10 glue guys to watch for in 17-18 CBB season

13 December 2014: Arizona Wildcats guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright #0 passes the ball during the first half of the college basketball game between the Arizona Wildcats and the Michigan Wolverines at McKale Center in Tucson, Az. Arizona beat Michigan Wolverines 80-53.

There’s nothing like great glue guys, those players who aren’t the top talents on their respective teams, but still manage to do all the little things that affect winning. Check out our list of 10 glue guys to watch entering the 2017-18 CBB season. In no particular order…

Ismael Sanogo, Seton Hall: The unsung presence in the Pirates’ program is one of the main reasons why Kevin Willard has led Seton Hall to back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Sanogo doesn’t get a ton of ink, but he has been a vital defensive cog over the past few seasons and had 11 games last season with seven or more rebounds. More high-profile players have come through the Pirates’ program over the past few years, but no one has been tougher than this 6-8 power forward.

Gary Clark, Cincinnati: Simply put, Clark is a problem for the opposition. Armed with a stone-cold stare and a game that backs up his program’s hard-earned reputation, this senior power forward is relentless on defense and on the glass. An enforcer with no remorse, Clark isn’t satisfied until he and his teammates achieve one thing — victory.

Josh Brown, Temple: Solid as a rock, Brown missed most of last season with an Achilles injury. His return makes the Owls a contender in the American Conference. Two years ago, Brown logged 1,128 minutes and Temple won its conference outright. Last season, the veteran point guard logged 102 minutes and the Owls finished 16-16. You do the math.

Theo Pinson, North Carolina: He didn’t get the same attention as Joel Berry or Justin Jackson when the Tar Heels won the national title last April, but Pinson had a major hand in Roy Williams’ third championship run. A terrific defender and underrated passer, the 6-6 Pinson can play multiple positions. Don’t be shocked if Williams uses him as an undersized power forward in as North Carolina attempts to play smaller and get its best players on the floor.

Riley Norris, Alabama: The best recruiting class in school history has made the Crimson Tide a trendy program entering this season, but Avery Johnson quietly has a soft spot for this 6-7 veteran. Never afraid to dive for a loose ball or sacrifice his body for the betterment of his team, Norris’ intangibles could prove to be a major key to an Alabama team that’s expecting to do big things thanks to the arrivals of 5-star freshmen Collin Sexton and John Petty.

Mickey Mitchell, Arizona State: The Ohio State transfer won’t be eligible until December 10, but he’s going to have a major hand in everything that goes on with the Sun Devils. Skilled, cerebral and always under control, Mitchell can rebound, initiate offense and hit an open man when he’s ready. His presence could very well be the veteran influence Bobby Hurley needs to get Arizona State in contention for an NCAA Tournament bid.

De’Anthony Melton, USC: The Trojans have talent stacked on talent entering this season and desperately need Melton to embrace his role as a sophomore. The 6-4 guard had a “Swiss Army knife” freshman season, averaging 8.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.9 steals while winning 50-50 plays with regularity. With as deep a roster as there is in the sport, USC needs Melton to embrace his role to balance out its talented newcomers and returnees.

Jarrey Foster, SMU: Once Jahmal McMurray is eligible in December, the Ponies will have one of college basketball’s top perimeters with he, Jimmy Whitt and Shake Milton. But don’t forget about Foster. The 6-6 junior made massive strides from his freshman to sophomore season and his intangibles will play a huge role in whether or not Tim Jankovich can take this team back to the field of 68. Efficient on offense and capable on the boards, Foster is the ultimate blend guy for a program that expects to hear its name called on Selection Sunday.

Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Arizona: The most underrated thing about this senior point guard? How well he takes care of the ball. Jackson-Cartwright averaged just one turnover every 18.9 minutes last season while shooting a reliable 42.3 percent from 3-point range. All Sean Miller needs this season is from Jackson-Cartwright is to run his team and set the table — something he’s already proven more than capable of.

Reggie Lynch, Minnesota: Lynch’s ability to protect the front of the rim (3.5 blocks) was a major reason why the Golden Gophers were one of the most improved teams in the country a year ago and a top-15 team entering this season. The former Illinois State big man can score, rebound, and be a dominant force on the back line of a defense. Minnesota isn’t the same team when Lynch isn’t on the floor — he’s that valuable.

Jon Rothstein has been a college basketball insider for CBS Sports since 2010 and is the lead college basketball columnist for the FanRag Sports Network. He is also the host of the College Hoops Today Podcast via Compass Media Networks, which is available via iTunes. Rothstein is also a regular in-studio correspondent for both WFAN and CBS Sports Radio. He currently lives in Manhattan.