It’s been a great college basketball season thus far, and almost halfway through it, we probably have less of a feel as to who’s going to win the NCAA tournament than we did in the preseason.
To celebrate those players, we’ve created the ‘Must-See TV all-stars,’ a team that celebrates style as much as it does substance. Don’t be mistaken – there are several outstanding players on this team. But what makes these guys special is that each has a defining characteristic (or several) that make them appointment television every time they take the floor.
If one was to field a college basketball team in 2015-16 based exclusively on entertainment value, here’s what it would look like.
C: Rico Gathers, Baylor
The 6-8, 275-pound wrecking ball is to college basketball as to what horror movies are to the cinematic experience. Gathers might just be the most intimidating player in all of college basketball, and watching him assert his dominance over opponents is quite the spectacle.
The senior big man is having the best season of his career, averaging 14.1 points and 11.3 rebounds on 55.8 percent shooting from the floor.
It’s not all ground and pound for Gathers, though. He possesses sneaky athleticism, and when he shows it off, the crowd goes nuts.
“A guy that size is not supposed to be able to move like that.” Preach.
PF: Ben Simmons, LSU
And just the ridiculous performances in general:
Simmons can do everything on the court but shoot from the outside at this point, and he’s an absolute joy to watch.
SF: Roosevelt Jones, Butler
Jones is entertaining to watch in the sense that he relies so little on flash and pizzazz that it’s refreshing.
The senior Bulldog can guard four positions and often runs the point on offense, yet he’s attempted exactly three 3-pointers in his four years at Butler. Despite that, he’s arguably been the Bulldogs’ best player for the past two seasons.
Jones’ array of floaters, scoops and unorthodox layups is uncanny, as is his flair for the dramatic. See Gonzaga, three years ago:
That’s probably the most Roosevelt Jones shot ever, and that is absolutely a compliment.
SG: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Based on his performance at Kansas alone, Hield deserves a spot on this team. He’s charismatic, plays for one of the best teams in the country and can light you up from anywhere on the court.
No shot is a bad shot for Hield at this point, and he knows it. That in itself creates a great basketball-watching experience. The senior Sooner launches 7.2 3’s per game and makes exactly half of them, and on the other end of the court, he guards everyone from Georges Niang to Frank Mason.
Enjoy the Buddy Hield college experience while you still can.
PG: Kay Felder, Oakland
If you’re a fan of small people doing huge things on the basketball court, then Felder is the player for you.
Like Hield, Felder has the green light at Oakland, and he’s making the most of it. Standing at 5-9, the junior guard is averaging 26.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 9.2 assists per game for the Golden Grizzlies.
Oh, and he probably has the best handles in the game:
Felder also has a knack for shining against the best opponents. In outings against Virginia and Michigan State this season, the point guard is averaging 33.5 points per game.
F: Derrick Jones Jr., UNLV
The best dunker in college basketball has to earn a spot on this team:
Jones is only a freshman, so hopefully he will have a few more epic flushes throughout his college career.
G/F: Max Hooper, Oakland
Hooper is on this team for two reasons: first, his name. The man was clearly born to play basketball with a last name like that.
Secondly and more importantly, his season stat line. Hooper is living every college intramural player’s dream, as he has attempted 122 field goals this season. All 122 have been 3-pointers. Better yet, he’s draining 44.3 percent of them, which nets 1.329 points per possession for Oakland.
Duke leads the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency and it scores 1.21 points per possession. Keep bombing away, Max.
PG: Gary Payton II, Oregon State
Payton II has a few important things going for him: he’s the son of a basketball legend and he’s a crazy-good athlete. That athleticism shows up in his numbers, too. Payton II is putting up 16.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists for Oregon State. Yes, that’s 8.1 rebounds per game. Payton II is listed at 6-3.
The Beaver lead guard will throw down a highlight-worthy slam with regularity, too. Try these on for size:
Not even ‘The Glove’ could do that back in his glory days.