Marquette may have the nation’s best all-around player

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Jae Crowder didn’t make any All-Big East teams last season. That’ll change in 2011-12.

And if not, he’ll go down as the nation’s most underrated player.

The Marquette forward was tabbed as the 64th best player in country in Basketball Prospectus’ recent Top 100 player rankings. (If you haven’t been following Drew Cannon’s work over there, shame on you.) He’s ahead of Kendall Marshall, right behind Terrell Stoglin and J’Covan Brown. Yet if Crowder was a little flashier, there’s no doubt he’d be even higher.

After all, as Cracked Sidewalks writes, he may just be the best all-around player in the country.

Crowder was the only BCS player who ranked in the 80th percentile or higher in six of eight key player stats as tracked by kenpom.com last season. Eighteen other BCS players made five of the eight categories, which includes turnover rate, fouls drawn per 40 minutes, assist rate, effective field-goal percentage, offensive rebound percentage, steal percentage, block percentage and defensive rebounding percentage.

That doesn’t mean Crowder’s the best player. He’s not outstanding in any one area, which means someone like Kemba Walker is more valuable. But when it comes to all-around play, few can match the 6-8 6-6, 225-pound Crowder. (Not that he’s a secret. He was the junior college player of the year before arriving at Marquette.)

Crowder’s ideal senior season would match DeMarre Carroll, and not just because they sport the same hairstyle. Check out Carroll’s senior season at Missouri when he was All-Big 12, the conference tournament MVP and helped the Tigers to the Elite Eight. His tempo-free stats are incredibly similar to Crowder’s from last season. He’ll almost certainly post another fabulous year.

Say Crowder logs another stellar tempo-free season and ups his scoring average four or five points and his rebounds to nine a game – all to impress the voters who don’t gaze at tempo-free stats – and Crowder will be on as many all-awesome teams as his higher-scoring teammate, Darius Johnson-Odum.

And everyone will know just how good he is.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

Tennessee G Hubbs undergoes arthroscopic knee surgery

Robert Hubbs III, Anton Beard
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee guard Robert Hubbs won’t practice this week after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Tuesday.

The school said in a news release that Hubbs had it done “to address chronic swelling issues that have been present since the preseason.”

No timetable has been set for when Hubbs could return to action, but he is considered doubtful for Tennessee’s next game on Dec. 12 at Butler. Tennessee (4-3) is in the midst of a 13-day break from games, which marks the program’s longest layoff during a season since December 1967.

Hubbs is averaging 15.3 points per game to rank third on the team. The 6-foot-4 junior has scored at least 13 points in each of Tennessee’s seven games.

Clemson lands 2017 guard

Brad Brownell
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Clemson landed a quality commitment on Tuesday as Class of 2017 guard A.J. Oliver committed to the Tigers. The son of Clemson women’s head coach Audra Smith, Oliver is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, although some others view him as a top-100 caliber player.

The 6-foot-4 Oliver attends nearby Daniel High School and should have some time to get acclimated with the players and coaches before he sets foot on campus. A versatile guard who plays hard, Oliver showed that he can make plays with the ball in his hands this summer with the Upward Stars.

Oliver is Clemson’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and it’s a strong start for head coach Brad Brownell.