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2014 Preseason MAC Top 25: #8 F J.D. Weatherspoon, Toledo Rockets

Every day from now until the beginning of the season we’ll be counting down the top 25 players in the MAC for the upcoming season. Today we take a look at #8, Toledo's J.D. Weatherspoon

J.D. Weatherspoon is back for his second season with the Rockets.
J.D. Weatherspoon is back for his second season with the Rockets.
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Three and a half decades removed from its most recent NCAA tournament appearance, the Toledo Rockets basketball team has suffered from its share of lean years in recent history.

During that stretch, there haven't been a lot of J.D. Weatherspoons suiting up for the Rockets.

Weatherspoon, the versatile, athletic, 6-foot-6 senior forward, represents a higher caliber of talent than Toledo is used to seeing. He enrolled at Ohio State alongside high school teammate (and current Boston Celtics forward) Jared Sullinger, but struggled with grades and playing time before seeking a transfer to Toledo. After sitting out one season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Weatherspoon made his Rockets debut as a junior last year, putting up 10.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game as Toledo flew to a 27-7 record and an NIT berth.

Weatherspoon is impressive enough on his own - the high-flying talent would be a key player on any team in the MAC - but the most exciting thing about him for Toledo fans is that he can operate as a complementary player on the stacked Rockets.

With sharpshooter Julius Brown and wing Justin Drummond expected to carry the offensive load for Toledo, Weatherspoon offers a physical force inside to help balance the Rockets on both ends of the court. The senior led his squad with a 53.7 FG% (boosted by a team-best 46 dunks) and took second on the team with 25 blocks. The team will once more look to Weatherspoon to combine with center Nathan Boothe to provide a presence inside and help free up open looks for Brown.

However, until he improves his free-throw percentage - a 58.5% mark that represented a team-low among those who saw regular minutes - Rockets coach Tod Kowalczyk will not be able to rely on Weatherspoon as a primary offensive threat. Those struggles paint Weatherspoon as a talented but incomplete player.

But for the first time in a long time, with the likes of J.D. Weatherspoon able to operate as role players rather than alpha dogs, Toledo has enough talent to make a collection of incomplete players into a complete team.