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‘Bama has a player in Green -- but is he Top 6 good?


Mike Miller

If you listed college basketball’s best players for 2011-12 as a starting five, it might look something like this: Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes, Jordan Taylor, Terrence Jones and Tu Holloway. Maybe Austin Rivers or Robbie Hummel or Draymond Green or Jeremy Lamb might sneak in there. But that’s a damn fine starting five.

But. Would Alabama’s JaMychal Green be your sixth man? He’s Drew Cannon’s. Drew just finished up a ranking of the game’s Top 100 players for Basketball Prospectus.

And he realizes Green might not be a popular choice.

(Then again, John Clay thought Jones was an odd choice, so there’s that.)

The Tide’s 6-8, 228-pound senior put up solid stats last season – 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.1 blocks – but Cannon says Green’s tempo-free stats are the best way to illustrated just how good he was last year. From his story:

Green was a force last year. No returning high-major player used more of his team’s possessions than he did, but he still shot 51 percent on twos and made 74 percent of his nearly 200 free throws. Green ranks in the top ten returning SEC players (tempo-free) in blocks, steals, and offensive and defensive rebounding. His worst characteristic is either a turnover rate that’s only slightly better than the national average or a tendency to end up in foul trouble. So I say: don’t be fooled by the lack of fanfare. Green was a dominant big man in 2011.

This isn’t meant to belittle Drew. He just completed a massive project with excellent insights, projections and has very little with which to quibble. Questioning Green’s spot is mostly a factor of I’ve never seen him playing like the sixth best player in the nation. Top 15 might be more like it. (Same might go for Khris Middleton.)

‘Bama wasn’t a bad team last season. The Tide went 25-12 and lost to Wichita State in the NIT title game. But it’s not like Green was the lone great player on a decent team. Tony Mitchell and Trevor Releford gave Anthony Grant’s squad a solid trio along with a great defense.

Green’s obviously a talented post player and deserving of his All-SEC honors. Alabama was delighted when he decided to return for his senior season and rightfully so. He attacks the glass, helps creates opportunities for teammates and when he stays out of foul trouble is Alabama’s go-to guy, even if he’s never been a very efficient scorer.

But I’m not sure he’s this good given he wasn’t the Tide’s only player last season. In fact, getting the ball to Mitchell a bit more in 2011-12 is a good idea.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.