Nijel Pack is a part of our Heartland College Sports Big 12 men’s Top 25 returning players countdown as we get closer to the 2021-22 college basketball season opener.
No. 20: Nijel Pack, G, Kansas State
Where he left off: Pack started from Day 1 of his true freshman season (in part because Kansas State needed him to) and he grew into one of the best young freshmen in the Big 12. He became the first K-State freshman to lead the team in scoring (12.7 points per game) since Marcus Foster in 2013-14. He finished in the Top 20 in the Big 12 in scoring, joining Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State) and Mike Miles (TCU) as the only true freshmen in the conference to do so.
He finished his freshman season ranking in the Top-10 in nine freshman categories in school history. Pack finished the season second in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (40.5) and fourth in 3-point field goals made per game (2.50). He also set a record for most 3-pointers made in a game by a freshman when he connected on eight of them against Texas A&M. He also averaged 3.8 assists per game.
Where he’s headed: Pack could make an even bigger impact this season. Already having proven himself a quality 3-point shooter, he needs to try and take that to another level and start producing close to five assists per game (he needs the players around him to shoot better to make that happen, of course). He’s a solid drive-and-kick passer, on-ball defender and is better scoring in traffic than some realize. By season’s end Pack could be the best pure point guard in the Big 12. But he needs a little more help to get there and the transfers the Wildcats took in could help him do just that.
Top 25 criteria: ONLY players that played in the Big 12 last season were considered. Rankings are based on where players left off at the end of last season, as we are not able to make assumptions about the improvements players have made this offseason.
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You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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