College basketball: Division I is stocked with double-double machines
One might call rebounding ‘the special teams of basketball.’ It affects both ends of the floor immensely, and it’s no coincidence that the best rebounding teams are often the most successful in the country.
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Several double-double savants have come and gone in college basketball through the years. They’re often the most impactful players in the game. Think Tyler Hansbrough, Kenneth Faried, Blake Griffin and Michael Beasley. Those guys were stars in college basketball, and it will be fun to see who blossoms as the next scoring/rebounding extraordinaire.
Here are seven players who fit the bill.
F Rico Gathers, Baylor
The 6’8”, 280-pounder is an absolute load for opponents to handle. Gathers has the strength to outmuscle you, the speed to get around you and the smarts to beat you to the ball. The Baylor star is the entire package as far as rebounding is concerned, as the senior pulled down 11.6 boards per game in 2014-15. He snatched an astonishing 24.7 percent of available caroms while on the floor.
What’s really special about Gathers is that he averaged his 11.6 points and 11.6 rebounds in just 29.9 minutes of action per game. It’s rare for a big man to play close to 40 minutes per contest, but if he’s given six or seven more minutes per night, the senior bruiser could average close to 13 and 13.
C Tonye Jekiri, Miami (FL)
The Hurricanes are quietly a force to be reckoned with in the ACC, and Jekiri is a major reason why. He’s not as involved in Miami’s offensive attack as Gathers is in Baylor’s, but Jekiri is absolutely devastating on the glass.
He averaged 9.9 rebounds per game as a junior in Coral Gables, and look for him to vault into double digits as a senior.
The Canes’ center is an excellent rebounder and a good scorer, but he makes his presence felt as a rim protector, too. Jekiri swatted 1.8 shots per game in 2014-15.
F Angel Delgado, Seton Hall
Delgado was a bright spot on a Seton Hall team that underachieved last season. As a freshman, the bouncy forward almost averaged a double-double, putting up 9.3 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
Delgado was especially dynamic on the offensive glass, as he totaled 112 offensive boards on the season in comparison to 193 on the defensive end.
If the Pirates blend as a group a bit better than they did last year and make the NCAA Tournament, Delgado could be a dark horse Big East Player of the Year candidate.
F Cinmeon Bowers, Auburn
The Wisconsin native was outstanding for Auburn in his first season, putting up 12.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. The 260-pounder muscled his way to 14 double-doubles in 2014-15, including going 5-for-5 in his first five games as a Tiger.
Bowers could stand to become a bit more efficient on the offensive end, as his 41.6 shooting percentage leaves much to be desired for a power forward. Regardless, Bowers is a key cog on an Auburn squad that is on the rise, and he looks like a good bet to average a double-double in 2015-16.
G Kyle Collinsworth, BYU
Forget double-doubles. Collinsworth is going to put up his share of triple-doubles in 2015-16.
The BYU junior tallied six of them last season, and that number should only increase going forward. He averaged 13.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game in 2014-15, and what really sticks out in that stat line is the rebounding number. At 6’6”, Collinsworth is as physical and cerebral as they come, and he will be the driving force for a BYU squad that looks like a lock to make the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
F Shawn Long, Louisiana Lafayette
Long is one of the best all-around players in college basketball, as he’s averaged a double-double in all three years at Louisiana Lafayette. The Ragin’ Cajuns rely heavily on their senior forward, who reeled off 16 double-doubles last season.
Long even has a 20-20 game to his name. Against South Alabama last season, he scored 22 points and matched that total in rebounds. Don’t be surprised to see a few more of those from Long in his final year.
F Josh Hawkinson, Washington State
Hawkinson was an absolute monster for the Cougars last season after getting little playing time time as a freshman. Frank Kaminsky 2.0, anyone?
That’s obviously a stretch, but the junior forward was awfully impressive last season, averaging 14.7 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Washington State has struggled as of late, but if it can inch higher up the Pac-12 hierarchy this year, Hawkinson should start to get quite a bit of buzz around the nation as one of the best scorers and rebounders out there.