When a team has three of the top thirty scorers in the entire conference, one would expect that team to have more than seven wins and be the worst team in the conference by record.
But, that's where Ball State stood last season. Jeremie Tyler showed promise during the first half of the season, averaging 12 points per game before being ruled academically ineligible for conference play. Freshman Sean Sellers had a great season, also averaging 12 points a game.
If you're a causal MAC basketball fan, you've probably heard of those two players. But who is the third guy? It's Franko House.
While certainly not a household name or even one thrown around in MAC basketball discussions as one of the better players in the conference, the 6-foot-6, 247 pound junior had quite an impressive sophomore campaign. While no longer sporting the flat top afro from his freshman year, House averaged just over ten points and five and a half rebounds per game last year.
We identified House as one of the breakout players last season (/blushes) and now he's earned his spot in the countdown. With increased minutes comes increase scoring opportunities, and House certainly took advantage of it. His scoring averaged increased by 40 percent from six points per game during his freshman season. That came about because of an improvement of eight percentage points in his field goal percentage.
House is really your typical MAC forward - not tall, but physical - and his ceiling is certainly very high. He'll be tasked to rebound the ball better, as the Cardinals ranked 308th as a team in total rebounding in Division I.
In Ball State's two games over the summer in the Bahamas, House averaged nine points and six and a half rebounds while playing only half of the game. After averaging almost thirty minutes per game last year, he'll certainly be at that number or higher this year. Just extrapolating his numbers from the summer over thirty minutes of playing time makes him a prime candidate to average a double-double this season.
He'll also be asked to lead a team where only him and Bo Calhoun have been in the program for longer than a season. It seems he's taking his leadership role full-on, telling the Muncie Star Press that "...I'm leading by example. It's a big thing to take from basketball over to life."
With Sellers and Tyler back, Ball State could be a dark horse in the MAC West race. The Sporting News has Ball State third in the West, which really would be a good goal for this season. They're not the best team in the conference but they will be definitely better than last year's team. By the end of the season it'll be pretty hard to not talk about Franko House anymore.