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NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - Midwest Regional

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Big 12 MBB Preview: New Players

Fresh Meat

Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

As the brutal summer heat gives rise to the beginnings of sweater weather and the buzz of a new football season has long since faded (especially for us Baylor fans), that means that the start of another season of basketball is mercifully right around the corner. Today we’ll be ignoring the returning players with whom you may already have some degree of familiarity, and instead, take a look at the players you may not have heard of yet who should have a big impact this season in the Big 12. For purposes of this post, ALL players on BYU, Houston, Cincinnati, and UCF will be treated as new to the conference with the notable exception of LJ Cryer who needs no introduction among seasoned fans of the Bears. Also, intra-conference transfers (like Ernest Udeh, Jr. who transferred from Kansas to TCU, and Avery Anderson who transferred from OSU to TCU) will be omitted from this post which seeks only to discuss players who are truly new to the conference.

Incoming Transfers

1. Hunter Dickinson; Kansas Jayhawks (X: @H_Dickinson24)

Measurables: Center, #1, 7’2” 260 lbs., Senior

Stats: Last 2 Seasons (with Michigan): 18.5 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 1.9 APG, and 1.7 BPG in 66 games played (all starts; 32.5 MPG) on 56/37/76 splits

Analysis: By far, the most sought-after player in the transfer portal wound up in Lawrence, set to play for a program that has produced many great big men. Offensively, Dickinson is the total package for a center. He has a soft touch and the ability to score both in the post and from the perimeter. Expect him to post-up often. And they will likely feed him down low. He will be the focal point of virtually everything Kansas tries to do offensively this year.

2. RayJ Dennis; Baylor Bears (X: @rayjdennis10)

Measurables: Guard, #10, 6’2” 180 lbs., Super Senior

Stats: Last Season (with Toledo): 19.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 5.8 APG, and 1.5 SPG in 35 games played (all starts; 33.8 MPG) on 48/37/77 splits

Analysis: Last season’s unanimous MAC Player of the Year comes to Waco after having led the Rockets to their most wins in program history and their third consecutive league title. Aside from the gaudy scoring numbers and the superb 2.97 assist-to-turnover ratio, Coach Drew has raved about Dennis’s intangibles such as leadership and maturity. Expect Dennis to be Baylor’s starting point guard and one of the most impactful incoming transfers in the conference.

3. Tylor Perry; Kansas State Wildcats (X: @TimarPerry)

Measurables: Guard, #2, 5’11” 180 lbs., Super Senior

Stats: Last Season (with North Texas): 17.3 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.1 APG, and 1.3 SPG in 36 games played (all starts; 34.2 MPG) on 44/41/87 splits

NCAA Basketball: NIT Championship-UAB vs North Texas Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Analysis: Perry, the reigning CUSA Player of the Year comes to the Little Apple fresh off an NIT championship season with the Mean Green. Perry shined in the team’s foreign tour in Israel and Abu Dhabi, scoring 33 points in the tour finale. Coach Tang has called Perry the best shooter in the country. Perry has big shoes to fill following the departure of Markquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson, but if anyone is up for the challenge, it’s probably Tylor Perry.

4. Jameer Nelson, Jr.; TCU Horned Frogs (Insta: @jameernelsonjr0)

Measurables: Guard, #4, 6’2” 200 lbs., Super Senior

Stats: Last Season (with Delaware): 20.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.6 APG, and 2.4 SPG in 29 games played (all starts; 35.2 MPG) on 45/31/78 splits

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round Pittsburgh-Delaware at Villanova Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Analysis: Nelson led the CAA in both scoring and steals a season ago, having scored 20+ points in 16 games. He arrives in Fort Worth with nearly 100 career Division I starts. He will, nonetheless, likely begin the season coming off the bench. I would not be shocked, however, if he ultimately takes the starting job from OSU transfer, Avery Anderson III. Nelson is a balanced point guard who reminds Coach Dixon a lot of Mike Miles, Jr.

5. Max Abmas; Texas Longhorns (X: @maxabmas)

Measurables: Guard, #3, 6’0” 170 lbs., Super Senior

Stats: Last 3 Seasons (with Oral Roberts): 23.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 1.2 SPG in 92 games played (all starts; 36.6 MPG) on 44/39/89 splits

Oral Roberts v Duke Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Analysis: Abmas will step into the shoes of Marcus Carr (who departed to the pros) and share the backcourt with returning starter, Tyrese Hunter. He and Hunter will likely both shoulder the burden of creating offense for themselves and their teammates. He is an elite shooter and loves operating off high-ball screens.

6. Kerr Kriisa; West Virginia; Guard; 10 PPG and 5 APG w/Arizona last year

7. Jesse Edwards; West Virginia; Center; 13 PPG, 9 RPG, and 3 BPG w/Syracuse last 2 years

8. Damian Dunn; Houston; Guard; 15 PPG w/Temple last 3 years

9. Keshon Gilbert; Iowa State; Guard; 11 PPG on 46/38/78 splits w/UNLV last year

10. Jackson Paveletzke; Iowa State; Guard; 15 PPG on 49/39/84 splits w/Wofford last year

11. Nicolas Timberlake; Kansas; Guard; 18 PPG on 46/42/85 splits w/Towson last year

12. Ques Glover; Kansas State; Guard; 17 PPG on 47/33/81 splits w/Samford last 2 years

13. John Hugley IV; Oklahoma; Center; 13 PPG and 7 RPG w/Pittsburgh last 2 years

14. Curtis Jones; Iowa State; Guard; 15 PPG on 41/36/78 splits w/Buffalo last year

15. RaeQuan Battle; West Virginia; Guard; 18 PPG on 47/35/83 splits w/Montana State last year

16. Javon Small; Oklahoma State; Guard; 16 PPG, 5 RPG, and 6 APG w/East Carolina last year

17. Shemarri Allen; UCF; Forward; 17 PPG, 5 RPG, and 2 SPG w/Kansas City last year

18. Noah Farrakhan; West Virginia; 14 PPG, 4 RPG, and 2 APG w/Eastern Michigan last 2 years

19. Arthur Kaluma; Kansas State; Forward; 11 PPG and 6 RPG w/Creighton last 2 years

20. Jaylin Sellers; UCF; Guard; 14 PPG on 49/45/76 splits w/Ball State last year

21. Jayden Nunn; Baylor; Guard; 9 PPG on 42/38/73 splits w/VCU last 2 years

NCAA Basketball: Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Semifinals-Saint Louis vs Virginia Commonwealth Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

22. Trevian Tennyson; TCU; Guard; 14 PPG on 42/39/86 splits w/Texas A&M-Corpus Christi last 2 years

23. Darrion Williams; Texas Tech; Forward; 8 PPG and 7 RPG w/Nevada last year

24. Simas Lukosius; Cincinnati; Guard; 12 PPG on 43/38/80 splits w/Butler last year

25. Javian McCollum; Oklahoma; Guard; 16 PPG on 43/36/89 splits w/Siena last year

26. Dawson Baker; BYU; Guard; 13 PPG on 46/37/79 splits w/UC Irvine last 3 years

27. Aziz Bandaogo; Cincinnati; Center; 12 PPG, 10 RPG, and 3 BPG w/Utah Valley last year (Still awaiting ruling on eligibility to play this season)

28. Kadin Shedrick; Texas; Center; 34 starts w/Virginia last 2 years

29. Devan Cambridge; Texas Tech; Forward; 10 PPG and 5 RPG w/Arizona State last year

30. Warren Washington; Texas Tech; Center; 10 PPG and 6 RPG w/ASU & Nevada last 3 years

31. Ibrahima Diallo; UCF; Center; 7 PPG, 5 RPG, and 1.3 BPG w/San Jose State last 2 years

32. Jamille Reynolds; Cincinnati; Center; 10 PPG and 5 RPG w/Temple last year (Still awaiting ruling on eligibility to play this season)

33. Mike Marsh; Oklahoma State; Center; 10 PPG and 5 RPG w/Jacksonville last year

34. Le’Tre Darthard; Oklahoma; Guard; 14 PPG on 43/36/89 splits w/Utah Valley last year

35. Akok Akok; West Virginia; Forward; 7 PPG, 6 RPG, and 2 BPG w/Georgetown last year

36. CJ Fredrick; Cincinnati; Guard; 6 PPG on 35/32/92 splits w/Kentucky last year

37. Essam Mostafa; TCU; Center; 13 PPG and 9 RPG w/Coastal Carolina last 3 years

38. JayKwon Walton; UCF; Forward; 14 PPG, 5 RPG, and 2 APG w/Wichita State last year

39. Chance McMillian; Texas Tech; Guard; 11 PPG, 3 RPG, and 2 APG w/Grand Canyon last year

40. Jalon Moore; Oklahoma; Forward; 8 PPG and 5 RPG w/Georgia Tech last year

41. KyeRon Lindsay; Texas Tech; Forward; 6 PPG and 5 RPG w/Georgia last year

42. Jarius Hicklen; Oklahoma State; Guard; 12 PPG on 38/38/76 splits w/North Florida last 2 years

43. Chendall Weaver; Texas; Guard; 10 PPG on 44/40/70 splits w/UT Arlington last year

44. Quinn Slazinski; West Virginia; Forward; 11 PPG and 6 RPG w/Iona last year

45. Aly Khalifa; BYU; Center; 12 PPG and 6 RPG w/Charlotte last year

46. DeMarr Langford; UCF; Guard; 10 PPG and 4 RPG w/Boston College last 2 years

47. Parker Braun; Kansas; Forward; 8 PPG and 6 RPG w/Santa Clara last year

48. Isaiah Miranda; Oklahoma State; Center; 4-star recruit at NC State

49. Rivaldo Soares; Oklahoma; Forward; 33 starts w/Oregon last year

50. Ze’Rik Onyema; Texas; Forward; 31 starts w/UTEP last year

True Freshmen

1. Ja’Kobe Walter; Baylor Bears (X: @JakobeWalter1)

Measurables: Guard, #4, 6’5” 180 lbs.

Pedigree: 5-star, top 10 player nationally

Analysis: Walter is one of the most talented true freshmen in the country. He has dominated everywhere he has ever played, including taking Link Academy to its first-ever GEICO Nationals championship. He is a gifted scorer but will likely make his biggest impact on the defensive end of the floor this season.

2. Elmarko Jackson; Kansas Jayhawks (X: @ElmarkoSzn)

Measurables: Guard, #13, 6’3” 190 lbs.

Pedigree: 5-star, top 25 player nationally

Analysis: Jackson is a combo guard who is described by his coaches as extremely explosive. The McDonald’s All-American has great athleticism and is likely to put some folks on posters this season. He may not be in the starting lineup in the early part of the season, but he will get considerable playing time and I wouldn’t be surprised if he earns a starting spot before season’s end.

3. Omaha Biliew; Iowa State Cyclones (X: @BiliewOmaha)

Measurables: Forward, #33, 6’8” 210 lbs.

Pedigree: 5-star, top 25 player nationally

High School Basketball: McDonald’s All American Boy s Game Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Analysis: Coach Otz has nothing but praise for Biliew’s intangibles, describing him a great fit into the program. He can space the floor with three-point shooting and brings great versatility to team much in need of it. In high school, he was a high volume scorer and rebounder and he will likely be the same this season with the Cyclones.

4. Chris Johnson; Texas Longhorns (X: @Luhchriis)

Measurables: Guard, 6’4” 180 lbs.

Pedigree: 4-star, top 60 player nationally

Analysis: Johnson was an early enrollee for Kansas last November before decommitting this summer and committing to the Longhorns a few weeks later. Johnson is a combo guard who is adept at attacking the basket. He projects as an above-average defender. Expect him to be one of the first players off the bench for the Horns.

5. Yves Missi; Baylor Bears (X: @Yves_missi)

Measurables: Center, #21, 6’10” 210 lbs.

Pedigree: 4-star, top 60 player nationally

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: JUN 06 Pangos All-American Camp Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Analysis: The Cameroon native reclassified to join the Class of 2023 after being ranked 13th nationally in ESPN’s Class of 2024. The big man is extremely athletic and a powerful force in the paint. He may not start at the beginning of the season, but I’d expect him to get big-time minutes this year.

6. Miro Little; Baylor; Guard; 4-star

7. Eric Dailey; Oklahoma State; Forward; 4-star

8. Milan Momcilovic; Iowa State; Forward; 4-star

9. Brandon Garrison; Oklahoma State; Center; 4-star

10. Kaden Cooper; Oklahoma; Forward; 4-star

11. Dai Dai Ames; Kansas State; Guard; 4-star

12. Jizzle James; Cincinnati; Guard; 4-star

13. Johnny Furphy; Kansas; Forward; 4-star

14. Joseph Tugler; Houston; Center; 4-star

15. RJ Jones; Kansas State; Guard; 4-star

16. Rayvon Griffith; Cincinnati; Forward; 4-star

17. Jacob McFarland; Houston; Center; 4-star

18. Jace Posey; TCU; Forward; 4-star

19. JT Rock; Iowa State; Center; 4-star

20. Marcus Adams, Jr.; Kansas; Forward; 4-star

21. Jacolb Cole; Oklahoma; Forward; 4-star

22. Jamari McDowell; Kansas; Guard; 4-star

23. Justin McBride; Oklahoma State; Forward; 4-star

24. Macaleab Rich; Kansas State; Forward; 3-star

25. Jamyron Keller; Oklahoma State; Guard; 3-star

26. Jelani Hamilton; Iowa State; Guard; 3-star

27. Kordelius Jefferson; Houston; Guard; 3-star

28. Drew Steffe; Texas Tech; Guard; 3-star

29. Comeh Emuobor; UCF; Forward; 3-star

30. Ofri Naveh; West Virginia; Forward; International

31. Isaiah Manning; TCU; Forward; 3-star

32. Devon Pryor; Texas; Forward; 3-star

33. Connor Dow; Oklahoma State; Forward; 3-star

34. Nils Machowski; UCF; Guard; International

35. Kayden Fish; Iowa State; Forward; 3-star

Players Returning to New Conference Members

1. Jamal Shead; Houston Cougars (X: @Thejshead)

Measurables: Guard, #1, 6’1” 200 lbs., Senior

Stats: Last 2 Seasons: 10.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 5.6 APG, and 1.7 SPG in 75 games played (69 starts; 31.8 MPG) on 41/31/77 splits

Analysis: After being named the AAC Defensive Player of the Year and leading the conference in assists, Shead comes into this, his first season in the Big 12 with sky-high expectations. He is an excellent defender and his 2.77 assist-to-turnover ratio speaks to his talent as a facilitator. The key for Shead this season will be finding more consistency than he displayed last year.

2. Fousseyni Traore; BYU Cougars (Insta: @fouss.traore45)

Measurables: Forward, #45, 6’6” 250 lbs., Junior

Stats: Last 2 Seasons: 11.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.2 APG, and 1.0 BPG in 66 games played (54 starts; 24.2 MPG) on 60/NA/75 splits

NCAA Basketball: Brigham Young at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Analysis: Traore is BYU’s all-time leader in conference field goal percentage. The Cougars will need him to continue to produce down low, for them to have success in their first season in the Big 12. Anything that Traore lacks in height, he more than makes up for with strength and physicality.

3. Viktor Lakhin; Cincinnati Bearcats (Insta: @lakhinviktor_)

Measurables: Center, #30, 6’11” 240 lbs., Redshirt Junior

Stats: Last Season: 11.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.2 SPG, and 1.4 BPG in 33 games played (32 starts; 23.5 MPG) on 62/NA/56 splits

Syndication: The Enquirer Stephanie Scarbrough/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Analysis: Lakhin struggled to stay healthy last season after starting the year as strong as any player in the AAC, scoring 15+ in 9 games and posting 7 double-doubles. The Russian native is expected to be fully healthy and play a prominent role on both ends of the floor for the Bearcats team.

4. Darius Johnson; UCF Knights (X: @dariussjohnson3)

Measurables: Guard, #3, 6’1” 200 lbs., Junior

Stats: Last Season: 10.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 4.2 APG, and 2.2 SPG in 25 games played (22 starts; 30.9 MPG) on 39/27/86 splits

NCAA Basketball: Central Florida at Memphis Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Analysis: Coach Dawkins looks at Johnson as a leader who should help the team’s many new pieces find their way in the program’s new league. Johnson is a true point guard who excels as a perimeter defender and is a formidable distributor of the ball. He will need to improve his scoring efficiency to hit his highest potential.

5. J’Wan Roberts; Houston Cougars (X: @JwanRoberts13)

Measurables: Forward, #13, 6’7” 230 lbs., Redshirt Senior

Stats: Last Season: 10.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.2 APG, and 1.3 BPG in 37 games played (36 starts; 26.4 MPG) on 61/NA/69 splits

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Round-Auburn vs Houston Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Analysis: Coach Sampson is moving Roberts from the three, where he played much of last season, back to his more natural position as a power forward. Roberts is a productive rebounder and dunker who is described by his coaches as a player who brings toughness, hustle, and leadership.

6. Spencer Johnson; BYU; Guard; 11 PPG on 51/46/76 splits last year

7. Ody Oguama; Cincinnati; Forward; 6 PPG and 5 RPG last year

8. Terrance Arceneaux; Houston; Guard; 34 games played (14 MPG) last year

9. Dallin Hall; BYU; Guard; 7 PPG and 3 APG last year

10. CJ Walker; UCF; Forward; 8 PPG and 5 RPG last 3 years


There are a ton of new players coming into the league this year and the lists above are not exhaustive. To me though, the new Bears are among some of the best incoming players in the Big 12. Combined with returning guys like Jalen Bridges, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, and Langston Love among others, I am very excited to see the Bears try to compete for another conference title this season. Sic em!

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