Some of you will notice that I skipped #18. The reason is simple, a player I thought was returning had transferred. Oops. If these next 5 players were on the same team, it would be one of the best front courts in the country, with a scoring guard with 20+ per potential. Add a point guard, and this “team” would be set.
Nick Perkins, Senior, Forward, Buffalo Bulls
The big man from Ypsilanti is a complete player that can play inside while also hitting threes. Perkins made a huge stride last season, taking better shots and going from 41.4% shooting from the floor as a sophomore, to 47.4% as a junior. His shooting also improved, as he took less threes and made more. He also took more free throws and hit over 10% more of his attempts. If he is simply the same player he was last year, he is still a great player. If that improvement continues, he will be a force on a loaded Buffalo squad.
Seth Dugan, Senior, Center, Western Michigan Broncos
Some people will be shocked that I included the 7 foot center from Otsego, since he only averaged 5.2 points and 4.1 rebounds last season. For his entire career, he had to share minutes with another center, and this season he could be ready for a breakout. I have seen potential in this player for a while, and his confidence has been growing season by season. In a season where he gets 30ish minutes per, I see him averaging 12 and 10 or better.
Demajeo Wiggins, Senior, Center, Bowling Green Falcons
The 6’10 senior from Toledo averaged 13.7 points and 10.1 rebounds last season. A raw talent when he arrived a few minutes south of Toledo, his progression as a player has been tremendous. The stat that sums it up best is his 37.9% free throw shooting as a freshman. In his sophomore season, he hit 61%. That year he started off even hotter from the charity stripe, but cooled as the season went on. Then last year he was 69.4%. While there have been a few steps back, there have been a bunch of steps forward.
Tahjai Teague, Junior, Forward, Ball State Cardinals
The athletic junior is similar to Wiggins in that he was raw as a freshman. He also has made great strides, averaging 12.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest last year. I fully expect Teague to keep improving, just like Wiggins. Teague’s ceiling may even be higher, as he has more range.
Nike Sibande, Sophomore, Guard, Miami RedHawks
The 6’4 sophomore was the MAC Freshman of the Year, and the sky is the limit as far as a ceiling for this guy. A true shooting guard, he hit 35% of his threes, while averaging 4.3 rebounds per contest. His 15.1 points per game as a freshman could be the mid 20s at some point in his career, possibly next season.
With the exception of Dugan, I wouldn’t even be a little bit surprised if any of these players ended up on the first time, or even MAC PotY. Dugan being the man in the middle this season will have a great impact on him. If he embraced that role and gains confidence, I could easily see him averaging 15 and 10. If he panics and tries too hard, his inclusion on this list will seem like a joke by the end of the season. I expect the former, and a third team All MAC selection. The rest might also be on the third team, simply because the conference is that loaded this season.