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blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

Other than a delightful plate of bruschetta or endless helpings of Seabar’s Tiger Eye Roll, there’s nothing I like more than college basketball.  Now that I’ve proclaimed myself both a fatty and a sports nerd, it’s time to talk about UB’s Javon McCrea and St. Bonaventure’s Andrew Nicholson.

UB’s most hyped player since current assistant coach Turner Battle (2001-05), McCrea ranks 91st in CBSSports.com’s arbitrary rankings of the “Top 100 players in college basketball.”  After watching McCrea play a little in high school and at every home game last year, I can tell you that he’s being grievously underrated. 

Here’s the text on McCrea from the article: “McCrea could be on his way to being the next dominant mid-major player.  If he doesn’t make a huge leap this year, it will come next year (next to Virginia transfer Will Regan, I’ll add).  Was the fifth-most effective offensive rebounder in the country last season.”  Remember, he was a true freshman then—well, MAC Freshman of the Year, that is. 

Pit McCrea against #30, UConn’s Alex Oriakhi, and we’ll see who’s the better player.  How about #33, mercurial point guard Scoop Jardine who makes as many bone-headed errors as he does heady decisions?  I saw #56, Iona’s Michael Glover, completely disappear against Canisius last year when he was double-teamed and forced to play with his back to the basket.  It’s a travesty that McCrea is only barely in the top 100—did you see how finished last year?  How about the 28 points and 13 rebounds in 28 minutes against MAC regular season champion Kent State?  He’s a man among boys in the MAC, and the only thing holding him back from the top 30 is a small sample size and inferior mid-major competition.

St. Bonaventure’s Nicholson is rated a little bit higher—#54—but he’s a proven commodity now entering his senior year.  CBS’ Matt Norlander writes, “The last time the Bonnies had a forward this talented was, of course, Essie Hollis in the mid-‘70s.  Nicholson has become an incredibly effective player across the board.  Help spread the word on him.”  Sure thing.

The Bona forward, nicknamed “The Professor” because of his high school fondness for chemistry, is projected as a mid-second round pick by NBADraft.net.  He’s extended his range beyond the three point line, he’s an excellent free throw shooter, and he simply needs to strengthen his lower body, improve defensively and avoid undisciplined fouls in order to be a solid pro.  Still, I think we’ve already seen Nicholson’s ceiling, and we haven’t even come close to scratching McCrea’s.   

Additional notes: 

— Tu Holloway (#4) is the highest ranked mid-major player on the list, Nicholson is ninth and McCrea 24th.

— UB will face the following in 2011-12:  #54 Nicholson, St. Bonaventure (12/3), #78 Brandon Davies, BYU (12/20), #93 D.J. Cooper, Ohio (1/11, 2/22).

— Former Buffalo Braves’ star Bob McAdoo’s nephew, James McAdoo at North Carolina, ranks 83rd on the list.

TAGGED: andrew nicholson, college basketball, javon mccrea, st. bonaventure, ub bulls, university at buffalo

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