how the vote worked
To get the real skinny on who's who in the college game, we went to the best source: the players. In each of the traditional power conferences—the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC—we selected one voter from each team and polled the players on who in their respective conferences ranked highest in 12 categories. Our rules were liberatingly few. All were instructed that they could not vote for a teammate and guaranteed that they could speak their minds freely, without fear of their comments becoming bulletin board fodder. They were also asked to name their choice for national player of the year, and the winner of that vote is profiled starting on page 80. In the interest of fairness, no category winner was included unless he received at least three votes; hence not every league has all the same categories.
What was the result? We got a no-holds-barred exchange that goes to show what players will say when they don't have to be political.
Sergio McClain, forward, Illinois (36% of vote).
"He's only 6'4", but he loves to back you down and go inside. He's rebounding against guys six to eight inches taller than him, but he's in there throwing people around."
Best future pro
Brian Cook, forward, Illinois (36%).
"He's very skilled at 6'10". He's not just a straight post player. He can come outside and hit jump shots and handle the ball on the perimeter. The best pros are the versatile ones."
Joe Crispin, guard, Penn State (55%).
"He's pretty quick, and he's got a neon-green light to shoot whenever he's open. He can shoot from anywhere in the gym, and he can really stroke it. It's hard to guard guys like that."
Carson Cunningham, guard, Purdue (27%).
"You look at him and you think, This guy can't play, but he really does damage. He makes tough shots, and he's a real confident player."
Opposing coach you'd most like to play for
Tom Izzo, Michigan State (36%).
"His track record speaks for itself. He's proven he can win, and he's making his players play beyond what they thought they were capable of."
Opposing coach you'd, least like to play for
Gene Keady, Purdue (27%).
"He said some things at the end of my recruitment when I decided to go somewhere else that I didn't really appreciate."