Kevin McCullar 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. 15: Kevin McCullar, F, Texas Tech
Where he left off: McCullar emerged as an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection after last season. At the start of last season, the Red Raiders mainly got quality rebounding, defense and energy from McCullar. But, as the season went on, his offensive game caught up, and he became an indispensable part of their rotation. By season’s end he averaged 10.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.
Throughout the season, he showed the ability to stretch his game. He extended his range with the 3-pointer. He worked his way into a pair of double-doubles against Iowa State and Baylor. He emerged as the Red Raiders’ leader in steals, with 34, which came to nearly two per game by season’s end. His defensive leadership came to a crescendo in the Big 12 Tournament, where he had a career-high six steals against Texas. His last game of the season, in the NCAA Tournament, saw him finish with 15 points, eight rebounds and two steals.
Where he’s headed: Among the Red Raiders’ returning players, McCullar is the second option on offense. There’s a good chance his offensive game could take another jump this season, and that just depends on how much he improved during the offseason. Tech would love to see his 3-point percentage improve (just 28 percent in two seasons). So would NBA scouts. His rebounding and defense will put him among the best forwards in the Big 12 and could begin to earn him a national reputation this season as the Red Raiders rely on him more. He has a quality all-around game and he could — could — finish the season close to averaging a double-double.
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.
Big 12 Basketball Preview
Top 25 Returning Players: No. 25 Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua| No. 24 Christian Braun | No. 23 Rondel Walker | No. 22 Umoja Gibson | No. 21 Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe | No. 20 Nijel Pack | No. 19: Marcus Santos-Silva | No. 18 Mike McGuirl | No. 17 Jalen Bridges | No. 16 Kalib Boone
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.