With the throes of the offseason all around us, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the 20 best players that are departing from the Big Sky, either due to graduating, declaring for the draft, or transferring.
Before we take a look at the top ten, just in case you missed any, here are links to 11-20.
11. Art Steward (Montana)
Art Steward was the very definition of a glue guy. He was the least heralded guy in the Montana starting lineup, but he did everything that Wayne Tinkle could have asked from him.
12. Laron Griffin (Eastern Washington)
One of the more underappreciated players in the Big Sky this season was big man Laron Griffin of Eastern Washington. He got overshadowed by some other guys on that team, but he was a steady, reliable player in the frontcourt for them.
13. Kenny McGowen (Idaho State)
During Idaho State's magical run in the middle of the season, it was Kenny McGowen that seemed to hit clutch shot after clutch shot. He hit game-winning shots in multiple games, and had a game of 37 points this year (and a couple games with 30+ points).
14. Mohamed Fall (Montana State)
Much has been made this offseason about the reason that Fall won't be available this year, but not as much has been made about the impact that his loss will have. He was one of the best defensive big men in the conference (if not the best), and was a guy that could at least contribute a bit offensively as well. For a guy that was just coming into his own, it's a shame that we won't get to watch him develop for one more season.
15. Patrick Mitchell (North Dakota)
North Dakota has been one of the youngest teams in the country for the past two seasons, but there has been one major upperclassmen contributor - Patrick Mitchell. He is not a guy that would wow you with his athleticism, or with any one skill, but a guy that did a little bit of everything well.
16. Ray Jones (Southern Utah)
Like Rod Singleton, Jones was a senior leader at the point guard spot, which is always very valuable. With his departure, it will make new coach Nick Robinson's job just a little bit harder. Jones contributed a little bit of everything for the Thunderbirds last season.
17. Rod Singleton (Montana State)
In college basketball, one of the most important things for any roster to have is a veteran leader at the point guard position. Obviously you can with young point guards (just look at Kentucky), but having a guy that knows that ropes and has been through it all before is invaluable. That is what Rod Singleton was for Montana State this year. In a season filled with guys losing their eligibility, or getting injured in off-court issues, Singleton was the steady hand at the PG spot.
18. Durrell Norman (Northern Arizona)
There were very few bright spots for Northern Arizona last season, but Durrell Norman was one of them. By trade, he is a 6'4''' combo wing man, but that is not the role he played for the Lumberjacks. Because they were so desperately short on big men, he was often the guy asked to play the 4 or 5 spot for NAU last year, and he did the dirty work thanklessly.
19. Darin Mahoney (Weber State)
Darin Mahoney is a guy that will be missed by Weber State, because he did all of the little things that a team needs to win. His stat line is not impressive... four points and about six rebounds per game, but that doesn't really signify what he did for the team.
20. Shawn Reid (Montana State)
Last year, Shawn Reid was placed in a difficult situation. He started the year as the first wing man off the bench, but after Jamie Stewart became inelgible, and Xavier Blount got injured in an off-court incident, Reid became the man in the Montana State offense. Suddenly, the offense ran through him, and in games he struggled, the Bobcats generally didn't have much of a chance.
Just Missed: Tremayne Johnson (Eastern Washington), Abner Moreira (Idaho State), Nate Lozeau (Portland State), Matt Massey (Southern Utah)
Thoughts on the list so far?
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