45||Matt DONLAN||South Dakota State||2.0||0.5||–||0.3||–||–||–||50.0%||–||–|
|47||Daniel HILL||Eastern Washington||4.7||0.3||–||0.3||–||0.3||0.7||0.0%||0.0%||50.0%|
|–||Ben WILSON||Idaho State||0.0||–||–||–||–||–||1.0||–||–||–|
|–||Jeromie HILL||Texas-San Antonio||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|–||Alex OVERS||Nicholls State||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|–||Lachlan PREST||Nicholls State||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|–||Sam DALY||Grand Canyon||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|