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Recently, FTB thought it would be fun to preview the season by connecting with our fellow Big Ten bloggers to get their thoughts on various topics, both Big Ten-related and not.  This post is the first in a series of five preview discussions that include input from 10 of the 11 Big Ten teams.  Northwestern was unavailable for comment – presumably because they were concentrating on academics, or something.

Question: Who would you say is the most feared player in the conference this season?

Every year when I answer this type of question, I think of a headcase like Demetri McCamey because he is so skilled, yet unpredictable and that combination in itself makes him fearsome. Wisconsin has witnessed first-hand that McCamey can single-handedly destroy an opponent (well, ok, double-handedly with pick-and-roll partner Mike Tisdale). So I would pick McCamey over guys like E’Twaun Moore, Kalin Lucas or Jared Sullinger.

— Phil Mitten, Bucky’s 5th Quarter (Wisconsin)

Honestly I think Talor Battle. There aren’t a lot of players in the Big Ten this year that are going to just go off and change the tone of the game and literally take it over. I think it says a lot about his skill set that he can get noticed on the national level and still play for a pretty…bad..team. That being said, JaJuan Johnson, Robbie Hummel and Kalin Lucas are the sorts of players you have to gameplan for. I’m a homer, but I think Talor has a better resume of making an easy win into a real Battle.

— Ben Jones, Victory Bell Rings (Penn State)

I think Talor Battle is in the discussion but he doesn’t have adequate support from his teammates. Too often he is a one man show and teams don’t have to fear him as he can get his stats and the Nittany Lions can still be defeated. But with the news of Robbie Hummel’s season ending injury I am going with E’Twaun Moore. Moore is going to be asked to carry more of the load this season without Hummel and I think he is ready to make the jump from being an elite Big Ten player to an elite player on the national level.

— Chad Nims, Planned Sick Days (Iowa)

I am a little scared of Mike Tisdale at Illinois. He has the potential to be as versatile and as good as JaJuan Johnson, making him a matchup nightmare for most teams. That is why Illinois must be considered a contender for the conference title.

— T-Mill, Hammer & Rails (Purdue)

I would’ve said Robbie Hummel before his injury, but now I think it’s Demetri McCamey.  Besides Talor Battle, I don’t think there’s another player more pivotal to his team’s success than him.

— Pete Rossman, The Only Colors (Michigan State)

With both Manny Harris and Evan Turner gone to the NBA, there isn’t a name that immediately jumps out at me right now as scariest, at least in terms of a player just taking over a game all by themselves. Both Draymond Green and Ralph Sampson are physically imposing and can make you adjust your game plan to account for them, but no one in this league, at least that are returning players can win the game themselves. That said, we haven’t seen what the freshmen like Jereme Richmond or Jared Sullinger can do yet. (seriously Sullinger is listed at 6-9 280!)

— Joe Kutsunis, Hail to the Orange (Illinois)

I have to go with Kalin Lucas. He’s recovering from injury but if he is truly healthy then I can’t choose anyone else. Lucas is the type of point guard that wants the ball at the end of the game and will flat out make a play.

— Dylan Burkhardt, UM Hoops (Michigan)

Robbie Hummel would have been a strong pick for this question, but now the biggest threat in the Big Ten is probably Kalin Lucas.  Lucas may not score at the rate of some other players in the conference, or even be as visible in any particular game, but he is the leader for a Michigan State team that has a lot of weapons.

— Jay, The Buckeye Battle Cry (Ohio State)

Kalin Lucas, the preseason player of the year, is the obvious pick.  If JaJuan Johnson continues to improve, as he has in his first three years, he may be the one.

— John M., Crimson Quarry (Indiana)

From the Barn’s take:

With Hummel on the shelf, it’s hard to pick against Kalin Lucas as the most feared player in the conference.  The one player who might give him a run for that honor would be Talor Battle, but Lucas’ supporting cast makes him that much scarier.  He’ll be the man on a Michigan State team expected to make a deep postseason run and likely compete for a national title.  His surrounding players will be the catalyst that allows him to truly showcase the weapons he possesses.  As we saw last year, he’s not afraid to take charge of a game and put himself out there during crunch time.  He averaged 15 points and four assists per game last year and, once fully healthy, won’t hesitate to make his presence felt on the court

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