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Kansas' Wiggins, Duke's Sulaimon top list of top slashers
The Big 12 may be the best league for slashers in college basketball. It’s at least going to be the home of the best slasher for a season.
Andrew Wiggins turned the Big 12 projections on their head when he announced for Kansas. The team without a returning starter may be the preseason favorite.
But you only need to look at some of the names on this list to consider why the Big 12 would be an exciting league without him. Baylor’s Cory Jefferson and Oklahoma State’s Le’Bryan Nash are among our top five slashers for 2013-14, and neither may be the best players on their own team.
Our list of the nation’s best shooters is the first in a series of superlatives to prepare you for the 2013-14 season. Each list and more can be found in the the Athlon Sports College Basketball 2013-14 Preseason Annual . The magazine hits newsstands this week with previews for every team in every conference, plus exclusive Q&As with Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart, Louisville’s Russ Smith and UCLA’s Kyle Anderson.
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|2013-14 Superlatives: Top Slashers|
|1||Andrew Wiggins, Kansas|
Wiggins single-handedly turned Kansas from a fringe top-25 team with no returning starters to a team knocking on the top five. In what’s probably his only year on campus, he could be the best freshman since Kevin Durant.
|2||Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke|
Sulaimon was a secondary option last season with Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry, but he showed plenty of ability to take over with 27 points against Boston College and 25 against Maryland. He’ll be a more versatile scoring threat on a team full of them this season.
|3||Jordan McRae, Tennessee|
One of the most valuable players in the SEC, McRae tried to will Tennessee to the NCAA Tournament, averaging 28 points per game during a five-game stretch late in the season. He averaged 37.7 minutes per game during the SEC season.
|4||Cory Jefferson, Baylor|
Jefferson is a big-time athletic forward who emerged as a senior, averaging 13.3 points and eight rebounds. If he carries his NIT performance (21.2 ppg in five games) to this season, Baylor shouldn’t be in the NIT again.
|5||Le’Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State|
The McDonald’s All-American needed two years to deliver on his promise (playing with Marcus Smart didn’t hurt, either). Nash started his career trying to play on the perimeter but adjusted to playing closer to the basket, averaging 14 points and 4.1 rebounds.
|6||Cleanthony Early, Wichita State|
One of the heroes of Wichita State’s Final Four run, Early averaged 16.2 points and 7.6 rebounds in the NCAA Tournament. He had little expectations as a junior college transfer last season. Now, he’s a major name.
|7||Alex Poythress, Kentucky|
Poythress could have left school to be a first-round NBA Draft pick but returned to school. He had an uneven year at 11.2 points and six rebounds per game, but he’ll be a key veteran for a team with national championship aspirations.
|8||Treveon Graham, VCU|
VCU ran a four-guard offense, putting Graham at the de facto power forward spot as he averaged 15.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. He may not need to do that as much with Florida State transfer Terrance Shannon in the frontcourt.
|9||Sam Dekker, Wisconsin|
The rare five-star freshman to sign with Wisconsin, Dekker helped the Badgers overcome the season-long injury to Josh Gasser. He’ll graduate from part-time status averaging 9.6 points and 3.4 rebounds to a potential Big Ten Player of the Year.
|10||Geron Johnson, Memphis|
The junior college transfer was a sparkplug for a team filled with high-profile four-year recruits. Johnson averaged 10.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists last season, and he’ll be a key player in a loaded backcourt.
OTHER SLASHER SUPERLATIVES
Breakout to watch: LaQuinton Ross, Ohio State
Off-court concerns: P.J. Hairston, North Carolina
Mid-major star: Dwayne Evans, Saint Louis