1. F Ben Moore
SMU’s leader in minutes, points, rebounds, blocks and second in assists clearly sits above the player power rankings. Ben Moore has been SMU’s best and most consistent big man so far. Starting in place of Markus Kennedy, Moore’s development over the season will be crucial to SMU’s season if Kennedy can’t get eligible. If Moore continues on his pace, he’ll be an All-AAC selection this year. One area Moore leads SMU in is players fouled. If SMU is to have a good interior presence, Moore can’t get into some of the foul trouble like he’s seen.
2. PG Nic Moore
Nic Moore struggled early this season against Gonzaga, but there’s no doubt that when Moore isn’t on the floor, SMU’s offense falls apart. Even though Nic Moore is third worst on the team, shooting 41 percent from the floor, as Nic goes, SMU goes. No one has stood out like Nic Moore on this team. 11 turnovers leads the team and has to get better in the bigger games with his game management. There’s not a question though that Nic Moore is the leader and one of the best players on SMU’s team.
3. G/F Sterling Brown
It was a shock to just about everyone that Sterling Brown wasn’t in the starting lineup against Lamar on opening night. Brown got the start against Indiana and took advantage, going 5-6 from the field, finishing with 11 points, nine rebounds and five assists. While Brown went back to coming off the bench against Eastern Washington, he didn’t disappoint by grabbing 11 rebounds and adding seven points in the win. Larry Brown has talked about how Sterling can play the four for SMU and if his intensity and physical play on the boards is any indication, he’ll continue to get time there and at the three.
4. G/F Justin Martin
Justin Martin’s stock will likely fall here in the next week as he hurt his knee against Eastern Washington after having a sprained ankle in the preseason. Martin has the hustle and energy that SMU needs on the court and that will be missed. Despite having the third least amount of minutes in the rotation behind Cunningham and Manuel, Martin has been aggressive shooting the ball, is physical and doesn’t turn the ball over. Once Martin settles in to the offense and gets healthy, I would imagine he’ll snag major minutes.
5. SG Keith Frazier
Keith Frazier has taken a big step forward with his 17 points, three rebounds and zero turnovers against Eastern Washington. It was a career-high for Frazier, who’s improving every game. He’s cut down on turnovers the last two games, is playing more physical and grabbing rebounds. While Brown has said that Frazier needs to get better on the defensive end, he’s slowly progressing in that area. The next few games will be key to seeing what type of season we will see from Frazier, but if Saturday was any indication, he’ll be the scoring threat SMU desperately needs.
6. C Yanick Moreira
Yanick started the season off a perfect 9-9 from the field before completely imploding against Gonzaga and Indiana. Moreira saw season-lows in minutes in the losses even while only having one foul in both games. Moreira simply disappeared in the spotlight. Moreira got back on track against Eastern Washington with 13 points and five rebounds, but against EWU, there wasn’t a major threat in the post area. Moreira has to be more physical especially with Markus Kennedy absent or Brown will have to find other lineups that work for the Mustangs.
7. G Ben Emelogu
The sophomore transfer from Virginia Tech is having a tough time adjusting to SMU’s scheme this season. Emelogu has been inconsistent and adjusting to playing with his new teammates. That doesn’t mean Emelogu’s arrival at SMU is a bust. In fact, Emelogu got SMU going early with a few baskets, finishing with nine points, but he went pretty cold after that against Eastern Washington. Emelogu just needs more time to develop, but it’s clear that the talent is there.
8. C Cannen Cunningham
Cunningham was flat against Eastern Washington, which is why his minutes went from 19 in the Indiana game to four against Eastern Washington. It started against Indiana, where the senior had four turnovers, just eight points and was a non-factor on the boards, grabbing just one. The senior from Arlington is crucial to SMU’s success when Moreira or Moore is out. Cannen has to get better.
9. G Ryan Manuel
Ryan Manuel is seeing a complete regression in his game. Manuel has all the talent in the world and can jump out of the gym and has the length to be a solid defender. Manuel’s downfall is his handles, turnovers and cold shooting. In the past three games, Manuel is 0-6 and has just four points on the year. When Nic Moore is off the floor, it appears SMU is going to start leaving the ball-handling to other players than Manuel. Nothing against Manuel, but he’s just ice-cold.