Tag: Daniel Mullings

Larry Nance (AP Photo)

2014-15 Season Preview: Under the radar stars

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source: AP
Larry Nance (AP Photo)

Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

The term “under the radar” can be a difficult one to define with regards to college basketball. For some, lists of such players will be dominated by guys whose programs are part of the nightly highlights packages you doze off to in the early morning hours. But for others, the term “under the radar” applies to players who in November may be on the outside looking in with regards to All-America teams. Below are some players who may not be considered to be preseason All-Americans but have a shot at landing on one of those teams at season’s end.

1. Larry Nance Jr., Wyoming: When it comes to the Mountain West the traditional contenders (New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV) tend to get most of the attention from fans outside of the region, so the son of the former Cleveland Cavalier may not be as well-known to them. But he should be, as Nance averaged 15.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game last season. Nance is returning from a torn ACL, but he’s expected to be at full strength when the season begins later this month.

2. Darrun Hilliard, Villanova: Hilliard was a bit miffed that he wasn’t chosen to be Big East POY at their media day, and rightfully so. The senior is coming off of his best season as a Wildcat, averaging 14.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. And with James Bell out of eligibility, Hilliard could be even more productive for the preseason favorites to win the Big East.

3. Shawn Long, Louisiana: Losing Elfrid Payton hurts, but in the 6-foot-9 Long head coach Bob Marlin has a very good piece to build around in an attempt to make a second straight trip to the NCAA tournament. Last year Long accounted for 18.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots per game.

MORE: X-Factors | Breakout Stars | Impact TransfersPreseason All-Americans

4. R.J. Hunter, Georgia State: When it comes to the best shooters in America, Hunter’s clearly on the list. He averaged 18.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season, helping lead the Panthers to a Sun Belt regular season title.

5. Isaiah Taylor, Texas: Taylor was good as a freshman, averaging 12.0 points, 4.0 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game. But there’s clearly room for improvement, as evidenced by the shooting percentages (39.1% FG, 26.3% 3PT), and the Longhorns’ deep front court should result in cleaner shooting opportunities for him.

6. A.J. English, Iona: While the Gaels will have to account for the loss of Sean Armand, English returns after averaging 17.2 points, 4.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game as a sophomore.

7. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown: Who was the pick to win preseason Big East POY? Smith-Rivera was, and with Markel Starks gone the Hoyas will need a big year from the junior guard. Smith-Rivera accounted for 17.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest in 2013-14.

8. DaVonte’ Lacy, Washington State: Ernie Kent has a tough job in front of him, but it helps that Lacy has one last season of eligibility. As a junior Lacy averaged 19.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.

POSITION RANKINGS: Lead Guards | Off Guards | Wing Forwards | Big Men

9. Zak Irvin, Michigan: With Caris LeVert on our All-America team, we’ve essentially pegged him to make the jump that has become commonplace during the John Beilein era in Ann Arbor. But why not Irvin? Thanks to the Wolverines’ personnel losses, he’ll be in a position where he’s asked to do more offensively than just “catch and shoot.”

10. Terran Petteway, Nebraska: While Petteway was a first team All-Big Ten selection last season, that hasn’t led to his being included on many preseason All-America teams. He averaged 18.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season, and if Petteway can improve from an efficiency standpoint look out.


1. Keifer Sykes, Green Bay
2. John Brown, High Point
3. D.J. Balentine, Evansville
4. Daniel Mullings, New Mexico State
5. E.C. Mathews, Rhode Island

2014-2015 Season Preview: NBCSports.com’s Mid-Major All-Americans

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source: AP
Keifer Sykes (AP Photo)

Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

Here are our Preseason Mid-Major All-Americans.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

A quick disclaimer before I begin, because determining who qualifies as a mid-major and who doesn’t is always a touchy subject. Here is how we broke it down for these rankings: The Mountain West, the Big East, the Atlantic 10 and the American were all, by default, barred from these rankings. The WCC was eligible with the exception of Gonzaga and BYU. The Missouri Valley was eligible with the exception of Wichita State. Everyone else was fair game.

Why did we eliminate the Shockers from contention? Well, the complicated answer is that “high-major” delegation is more about financial resources, support from the university, the fan base and the community, and consistent, high-level success during the season and on the recruiting trail, but the simple answer is that the Shockers would be the clear-cut No. 1 team here and it’s more fun to do this without them involved. Our rankings, our rules. Deal with it.

RELATED: NBCSports.com’s Mid-Major Power Rankings


  • Keifer Sykes, Green Bay, Sr. (20.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.9 apg): High-flying, high-scoring point guards aren’t that easy to find. Sykes is the reason that the Phoenix have a shot at winning a game-or-two in the NCAA tournament.
  • R.J. Hunter, Georgia State, Jr. (18.5 ppg, 39.5% 3PT): Yeah, I know he plays for Georgia State, but we picked him on this team because he may actually be the nation’s best spot-up shooter.
  • John Brown, High Point, Jr. (19.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.6 spg, 1.5 bpg): The nation’s highest-flying wing, Brown is the reigning Big South Player of the Year and a human-highlight reel.
  • Alan Williams, UC-Santa Barbara, Sr. (21.3 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 2.4 bpg): Williams has been a star at the mid-major level for three years now, but the Gauchos simply haven’t had the kind of success as a team that would garner him more national recognition.
  • Shawn Long, Louisiana-Lafayette, Jr. (18.6 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 2.7 bpg, 42.3% 3PT): It will be Long’s Ragin’ Cajuns team this season with Elfrid Payton now in the NBA. His ability to block shots and shoot threes at 6-foot-10 could mean that he winds up in the NBA Draft after this season as well.

MORE: Top 25 Potential Breakout Stars | Top 25 Non-Conference Games | Coaches on the Hot Seat

Wesley Saunders (AP Photo)


  • Jalan West, Northwestern State, Jr. (19.4 ppg, 6.4 apg, 40.3% 3PT): His numbers are inflated by Northwestern State’s uptempo style of play. That doesn’t make him any less talented, however.
  • Daniel Mullings, New Mexico State, Sr. (16.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.5 apg): Mullings is the reigning WAC Player of the Year, and he’ll have a chance to play more point guard this season.
  • Wesley Saunders, Harvard, Jr. (14.2 ppg, 3.8 apg): Saunders was the Ivy League’s Player of the Year last season and should once again be the leading scorer on a Harvard team that has one a game in the tournament in back-to-back seasons.
  • Jacob Parker, Stephen F. Austin, Sr. (14.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 46.9% 3PT): Parker won last year’s Southland Player of the Year award and was the best player on a team that went 32-3 and beat VCU in the NCAA tournament.
  • Justin Sears, Yale, Jr. (16.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.9 bpg): Sears is our Preseason Ivy League Player of the Year and the biggest reason Yale has a chance to contend with Harvard for the Ivy title.


  • Siyani Chambers, Harvard, Jr. (11.1 ppg, 4.6 apg): The heart and soul of the Crimson. He’s one of the nation’s most underrated point guards.
  • Ryan Harrow, Georgia State, Sr. (17.8 ppg, 4.2 apg): The former Kentucky and N.C. State point guard found his niche back in his hometown of Atlanta.
  • Julius Brown, Toledo, Sr. (14.9 ppg, 6.0 apg): ‘Juice’ Brown helped lead the Rockets to a share of the MAC regular season title last season.
  • A.J. English, Iona, Jr. (17.2 ppg, 4.3 apg, 3.9 rpg): English is the best player on an Iona team favored to win the always-competitive MAAC.
  • Cameron Payne, Murray State, So. (16.8 ppg, 5.4 apg, 1.7 spg): The Memphis-native had a terrific freshman season trying to replace the production left when Isaiah Canaan graduated.

HONORABLE MENTION: D.J. Balentine (Evansville), Joel Bolomboy (Weber State), Karl Cochran (Wofford), Brett Comer (Florida-Gulf Coast), Juan’Ya Green (Hofstra), Martez Harrison (UMKC), Tyler Harvey (Eastern Washington), Damion Lee (Drexel), Tshilidzi Nephawe (New Mexico State), Andrew Rowsey (UNC-Asheville), Bernard Thompson (Florida-Gulf Coast), Marcus Thornton (William & Mary), Seth Tuttle (Northern Iowa), Isiah Umipig (Seattle), Jameel Warney (Stony Brook), Kyle Wilson (Army)

2014-2015 Season Preview: Can Grand Canyon, Seattle catch New Mexico State in the WAC?

Daniel Mullings (AP Photo)
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Daniel Mullings (AP Photo)

Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

The past three seasons have seen the same outcome for New Mexico State: lose out on the WAC regular season title, string together a few wins in March to win the tournament title and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, and proceed to get bounced from the Big Dance after just 40 minutes. And while Marvin Menzies will be moving on without massive Sim Bhullar this season, the Aggies appear to be the favorites to snap at least one part of that three-year streak and win the WAC title.

It starts with Daniel Mullings, a talented, 6-foot-3 guard that will enter this season as the WAC’s reigning Player of the Year. KC Ross-Miller left the program after last season — he was suspended for the NCAA tournament after fighting with Utah Valley fans on the court after a loss — meaning that Mullings will be asked to play as more of a point guard this season. With DK Eldridge (11.2 ppg, 40.5% 3PT) and Tshilidzi Nephawe (11.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.4 bpg) both returning as well, there will be plenty of firepower for the Aggies. Their x-factor? Former top 100 recruit Anthony January, a 6-foot-8 forward who will join the program this season.

It won’t be a cakewalk for the Aggies, however, as Grand Canyon will give NMSU all they can handle despite losing double-double machine Killian Larson to graduation. Jerome Garrison, a 5-foot-11 scoring guard that averaged 16.9 points last season, is back, as is 6-foot-9 Texas A&M transfer Daniel Alexander (11.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.9 apg). Alexander, in particular, is expected to make a marked improvement this season, one that will be aided by the additions of Tobe Okafor — a 6-foot-11, highly-regard JuCo transfer — as well as Washington State castoff Royce Woolridge.

RELATED: UMKC’s Martez Harrison helping to fill a void that’s three decades old

The Antelopes have size, depth and talent and they play in a rowdy home environment, but the good news for the Aggies is Grand Canyon won’t be eligible for the NCAA tournament until the 2017-2018 season.

The rest of the WAC is a crapshoot. Seattle loses Clarence Trent, but they bring back three of their top four scorers, including the league’s leading returning scorer in Isaiah Umipig. They struggled with injuries a season ago, however, and will be dependent on Deshaun Sunderhaus, a potential all-league front court player, to return to 100% after tearing his ACL last season. Utah Valley is the WAC’s reigning regular season champ, but they lost three of their top four scorers from last season — including leading scorer Hulton Hunsaker — and will likely slide back into the middle of the pack this season.

UMKC sophomore Martez Harrison will end up being a WAC Player of the Year before he graduates — maybe even this season, as he averaged 17.2 points and 3.8 assists as a freshman — but the Kangaroos lost quite a bit to graduation from last year.


  • IN: None
  • OUT: Idaho

PRESEASON BIG WEST PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Daniel Mullings, New Mexico State

Mullings, a 6-foot-3 senior guard, is the reigning WAC Player of the Year after averaging 16.8 points, 4.9 boards, 3.5 assists and 1.9 steals as a junior. He’ll be asked to take on even more of a leadership role this season, sliding over to spend more time running the point for the Aggies.


  • Martez Harrison, UMKC: Harrison was the best freshman in the conference a season ago, averaging 17.2 points and 3.8 assists in his first season in Division I.
  • Isiah Umipig, Seattle: The 6-foot-1 senior is the WAC’s leading returning scorer after averaging 19.5 points. He also took for than 15 shots per game and shot 38.8% from the field.
  • Daniel Alexander, Grand Canyon: A sharp-shooting, 6-foot-9 senior that began his career at Texas A&M was GCU’s third-leading scorer last season.
  • Tshilidzi Nephawe, New Mexico State: Losing Sim Bhullar will make Nephawe be the centerpiece of NMSU’s front court. He’s the best returning offensive rebounder in the league.



1. New Mexico State
2. Grand Canyon
3. Seattle
4. Utah Valley
6. Bakersfield
7. Chicago State
8. Texas Pan-American