We say it all the time, “that kid is a winner!” But what does it actually mean? Simply being at a program while that program experiences success? Graduating with a sparkling GPA? Certainly both are true. When I say it though, it means to make winning plays on the court consistently and at key moments. What do we do when we have a group of players we need to recognize? We make a list!
Here are the players who may not be stars in the 2019-20 season, but their teams would be far worse off without them.
- Malik Osborne-Florida State: Easily the first guy that comes to my mind when making this list. Malik is a sit one play three transfer that became eligible for the Seminoles this season after coming over from Rice. He has started in 14 of the ‘Noles 16 games and is averaging 6.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, an assists, a block and a steal per game. He shoots 71% from the line, 12-30 from deep on the season and is second on the team behind only Devin Vassell in defensive rating at 89.2. In last night’s win against Wake Forest on the road, Osborne played 14 minutes in the second half, scored 5 points, grabbed 5 rebounds along with a 2 swipes. You’ll never see him on Sportscenter, but Florida State most likely wouldn’t be 14-2 without him.
- Eric Hamilton-Pittsburgh: A 6’9 graduate transfer, Hamilton came to Pitt by way of UNCG, by way of Wichita State. Hamilton has stepped into the starting big man role for the Panthers and given them a sense of toughness that they had previously lacked. He’s averaging 6.4 points and 4.5 rebounds in just 17 minutes per game for Jeff Capel’s team while his defensive rating is second on the team and his true shooting percentage of 59.9% ranks him 15th in the ACC.
- Dwayne Sutton-Louisville: Sutton has been making winning plays since 2015. A local star in the Louisville area as a high school player, Sutton attended UNC-Asheville for a season before transferring to Louisvlle as a preferred walk-on. He would eventually earn a scholarship, playing time, and the respect of fans all over the country. This season, he has started all 15 games for the Cardinals and is averaging 8.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. He currently ranks second in the ACC with 123 rebounds and 15th in the league in defensive rating.
- Tyrece Radford-Virginia Tech: To steal a saying from comedian Bert Kreischer: Secret time. I knew absolutely nothing about Radford coming into the season, in fact, I did not even know there was a player named Tyrece Radford on the roster until I saw him in a game. This is with good reason I might add. Look at his 247 profile. He’s basically a ghost. He’s 6’2 and going to Virginia Tech is basically what it says. Fast forward to the season, he’s started 13 of 15 games for Mike Young and is averaging 7.8 points and 5.9 rebounds for the Hokies while shooting 65% from the floor while ranking 4th in the ACC in player efficiency ranking.
- Jordan Goldwire-Duke: He isn’t going to put on a offensive show, but he has scored 8 or more points three times this season. What he does do is play balls out on defense(1.5 steals per game, 85.3 DRating) and hes actually getting better everywhere else. In fact, in the Blue Devil’s eight games since losing to Stephen F. Austin, Goldwire has played 26 minutes per game and averaged 5.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 2 steals per game. He is also shooting 36% from deep and 52% from the floor. The most important part? Duke is 8-0 in those games.