Illinois State's Jackie Carmichael Mid-Major Player To Watch
At 6'9", 240 pounds, it's difficult to see how a player of Jackie Carmichael's size could fly under the radar in 2011-12, especially given his production for the Redbirds: 13.9 points, 9.7 rebounds with 15 double-doubles. But Carmichael's breakout season was a huge reason why Illinois State finished behind just Wichita State and Creighton in the Missouri Valley standings. Toppling those two teams won't be easy, or even likely, but if the Redbirds stand a chance, it will be by riding Carmichael.
By way of his burly-strong frame, Carmichael is able to relentlessly throw his body around on the inside, garnering post- and rebounding-positioning. His post-game is in the works, highlighted by a soft-touch on jump hooks and now a turnaround jump shot, but he has even added a 15-foot jump shot from the outside to make him more versatile. Head coach Tim Jankovich needs to make sure that Carmichael does not fall in love with his newfound ability to play the high-post and move away from the glass. He ranked second in the conference in free-throw makes and attempts and fifth in offensive rebounds.
With another similar season to 2011-12, Carmichael will find himself on the first-round bubble in the 2013 NBA Draft, but expect him to hit the national scene this year.