You might read a word or two on the subject of Grayson Allen or Michael Porter Jr. next season. Today, however, I want to celebrate 10 high-performance outliers who are the polar opposites of those two guys. The players I'm honoring perform their heroic feats outside the major conferences (shocking, I know) and indeed merit your attention even though they won't be freshmen in 2017-18.
Meet my all-mid-major team. These are my rankings, so I get to make the rules. Namely, I've taken the "Gonzaga and Wichita State aren't real mid-majors" skeptics literally and ruled otherwise no-brainer picks from the Bulldogs and Shockers as ineligible for mention here.
That means the rest of Division I -- from the Atlantic 10 and the non-Bulldog West Coast Conference on down -- is fair game. Note that several players honored here are testing the draft waters, so a 2.0 ranking might be necessary in the near future.
Here's my preseason all-mid-major team for 2017-18, in alphabetical order:
Peyton Aldridge, Davidson Wildcats
He has been called the Larry Bird of the Atlantic 10, and if that sounds like a stretch, at least Aldridge is a versatile 6-foot-8 scorer who's nearly automatic at the line. In the Wildcats' last four games of the season, he averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds. With former teammate Jack Gibbs having come to the end of his eligibility, Aldridge is likely to be "the man" for Bob McKillop in 2017-18.
Mike Daum, South Dakota State Jackrabbits
Daum is kind of a big deal in his hometown of Kimball, Nebraska, and with good reason. There are players nationally who carry a heavier workload on offense, and there are some stars who are more efficient. But no player in Division I scores as effectively as Daum does while posting such a high number for possession usage. A 6-foot-9 junior-to-be, he could earn some preseason All-American consideration.
Brandon Goodwin, Florida Gulf Coast Eagles
The former UCF Knight gave Florida State all it could handle in the round of 64, scoring 28 points and dishing seven assists before the Eagles fell 86-80. That kind of performance was more or less perfectly aligned with what Goodwin had done earlier in the season against the likes of Florida, Baylor and Michigan State. If Joe Dooley's star is not the Atlantic Sun player of the year in 2017-18, some dark horse will have had a very strong season.
Tyler Hall, Montana State Bobcats
A career 43 percent 3-point shooter, the 6-foot-5 Hall posted one of the nation's better offensive ratings in 2016-17. Considering he recorded those numbers as (often) the second-tallest player on the floor and featured scorer for a rather underwhelming offense, Hall's achievement is all the more remarkable. Then again, next season, head coach Brian Fish will welcome back most of the minutes and points from an MSU team that finished 11-7 in the Big Sky. Perhaps even better numbers await Hall and the Bobcats in 2017-18.
Kevin Hervey, UT Arlington Mavericks
Your reigning Sun Belt player of the year, Hervey, a 6-foot-7 junior, led the Mavericks to a 27-9 season that fell just short of an NCAA tournament bid. During a 14-4 run to the conference regular-season title, he drained 42 percent of his 3s and 59 percent of his 2s as UTA's featured scorer. Hervey is also one of the nation's top defensive rebounders. This season, Maverick fans will have one last chance to see their hometown product excel as a senior.
Alize Johnson, Missouri State Bears
Last season it wasn't easy to draw attention to Missouri Valley Conference happenings or players outside of Wichita, Kansas, or Normal, Illinois, but Johnson had an outstanding junior campaign for the Bears. As a 6-foot-9 stretch-5, he hit 39 percent of his 3s and ranked in the top 10 nationally for defensive-rebound percentage (per kenpom.com). In MSU's season-ending loss to Wichita State in the MVC tournament, Johnson scored 16 points and recorded seven assists.
Marcus Keene, Central Michigan Chippewas
You know Keene as the player who was the nation's top per-game scorer by a margin of almost five full points (over South Dakota State's Daum). You don't often see statistical separation like that in our post-Pete Maravich era. Yes, Keene shot often and played a ton of minutes, but he was also effective. As a 5-foot-9 point guard, he connected on 37 percent of his 3-point attempts and more than half the time from inside the arc. A one-time Youngstown State Penguin, Keene will take another run at numerical extremism this coming season as a senior.
Jock Landale, Saint Mary's Gaels
In 2016-17, Landale had what can only be termed a near-perfect season for a player who doesn't shoot 3s. When you hit 63 percent of your 2s as your team's leading scorer and also rate as one of the nation's best all-around rebounders, it's going to be very hard to outperform yourself the following season. Nevertheless, don't be surprised if you hear a good deal more about Landale this season. His performance will again be excellent, and the Gaels could give Gonzaga a run for its money in the WCC race: Randy Bennett will return four starters and add Ole Miss transfer Cullen Neal.
Giddy Potts, Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Potts ended the season with an 0-of-8 shooting performance against Butler in the round of 32, but on the season as a whole he was a productive and versatile scorer. His return next season will be crucial for Kermit Davis; MTSU faces significant question marks with the departures of both Reggie Upshaw and JaCorey Williams. In three seasons, Potts has converted 42 percent of his 3s and half his 2s.
Myles Stephens, Princeton Tigers
As a sophomore, Stephens, who is 6-foot-5, added 3-point range to his game and became arguably the most potent option on a multi-faceted offense. Indeed, Princeton might not have won the Ivy's first ever postseason tournament if not for the 44 points that Stephens recorded in two games against Penn and Yale. If Mitch Henderson's team is going to reach a second consecutive NCAA tournament, it will be up to Stephens and Devin Cannady to get them there.