Rivals.com selects Lee As A Top 12 Player To Watch

September 22, 2009
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Sept. 22, 2009

ODU's Gerald Lee is among the top 12 players in "mid major" conferences to watch for this coming basketball season. The senior reached a milestone by becoming the 44th Monarch to reach the 1,000 career point plateau.

Lee was selected to the first team All-CAA, NABC All-District 10, Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major All-American,CAA All-Tournament and CIT All-Tournament. Lee enters the season with 1,104 career points. ODU went 25-10 last year and won the CIT Post season championship.

September 22, 2009 David Fox Rivals.com College Basketball Staff Writer

This week, we highlight the top 12 players in the mid-major conferences. Some already are familiar to the hardcore fan. Several have enjoyed all-conference or national honors already, while others have been NCAA tournament heroes for a year or more.

In selecting the 12 players, we considered the following conferences to contain "mid-major" teams: America East, Atlantic 10, Colonial, Conference USA, Horizon, Metro Atlantic Athletic, Mid-American, Missouri Valley, Mountain West, Southern, Sun Belt, Western Athletic and West Coast.

Of note: We did not include players from Gonzaga, Memphis and Xavier because those programs are too established to be considered "mid-majors."

F Luke Babbitt, Nevada Particulars: 6-9/225, Soph./Reno (Nev.) Galena Conference: WAC Watch him on: Nov. 27 at VCU, Nov. 29 at North Carolina The buzz: A four-star player coming out of high school, Babbitt elected to sign with the hometown Wolf Pack. He is an NBA prospect after averaging 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. He and high-scoring point guard Armon Johnson will give David Carter a solid core in his first year as coach.

G Jimmer Fredette, BYU Particulars: 6-2/195, Jr./Glens Falls (N.Y.) High Conference: Mountain West Watch him on: Dec. 8 vs. Arizona State, Dec. 28 at Arizona The buzz: Fredette has played on two NCAA tournament teams (both lost in the first round to Texas A&M) in the shadow of fellow guard Lee Cummard. With Cummard gone, Fredette is the leading returning scorer in the Mountain West (16.2 ppg). A physical point guard, Fredette is a fan favorite who should be the leader on the MWC's leading tournament contender.

F Paul George, Fresno State Particulars: 6-8/210, Soph./Palmdale (Calif.) Pete Knight Conference: WAC Watch him on: Dec. 12 vs. BYU (in Los Angeles) The buzz: George was the second-leading scorer to Sylvester Seay (a fine mid-major player in his own right) on a poor WAC team last season. Now a sophomore, George is the major reason Fresno State could climb in the WAC standings. He has the athletic ability to be an NBA prospect. As a freshman, George averaged 14.3 points and 6.2 rebounds.

F Matt Howard, Butler Particulars: 6-8/230, Jr./Connersville (Ind.) High Conference: Horizon Watch him on: Nov. 26-29 in the 76 Classic, Dec. 8 vs. Georgetown (in New York), Dec. 12 at Ohio State, Dec. 19 at Xavier The buzz: Really, this is a toss-up for this spot between Howard and teammate Gordon Hayward. Howard gets the nod after earning conference newcomer of the year honors as a freshman and overall player of the year honors as a sophomore. He's a high-energy player who led the Bulldogs with 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds last season.

G Brandn Johnson, San Diego Particulars: 6-0/200, Sr./Houston Willow Ridge Conference: West Coast Watch him on: Nov. 13 vs. Stanford, Nov. 25 vs. Oklahoma (Great Alaska Shootout), Dec. 31 vs. Mississippi State, Jan. 16 vs. Gonzaga, Feb. 13 at Gonzaga The buzz: Johnson was the leading scorer for the Toreros' NCAA tourney team in 2008; he averaged 16.9 points that season, when San Diego won the West Coast tournament and shocked Connecticut in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. But he missed all but eight games with a torn Achilles tendon last season. His return is the key to the Toreros' hopes of challenging Gonzaga in the WCC.

C Jerome Jordan, Tulsa Particulars: 7-0/250, Sr./Melbourne (Fla.) Florida Air Academy Conference: Conference USA Watch him on: Dec. 2 vs. Oklahoma State, Feb. 25 at Duke The buzz: Memphis could lose its four-year stranglehold on Conference USA in part because Tulsa returns Jordan, a native of Jamaica. A top shot blocker (234 in the last two seasons) and rebounder, Jordan improved his offensive game last season, averaging 13.8 points per game on 58.6 percent shooting.

F Gerald Lee, Old Dominion Particulars: 6-10/250, Sr./Uusikaupunki, Finland Conference: Colonial Watch him on: Dec. 12 at Dayton, Dec. 19 at Georgetown The buzz: Old Dominion could turn its 2009 CollegeInsider.com Tournament title into a 2010 NCAA tournament appearance. A member of the Finnish national team, Lee led the Monarchs last season with 15.5 points and 5.7 rebounds, but he's also a skilled passer for a big man. Lee's dad, Gerald Sr., played at Dowling College in Oakdale, N.Y., before becoming the leading scorer in Finnish pro basketball history. His uncle, Ron Lee, is Oregon's leading career scorer and played six years in the NBA after being selected in the first round by Phoenix in 1976.

C Larry Sanders, VCU Particulars: 6-11/235, Jr./Port St. Lucie (Fla.) High Conference: Colonial Watch him on: Nov. 21 vs. Oklahoma, Nov. 27 vs. Nevada The buzz: The Rams lost their coach Anthony Grant and NBA first-round pick Eric Maynor, but Sanders is the main reason VCU will remain a team to watch in the CAA. Sanders is a defensive force after blocking at least 90 shots in each of his first two seasons and averaging 8.6 rebounds per game last season. His offense remains a work in progress after he averaged 11.3 points last season.

G A.J. Slaughter, Western Kentucky Particulars: 6-3/180, Sr./Shelbyville (Ky.) Shelby County Conference: Sun Belt Watch him on: Dec. 2 at South Carolina, Dec. 11 at Vanderbilt, Dec. 19 at Louisville, Jan. 4 vs. Mississippi State The buzz: The Hilltoppers, winners of three NCAA tournament games in the past two seasons, have a knack for passing the torch; it went from Courtney Lee to Orlando Mendez-Valdez and now to Slaughter. He led Western Kentucky in scoring at 16 points per game last season. Slaughter is one of three double-digit scorers returning to the Hilltoppers.

G Ryan Thompson, Rider Particulars: 6-6/220, Sr./Mt. Laurel (N.J.) Lenape Conference: Metro Atlantic Athletic Watch him on: Nov. 13 at Mississippi State, Nov. 19 at Virginia, Nov. 21 at Kentucky, Dec. 15 at Rutgers The buzz: The brother of 2008 NBA lottery pick Jason Thompson, Ryan Thompson picked up where Jason left off. Ryan led the Broncs at 18 points per game and finished in the top 11 in the MAAC in scoring, rebounding, field-goal percentage, assists, free-throw percentage, steals, 3-point field goal percentage, 3-point field goals made, assist-to-turnover ratio, defensive rebounds and minutes played.

G/F Edwin Ubiles, Siena Particulars: 6-6/204, Sr./Oakdale (Conn.) St. Thomas More School Conference: Metro Atlantic Athletic Watch him on: Dec. 2 at Georgia Tech The buzz: Siena loses guard Kenny Hasbrouck, who was a key player on two NCAA tourney teams. But four starters are back, including Ubiles, who led the Saints in scoring at 15.0 points per game last season. He was at his best in the tourney with a 20-point game against Ohio State and a 24-point, eight-rebound effort against top-seeded Louisville.

F Chris Wright, Dayton Particulars: 6-8/226, Jr./Trotwood (Ohio) Trotwood-Madison Conference: Atlantic 10 Watch him on: Nov. 19-22 in the Puerto Rico Top-Off, Jan. 16 at Xavier, Feb. 6 vs. Xavier The buzz: Dayton is in position to win its first outright Atlantic 10 title, thanks to the return of Wright and three other starters. With his 39?-inch vertical leap and tremendous athletic ability, Wright is clearly the catalyst for the Flyers. After playing only 15 games as a sophomore because of an ankle injury, Wright averaged 13.3 points and 6.6 rebounds as a junior last season.