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Top Mid-Major Big Men to Watch in 2014-2015

The 2014-15 season will be here before you know it. Who are the top paint patrollers to watch as we head into another exciting season of mid-major hoops?

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Last year Alec Brown seemed to take over for Mike Muscala as the premier mid-major big man, who will take the throne this upcoming year?

Alan Williams, UC Santa Barbara: It would be an insult to start this list with anyone else then the Gauchos big man. Williams is a monster and Ken Pomeroy's favorite player. Last year he averaged 21.3 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game. Williams will now focus on polishing his career for the professional ranks in his senior year, as well as getting the Gauchos back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time during his tenure.

Shawn Long, Louisiana: All eyes were on Elfrid Payton a year ago but Shawn Long was just a big when it came to the Ragin' Cajuns success. Long finished the season with 18.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game.  He's a legitimate NBA prospect and a player who will be a force in the paint in the Sun Belt this year.

Egidijus Mockevicius, Evansville: The Purple Aces may have the Missouri Valley's premier post player in Mockevicius.  Last year the Lithuanian national averaged 10.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. He finished the year with 10 double-doubles including two against Wichita State.

Corey Petros, Oakland: Last year Corey Petros was on our watchlist and he didn't disappoint. All of his numbers went up, including assists, and he finished the year averaging 13.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. It'll be interesting to see how he plays in year two of the Horizon League now that he'll be the focal point of the Grizzlies offense with Travis Bader and others gone.

John Brown, High Point: Brown is built more like a NBA small forward but he's a beast in the paint in the Big South.  He's another guy who was on our list last year and who improved all of his numbers. The reigning Big South Player of the Year averaged 19.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.7 steals.  He's not your prototypical back to the basket big man but he gets the job done night in and night out.

Steve Zack, La Salle: Zack didn't go far from home when he chose to attend La Salle and he's become a real leader for Dr. Giannini.  He's not a scoring machine but he did average 8.8 points and an Atlantic 10 best 9.5 rebounds last year. He finished the year with 12 double-doubles and he should be more of a focal point in the Explorers offense this year.

Joel Bolomboy, Weber State: The 6'9 Fort Worth native was a rebounding machine for the Wildcats a year ago leading the Big Sky with 11 rebounds per game, while also adding nearly 9 points a night.  He plays more of the four position right now but he's certainly a guy to keep an eye on.

Mamadou Ndiaye, California-Irvine: The "Big Anteater" showed he was more than just a 7'6 sideshow last year when he posted 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 blocks against Washington in just his third collegiate game. He ended the year averaging 3.1 blocks per game and the legend should only grow this year. The native of the Senegal also averaged 8 points and 6.2 rebounds.

Chris Horton, Austin Peay: The Govs have a real diamond in the rough in Horton who averaged 13.2 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game last year. He could run wild in the Ohio Valley this year with a couple of solid big men leaving the conference.

Adjehi Baru, Charleston: Baru, who hails from the Ivory Coast, had a disappointing 2013-14 season but could be poised to breakout in the CAA this season. He finished last year averaging 9 points and 7.5 rebounds and he should be a walking double-double for "The College" this year.