The rise of the big man in college hoops

We have just about reached the halfway point of the basketball season in the NBA and NCAA for this season and there is one similarity that nobody is talking about: the big man refuses to quit. Not only do big men perform the best in the NBA, but the big men of college basketball are also playing extremely well.

College basketball lacks great teams this season, but the big men of men’s basketball are making up for that loss by commanding the spotlight themselves. You probably have never heard of these big men, so allow me to introduce you to: Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Mohamed Bamba, Jock Landale, Angel Delgado, and Jordan Murphy.

Deandre Ayton is a big man who plays for the No. 17 ranked Arizona Wildcats. The 7- foot-1, 250-pound freshman center is averaging 20.4 points-per-game (PPG) and 11.6 rebounds per-game (RPG) while still improving. The Bahamas native has recorded a double-double in 11 of 16 games for the Wildcats this season. Ayton is currently 36th in PPG and tied for sixth in RPG in all of Division I basketball.

Marvin Bagley III is a name that you may be more familiar with, as he is a member of the Duke Blue Devils. Bagley is also a freshman, who stands at 6’11” and weighs 234 pounds. Bagley has been a key member for the Blue Devils this season and is averaging 22.5 PPG and 11.5 RPG. The Phoenix, Az., native has helped lead the Dukies to No. 13 in the nation with a 13- 2 record. Bagley is currently 16th in PPG and eighth in RPG in all of Division I basketball.

Mohamed Bamba is a long way from home but has been making a big name for himself. The freshman is a native of Harlem, NY, but plies his trade for the Texas Longhorns. Bamba has proven to be a strong defensive-stomper for Texas this season, leading them to a 10-5 record. The 6’11” forward is averaging 11.9 PPG, 10.6 RPG, and 4.6 blocks-per-game (BLK).

The Saint Mary’s Gaels have had lots of luck finding foreign-born players that have had success in Moraga, CA., and this year is no exception. Leading the way for the Gaels is 6’11” junior big man Jock Landale. Landale comes from Malvern East, which is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Landale is averaging a career best 21.3 PPG and 10.2 RPG. Landale is currently 25th in PPG and 19th in RPG in all of Division I basketball.

If you haven’t heard of Angel Delgado yet, now would be a good time to familiarize yourself with him. The 6’10” senior center comes from the Dominican Republic and plays for No. Seton Hall. Delgado is the complete package when it comes to big men. He performs on a consistent basis and keeps his team in ball games.

Delgado is the oldest big man that you should be aware of. Delgado is averaging 14.6 PPG and 11.8 RPG, while having a double-double in 13 of Seton Hall’s first 16 games. Delgado is currently third in the nation in rebounds-per-game. Delgado has also nearly averaged a double-double in each of his four seasons at Seton Hall. Delgado averaged 9.3 PPG and 9.8 RPG in his freshman year. In his sophomore season, he averaged 9.9 PPG and 9.3 RPG. Delgado’s best season has come in his junior year at the program, where he averaged 15.2 PPG and 13.1 RPG.

The final big man that is having a spectacular year includes Minnesota Gopher forward Jordan Murphy. Murphy has been a Gopher for three years now after attending high school in San Antonio, TX. The first two seasons have been difficult for Murphy, but he seems to have finally put it all together in his junior year. Murphy is currently averaging 18.9 PPG and 12.7 RPG. Murphy has snatched so many boards this season that he is ranked second in nation in rebounds-per-game, averaging 0.9 more rebounds than Angel Delgado.

Basketball experts claim that the big man is extinct in basketball, with the game becoming more of a three-point game. I disagree with that entirely. There are many big men in college basketball who are making a name for themselves this season, and these are those players who proved the experts wrong.

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