College basketball season is officially underway with practices starting this week. There is still a lot to decipher without seeing the teams in live game action, but it is a good time to reveal the top 100 college basketball players for the 2019-2020 season. As always, these rankings are based on talent and anticipated production.
100. Cameron Krutwig (Loyola, Junior Center)
The skilled lefty will become the focal point of the Ramblers this season. Krutwig’s footwork and touch on the interior create problems for opponents. With more defensive attention, we will be able to see his passing ability on full display.
99. DeJon Jarreau (Houston, Junior Guard)
Jarreau is one of the few key pieces returning from a historic Houston team. Expect to see his two-way versatility shine in everything that Coach Sampson draws up.
98. Marcus Evans (VCU, Senior Guard)
Outside of some shooting inconsistency, Evans was a reliable lead guard last season. He’s a lockup on-ball defender that plays with a lot of energy. That big-shot making ability only helps his chances of leading the Rams back to the NCAA Tournament.
97. AJ Green (Northern Iowa, Sophomore Guard)
Largely unknown outside of the MVC, Green has the look of a dominant 4-year guard. Using quick change-of-pace moves, Green consistently creates space on the perimeter where he can heat up quickly. Expect an uptick in physicality from the All-MVC selection.
96. Kihei Clark (Virginia, Sophomore Guard)
You won’t see it in the box score for Clark. Still, he was an integral part to the National Championship team by controlling pace and hounding ball-handlers. He is the ultimate scrappy floor general that should have a greater scoring load. But he could go scoreless and still be the most impactful player on the court.
95. CJ Elleby (Washington State, Sophomore Forward)
Elleby was cooking for the early part of last season before slowing down a bit in the back end of conference play. He’s built to be a wiry wing scorer that creates in space. As his handle smooths out, Elleby should threaten to be a 20-point scorer this season.
94. Justin Turner (Bowling Green, Junior Guard)
Turner brings more than just scoring punch, though he can fill it up from all three levels. He’s got solid vision and can defend both guard spots with his strength. Another year penciled in as the main focus on the scouting report.
93. Emmitt Williams (LSU, Sophomore Forward)
In a reserve role, Williams might have been the most energized player on LSU’s roster last year. Now without Naz Reid, the minutes will be there for former five-star to leave his mark. I know he can hit the threes, but he could be a menace if he focuses on his game around the rim.
92. Nick Muszynski (Belmont, Sophomore Center)
With the versatility of a modern big in the body of a traditional center, it’s easy to see why Muszynski caused opposing teams headaches last season. If he gets a defender on his back, it’s over. He also has the touch to step outside and hit jumpers. The OVC Rookie of the Year has tremendous timing as a shot blocker and is a willing passer with plus vision.
91. Markelle Johnson (NC State, Senior Guard)
You really saw Johnson’s value to the Wolfpack when he was off the floor. He brings a level of tenacity defensively and when he gets into the teeth of the defense. Most importantly, he can facilitate for the entire team without coughing it up too much.
90. Aaron Henry (Michigan State, Sophomore Forward)
The more I watched Henry, the more impressed I was with his composure and toughness. He fills many roles as a playmaker, multi-use defender, and energy guy for the Spartans. Signs point to him being the third perimeter option for Tom Izzo’s deep team.
89. Lamonte Turner (Tennessee, Senior Guard)
There was an overhaul for the Vols after a historic season. Turner is the leading scorer and assist man returning. He will be counted on to lead a young team.
88. Samuel Williamson (Louisville, Freshman Forward)
I see a little bit of Jayson Tatum in Williamson’s game. For being a teenager, he is an instinctive scorer that is fluid with the ball. With an early injury to Malik Williams, we should be able to see the lengthy wing get extended run to battle the freshman learning curve. Don’t be surprised if the NBA draft speculation comes up by January.
87. Tyrese Haliburton (Iowa State, Sophomore Guard)
Haliburton showed signs of being a true triple-double threat in a starting role. At 6-5, he is an active defender and good playmaker. He is naturally a pass-first guard, but that 43% three-point shot and lack of established surrounding talent should demand for him to be more assertive offensively.
86. Kristian Doolittle (Oklahoma, Senior Forward)
Sooner fans were waiting to see the version of Doolittle that we saw last year. He finished strong in the paint and gave constant effort on both ends. In his final year, the Oklahoma native should find comfort in a leadership role.
85. Trent Forrest (Florida State, Senior Guard)
Built with a powerful frame, Forrest will be in attack mode every game. Devoid of other ball-handlers, he will need to pick up where he left off hitting tough shots for the Seminoles.
84. Christian Keeling (North Carolina, Senior Guard)
The addition of Keeling as a grad transfer is huge for the Heels. Keeling brings experience as a scorer who can connect from NBA range, so playing off-the-wall more shouldn’t be an issue. When shots aren’t falling, he uses his long arms well to get in passing lanes and pull down board among the trees.
83. Kaleb Wesson (Ohio State, Junior Forward/Center)
Wesson is one of a few key returning players for the Buckeyes. At least for the early part of the year, the offense will lean on his ability to carve out space in the paint and score. He could be an All-Big Ten player this year.
82. Braxton Key (Virginia, Senior Forward)
Key was a huge factor in his first year in Virginia, especially in that national championship game. Tony Bennett can play him at four positions where he can guard and clean the glass. Remember that Key averaged 12.0 points as a freshman at Alabama, so the uptick in shots will be welcomed by a capable offensive weapon.
81. Saddiq Bey (Villanova, Sophomore Forward)
Bey was somewhat of revelation for the Wildcats. Playing on a young team, he showed the patience and poise you would expect from an upperclassman. Now a year older, his inside-out impact should free up with an abundance of fresh talent.
80. Rapolas Ivanauskas (Colgate, Senior Forward)
Once a Northwestern Wildcat, Ivanauskas led Colgate to an NCAA Tournament berth with his highly efficient offensive game. There is never anything too flashy about his game, but he moves with a purpose. The reigning Patriot Player of the Year will be playing with a chip after being blanked in their first round game in March.
79. Ty-Shon Alexander (Creighton, Junior Guard)
Alexander saw his production dip in conference play after serving as the go-to player for Creighton. I imagine he will find ways to get easier offense, especially when teams take away his perimeter shot. If that happens, more people will take notice of a guy that can open up opportunities with his offensive talent off the bounce.
78. Breein Tyree (Ole Miss, Senior Guard)
Tyree is a lock to finish among the top five scorers in the SEC. Possessing explosiveness and aggressiveness, the senior guard isn’t shy about taking big shots. We should expect more of the same in his last season for the Rebels.
77. Daniel Oturo (Minnesota, Sophomore Center)
Oturo is a player I expect to take a big leap this year. He flashed his potential with his rim-running and springs around the rim. The stage is set without Jordan Murphy in the post for the sophomore to dominate on the low block.
76. Antoine Davis (Detroit, Sophomore Guard)
Davis can flat out shoot it. I mean really shoot it. He hit 132 threes as a freshman and averaged over 26 points. While he does require a sky-high usage at Detroit, his ability to create space off the dribble is Steph-esque whole at Davidson.
75. Cassius Stanley (Duke, Freshman Guard)
Many will know him as the guy with the crazy mixtapes and the one who broke Zion’s vertical record. Yes, Stanley is an unbelievable athlete, but he is also a good slasher that finishes well and a decent shooter with time. Defense could be where he leaves his mark on a team without a predetermined wing stopper.
74. Malik Fitts (Saint Mary’s, Junior Forward)
Fitts returns as one of the best players in the WCC. Rarely do you find 6-8 players so comfortable operating on the wing with the ball. He is a mismatch problem any way you want to put it and a contender for WCC player of the year.
73. Tristan Clark (Baylor, Junior Forward)
Clark was a man on a mission before an injury ended his season early. He was on pace to shoot over 70 percent from the field and block almost 2.5 shots a game. Physicality is his weapon of choice, but don’t understate his IQ and feel.
72. Jay Huff (Virginia, Junior Center)
Some players just look different in layup lines and Huff is one of those guys. In limited minutes, he played an important role altering shots at the rim and finishing above the rim. It’s his athleticism and shooting range that make him such an intriguing player on this Virginia team.
71. Kellan Grady (Davidson, Junior Guard)
I expected Grady would be a pro by this point. His efficiency fell off in part because he was just missing shots. But he is stronger and more skilled than he was in his dominant freshman season so I anticipate a guy who can have a 50/40/80 line.
70. Bryce Aiken (Harvard, Senior Guard)
The Crimson have yet to get a full year out of their premier guard. Assuming this is the year, Aiken is going to be the Ivy Player of the Year, especially if he can shoot the three as well as he did last year.
69. Chris Clarke (Texas Tech, Senior Forward)
After being booted from VA Tech’s program, Clarke gas a fresh start in Lubbock. Considering their losses, the fit is perfect. Clarke is a swiss-army knife that brings grit to the wing for Coach Beard.
68. Wendell Moore (Duke, Freshman Forward)
If we’re going on physical upside, Moore may be the most impressive on Duke’s roster. Using his size and strength, Moore regularly finds ways to knife up defenses. I’m looking forward to seeing how Coach K utilizes his versatility because he can really excel in just about every part of the game.
67. Paul Scruggs (Xavier, Junior Guard)
In flashes, Xavier looked like a dangerous team last year. Scruggs was typically a driving force in those moments, creating turnovers and initiating the break. It’s a matter of consistent decision making, which I am expecting to show in his junior campaign.
66. Nathan Reuvers (Wisconsin, Junior Forward)
A versatile Wisconsin big? Nothing new to most CBB fans. What makes Reuvers different (and what makes me believe in his breakout potential) is his combination of shooting, rim protection, and physical maturity. The tools and touches are there for Reuvers to step into a lead role for the Badgers.
65. Ochai Agbaji (Kansas, Sophomore Guard)
A year ago this time, all I knew about Agbaji was that he was supposed to redshirt. Injuries thrust him into a key role where his NBA potential was evident. He’s still raw, but his form is solid, he plays hard on both ends, and he is a terrific open court athlete. Kansas has to hope he can be a minimum the third option.
64. Justin Pierce (North Carolina, Senior Guard/Forward)
Carolina hit the jackpot with transfers, highlighted by the do-it-all wing from William & Mary. There is a lot to like about Pierce’s game: his size, his passing IQ, his rebounding prowess. But he dropped 20 percent as a foul shooter and nearly 10 percent from three. He is too good of a shooter to not produce results with his stroke. Thankfully, he should get plenty of open looks with UNC.
63. Collin Gillespie (Villanova, Junior Guard)
Following Brunson and Arcidiacono, Gillespie had lofty shoes to fill. He’s a competitive defender, proven shooter, and he takes care of the ball. Judging off his performance in the Pan-Am Games, it’s safe to say that Gillespie has found his comfort zone.
62. Mamadi Diakite (Virginia, Senior Forward)
Diakite was so good in March that there were serious questions about leaving early for the NBA. He returns as one of the most agile rim-protectors and lob finishers in the country. This may be the year we see how far his offensive game has developed.
61. D.J. Jefferies (Memphis, Freshman Forward)
One of many highly-touted freshman at Memphis, Jefferies is an athletic scoring forward with good upper body strength. The expectation is that he’ll be a one-and-done, though he might have a learning curve adjusting to a secondary role and facing more length.
60. E.J. Montgomery (Kentucky, Sophomore Forward)
Montgomery should look to former teammate P.J. Washington on how to take a big sophomore leap. The mobile lefty is best in transition outrunning post players or attacking off face-ups. His emergence could be the difference between a first weekend upset and a Final Four trip.
59. D.J. Carton (Ohio State, Freshman Guard)
The Buckeyes have a phenomenal freshmen class led by Carton. He’s got crazy athletic ability and shiftiness with the ball that should allow him to get where he wants. Learning to run a team will be an expected adjustment, but Carton has the guard skills to be the best freshman in the Big Ten.
58. Xavier Tillman (Michigan State, Junior Forward)
As the year went on, Tillman just got better and better. Power and footwork don’t always go hand-in-hand, which is why the 6’8 big is such a load. The coveted go-to frontcourt role in Lansing is his for the taking.
57. Jordan Ford (Saint Mary’s, Senior Guard)
Ford took that step from being a long-range sniper to becoming an all-around perimeter scorer. He has a quick trigger that opens up a lot of opportunities for him to break down defenses. He leads the most likely contender to beat Gonzaga in the WCC.
56. Kamar Baldwin (Butler, Senior Guard)
Baldwin has seen his responsibilities increase every year at Butler. He’s got an old-school game scoring off of mid-range pull-ups and strong two-foot finishes in the lane. Following an All-Big East season, Baldwin is set to be one of the top guards in the country.
55. Kira Lewis Jr. (Alabama, Sophomore Guard)
The Avery Johnson era ended with the chance that Lewis, the prized in-state guard, would transfer. By returning, he gives the Crimson Tide a gifted shot creator and playmaker that can make tough shots over length in the paint. Even in a down year, Lewis Jr. is a player to watch in the SEC.
54. Skylar Mays (LSU, Senior Guard)
Mays was right on the edge of leaving for the NBA. He is a tough 3-and-D guard that is one of the most intelligent players in the country. Given his experience, he could be the top scorer for the Tigers this year.
53. Anthony Cowan (Maryland, Senior Guard)
No one can deny Cowan’s ability to attack the lane and find shots for himself and his teammates. The issue has been regularly finishing at the rim and stringing together solid shooting performances. But it is hard to quantify his toughness and steadying presence on both ends, even if his shooting remains streaky.
52. Filip Petrusev (Gonzaga, Sophomore Center)
Petrusev was the only freshman to earn meaningful minutes on a stacked Gonzaga team last year. Insert another stretch big in Spokane with good feet and sound low post skills. All signs point to Petrusev starting off the year as the anchor in the paint.
51. A.J. Lawson (South Carolina, Sophomore Forward)
South Carolina may have outplayed some expectations finishing fourth in the SEC a year ago. Lawson’s emergence as a slasher played a large part in that. The Canadian is terrific in transition and has a fluid jumper from deep. He will be one of the top wings in the country this year.
50. Mustapha Heron (St. John’s, Senior Guard)
Heron can play bully ball from the guard spot, trucking defenders and finishing around the rim. He has consistently knocked down threes and defended the wings as well. In a year where he should eclipse 2,000 career points, Heron would like another trip to the Big Dance.
49. Ja’Vonte Smart (LSU, Sophomore Guard)
Smart was briefly caught up in all of the FBI investigations, but he should be all go this year. After really coming on for the latter part of the year showing his playmaking ability, I expect Smart to pick up where Tremont Waters left off for the Tigers.
48. Silvio De Sousa (Kansas, Junior Forward)
De Sousa has finally been freed. After missing all of last season due to a violation investigation, the NCAA ruled the former IMG Academy star eligible. De Sousa brings a different level of energy, athleticism, and defensive impact that Kansas missed last year.
47. Matthew Hurt (Duke, Freshman Forward)
Hurt is a modern stretch four that can handle the ball in transition, space the floor, and defend multiple positions. Duke nabbed a key piece that they can move to multiple spots. He seems like an ideal glue player for the Blue Devils.
46. Joshua Langford (Michigan State, Senior Guard)
Langford only made it through 13 games before his junior season was cut short with an injury. He is a master of the mid-range game and has shot over 40 percent from three every year in Lansing. Playing alongside Cassius Winston, the Spartans will boast one of the nation’s best backcourts.
45. Payton Pritchard (Oregon, Senior Guard)
The one reliable factor for Oregon over the last three years has been Pritchard running the show. He is a creative playmaker that makes big shots on command. Playing with a frontcourt heavy roster, he will have to work his magic to keep the team running smoothly.
44. Desmond Bane (TCU, Senior Guard)
Bane looks every bit like a future NBA rotation piece. Whether it is guarding the other team’s best player or converting three-point looks (career 42.8% from three), Bane is an ideal option. He has continued to work on his handle to allow him to weave by defenders and use his powerful frame to score. All-American honors isn’t out of the question despite an inexperienced roster.
43. Davide Moretti (Texas Tech, Junior Guard)
Moretti was second fiddle to a lottery pick in Jarrett Culver, a commendable distinction for a national runner-up. The Italian guard doesn’t waste any movement or scoring opportunities, flirting with a 50/40/90 season as a sophomore. We will really get to see how dangerous Moretti can be as the top option.
42. Jon Axel Gudmundsson (Davidson, Senior Guard)
The game almost seems too effortless for Gudmundsson at times. The A10 Player of the Year can move around to multiple spots and be the best player on the court. With Kellan Grady playing next to him, Gudmundsson is able to thrive as a primary playmaker who has the freedom to seek his shot.
41. Quinton Rose (Temple, Senior Guard)
Rose is a legitimate 6-8 guard with long arms and quickness. He defends at a high level and will return as the closer for Temple. Though he likes to take jumpers, Rose is at his best pushing the pace and getting downhill with his long strides. There is no reason why Rose cannot be the best guard in the American.
40. Obi Toppin (Dayton, Sophomore Forward)
Toppin looked the part and played the part in his first year at Dayton. There is a reason NBA teams will be showing up to see the springy forward. His motor runs high and he should come out this year more confident in his outside shot. Rarely do you find a player like Toppin who was already productive as a freshman possessing sky-high potential who returns for year two.
39. John Mooney (Notre Dame, Senior Forward)
Mooney is one of a few returning double-double guys from a year ago. He became the steadying piece to a young Irish team that returns almost all of its pieces. Look for Mooney to be an All-ACC player, cleaning the glass and scoring efficiently in P&R and spot-up situations.
38. McKinley Wright (Colorado, Junior Guard)
It has now been two years in a row where Wright has evaded national attention while dominating the Pac-12. He was able to take more in-rhythm shots last season, which led to an uptick in his scoring percentages. All while continuing to be a crafty playmaker and on-call defender. It’s time Wright receives the attention he has earned.
37. Scottie Lewis (Florida, Freshman Guard)
Lewis comes in as one of the top recruits in recent history for Florida. The hyper-athletic swingman lives in the passing lanes defensively and has body control to make difficult finishes in traffic. If his jumper stays compact, Lewis could be help push the Gators to their first Final Four since Joakim Noah days.
36. Nathan Knight (William & Mary, Senior Forward)
I have been high on Knight for a couple years now and was pleasantly surprised when he didn’t join his teammates in a mass exodus. His conditioning has continued to improve to allow him to shine as the foundation of the Tribe. How does 21.0 points and 8.6 boards sound? With less help, he will be tasked with a lion’s share of the offense.
35. Joe Wieskamp (Iowa, Sophomore Guard)
Wieskamp may have surpassed expectations as the star Iowa recruit. He was a big-time shot-maker who didn’t flinch against top competition. As a tough, lengthy wing that can shoot it and defend, I’d like to see the likely All-Big Ten selection attack off the bounce more.
34. Udoka Azubuike (Kansas, Senior Center)
Valuing Azubuike is tough because he has great strengths and huge weaknesses. While he is a major liability at the foul line and can’t play for long stretches, he is a force on the block that shoots over 70 percent and protects the rim. The Jayhawks need him to be the best version of himself this year.
33. Jaden McDaniels (Washington, Freshman Forward)
Of anyone in the country, McDaniels has a game closest to Kevin Durant. At about 6-10, the wiry combo forward has a smooth pull-up and elite defensive upside. It will be a matter of consistent effort against physicality for the McDonald’s All-American.
32. Kahlil Whitney (Kentucky, Freshman Forward)
Whitney is one of the true wing players on Kentucky this year. He’s got the size and athleticism to overpower defenders in transition. The next step will be understanding how to create open looks when his initial moves are cut off. No doubt Whitney is a first round talent though.
31. Neemias Queta (Utah State, Sophomore Center)
This kid came out of nowhere last year to be arguably one of the top 10 centers in the country. Queta owns the paint on both ends, particularly as a help side defender at the rim. We saw his offense game start to blossom in the latter part of the year and into the summer, so he could very well outplay this position.
30. Tres Tinkle (Oregon State, Senior Forward)
It feels like Tinkle has been at Oregon State for a decade. Every year he has improved his creating ability off the dribble, even being used as a primary playmaker a year ago. The missing piece has been shooting to match his volume of long-range attempts. Even without it, Tinkle is a premier wing in college basketball.
29. Zavier Simpson (Michigan, Senior Guard)
Simpson is going to need to be a more aggressive version of the do-it-all floor general that he was a year. In his final season in Ann Arbor, the pitbull of a point guard will be the best defensive guard in the Big Ten and one of the top playmakers. He’s not much of a scoring threat, but he will need to attack more without a lot of proven scorers around him.
28. Yoeli Childs (BYU, Senior Forward)
Childs will now miss the first 9 games of the season for an issue with his NBA Draft declaration process. No worries for the Cougars, as their All-American caliber big man should be ready for conference play. To me, he already looks like a pro with his agility, shot-blocking, and versatility as a screen outlet.
27. Bryan Antoine (Villanova, Freshman Guard)
Antoine is the best NBA prospect on Villanova and could be their best player by year end. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury will probably sideline him until December. The burst that he has with the ball is different and his prowess making contested shots should be invaluable for the Wildcats.
26. Charles Bassey (Western Kentucky, Sophomore Center)
Widely considered a late-first round pick a year ago, Bassey chose to return after gathering feedback from NBA teams. I’m sure more outside shooting and crisper footwork were among the points of emphasis. On the Hilltoppers, Bassey is an automatic double-double and reigning CUSA Defensive Player of the Year.
25. Josh Green (Arizona, Freshman Guard)
Green is a big part of an elite freshman class in Tuscan. He is as good anyone in the country at running the wings and finishing above the rim. In an up-tempo system, he will have ample opportunities to put on a clinic offensively.
24. Precious Achiuwa (Memphis, Freshman Forward)
Achiuwa was the latest of the Memphis commits, choosing to bring his toughness and tenacity to Penny Hardaway’s team. There are times where it looks like the 6-9 forward has a grudge on the rim. He handles the ball well for his size too, which should help Memphis push the break off misses.
23. Kerry Blackshear Jr. (Florida, Senior Forward)
Blackshear left Virginia Tech after a wonderful year serving as a stretch five for the Hokies. Now with Florida, he will be the top post player on a team with excess guard talent. He can score on the block, he can score facing up, or he can deliver accurate passes out of double teams. The Gators got the perfect big for their team.
22. Sam Merrill (Utah State, Senior Guard)
Putting aside a tough NCAA Tournament game, Merrill was great all year for the Aggies. He is a big guard that knows how to manufacture offense in the pick-and-roll game. Merrill is a model of efficiency for a Utah State team with Sweet 16 capability.
21. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Villanova, Freshman Forward)
This kid gets after it. Robinson-Earl is a sky-walking forward that plays in attack mode. His jump shot is repeatable and should create results as well. Do not be surprised is Robinson-Earl becomes the focal point of the Wildcat offense in the first parts of the season.
20. Ashton Hagans (Kentucky, Sophomore Guard)
I was slightly surprised that Hagans returned, but this roster might be perfect for his game. The former Georgia commit can control games hounding opposing guards defensively. This year I expect him to hunt his shot a little more and play with the same urgency on offense that he does on the other side.
19. Jarron Cumberland (Cincinnati, Senior Guard)
Cincy flirted with a 30-win season because Cumberland was that dude all season. No team in the American had an answer for the physical shooting guard who could put 20 on you in a hurry. So far, he has yet to practice due to a foot injury, but he should be back to filling it up soon enough.
18. Anthony Lamb (Vermont, Senior Forward)
Lamb is a problem no matter which way you want to define it. Despite being undersized, he can score over length by being patient and playing angles. Lamb is also a good athlete that can meet bigs at the rim to contest their shots. He’s an All-American in my eyes.
17. Jalen Smith (Maryland, Sophomore Power Forward)
The NCAA Tournament was a perfect springboard for Smith to leap to the NBA. However, this year he will be the unquestioned star of the Maryland frontcourt. Long and mobile, Smith has the intangibles and tools to be scary this season as a two-way big.
16. Andrew Nembhard (Florida, Sophomore Guard)
Time and time again, Nembhard proved he had the mind and guts of an upperclassman. He is a fearless lead guard with the size and feel to carry Florida. Thankfully for him, he has plenty of help and could even spend some time scoring off the ball with this team.
15. Vernon Carey (Duke, Freshman Center)
Man-child is really the only way to describe Carey. Guys who weigh over 260 pounds shouldn’t be so nimble. But Carey is an imposing lefty that can get out and run and shoot it a little bit from the outside. Duke’s top recruit will get plenty of looks down low.
14. Tyrese Maxey (Kentucky, Freshman Guard)
What makes Maxey so special is his ability to slither into the paint and make tough shots around the rim. He has a natural ability to split through defenses to get open looks. When defenders back off, he is more than capable of hitting jumpers off the dribble. I expect Maxey to be the top scorer at UK this year.
13. Ayo Dosunmo (Illinois, Sophomore Guard)
Don’t forget about Ayo. The U of I guard is back to lead a dark horse to reach the NCAA Tournament. Dosunmo is every bit of 6-5 and plays with a great tempo. It can look like he’s playing in slow motion the way he gets defenders off balance with change of pace moves. He is must-see TV in the Big Ten.
12. Jordan Nwora (Louisville, Junior Forward)
Nwora took off last season in a new system, earning himself Most Improved Player in the ACC. He is adept at moving without the ball and scoring in transition. If he comes back with a tight handle, the teams might be best served sending double teams.
11. Myles Powell (Seton Hall, Senior Guard)
Powell was a one-man army at times for Seton Hall. Even with all of the attention, his efficiency didn’t suffer. You can chalk up 20 points a night for Powell at this point.
10. Tre Jones (Duke, Sophomore Guard)
Outside of maybe Hagans, Jones is the best on-call defender in the country. He is physical, smart, and anticipates well. Every team in America wants a point guard who can dish out over five assists and have less than two turnovers a game. Now what about his shooting? Teams ignored him outside of 10 feet late last year. He has to get confident knocking down shots
9. Killian Tillie (Gonzaga, Senior Forward)
Last year was supposed to be Tillie’s breakout season as the go-to scoring option. Injuries derailed him, but he’s got a perfect shot again to lead the Zags. He’s a career 47 percent shooter from three who defends multiple spots and is a fast end-to-end sprinter. If the health is there, we will see a determined Tillie this season.
8. Isaiah Stewart (Washington, Freshman Forward)
Stewart is built different. He has broad shoulders, freakishly long arms, and a developed frame as a teenager that he uses in all facets of the game. Stewart is going to deter a lot of shots in the paint. He should also be able to punch in a lot of dump offs and stretch the floor. He’s got a lot to work with at UW.
7. Devon Dotson (Kansas, Sophomore Guard)
Kansas fans were biting their nails waiting on Dotson’s NBA decision. They welcome back one of the fastest players in the country who can score, facilitate, and defend at a high level. He has looked like a different player this offseason, which is ominous news for Jayhawk opponents.
6. Nico Mannion (Arizona, Freshman Guard)
Mannion will exceed expectations in Tucson. That’s a big claim considering the fact that he was a top-10 recruit. But the Arizona native is a bucket with killer instincts and plus explosiveness. No Brandon Williams means Mannion will be the full-time lead guard where his playmaking gifts will jump off the screen.
5. Anthony Edwards (Georgia, Freshman Guard)
I don’t know what they feed kids nowadays, but freshman guards are not supposed to come in built like middle linebackers. Edwards has a long list of scoring moves in his bag that he can pull out on command. With his frame and athleticism, there won’t be many teams able to contain him. Make sure to bring a backup backboard for games against Georgia.
4. Markus Howard (Marquette, Senior Guard)
It was like watching Trae Young all over again with Howard last year. Not nearly the playmaker that Young is, but the 5-11 guard was one of the most exciting scorers in the country and a consensus All-American as a junior. He would hit contested threes that most players would get benched for on a nightly basis. Without the Hauser brothers, Howard is going to need lots of screens and potentially more patience to lead this team.
3. James Wiseman (Memphis, Freshman Forward)
If you create a big man in NBA 2K, he’s probably going to look like Wiseman. The 7-footer runs like a gazelle, finishes above the rim at every chance, and has developing perimeter skills. All I can say is good luck to bigs in the American this year.
2. Cole Anthony (North Carolina, Freshman Guard)
Anthony transformed the entire outlook of the Tar Heels. He brings a level of maturity, athleticism, and scoring tools that I haven’t seen in a freshman point guard since maybe Kyrie. And Anthony has a better feel for running a team. The media attention will be high, but the future top-3 pick should be able to handle it with grace.
1. Cassius Winston (Michigan State, Senior Guard)
Finding a four-year guard coming off a consensus All-American season and a Final Four appearance is unheard of today. Winston has nothing to prove, but one of the nation’s smartest playmakers and best P&R decision-makers wants more. He may average 20 points and 8 assists with a line of 50/40/90. What makes him great is the fact that he wants team success over all of those numbers.