This piece was inspired by Boston College Forward, Steffon Mitchell when I did my BC article. He’s the ultimate glue guy, fills up the stat sheet, but isn’t the star of the team, great defender and is vital to the teams success. So naturally I’ll start with Mitchell.
Steffon Mitchell Boston College
Last year Mitchell was a First-Team All-ACC Defensive player, he averaged 7.8 points, 8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.2 steals, and 1.0 block per game. He does everything you could ever imagine from a glue guy, elite-defender, points, steals, assists he does it all and is one of the least-appreciated players in College Hoops. He can defend with 1-5 due to his size and has a feel for the game. He’s not overly athletic but he can truly do-it-all.
Marcus Garrett Kansas
Last year Garrett was the Naismith Defensive player of the year in College Hoops last season and was not talked about enough for the sports best team. You heard all about Devon Dotson and Udoka Azabuike but rarely about Marcus Garrett. Why’s that? He’s not flashy, he doesn’t have Devon Dotson speed, he doesn’t have Markus Howard shooting ability, but he does everything well. He averaged 9.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists and, 1.9 steals per game. He fills up that stat-sheet while taking what’s given to him on the offensive side and locking down the best player on the other team, he has to face Jared Butler, Matt Coleman, Cade Cunningham or Isaac Likekele, Rasir Bolton, Austin Reeves, and Derek Culver all twice in a season. That’s a super tough task for Garrett, there are so many great players in the Big 12 and he can lock anybody down. Garrett should be a National Player of the year Candidate and I think he can average like 14/5/7 this season while being the best defender in the sport should put him squarely in that conversation.
Davion Mitchell Baylor
Mitchell also is like Garrett, same conference, same PPG but less rebounds, assists, but 1.5 steals per game, but like Garrett an absolute elite defender. He was huge on a Baylor team that would’ve been a one seed this past season, and he will need to continue to play a big role this season for the BIG 12 Favorites. Mitchell started his career at Auburn but transferred following the 2017-18 season and played his first season for Baylor this year with elite defense. He shot 40% from the field, 32% from deep, he’s a decent enough shooter, scorer, but is a great defender that can lock down the opponents best guard.
Mark Vital Baylor
Every time I look up Mark Vital it says he’s 6’5” and I refuse to believe it… he’s the tallest looking 6’5” player. It could be because he’s 230 pounds, Vital is built like an NFL Tight-End but is also really good at Basketball, the super built guard 6 points, 6 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, and 1.7 steals per game great defense and can defend 1-5. He can switch onto any offense players with ease and is incredible in his role. You don’t want him having the last shot in the game, but defensively you want him near or on the ball to make the offensive players life difficult. Vital also is a good offensive rebounder and creates extra possessions for his team which can lead to points which doesn’t show up on the stat-sheet, like if he back-taps a ball to mid-court, Jared Butler takes it nails a three, Baylor gets 3 points, which is Vital to the teams success.
Justin Bean Utah State
Bean, the former walk-on has been often overshadowed by Sam Merill, and Neemias Queta the past few seasons, but had a real breakout this season with a double-double. He had 11 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 blocks per game. He’s a reliable scorer at 51% and a very good defender and can get a rebound over anyone. While Queta was injury plagued this season, Bean stepped in and thrived and has a huge future and will need to continue to ascend in the ranks and become a National Name. The Aggies with Queta and Bean can play with any other bigs.