Who would you pick to take the last shot?

Your team has the ball and is trailing by two points with less than 10 seconds to play. Who do you want to take the last shot? It’s no time for the faint at heart or the timid. Nope. This is the time for the clutch players with ice in their veins to step up.

Here’s my look at the seven players who I would want to take that critical shot.

1. Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State. The guy is the best pure scorer in the Big Ten with seemingly limitless range—witness a league-high 20.5-scoring average. And check out his 41.9 shooting percentage from three-point range. Plus, the 6-7 junior brims with confidence and is fearless with the ball in his hands, able to shoot over foes or drive by them.

2. Trey Burke, Michigan. Yes, his last-second shot at Ohio State rimmed out. Still, Burke is a deadly shooter who also can put the ball on the floor and create his own shot with deft quickness and a wicked first step. The sophomore sensation is tied for second in the league with an 18.0-point average and hits 40 percent from long range.

[RELATED: Our Big Ten Geeks wondered, “Do clutch players exist?” ]

3. Brandon Paul, Illinois. The 6-4 senior will take some poor shots at times. Still, Paul has a shooter’s mentality and a short memory. Who can forget his 43-point barrage vs. Ohio State last season? On that night, Paul hit 11-of-15 shots—and 8-of-10 from three-point range. That’s what this guy is capable of on any given night, as he is tied for second in the Big Ten in scoring with an 18-point average.

4. Jordan Hulls, Indiana. Is there a better pure shooter in the nation? I think not. The savvy senior paces the Big Ten in three-point shooting percentage at 51.2 percent. Need I say more? No, Hulls isn’t the quickest player, but if he can rub off a pick, catch and shoot, Mr. Hoosier is deadly.

[WATCH: We profile famous Big Ten buzzer beaters in “I Hit It To Win It.” ]

5. Andre Hollins, Minnesota. The 6-1 sophomore really emerged down the stretch last season in leading the Golden Gophers to the NIT title game. He also showed his scoring prowess in a 41-point effort earlier this season against Memphis. He’s shooting 42.9 percent from beyond the arc and is averaging 14.3 points.

6. Tim Hardaway, Jr., Michigan. Hardaway has had a tendency to take some bad shots, especially early in his career. He shot 42 percent as a freshman and 41.8 percent as a sophomore. But this year, Hardaway is draining 48.5 percent of his shots. And he has improved his three-point percentage from 28.3 last season to 39.3. The guy is a cold-blooded shooter with limitless range.

[RELATED: Read previous installments of Dienhart’s “Super Seven.” ]

7. D.J. Byrd, Purdue. The 6-5 senior can go through some extended stretches of poor shooting, clanking shot after shot from miles away. But, when Byrd is on, there are few better. And he was on against West Virginia on Saturday, hitting 4-of-6 from three-point range en route to 17 points. Byrd also showed his magic at Clemson earlier this season with a 6-of-11 performance from beyond the arc for a season-high 22 points.

Now it’s your turn. If you choose to write in another name, it will be categorized as “Other.” If we get a significant number of votes for a write-in candidate, we’ll update this post later on.

Update from BTN.com editors: The readers have spoken with a strong write-in campaign, and Michigan State’s Keith Appling got plenty of support from his fans to garner roughly 50 percent of the overall vote. Great stuff, and thanks for voting.


About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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Your Opinion?
Show Comments (14 Comments)
Damon on 1/23/2013 @ 2:52pm EDT Said:

Didn’t you forget the man who shocked Kentucky last year and won an
espy for the shot, Christian Watford of Indiana?

Dino on 1/23/2013 @ 4:31pm EDT Said:

Apparently making clutch shots was not part of the criteria for this seemingly random list of B1G players.

Mary on 1/23/2013 @ 5:55pm EDT Said:

Will you be letting people know who the “other” votes are since they are outpacing your selections?

David Green on 1/23/2013 @ 6:41pm EDT Said:

Keith Appling is the man I want with the ball! How is he not on that list? Makes me wonder if you follow the Big Ten. He hit a big shot that beat everybody’s darling Kansas with a move that few big ten players could even attempt to make let alone execute it!

Doug on 1/23/2013 @ 7:05pm EDT Said:

David, I hit other and punched in Appling’s name, still says other.

John on 1/23/2013 @ 8:54pm EDT Said:

Keith Appling is definitely one of the more clutch players in the long storied tradition of MSU basketball! I find this quite amusing that a senior writer for the Big Ten doesn’t get this!

Brian roberts on 1/23/2013 @ 11:36pm EDT Said:

Sorry to pile on. Those other guys are good but appling needs to be on the list. Scored last 6 vs osu, and who can forget kansas? I guess you did…

B10 Hoops Fan on 1/24/2013 @ 8:15am EDT Said:

How on earth can you leave Keith Appling off that list? He is about as clutch as a player as you’re going to ever find in college hoops. MSU has won close game after close game after close game this year – and Appling is the reason why. He always manages to hit a big shot or hit clutch free throws at the very end when the game is on the line. Have you even watched big ten basketball this year? How about the game this past saturday against Ohio State… going up against what the media has apparently decided is the ‘best defender ever’, Aaron Craft, Keith Appling absolutely took it to him at the end of the game to score multiple crucial baskets and get to the line for a few FTs.

Dan on 1/24/2013 @ 8:41am EDT Said:

Yeah all these other players are great, but how this list doesn’t have Christian Watford or Keith Appling who have PROVEN they have the clutch gene well over guys like Byrd, Hulls, or Hardaway Jr is a little bit embarrassing to your credibility. Not saying those players aren’t good, just that a couple wouldn’t be the first option on their own team.

Tyler on 1/24/2013 @ 8:53am EDT Said:

Honestly, I think it depends upon if we’re talking about a last minute spot up or if we’re talking about who we want with the ball in his hands at the end of the game. Hulls and Byrd are both great shooters when they spot up for open jumpers, but neither seem to create their own shot. Thomas is really the only one on this list who I would consider a great clutch shooter and someone that can create for himself.

All of that being said, put the ball in Keith Appling’s hands at the end of a close game and good things happen (See games versus Kansas and Ohio State this year as just two examples). He’s going to get to the hoop for a lay-up, draw defenders leading to easy lay-ups for teammates, or he can pull up and hit a 12 foot jumper in the lane. He might not be the best shooter in the league overall, but good things happen when he has the ball late in games

Wags on 1/24/2013 @ 10:07am EDT Said:

Wow, Keith Appling isn’t on that list? No Idea how that was missed.

Brian Aust on 1/24/2013 @ 6:20pm EDT Said:

Loving all the Keith Appling comments..It’s almost like social media “works” haha..

mattyfresh on 1/24/2013 @ 6:32pm EDT Said:

haha Hardaway? Anyone that knows basketball and clutch would have put Appling on the list….

amaizinblue on 1/26/2013 @ 2:26pm EDT Said:

Where is Appling in that list? Did you happen to miss the MSU/Kansas game earlier this year? When was the last time any of the guys in your list actually made a clutch last second shot?