Last week, I finished up my Land-Grant Holy Land Ohio State basketball player previews. Since those are done and it is still August, the college basketball content is not exactly as a high right now. So we are going to have some fun. I am a huge Marvel fan since childhood so we are going to draft our own Avengers group from current Big Ten basketball players. It’s August. Let’s have some fun.
Iron Man – E.J. Liddell
Iron Man is the hero that you need to have on your team to be successful. He’s got all the tools and knows exactly how to use them. That is EJ Liddell for Ohio State. He is a three-level scorer, top level rebounder and can play the defensive end quite well.
Liddell is returning as one of the top players in the Big Ten and Iron Man is one of the top Avengers in the lineup. Another similarity is they are always taking on the other teams best. Liddell is the focal point of all defenses when they play Ohio State and you can beat, whenever a villian is going against superheroes, they have game planned for Iron Man.
Captain America – Jordan Bohannan
Follow me on this one. So Captain America is the ultimate leader. The guy who will pull up his bootstraps and help motivate his guys to fight through anything. Bohannon is the ultimate leader for the Hawkeyes as he is entering his fifth season at Iowa. He even recently made a joke at his own expense about how ling he has donned a Hawkeye uniform.
Also, he was at the forefront of the collegiate players push for the NIL laws and in passing them. As we saw in Captain America: Civil War, Steve Rogers will fight for something he believes in, even if he means going against the organization he works for. Same for Bohannon this offseason. He went against the NCAA publicly and made it work, helping get those NIL laws passed for his fellow players. He stood up for what he felt was right.
Spider-Man – Jaden Ivey
Here is the thing about Ivey. He is incredible talent and he is a young player. He plays at Purdue and is one of the top young players in the country. Similar to a young teen from Queens. Peter Parker is one of the top young superheroes out there and its safe to say you should be some stock in him (and Tom Holland is of course the superior Spider-Man).
However, sometimes Parker tries to force the issue and prove himself to the older guys and his mentors. And as we saw in Spider-Man: Homecoming, that tends to backfire. He is at his best when he is letting the superhero come to him. The same is true with Ivey. He is at his best when he is letting the game come to him and not forcing the issue. Matt Painter is Ivey’s Iron Man and will help the young scorer find his way.
Doctor Strange – Ron Harper Jr.
This is the one that I think is the most underrated Avenger. And I think Ron Harper Jr is one of the most underrated players not only in the conference, but in the country. Harper Jr has helped Rutgers ascend to new heights, just as Strange was so vital in the fight against Thanos and did not get a ton of the credit.
Harper Jr is returning for one more season with the Scarlet Knights and he will look to erase that underrated moniker and put his name on the map with fans, once and for all.
Hawkeye – Justin Ahrens
When he’s hot, Ahrens is the best shooter in the Big Ten, maybe one of the top in the country. Hawkeye is the best shooter in the Avengers. A lot of people may wonder what Hawkeye is bringing to the table in a world of superheroes since he is a jack of one trade, but when he is there, he makes an impact and can help bring the team together.
Ahrens is a lethal threat from behind the arc as is Hawkeye with a bow and arrow in his hand. When they both get going and get a target set, they don’t miss often.
Thor – Trayce Jackson-Davis
In my personal opinion, Trayce Jackson-Davis is the best returning player in the Big Ten and also in my personal opinion, Thor is the strongest avenger. Also like Thor, Jackson-Davis can be slightly too timid sometimes. You always have to aim for the head. When Jackson-Davis is being aggressive for the Hoosiers, he is one of the top players in the country.
Also, the Hoosiers need him to succeed. He is vital to their success. As we have seen in multiple MCU movies and in comic runs, Thor is as valuable as they come to the Avengers and as we have seen in big battles, he stands out in the group. Bring him Thanos. Jackson-Davis is the same as even in the biggest of games, he stands out of the pack.
Hulk – Kofi Cockburn
This one is fairly self-explanatory. Also, I must note, this is the original concept of the Hulk and not smart Hulk that we saw in Avengers: Endgame. The Hulk is the biggest and most powerful avenger. And he gets more powerful the angrier he gets. However, the Hulk does not have much finesse to him and that can be a detriment to the team at times.
Cockburn is incredibly powerful though and tough to stop when he gets down low based on his brute force. Also known as, Hulk smash. Cockburn is returning to Illinois after testing the draft waters and will look to improve upon his 18 points and 10 rebounds per game stat line last season.
Mr. Fantastic – Zach Edey
Even though we have really never got a great “Fantastic Four” movie (yet), Reed Richards, AKA Mr. Fantastic, is still a staple in Marvel comics and the leader of Marvel’s “first family”. For those who do not know, his main power is his arms can stretch as far as he needs them too.
So if you know who Zach Edey is, otherwise known as the “big maple” because he is Canadian, then you may know where I am going with this one. Edey is 7-foot-4 and when he is out there for Matt Painter and Purdue, it looks like he is stretching just like Reed Richards can.
Take that Thanos.