Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/4/12
Top 10 Players: Big 12 Pierre Jackson  PG  Baylor- 13.8pts. 5.9ast. Jackson came onto the scene with a bang last year. He’s very explosive and can score points in bunches. I expect him to take a big step this year with a year of big school experience under his belt. Rodney McGruder  SG  Kansas State- 15.8pts. 5.2reb. I’ve always like McGruder’s poise and smooth style, but last year he stepped up and really blossomed into a star. He’s got a new coach coming in, but with a veteran supporting cast I can’t see much changing in their system. LeBryan Nash  SF  Oklahoma State- 13.3pts. 5.0reb. Nash lived up to his massive expectations for the most part, as a freshman, last year. If he can stay hungry and improve a bit as a shooter a lottery pick could be in his near future. Stevan Pledger  SG  Oklahoma- 16.2pts. 3.9reb. Oklahoma hasn’t had a lot of success the last couple years, but it isn’t because of a lack of talent. Pledger leads a three- headed scoring attack that could lead them back to the tournament this year. Elijah Johnson  PG  Kansas- 10.2pts. 3.5ast. He’s had to wait his turn the last three years, but it’s finally his team to run. Johnson looks the part and doesn’t have any limitations in his game. Kansas is in a bit of a rebuilding year, but he could still turn it into a special season. Myck Kabongo  PG  Texas- 9.6pts. 5.2ast. Kabongo was erratic his freshman year, but he should settle in a bit this year. He’s quick and athletic, but his decision making needs to improve. Jeff Withey  C  Kansas- 9.0pts. 6.3ast. What Withey lacks in athleticism and skill he makes up for with intelligence and great positioning. His game isn’t going to wow anyone, but it’s efficient enough to get the job done. Shelden McClellan  SG  Texas- 11.3pts. 3.3reb. McClellan, like Kabango, will need to improve in their sophomore seasons if Texas is going to be tournament worthy. He possesses all the skills and can knockdown the three with ease, but tends to disappear at times. Deniz Kilicli  PF  West Virginia- 10.7pts. 5.3reb. Kilicli is underrated and very valuable to the Mountaineers this season. His ability to score from different areas on the court is special as is his terrific area rebounding. Both he and West Virginia could surprise. Romero Osby  PF  Oklahoma- 12.9pts. 7.3 reb. I put him here ahead of teammate Andrew Fitzgerald because Osby’s game is more well rounded. He makes an impact on both ends of the floor and always keeps his team in the game. Top 5 freshman: Big 12 1.     Isaiah Austin  C  Baylor- Austin might be the most high profile recruit ever to step foot on campus. If everything goes as planned he will dominate this year and be a top 10 pick in next year’s draft. 2.     Marcus Smart  SG  Oklahoma State- Smart with team up with Nash to give them one of the best 1-2 punches on the wing in the country. 3.     Cameron Ridley  PF  Texas- Athletic big man that will provide Texas with a nice high-low combo when teamed with Kabongo and McClellan. 4.     Perry Ellis  F  Kansas- Ellis is expected to start right away for Kansas and become a consistent scoring option right away. If he can do that, Kansas could be dangerous. 5.     Ben McLemore  SG  Kansas- Redshirted last year, but he was a top 25 recruit from 2011. He will be given the opportunity to start and should give Kansas an able deep threat.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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