By Kevin Sweeney
We have reached the conclusion of our mid-major positional rankings.
Before we get started, first, a thank you! The support my rankings have gotten this year has been unbelievable. Thanks to all who have shared my work.
Now, let’s get into the rankings.
#1. Yoeli Childs (BYU)
- Vitals: Senior, 6-8, 225 pounds
- Stats: 21.2 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 2.1 apg, .507/.323/.708
Childs originally elected to turn pro, the latest in a run of Cougars leaving eligibility on the table to head to the professional ranks. But after receiving feedback, Childs decided to come back for one more season in Provo, an enormous move that boosts Mark Pope’s club into legit at-large consideration in the preseason. His improvement as an outside shooter last season made the BYU offense more dangerous last season, and now Childs is well on his way to being the first player in program history with over 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.
#2. Charles Bassey (Western Kentucky)
- Vitals: Sophomore, 6-11, 245 pounds
- Stats: 14.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 0.7 apg, .627/.450/.769
Western Kentucky as a whole was disappointing last season, but the top-10 recruit Bassey met his lofty expectations in year one. I understand questions of what he is as an NBA prospect, but in terms of a college big man, there are few better. He’s a beast on the boards and in the paint, and even flashed better shot-blocking instincts than was expected. The biggest problem was getting him consistent touches with natural wing Josh Anderson playing point guard last season. If eligible, Lipscomb transfer Kenny Cooper would solve a lot of problems for this offense— a high-level passer who excels in transition.
#3. Neemias Queta (Utah State)
- Vitals: Sophomore, 7-0, 245 pounds
- Stats: 11.8 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.6 apg, .614/.400/.565
Utah State landing Queta from Portugal late in the summer of 2018 changed the entire landscape of the Mountain West and mid-major basketball. His ability to control the paint on both ends gave this Utah State team a new dimension, forming one of the most formidable duos in the nation with my top mid-major shooting guard Sam Merrill. Queta’s performance at the NBA Draft Combine showed he needs to be able to make quicker decisions and refine his offensive game, but he has a legit pro future on the horizon as he continues to develop into one of the most impressive young bigs in the sport.
#4. Nico Carvacho (Colorado State)
- Vitals: Redshirt Senior. 6-11, 245 pounds
- Stats: 16.1 ppg, 12.9 rpg, 2.1 apg, .592/.000/.491
A year ago when doing these rankings, I had Carvacho outside my top 10, and received a message from him shortly thereafter that said “Not top 10? Say less lol”.
Consider this me eating my words. Carvacho made me look stupid last year, grabbing virtually every board in sight all season long en route to leading the nation in rebounds. He also expanded his low post game—upping both his efficiency and volume around the rim to become one of the most complete big men in college basketball.
#5. Nathan Knight (William & Mary)
- Vitals: Senior, 6-10, 245 pounds
- Stats: 21.0 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 3.5 apg, .578/.244/.732
Dane Fischer enters a rebuilding situation at William & Mary, but was fortunate to inherit a star in Knight who can keep the Tribe relevant in the CAA as Fischer looks to bring in his guys. Knight’s usage this season will likely be sky-high as he is the only returning player on the roster who averaged more than 4 points per game last season, but his ability to finish around the rim and make plays with the ball make him capable of taking over a game.
#6. Cameron Krutwig (Loyola-Chicago)
- Vitals: Junior, 6-9, 255 pounds
- Stats: 14.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.4 apg, .629/.333/.578
Despite being just a sophomore, Krutwig was already perhaps the best player in the Missouri Valley last season. Krutwig’s touch around the rim and footwork in the paint makes him very difficult to stop when he catches in the post, but his best trait might be his passing ability. Krutwig has elite vision for a big man, and the Ramblers get a lot of good looks from inside-out passes by Krutwig. It’s a no-win situation for the defense: elect to defend him one-on-one and likely give the bucket up, or double down and get burned by a shooter.
#7. Grant Golden (Richmond)
- Vitals: Redshirt Junior, 6-10, 255 pounds
- Stats: 17.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 3.5 apg, .503/.296/.657
Chris Mooney’s Princeton-style offense loves bigs who can pass, and Golden is a perfect fit. While his lack of mobility makes him a less-than-ideal defensive player, there are few big guys who can have the offense run through them. His ability to pass frees up dynamic combo guard Jacob Gilyard and Blake Francis to score the ball and give this Richmond offense plenty of options. In what could be seen as a do-or-die year in the Mooney tenure, having a veteran big man like Golden is huge.
#8. Nick MuszynSki (Belmont)
- Vitals: Redshirt Sophomore, 6-11, 235 pounds
- Stats: 14.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.7 apg, .604/.364/.779
Muszynski is only a sophomore, but he’s already a star. He’s one of the most complete big men in the country, with great size, the ability to protect the rim, and a nice stroke in the midrange out to the 3-point arc. His stats as a freshman were even more impressive when you consider the fact that he played under 25 minutes per game last season. It will be interesting to see how he’s deployed this season with a new coach in Casey Alexander who played a guard-centric system at Lipscomb, but I’m sure Alexander will find ways to get the most out of what is likely his best player.
#9. Rapolas Ivanauskas (Colgate)
- Vitals: Redshirt Junior, 6-10, 225 pounds
- Stats: 15.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.6 apg, .518/.434/.777
Ivanauskas was one of the better stories in college basketball last season, winning Patriot League POY after being saddled with injury after injury at Northwestern and getting a waiver to play right away only a few days before the open of the 2018-19 season. Finally healthy, “Rap” showed why he was such a highly-touted recruit out of high school, a smooth big man who can step out and shoot the 3 or bang down low with the big boys. Pairing his inside-out game with star point guard Jordan Burns makes this Colgate offense one of the more dangerous ones in mid-major basketball.
#10. Tulio Da Silva (Missouri State)
- Vitals: Senior, 6-8, 213 pounds
- Stats: 14.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 0.7 apg, .554/.370/.654
Picked by most at or near the bottom of the MVC preseason, Missouri State blossomed into a title contender in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year and Da Silva was a huge reason why. The South Florida transfer runs the floor extremely well, which is a major asset for a MSU team that prioritizes perimeter defense and gets a lot of run-outs because of it. He also has a well-developed post game, which may get prioritized a bit less as the Bears bring in a talented group of newcomers with lots of scoring upside. Still, he’s a major asset when on the floor.
Cyril Langevine (Rhode Island), Scottie James (Liberty), Mason Peatling (Eastern Washington), Amadou Sow (UCSB), Efe Odigie (UTEP), Loudon Love (Wright State), AJ Brodeur (Penn), Chris Knight (Dartmouth), Tajuan Agee (Iona), Cletrell Pope (Bethune-Cookman), Max Mahoney (Boston U), Carlos Dotson (Western Carolina), Jeromy Rodriguez (ETSU), Josh Ajayi (South Alabama), Ivan Aurrecoechea (New Mexico State)