Bracketography’s “Best in State” Awards

by Andrew Force | March 11th, 2008

Where are the best of the best from?

With All-Conference Teams mostly announced in the last two days, we at Bracketography thought we’d take a little different approach to our awards: the point of this article is to take a look at the best five from each state in the nation.

Talented players tend to come from particular hot spots.

A player who manages to get on the court for one game minute is eligible to represent their state. Though extremely talented, some players have been injured all year. (For example, Sharaud Curry of Providence might have represented Georgia had his foot healed as expected.)

The teams are comprised of the best players originating from each state. The players are evaluated on their skills and dimensions they currently possess. A budding freshman might not make the cut, despite having an undeniably higher ceiling than a currently contributing upperclassman.

For each state, the selected players are not listed in a particular order.

Alabama—A group of extremely versatile forwards.
Stanley Robinson (UConn)
DeMarre Carroll (Mizzou)
Richard Hendrix (Alabama)
Walter Sharpe (UAB)
D.J. White (Indiana)

Alaska—Chalmers is the rare talent from AK.
Mario Chalmers (Kansas)
Will Egolf (Bradley)
Ray Schafer (Oregon)

Arizona—Surprisingly poor talent pool in Arizona.
Jerryd Bayless (Arizona)
Ty Abbott (Arizona State)
Lawrence Hill (Stanford)
Kevin Coble (Northwestern)
Lee Cummard (BYU)

Arkansas—They like to score at all costs.
Gabriel Moore (Indiana State)
Arbry Butler (Wichita State)
Mykal Riley (Alabama)
Sonny Weems (Arkansas)
James Anderson (Oklahoma State)

California-Some real tough decisions chose the best.
DeMarcus Nelson (Duke)
Daniel Hackett (USC)
Ryan Anderson (Cal)
Chase Budinger (Arizona)
Darren Collison (UCLA)

Colorado—You have to be able to shoot to get noticed.
Matt Bouldin (Gonzaga)
Levi Dyer (Illinois State)
Marcus King-Stockton (Colorado)
Adam Nigon (Colorado State)
Nate Rohnert (Denver)

Connecticut—Several players who will not play entire season.
Damian Saunders (Duquesne)
Geary Claxton (Penn State)
Mike Trimboli (Vermont)
Craig Austrie (Connecticut)
Doug Wiggins (Connecticut)

Delaware—Egerson began his career at Georgetown.
D.J. Boney (Delaware)
Edwin Santiago (Delaware)
Marc Egerson (Delaware)
Shemik Thompson (Central Connecticut State)
Brandon Tunnell (Hampton)

Florida—Don’t sleep on Florida’s freshmen.
Sasha Kaun (Kansas)
Marreese Speights (Florida)
Nick Calathes (Florida)
Chris Warren (Ole Miss)
Alonzo Gee (Alabama)

Georgia—The best from GA leapt to the pros.
Korvotney Barber (Auburn)
J.J. Hickson (NC State)
Toney Douglas (Florida State)
Jordan Hill (Arizona)
Joey Dorsey (Memphis)

Hawaii—Low has Wash State reaching incredible heights.
Derrick Low (Washington St.)
Bobby Nash (Hawaii)
Gary Satterwhite (Hawaii)
Beau Albrecthtson (Hawaii)

Idaho—Not a top-flight program within miles.
Matt Bauscher (Boise State)
Trevor Morris (Weber State)
Darin Nagle (Idaho)
Scott Thompson (Santa Clara)
Matt Stucki (Idaho State)

Illinois—A who’s who of Fighting Illini misses.
Jerel McNeal (Marquette)
Dwayne Curtis (Ole Miss)
Sherron Collins (Kansas)
Derrick Rose (Memphis)
Jon Scheyer (Duke)

Indiana—This best starting five would shoot 65% from three.
A.J. Graves (Butler)
Luke Harangody (Notre Dame)
Deonta Vaughn (Cincinnati)
Robert Vaden (UAB)
Eric Gordon (Indiana)

Iowa—Most of these guys take some development.
Brian Lillis (Albany)
Jimmy Binnie (Dayton)
Jason Bohannon (Wisconsin)
Jordan Eglseder (Northern Iowa)
Klayton Korver (Drake)

Kansas—Three Valley starters from the prairie.
Theron Wilson (Bradley)
Boo Richardson (Illinois State)
Jay Tunnell (Indiana State)
Dupree Lucas (Portland State)
Stephen DuCharme (Utah State)

Kentucky—Clearly UK recruits out of state.
Tyrone Green (SIU)
Albert Jackson (Georgia)
Chris Lofton (Tennessee)
Preston Knowles (Louisville)
Terrance Farley (Louisville)

Louisiana—A surprising array of franchise players.
Kentrell Gransberry (South Florida)
D.J. Augustin (Texas)
Shan Foster (Vanderbilt)
Deron Washington (Virginia Tech)
Bo McCalebb (New Orleans)

Maine—Coach Norm Roberts thinks Burrell can be special.
Carlos Strong (Boston U)
Mark Socoby (Maine)
Brian Andre (Maine)
Jordan Cook (Maine)
Justin Burrell (St. John’s)

Maryland—Small state with huge metro talent.
Roy Hibbert (Georgetown)
DaJuan Summers (Georgetown)
Sam Young (Pitt)
Ty Lawson (North Carolina)
Donte Greene (Syracuse)

Massachusetts—These are some important role players.
Jeff Adrien (Uconn)
Jamual Warren (Cincy)
Antonio Anderson (Memphis)
Corey Lowe (Boston U)
Tony Gaffney (UMass)

Michigan—Neitzel beat Hairston and Crawford for Mr. Bball.
Tory Jackson (Notre Dame)
Chris Douglas-Roberts (Memphis)
Malik Hairston (Oregon)
Drew Neitzel (Michigan State)
Joe Crawford (Kentucky)

Minnesota—A state that tends to keep its talent hidden.
Dan Fitzgerald (Marquette)
Longar Longar (Oklahoma)
Jamar Smith (Morgan State)
Dan Coleman (Minnesota)
Eric Coleman (Northern Iowa)

Mississippi—Rhodes and Fells could not be more different.
Jeremy Wise (Southern Miss)
Kevin Sims (Tulane)
David Gomez (Tulane)
Charles Rhodes (Mississippi State)
Courtney Fells (NC State)

Missouri—Four potential conference players of the year here.
Brandon Rush (Kansas)
Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina)
Marcus Walker (Colorado State)
Randal Falker (SIU)
Deven Mitchell (Missouri State)

Montana—Three Grizzlies stayed home for hoops.
Trevor Morris (Idaho)
Bobby Howard (Montana State)
Jordan Hasquet (Montana)
Derek Selvig (Montana)
Tyler Hurley (Montana)

Nebraska—The studs are about as isolated as the cities.
Josh Dotzler (Creighton)
Nick Bahe (Creighton)
Karl White (UIC)
Chris Deans (Northern Colorado)
Matt Hill (Texas)

Nevada—Padgett transferred in, Wade transferred out of UL.
David Padgett (Louisville)
P’Allen Stinnett (Creighton)
Mike Kale (Idaho)
Marcus Lawrence (UNLV)
Lorenzo Wade (San Diego State)

New Hampshire—Searching found four. Does a 5th exist?
Luke Bonner (UMass)
Tyler Roche (BC)
Joe Cheslock (New Hampshire)
Corey Hassan (Sacred Heart)

New Jersey—Generally one of the finest hotbeds.
Earl Clark (Louisville)
Ahmad Nivins (St. Joseph’s)
Da’Sean Butler (West Virginia)
Brandon Costner (NC State)
Dan Werner (Florida)

New Mexico—Representing four programs on the rise.
Alex White (Drake)
Harvey Hale (Wake Forest)
Kasey Cunningham (USC)
Chad Toppert (New Mexico)
Daniel Faris (New Mexico)

New York—Four Big East players from NYC.
A.J. Price (UConn)
Geoff McDermott (Providence)
Danny Green (UNC)
Jonny Flynn (Cuse)
Levance Fields (Pitt)

North Carolina—UNC and Duke wisely look elsewhere.
K.C. Rivers (Clemson)
Anthony Morrow (Georgia Tech)
Othello Hunter (Ohio State)
Matt Salley (Bradley)
Stephen Curry (Davidson)

North Dakota—Those self-preserving Bison.
Lucas Moormann (North Dakota State)
Austin Pennick (North Dakota State)
Brian Qvale (Montana)
Matt Geiselhart (North Dakota State)

Ohio—The complete players originate in the Buckeye State.
Brian Roberts (Dayton)
Jamar Butler (Ohio State)
Kosta Koufos (Ohio State)
Derrick Brown (Xavier)
Raymar Morgan (Michigan State)

Oklahoma—Quite an honor for the Griffin brothers.
Blake Griffin (Oklahoma)
J.R. Giddens (New Mexico)
Josh Young (Drake)
Darnell Jackson (Kansas)
Taylor Griffin (Oklahoma)

Oregon—Love and Singler are incredible talents.
Kyle Singler (Duke)
Kevin Love (UCLA)
Maarty Leunen (Oregon)
Seth Tarver (Oregon State)
Clint Chapman (Texas)

Pennsylvania—Prided on toughness in PA.
Wayne Ellington (UNC)
DeJuan Blair (Pittsburgh)
Stefon Jackson (UTEP)
Sean Singletary (Virginia)
Gerald Henderson (Duke)

Rhode Island—Baron plays for his father at URI.
Jeff Xavier (Providence)
Joe Mazzulla (West Virginia)
Gary Correia (UMass)
Luke Devine (Fordham)
Jimmy Baron (URI)

South Carolina—Reid is the best 6’5 PF in the country.
Trevor Booker (Clemson)
Tirrell Baines (Marshall)
Devan Downey (South Carolina)
Zam Frederick (South Caronlina)
Arizona Reid (High Point)

South Dakota—Krabbenhoft’s dome is unforgettable.
Matt Martin (Montana)
Anthony Cordova (South Dakota State)
Dale Moss (South Dakota State)
Michael Tveidt (North Dakota St)
Joe Krabbenhoft (Wisconsin)

Tennessee—Prince, Smith both transferred back to home state.
Lester Hudson (Tennessee-Martin)
J.P. Prince (Tennessee)
Tyler Smith (Tennessee)
Jarvis Varnado (Mississippi State)
Jamont Gordon (Mississippi State)

Texas—Football is not the only sport they’ve perfected.
A.J. Abrams (Texas)
Curtis Jerrells (Baylor)
Darrell Arthur (Kansas)
Joseph Jones (Texas A&M)
Dion Dowell (Houston)

Utah—Losing ground regionally.
Gary Wilkinson (Utah State)
Geoff Payne (Southern Utah)
Josh Oleson (Utah Valley State)
Steve Panos (Weber State)
Shaun Green (Utah)

Vermont—Irrelevant nationally.
Tyrone Conley (New Hampshire)
Joe Cheslock (New Hampshire)
Kyle Cieplicki (Vermont)
Chad Powlovich (Vermont)
Matt Glass (UMass)

Virginia—Leading scorer from ACC, Big South, 7th in Big East
Scottie Reynolds (Villanova)
Tyrese Rice (Boston College)
Bambale Osby (Maryland)
Reggie Williams (VMI)
Duke Crews (Tennessee)

Washington—Gonzaga still hauling in the best out west.
Terrence Williams (Louisville)
Jon Brockman (Washington)
Josh Heytvelt (Gonzaga)
David Pendergraft (Gonzaga)
Marcellus Kemp (Nevada)

West Virginia—Mayo played with Walker and Patterson.
Bill Walker (Kansas St.)
O.J. Mayo (USC)
Cookie Miller (Nebraska)
Patrick Patterson (Kentucky)
Tyler Benson (St. Bonaventure)

Wisconsin—UW kept two of the top 5 in state.
Draelon Burns (DePaul)
Jerry Smith (Louisville)
Wesley Matthews (Marquette)
Brian Butch (Wisconsin)
Marcus Landry (Wisconsin)

Wyoming—Try to see Carroll. He is a hidden gem.
Jaycee Carroll (Utah State)
James Johnson (Wake Forest)
Trei Steward (New Mexico State)
Adam Waddell (Wyoming)
Eric Platt (Wyoming)

Washington DC — Led by the #1 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.
Chris Johnson (LSU)
Michael Beasley (Kansas State)
Jacob Green (West Virginia)
Jeff Allen (Virginia Tech)
Dwayne Anderson (Villanova)


Final Word: Texas, New Jersey, New York, and California were expectedly loaded with great college players. Alaska and New Hampshire were downright impossible with neither producing five basketball players in the last five years.

A very interesting trend revolved around national powers. Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Kansas are all regarded as elite programs. None of their home states created top flight talent. So the national recruiting each engages in is actually a necessity.

Surprises included Maryland, Virginia, and Alabama. The DC metro area especially earned bragging rights during this exercise.

The list is not inarguable. Certain players deserve consideration. Who and where would you make changes?

Editor’s Note: I mistakenly left off Andrew Force’s Washington D.C. selections in the first edition of this article.

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16 Responses to “Bracketography’s “Best in State” Awards”  

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  1. Mark Says:

    Brook Lopez had a far better season than Chase Budinger or Daniel Hackett — it’s not close either. Lopez was 1st team All Pac-10, Budinger was 3rd team, and Hackett is nowhere to be found. Even if you were to go by position, Russell Westbrook would be a better choice than Hackett.

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  2. Mark Says:

    James Harden would also be a far better choice than either Budinger or Hackett.

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  3. Chris Miller Says:


    WHERE IS MICHAEL BEASLEY??? (I’m sure it was an accident)

    You need to put Kyle Weaver in the Wisconsin group. And I would choose Mitch Johnson (Stanford) way ahead of David Pendergraft in Washington.

    I really like the list though!

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  4. Spalding Smails Says:

    Great list. My state (Indiana) is pretty well-represented here. We’d have Oden and Conley on there, too, if they had stuck around.

    Pennsylvania’s another surprisingly good state.

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  5. pico Says:

    Happy to see a St. John’s player on the list, but Justin Burrell is from the Bronx and prepped in Maine. Paris Horne is from Delaware… but probably doesn’t outshine the DE guys yet.

    Also, you left DC off the list. Isn’t Beasley from there?

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  6. David Mihm Says:

    Hey guys, thanks for the comments. As you’ll see from my Editor’s Note, I mistakenly left off Andrew’s DC picks, hence the Beasley omission.

    Mark, I agree wholeheartedly on Lopez ahead of Budinger or Hackett; not sure about Harden (yet–I think he may do some damage if ASU can make the Tournament).

    Chris, Agree that Mitch Johnson deserves mention, but I’m still not sold on him 100%.

    Spalding, I’m a big fan of your work at Bushwood CC. But you’ll get nothing and like it!

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  7. Andrew Force Says:

    Thanks Pico. The prep school thing REALLY put a snag in my research for this.
    I tried to find their state of origin whenever possible. Of course some players spent time at two or more prep schools and others go the JuCo route.

    @Chris Miller

    I think Weaver was one of my five toughest calls. Who do you take off to put him on the Wisconsin team?

    I think Brian Butch might be the most susceptible.

    One other aspect of Weaver’s omission…Washington State players typically, perhaps unfairly get overlooked because their statistics are lower than peers. The system generates fewer shots, though higher percentage shots.

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  8. Chris Miller Says:

    On Weaver’s omission: His value to his team is bigger than almost any team in the Pac 10. He doesn’t put up big numbers, but he does everything. Points, boards, assists, blocks, lack of turnovers. I hate Wazzu, but he deserves the credit.

    Love your website.

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  9. Kyle Says:

    Drew Lavender is just inches ahead of Morgan and Brown from Ohio.

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  10. Kyle Says:

    Also, Mayo and Bill Walker came to Ohio and won three state titles, so the Buckeye state is definitely well represented!

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  11. Andrew Force Says:

    @ Chris Miller

    A website I frequent, NBADraft.net does excellent player comparisons for current college players. They compared Kyle Weaver to former Temple Owl Mardy Collins. Do you remember Collins and do you think its a fair comparison?

    Mardy was an outstanding defender who generated steals his whole career. In the last couple years he became a great scorer.

    @ Kyle

    I watched OJ Mayo and and Bill Walker play in an ordinary regular season high school game in their junior year. Along with Keenan Ellis (UAB) that team was obnoxiously talented. Mayo and Walker played two quarters, nothing more. They won by 40 and Walker was every bit the leaper Vince Carter was/is. I hope he can get back that nasty athleticism following knee surgery and added weight.

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  12. Andrew Force Says:

    The thought around western Ohio is that Chris Wright (Dayton) will be an Atlantic 10 superstar. When I saw Dayton early in the year he was trying to return from an injury.

    Often fans and media around the Dayton Flyers complained that a healthy Wright meant the difference between NCAA and NIT. That remains to be seen, but check him out next year.

    Lavender is a tough call. No question he makes Xavier a true threat, rather than a dark horse candidate. My fear with him is that he disappears some games. Xavier as a team is incredibly balanced and has much more athleticism than the nation recognizes.

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  13. Chris Says:

    Nice list. You could add Ramon Harris to Alaska. While he is not putting up big numbers offensively. He is the best on the ball defender at Kentucky.

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  14. Andrew Force Says:

    @ Chris

    Thank you. Alaska and Hawaii were clearly difficult for me.

    Vermont and the Dakotas were not fair behind.

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  15. Larry Says:

    Arbry Butler? Arbry Butler? You have gone off the reservation on this one.

    Hilarious. I am a Shocker fan and would love to have someone from the team on the list, but you have lost your mind with this pick.

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  16. Mayhem Says:

    Was trying this goto a random blog feature on randomizer and ended up here, a terrific way to read something new like this. Thanks for taking your time and energy to post this blogpost.

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