Votes for UCLA, Utah and ... Canisius?
The college basketball season has reached its midpoint as teams are well into conference play.
We’ve named All-Americans. We’ve picked breakout players. And we’ve picked our disappointments of the year so far.
So what does that leave? The players who haven’t been mentioned enough by us or other outlets through the course of the season.
The list of underrated players could go on and one, and our editors had a tough time picking only one for this exercise. Feel free to chime in either in the comments or on Twitter (@AthlonSports) if there are players we’ve missed.
Weekly Tipoff: Who is the most underrated player in the nation?
Braden Gall: Kyle Anderson, UCLA
The 6-foot-9 point forward is likely overlooked because he plays on the West Coast in a nondescript Pac-12 for a solid-but-not-special Bruins team. But Anderson is averaging 15.5 points per game and leading UCLA in both rebounding (8.9 rpg) and assists (6.6 apg). This is an NCAA Tournament team and appears headed toward a top-three finish in the Pac-12 despite falling to Utah last weekend for the first time since 1983 — a game in which Anderson scored 28 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out seven assists. Normally, UCLA would be a high-profile location for a player of Anderson’s caliber, but it feels like the sophomore is flying under the national radar this season.
Related: Creighton, Kansas produced key stats this week
Mitch Light: Billy Baron, Canisius
This one is bit off the national radar — Billy Baron from Canisius. Baron, on his third school in four years, is averaging 23.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists while shooting .453 from 3-point range and .913 from the line. Baron began his career at Virginia but transferred to Rhode Island after one semester to play for his father, Jim Baron. The elder Baron was fired at URI after the 2011-12 season, but he landed on his feet and was named head coach at Canisius. Billy followed his dad to upstate New York and has been one of the nation’s premier scorers over the last two seasons.
Related: 10 Things You Need to Know in College Basketball This Week
David Fox: Delon Wright, Utah
Delon Wright probably won’t be underrated for much longer as Utah defeated UCLA on Saturday, but the Utes’ point guard is my pick. Academic issues landed him in junior college out of high school, but the brother of Trail Blazers forward Dorell Wright earned his way onto a Pac-12 roster. Wright is as composed of a point guard as there is, and his numbers are staggering: 15.7 points, 5.2 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game while shooting 63.5 percent from the floor. That statline are in the same category of what All-America contender DeAndre Kane is doing or what Ohio State’s Evan Turner did when he won national player of the year. He’s done all for Utah’s best team since 2008-09.