Assembling the best (not most deserving) All-Big Ten ‘actual’ team – POY Nik Stauskas isn’t starting

The All-Big Ten men’s basketball teams were announced Monday, the same five on the first team for both the 12 coaches and a panel of 24 beat writers, including MSU writers Joe Rexrode and Matt Charboneau. Good choices. No gaffes or surprises:

Nik Stauskas, Michigan (POY)
Gary Harris, Michigan State
Roy Devyn Marble, Iowa
Terran Petteway, Nebraska
Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin

I’d have plugged in U-M’s Caris LeVert for Kaminsky. Yogi Ferrell was the other possible first-team choice.

All-conference teams aren’t meant to be real teams. They’re meant to be five deserving players regardless of position.

But, for an interesting exercise, let’s say the Big Ten was to send its best five and five reserves to play the best of other leagues, what’s the team?

It wouldn’t be the above five. There’s no point guard, athletic 4-man or capable defensive post.

It’s not an easy answer. This is a league with an abundance of talented wings, but short on do-it-all point guards.

Here’s my All-Big Ten “Actual” Team, were such a thing to exist:

PG: Yogi Farrell, Indiana
SG: Gary Harris, MSU
SF: Caris LeVert, U-M
PF: Adreian Payne, MSU
C: Noah Vonleh, Indiana


PG: Aaron Craft, Ohio State
SG: Nik Stauskas, U-M
SF: Roy Devyn Marble, Iowa
PF: Branden Dawson, MSU
C: Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin

One could make the argument the reserves could beat the starters, and that might be so. This is not a Big Ten with loads of high-end NBA talent, but it’s a league with terrific depth of talent and veteran stars.

In simply trying to assemble the best team to win games, this first five are all complete players, who can create their own shot and defend their position. I didn’t consider schools, or the need to represent a program — hence two players from in otherwise incredibly average (if that) Indiana squad. In fact, I didn’t realize Stauskas wouldn’t be among my starting five until I began assembling the team.

The second team is mix of prolific offense and top-tier role players, with Craft and Dawson there for defense, rebounding and intangibles to supplement the offense-first crew of Stauskas, Marble and Kaminsky.

Who’s your five? And your next five? Try to take emotion and school loyalty out of it, and think only of players and the sort of mesh and parts that would make the best team.

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38 Responses to Assembling the best (not most deserving) All-Big Ten ‘actual’ team – POY Nik Stauskas isn’t starting

  1. avatar Mike Appleseed says:

    You’re hilarious Graham. You act like you’re objective and that you, in fact, remove emotion and loyalties when you write when that rarely is the case. Now you ask your readers (diehards most likely) to be logical and emotionless when responding to this fantasy team? Solid work.

    • avatar Graham Couch says:

      I have no allegiance or loyalties to any team. Do you think I’m a Hoosier fan?

      • avatar stan says:

        couch you know you are lying

      • avatar Dave says:

        A few questions:

        1. If Indiana had 2 of your 5 most “complete” players in the B1G, why are they going to miss the tourney? Are you suggesting that Tom Crean is that bad of a coach?

        2. Magic Johnson was a below-average (some would say not very good) on-the-ball defender. Would you have kept him off your “Actual” All-B1G team because of him not being a “complete” player?

        3. Is Alex Carder, in your considered opinion, still the best QB that the State of Michigan saw in 2011?

        • avatar Mike says:

          Hello- Earth to Dave: Magic Johnson was a GREAT defensive player. He is #10 on all-time steals for MSU and played only 2 years. He averaged 8 rebounds per game at MSU. He is # 1 or #2 in every category for MSU Freshman or Sophmore Scoring, Rebounds, Assists, Steals (#1). He was the best player in America his Freshman and Sophmore year and one of the greatest, most versitile players in College and NBA history. He played EVERY position with excellence. He started game 7 of the NBA finals at CENTER- as a ROOKIE and the Lakers won.

        • avatar Graham Couch says:

          Dave, I’ll let Mike’s response as to Magic’s defense and abilities stand. I do think Tom Crean is overrated as a coach, and I think the rest of IU’s team is pretty bad. As for Alex Carder, there’s no question that Kirk Cousins developed into a better quarterback. That column was written pre-2011 season, before WMU played at U-M. And there is no question any longer that Carder was a more capable QB (not athlete) than Denard Robinson. If you watched the 2010 seasons over of Carder and Cousins, the column doesn’t seem so absurd.

      • avatar Dave says:

        Another question:

        4. If MSU has 2 of the B1G’s top 5 most “complete” players, and 3 of its top 10, how did they lost by 7 at home against Illinois, which has no one in your top 10? Are you saying that Izzo is that bad of a coach?

  2. avatar Ted says:

    Wow, Graham. You’re the only person in America that would leave Stauskas off the starters. And you have two Spartans starting. I guess Nik torching the Spartans in 2 games, with many over Harris didn’t do it for you. Okay. Aren’t you the same guy who wrote an open love letter to a recruit last Fall on why he should pick MSU over Kentucky and Duke? Just stop with the trolling. You’re as bad as Izzo.

  3. avatar Kevin says:

    I find myself constantly disagreeing with Couch, but I also find myself constantly reading him… I think that may be the point.

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  5. avatar Chas says:

    Say what you will but find a better starting team and a better second team and submit it. Couch’s teams fit and complement each others skills. You could debate Harris and Stauskas, I guess, but Harris is the better over-all defender. I might pick Stauskas if I needed a team where things were gonna be close and needed someone to take that last shot. Close between the two of them but other than those two, I don’t think there’s an argument about Couch’s selections.

    • avatar Mike says:

      For all you Maize and Blue whiners- I would take Stauskas because he is a clutch winner. That rubs off on the rest of the team and makes up for his deficincies on Defense. But I get Couch’s point. He’s making a judgement on the basis of defense. When you think the UNLV of the late early 90′s, they dominated with defense. Memphis a few years ago with Derrick Rose just exposed teams with there defense. If you want to win big, you have to play it.

  6. avatar NJ Rob says:

    No doubt Payne deserves first team. It’s laughable that he isn’t. Appling too since we are talking “healthy” here.

    Here is the five that I would start against anybody in the country. All will play pro ball, and they could compete in a one game, no foul outs, against any other squad of five in the B1G.

    1-Appling, 2-Harris, 3-Valentine, 4-Dawson, and 5-Payne.

    Bring it.

  7. avatar stan says:

    wow what a bunch of effing idiots on here, starting with Couch, who seems to truly believe he isn’t simply a mouthpiece for Izzo. hey, I know, let’s talk about injuries some more!

  8. avatar Beemer says:

    If you look at Couch’s real 5 they are all going to make it in the NBA. If you look at his subs for the NBA Craft no, Stauskas maybe, Marble yes, Dawson and Kaminsky are maybes. So actually he pick 5 good ones.

  9. avatar 3M_Rocker says:

    Dear Doushrags,

    You don’t like Graham’s column, how about you don’t frickin read it? Your constant, incessant, ill-mannered whining is unbearable. Is someone holding a gun to your head? No? Then GET LOST. Don’t let the door hit your backside.

    And scUM fans. You think Stauskas should start in Graham’s hypothetical lineup, then submit your own lineup as he politely invited you to do. Stop WHINING like little butthurt b*tches because an MSU beat writer has not given your favorite weasel man-crush enough love in an article – ON AN MSU BLOG.


    • avatar reality check says:

      Stan is a great employee and a fantastic dude, you are as bad as Hoke always jealous of Michigan men

      • avatar MSU Owns Hoke says:

        I’m not jealous of michigan men, in fact, most of them clean the toilets in the prisons as porters

        • avatar reality check says:

          I resent that Hoke, Rumeal works in the laundry room and you need to call a time out on your trashtalking of slouchy bud, slouchy is the best player to ever play college ball in the State of Michigan bar none and I don’t care who reads this .

          • avatar MSU Owns Hoke says:

            more like you resemble that remark, and Magic was far and away the best player to ever play in the state of michigan, CWebb and the unfab 5 were an embarrassment and part of the biggest scandal in the history of college basketball. got paid a quarter million and still couldn’t afford a big mac ! LOL

    • avatar NJ Rob says:

      Spot on

  10. avatar reality check says:

    So Hoke no answer for Stan huh, I told Stan that his intellect is far superior to yours.

  11. avatar slouchybud says:

    Harris is a mediocre defender, does not fight thru screens, and misses too many free throws at crucial moments. I’m a 60 year State fan, but Stauskas is more “clutch”.

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      Bet you 600 grand he is not slouchy bud

      • avatar MSU Owns Hoke says:

        hey cwebb, you aren’t a 60 year state fan, you are an embarrassment to scUM athletics

        • avatar slouchy bud replies to Hoke says:

          Harris isnt the only guy who is overated Hoke Appling is way overated

          As a point guard, Appling still has plenty to work on. The leadership role is not a natural progression for Appling,

          Appling struggled in the halfcourt this season, Appling was very good in transition, but once they settled in for an offensive set, he struggled to get things going.

          Part of the problem is the inconsistent 3-pt shot. During his freshman year, it showed promise, but this year, with more defensive attention and less open spot up chances, he made only 25% of attempts. He needs to do a better job of shooting of the dribble, staying under control and getting his feet set. Also, I question his ability to extend even farther back to NBA 3-pt range, as his jumper can be a bit flat. His free throw shooting has been good – nearly 90% his freshman year and just under 80% this past season.

          . Keith Appling will never be great, but I could easily see him being a Royal Ivey type in the NBA. He offers some more upside than that and we will be able to see just how much upside he has next year. The success of guys like Avery Bradley should help his stock. Right now, he looks like a future early second rounder.

          • avatar Spartan 81 says:

            You’re lucky Ed Martin passes away before he could testify

          • avatar MSU Owns Hoke says:

            CWebb, Appling’s injuries greatly hindered him this year, everything about him was improving till the injuries, but other than that, your analysis is actually pretty good. Good thing Ed Martin passed away or you might be bunking with Remedial Robinson.

        • avatar slouchy bud replies to Hoke says:

          Buck was better on his worst day Hoke, Mark knows it but wont admit it publicly

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