Yahoo’s Pat Forde has released a list of the 25 most intriguing people in college basketball and three Big Ten figures—Nigel Hayes, Tom Izzo and OG Anunoby—made the cut.
Forde ranked Hayes, a Wisconsin forward, the third most intriguing person in the sport, behind a pair of coaches, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Villanova’s Jay Wright. Hayes is the Big Ten’s preseason Player of the Year and also an outspoken critic of the NCAA and his own university. Here’s part of what Forde wrote about the senior:
When Hayes appeared during a College Football “GameDay” show in Madison last month holding a sign that read, “Broke College Athlete – – Anything Helps,” it touched off another round of debate about paying the players. Now he’s put his name behind a statement by many African-American athletes demanding change at the school after a fan brought a Barack Obama caricature with a noose around its neck to the Wisconsin-Nebraska football game. There is a lot going on in Hayes’ world at present.
Izzo, Michigan State’s coach, ranks eighth on Forde’s list due to him recent induction into the Hall of Fame and the Spartans’ NCAA Tournament flop last season. From Forde:
Now Izzo is embarking upon another rarity for him: building a team around freshmen, specifically top recruit Miles Bridges. Izzo signed the nation’s No. 3 class, behind only regular recruiting juggernauts Duke and Kentucky. With a schedule that includes Arizona, Kentucky and Duke in the first month, they’d better be ready right away.
Anunoby, an Indiana forward, makes the list at No. 19. The sophomore surged from no-name to NBA prospect late last season.
He wasn’t even a top-250 recruit coming out of high school in Jefferson City, Mo., but by the end of his freshman season last spring Anunoby had rocketed onto NBA draft charts. He stayed in school, and the 6-foot-8 wing player’s dazzling athleticism and skill set has made him a must-watch for pro scouts. How does he do when he’s no longer sneaking up on the game?