1. Ben McLemore, Kansas
Prior to attending college in Lawrence, McLemore wasn’t seen as a “high talent” player, on the national level that is. It seems as if none of that matters to Kansas head coach Bill Self after McLemore’s best game of the season on Jan. 9, when he scored 33 points after taking only 12 shots and going 6-for-6 from three-point range. Not too shabby for a young redshirt freshman? Averaging 16.3 points per game with a 6-foot-7 wingspan, McLemore is clearly a perfect fit for the guard position and is making a smoother than expected transition into a lineup with the other four men on the court being fifth-year seniors. Look for “Air McLemore” to be a top prospect in the 2013 NBA Draft.
2. Rodney McGruder, Kansas State
Aside from being named preseason All-Big 12 for the past three years, this senior wildcat is looking for a little more. In Kansas State’s most recent win against Texas Tech, McGruder is a part of a cast that sees rebounds as a very important aspect of the game. “Coach has been stressing that day in and day out, practice and our past games, since we’ve been emphasizing that we’ve really been trying to attack the boards hard,” McGruder said. McGruder is averaging 14.6 points and is truly a force to be reckoned with. Rodney McGruder is gradually starting to elevate his level of play and is out to prove that he will be one of the more dominant players in not only the state of Kansas, but in the Big 12 Conference in its entirety.
3. Markel Brown, Oklahoma State
Starting all 34 games his freshman year, averaging 6.4 points, and tying for fifth in the Big 12 in blocks was only the beginning for this promising Cowboy. Now a junior, Brown is averaging 15.3 points per game along with averaging 4.4 rebounds. Brown is the perfect combination of speed, strength, and athleticism even temporarily having a higher 3-point percentage than his teammate Keiton “Pawnee Pistol” Page. It’s now clear to everyone that Brown has the hot hand saying, “my teammates found me in spots and I made a lot of shots that I didn’t think I was going to make. I don’t think that I’ve ever made that many threes in a row before.” This kid is definitely a top prospect in the 2013 NBA Draft.
4. Will Clyburn, Iowa State
Former Utah standout Will Clyburn surely does not regret his decision to leave Utah for Iowa State just two years ago. His ability to play well regardless of where he is or what conference he is in is a true testimony not only to the young man’s resilience, but ability as a basketball player. Just last week Clyburn was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week and is averaging 15.2 points per game. After transferring from one Division I program to the other, Clyburn was forced to sit out the 2011-2012 season and is surely making up for lost time. Will Clyburn starved for an entire year and now he’s eating like a king.
5. Pierre Jackson, Baylor
Not only is Jackson leading the Big 12 in scoring, he is continuing the success of former Bears that were selected in last year’s NBA Draft (i.e. Quincy Adams, Perry Jones III). Pierre Jackson is conserved to be one of the best returning college players for the 2012-2013 season. Leading the Big 12 with 19.3 points per game, this standout will once again lead his team to the NCAA tournament once again, in hope of achieving every College Basketball player’s ultimate dream.