The nation's best mid-major players

Ranking top players, best NBA prospects from smaller conferences

Updated: February 11, 2013, 12:17 PM ET
By Jay Bilas and Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
Mike Muscala/Nate WoltersGetty ImagesBucknell's Mike Muscala and South Dakota State's Nate Wolters are two of the top mid-major players.

During college hoops season, Jay Bilas and Chad Ford will start the week by addressing a big question, evaluating NBA prospects on the rise and looking ahead to the next week.

The discussion: Who are the nation's best mid-major players?

Jay Bilas: By now, most college basketball fans know about Creighton's Doug McDermott, Lehigh's C.J. McCollum and Murray State's Isaiah Canaan, even though they do not play in big conferences and receive big-time exposure. In addition, most fans are likely aware of Gonzaga's outstanding big men Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris, Wichita State's Carl Hall and Cleanthony Early, San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin, VCU's Treveon Graham and Troy Daniels, UNLV's Anthony Bennett, and Butler's Rotnei Clarke and Roosevelt Jones, as all have played for ranked and/or celebrated teams this season.

So instead of providing yet another look at the non-power-conference players you should already know, here are five top players you might not know, from teams that are not quite as celebrated as Gonzaga, Butler, VCU and those from the Mountain West.

Mike Muscala, Bucknell Bison

Muscala is one of the best big men in the country; he can play inside and can step away from the hoop. He is a high-volume rebounder who averages 18.7 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game while shooting 51 percent from the floor and 78 percent from the line. Muscala is an excellent offensive rebounder, and has been much better this season against bigger, better athletes.


To read more from Chad Ford and Jay Bilas on the nation's best mid-major players, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Jay Bilas

College Basketball analyst

Chad Ford | email

Senior Writer, NBA Insider