NEC Trade Value – The First Edition

Every once in a while we like to have fun here at Big Apple Buckets. It doesn’t always have to be “make fun of Jon Rothstein’s optimism until he blocks me on Twitter” kind of fun, but more like the “well this doesn’t make a ton of sense” kind of fun. This time, please allow me to channel my inner Bill Simmons.

For years, Simmons has produced his annual NBA trade value rankings, which rates the top professional basketball players in terms of the value they’d fetch on the open NBA market. The more assets a player commands in a theoretical transaction, the higher he’s ranked on Simmons’ board. The premise is quite simple since trades happen all the time in the NBA.

In college basketball, not so much. As in, not at all. Andy Toole can’t call Jack Perri tonight and offer Kavon Stewart and a 2014 recruit for a half season of Jason Brickman. Anthony Latina won’t be looking to solidify his future by presenting a Mostafa Abdel Latif for Khalid Nwandu swap to a Mount St. Mary’s team desperate for interior depth. Glenn Braica, whose team simply isn’t built to put up guady percentages from the perimeter, can’t acquire the services of Kyle Vinales for Sheldon Hagigal, Wayne Martin, and a player to be named later. Man, would this be a lot of fun.

Nevertheless, John and I decided to rank our top 25 27 NEC players in terms of perceived trade value. Everything is in play here – the player’s position, eligibility remaining, and of course, talent level. After about the top ten players, constructing this list was extremely difficult, and as you could imagine, wildly subjective. (I spent a lot of time daydreaming trade scenarios while my wife caught up on Revenge, The Bachelor, and whatever other crap she watches.) So let’s have a little fun here! Just don’t block me on Twitter if you disagree with where your favorite player(s) is ranked.

Honorable Mention – Players Who Were Considered (In No Particular Order)
Steve Glowiak, Sacred Heart; Chris Evans, Sacred Heart; Byron Ashe, Mount St. Mary’s; Matt Mobley, CCSU; Faronte Drakeford, CCSU; Jay Harris, Wagner; Iverson Fleming, LIU Brooklyn; Amdy Fall, St. Francis Brooklyn; Malik Harmon, Jr., Saint Francis (PA); Glenn Feidanga, LIU Brooklyn; Wayne Martin, St. Francis Brooklyn; Kavon Stewart, Robert Morris [Editor’s Note from John: The younger players on this list are the ones that scare you. We’re going to regret leaving At least one of Fall, Feidanga and Martin off this list come season’s end.]

27) Phil Gaetano, Sacred Heart
26) Brent Jones, St. Francis Brooklyn
25) Malcolm McMillan, Central Connecticut

This trio of floor generals each possess some unique strengths and have steadily improved, yet the league’s wonderful depth at this position depresses their value somewhat. Most teams have a star and/or upstart (think Kavon Stewart and Malik Harmon) manning the point at the moment, so the unfortunate reality is these players would have more value in a similar conference devoid of star point guards.

(For example: Any one of these guards would look great in a Hartford Hawks uniform, especially since John Gallagher’s leading assist man is Yolonso Moore, at a meager 2.4 apg, who also happens to sport an unappetizing 26.8% turnover rate.)

24) Joe O’Shea, Bryant
I promise you we aren’t pandering to Tim O’Shea by putting his nephew on our list. With another season of eligibility remaining, the versatile forward can rebound, defend several positions and score a multitude of ways. Or to use a tired cliché, Joe O’Shea is the perfect GLUE GUY!

23) Brandon Peel, Central Connecticut
Peel is ranked in KenPom’s top 150 in defensive rebounding rate and block rate, but unless you’re a CCSU fan or Ron Ratner, you probably had little idea. He didn’t play much in the early going – likely injury related – but in his first six NEC games, the sophomore is quietly averaging 9.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per contest. Anthony Latina would sacrifice one of his junior shooting guards for Peel in a heartbeat.

22) Nura Zanna, LIU Brooklyn
And … let’s start the criticism. In fairness, the 6’7″ Zanna was projected as our number one freshman for this season, until a freak injury in a pickup game forced Perri to medically red-shirt him before playing a single NEC game. Talented power forwards like Julian Boyd, Jamal Olasewere and Ken Horton don’t grow on trees in the NEC, so four years of Zanna’s upside would have some coaches willing to acquire the younger brother of Pitt’s Talib Zanna.

21) Rashad Whack, Mount St. Mary’s
In Jamion Christian’s run-and-gun offense (or maybe trap-and-gun?), Whack is the perfect fit as a gunner who’ll drain around 35% of his threes. He’s certainly not afraid of the big moment, and with a high free-throw percentage, he’s someone you’d want on the floor with the game on the line. He’s more a volume guy, though, and his steal rate of 4.1% wasn’t sustainable from last season, which is why the veteran couldn’t crack our top 20.

20) Louis Montes, Sacred Heart
The 6’4″ bowling ball is one of the more versatile forwards in the league, with the ability to drain a three (37.5%) or put it on the deck and attack the rim. His sneaky athleticism makes him a difficult cover, and a very good complementary piece in the right system. Montes would fit in nicely at FDU. As an added bonus, think of the potential for a beard face-off between Montes and Sidney Sanders, Jr. That could be epic!

19) Dwaun Anderson, Wanger
It took a while, but things are slowly starting to come together for the uber-athletic forward. There’s tremendous value in Anderson’s “get my teammates to go nuts off the bench because I just posterized a fellow Seahawk” athleticism, but he remains a bit of an anomaly. (He did, after all, score just nine total points in his last 82 minutes played.) If he ever puts it all together, he’d be an elite defender at the mid-major level. But you’d certainly be taking a chance if you traded for this former Tom Izzo recruit.

18) Jeremiah Worthem, Robert Morris
17) De’von Barnett, Sacred Heart
16) Matt MacDonald, Fairleigh Dickinson
15) Daniel Garvin, Bryant

We’re merely in the second inning of the careers for these four freshmen (assuming Worthem is reinstated relatively soon), and their intrigue and eligibility status give them excellent value as a result. For some teams – think Sacred Heart and Saint Francis (PA) – acquiring a MacDonald or Garvin would make more sense than going for it in the present with an all-conference senior. The future isn’t now for these programs, whether they like it or not, and adding a future all-rookie team member would give a rebuilding team a nice piece to work with moving forward.

Let’s give it a shot, shall we?

  • Sacred Heart trades Evan Kelley, Steve Glowiak, and a player to be named to Bryant for Daniel Garvin and Declan Soukup.
  • Saint Francis (PA) trades Earl Brown to Mount St. Mary’s for Khalid Nwandu, Will Miller, a 2014 recruit of Krimmel’s choosing. [Editor’s Note from John: I don’t know if you take this if you’re Rob Krimmel.]

Seriously, who says no in either deal??

14) Mario Moody, Wagner

With Moody, the junior has the athleticism to actually match Anderson, while also posting career highs in points (9.5 ppg), rebounds (6.7 rpg) and blocks (1.3 bpg) per game. He was a difficult one to rate (to put him above or below the freshmen, that is the question), but in the end his ability to reek havoc around the cylinder won out.

13) E.J. Reed, LIU Brooklyn

Reed has been somewhat disappointing as a sophomore (for the love of God, please stop fouling!), but there’s star potential there nevertheless. Things may have been better if Boyd and Zanna were playing along side, but as the main man down low, Reed has seen his KenPom offensive rating plummet from 102.1 to 92.0. Still, you simply can’t ignore his skill-set. With more than two years remaining, there’s time for the high motored Reed to mature into an all-conference type of player.

12) Corey Maynard, Bryant

Blind player comparison time! (You only knew it was a matter of time…)

Player A: 12.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 5.0 apg, 1.6 spg, 1.8 A/TO
Player B: 11.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 5.5 apg, 2.3 spg, 1.5 A/TO

Player A is your Australian bulldog, Corey Maynard. Player B is Sacred Heart great Drew Shubik, who was an all-conference second team recipient for that excellent 2007-08 season. Maynard may not qualify for the second team at season’s end, yet he’s almost as valuable as teammates Alex Francis and Dyami Starks. Plus he’ll recklessly dive on the floor or jump over a bench for a loose ball.

11) Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut

A broken finger devalues the former NEC scoring leader, but Vinales is still a transcendent talent that’s incredibly difficult to game plan for. Sure, he feels like a volume scorer, but he’s no Melquan Bolding. Before his injury, Vinales had made strides as a junior with an improved steal and free throw rate, along with a turnover rate that’s dropped every season. He’s a real commodity that could make the top 3-5 of this list in no time. Think about it – if you paired a healthy Vinales with Alex Francis, he’d be just as productive as Dyami Starks.

10) Lucky Jones, Robert Morris

We’ve reached the point where you’d have to give up a king’s ransom to acquire any player now. As someone fitting into our top ten, Lucky Jones is a sneaky good asset, because of his position and myriad of on-the-floor talents. Basically, he’s an athletic stretch four who can defend almost anyone on the floor. Who wouldn’t want that?

9) Kenneth Ortiz, Wagner
8) Sidney Sanders, Jr., Fairleigh Dickinson
7) Jason Brickman, LIU Brooklyn

Based on your specific need, take your pick with any senior point guard. Ortiz is a heady game manager who’ll give you a maximum effort on the defensive end. Sidney Sanders, who has “merely” quadrupled his scoring from a season ago, is averaging 19.1 points, 5.8 assists, and 7.1 free-throw attempts per game. And Jason Brickman … well you already know his value offensively. These three would be higher, but like I said before, point guard is a position of strength in the NEC. [Editor’s Note from John: Brickman might be No. 7 on this list, but he’s probably the most “untouchable” player in the league. If Andy Toole calls Jack Perri and offers Karvel Anderson for Jason Brickman straight up neither team would be happy, but Perri would be less happy. Anderson though would definitely be more coveted, especially considering his age.]

6) Earl Brown, Saint Francis (PA)

Believe it or not, this may be a criminally low rating for Brown. Let’s be honest here, if the rebounding leader of the NEC (9.7 rpg, 25.7% defensive rebound rate) played somewhere other than snowy Loretto, he’d be a lock for the all-conference first team. Head coaches like O’Shea, Christian, and Toole would be falling all over themselves for a chance to acquire a dominant, yet well-grounded power forward for their stretch run. Plus you’d have him for the following season too. Sign me up!

5) Julian Norfleet, Mount St. Mary’s

Pardon me for a second … IS JULIAN OVERRATED NOW?!?! HUH, I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!

Sorry, I need to get that off my chest. Unlike the previous three-point guards, Norfleet is unique in that he can play the “2” or “3” if needed as well. His versatility and overall production on both sides of the ball makes him a tremendous asset. Just think of the potential if you paired Norfleet with Jalen Cannon, or even Karvel Anderson! It’s too bad Christian and Toole would have the following exchange if Norfleet was brought up:

Christian (after apologizing for Roy calling The Chuck a morgue on NEC Front Row): C’mon Andy, you know we can’t punt this season. We’re still alive.
Toole: Think about it, you can build your future. For Julian, take your pick – Stewart, Worthem, or Lee and I’ll throw in the best recruit from my 2014-15 freshman class that Big Apple Buckets will inevitably rate as the NEC’s best class next October.
Christian: Thanks, but no thanks. I still feel we have the horses to make a run at the NEC title. (Goes to hang up the phone, has second thought.) Oh by the way, do you remember the final score of Robert Morris’ last home game before you guys hosted Kentucky last March? (Slams phone, grins.)

4) Karvel Anderson, Robert Morris

Quite simply, Karvel Anderson is the most efficient player the NEC has to offer. He has an offensive rating of 132.1. Yes, 132.1 with a 24% possession rate!! Not only has he made 47.7% of his threes, but the 6’2″ guard has also converted 57.6% of his twos. No wonder he’s 14th in the country in effective field goal percentage, which is incredible as a shooting guard coming off his second wrist surgery. Furthermore, Anderson just gets it. As Jon Rothstein would tweet, “Karvel ‘soft serve’ Anderson’s leadership is OFF THE CHARTS!”

And yes, Rothstein has used that cheesy nickname, multiple times. Here’s a little sample…

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”>

Karvel “Soft Serve” Anderson with 32 points in Robert Morris’ 71-67 win at Bryant. 12-23 from field. 6-13 from 3.

— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) January 12, 2014
// <![CDATA[
async src=”//” charset=”utf-8″>
// ]]>

3) Alex Francis, Bryant

As Ratner astutely points out, Francis will go down as one of the greats in the history of the conference. Barring an injury, he’ll become the sixth player to crack 2,000 career points and has a fighting chance to break the 1,000 rebound barrier if Bryant makes it deep into the NEC tournament. His eligibility, or lack thereof, is the only thing holding him back from being our No. 1 player.

2) Dyami Starks, Bryant

If I were in Starks’ family, I’d send Bryant’s Youtube highlight clips to Columbia head coach Kyle Smith on a weekly basis.

  • “Here’s Dyami with ice-water in his veins, dropping nine in the final three minutes to beat St. Francis.”
  • “Ho hum, just another week of Dyami winning the Choice Hotels/NEC Player of the Week award. The digital trophy case keeps piling up!”
  • “Hey did you happen to see the freshman YOU INEXPLICABLY BURIED score 35 points at the Garden?! He shot 8-9 from behind the arc versus Delaware. EIGHT OF FREAKING NINE, KYLE!!”

Luckily for Smith, the Columbia program (13-6) is back on track, but they sure as hell could have used an elite shooter at the very least. Oh well, Smith’s loss is O’Shea’s game. Without the junior, Bryant wouldn’t be an NEC contender nor would there be as much buzz in Smithfield, RI. Credit the veteran coach for finding one of the best assets the NEC has to offer, and all he had to do was look at the NCAA transfer list.

1) Jalen Cannon, St. Francis Brooklyn

Jalen Cannon is everything you’d want in a player – a humble, dedicated, and focused competitor who gets better year after year. Without taking a chance on the under recruited Cannon, Glenn Braica would struggle to make St. Francis relevant. Now, he has the number one asset of the league, a player who leads by example with his scoring in the post and elite rebounding. Now if they would just give him the ball a little bit more…

One final note: In case you were curious, Bryant had the most players on our top 27 list with five players. Central Connecticut, Robert Morris and Wagner were next with three players. Saint Francis (PA) had the fewest with just one player.

Have any fun trades to propose? Did we mess up the rankings somewhere? Let’s us know in the comments section!

You can follow Ryan on Twitter @pioneer_pride.

One thought on “NEC Trade Value – The First Edition

  1. Mathias Seilund of FDU is another Senior who under Coach Hernda is starting to play like an All NEC Player in the last few games. He would be a perfect fit for either Mt. St. Mary or LIU if they want to make some noise come the NEC Playoffs


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