Player Rankings: Peter Jok, Malcolm Hill enter latest list
There’s not much change atop my latest Big Ten Player Rankings, other than Denzel Valentine and Melo Trimble flipping spots at No. 2 and No. 3.
[ MORE: Follow @BTNJonCrispin | Power Rankings | Player Rankings | Bracketology | Ranking this week’s games | Best of week ahead | Scoreboard | Standings | Stats | Polls | Win a trip for two to the Big Ten tourney ]
That said, there are a couple new names on the list, as Iowa’s Peter Jok makes his season debut and Illinois’ Malcolm Hill returns.
Editor’s note: All stats are through Sunday, Jan. 24 action.
See my latest list below.
1. Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa. Uthoff hit so many impressive shots in Iowa’s 12-point victory vs. then-No. 22 Purdue on Sunday that Matt Painter complimented him by saying, “Uthoff gets matchups on bigger people, and then he takes his ‘H-O-R-S-E shots.’” The fifth-year senior continues to roll, scoring 22 points in the much-hyped show down.
Last week: 1
2. Denzel Valentine, Michigan State. Everything looks better for the Spartans (except the neon green uniforms) when Valentine is at full throttle. The senior was in triple-double form again, going for 19 points, a career-high 14 rebounds and eight assists in Michigan State’s victory over then-No. 5 Maryland in a must-win home game.
Last week: 3
3. Melo Trimble, Maryland. Maryland fell at Michigan State, but Trimble did his part (24 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists). The Terrapins, who gave up an unacceptable 17 offensive rebounds to the Spartans, have a critical home contest with Iowa this week.
Last week: 2
4. Yogi Ferrell, Indiana. Ferrell’s decision making is at an elite level right now. He is two steps ahead of his defender on most possessions, and is helping his teammates excel. He totaled 33 points and 15 assists in blowout wins over Illinois and Northwestern this past week on his way to entering the program’s top 10 scoring list and becoming the school’s all-time assists leader.
Last week: 4
5. A.J. Hammons, Purdue. Hammons is being double and triple teamed, but has still managed to average 13.3 points and 7.7 rebounds in conference play. The Purdue guards are missing too many open shots to force single coverage on Hammons.
Last week: 5
6. Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin. Hayes is ranked sixth in the Big Ten in scoring (16.3) and 11th in rebounding (6.2). He’s also averaging a team-best 3.7 assists and 7.4 free throw attempts.
Last week: 6
7. Diamond Stone, Maryland. Maryland’s much-hyped front line was dominated on the offensive boards (17) at Michigan State. Matt Costello outplayed and outhustled Stone and company down the stretch.
Last week: 7
8. Peter Jok, Iowa. Jok, the league’s 10th leading scorer (14.7), has been brilliant for Iowa this season. He scored a career-high 29 points at Rutgers and hit several daggers in Iowa’s sweep of Purdue on Sunday. Once a player who struggled defensively, Jok is now leading the Big Ten in steals!
Last week: NR
9. Malcolm Hill, Illinois. The wins aren’t piling up for Hill and the Illini, but the junior star continues to score in bunches, putting up 28 points in Illinois’ overtime win at Minnesota. He also grabbed 10 rebounds, good enough to give him his fourth double-double of the season
Last week: NR
10. Bryant McIntosh, Northwestern. Northwestern had Maryland on the ropes, but it lost in overtime. It followed up that heartbreaker by getting blown out at Indiana. McIntosh struggled in both defeats, going 7 for 30 from the field.
Last week: 9