Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Creighton's Doug McDermott is the only returning first team All-American in college basketball, but he doesn't top SB Nation's list of the 100 best players in the country.
Whenever there's an undertaking as easily debatable as this one, at least a brief explanation of the formula used is required. Let me first clarify that for these rankings I did not consider pro potential. The only two factors utilized were past performance and predicted future performance, with more emphasis placed on the latter.
The first 50 players on the list do not get little blurbs. I'm trying to get you all to work on your bing-ing before the start of the season.
100. Mike Rosario, SR, G, Florida
99. Lenzelle Smith, JR, G, Ohio State
98. Brandon Triche, SR, G, Syracuse
97. Will Cherry, SR, G, Montana
96. Keith Appling, JR, G, Michigan State
95. Colt Ryan, SR, G, Evansville
94. Zeke Marshall, SR, C, Akron
93. Laurence Bowers, SR, F, Missouri
92. Rasheed Sulaimon, FR, G, Duke
91. Trae Golden, JR, G, Tennessee
90. Arsalan Kazemi, SR, F, Oregon
89. Victor Oladipo, JR, F, Indiana
88. Preston Medlin, JR, F, Utah State
87. Kyle Wiltjer, SO, F, Kentucky
86. Jackie Carmichael, SR, F, Illinois State
85. Alex Oriakhi, SR, F, Missouri
84. C.J. Aiken, JR, F, Saint Joseph's
83. Kevin Pangos, SO, G, Gonzaga
82. De'Mon Brooks, JR, F, Davidson
81. Rodney Purvis, FR, G, NC State
80. Kaleb Tarczewski, FR, C, Arizona
79. Ryan Harrow, SO, G, Kentucky
78. Chris Gaston, SR, F, Fordham
77. Frantz Massenat, JR, G, Drexel
76. Rodney Williams, SR, F, Minnesota
75. Tim Frazier, SR, G, Penn State
74. Rotnei Clarke, SR, G, Butler
73. Brandon Davies, SR, F, BYU
72. Trey Ziegler, JR, G, Pittsburgh
71. C.J. Fair, JR, G, Syracuse
70. Gary Harris, FR, G, Michigan State
69. Mark Lyons, SR, G, Arizona
68. Michael Dixon, SR, G, Missouri
67. Jack Cooley, SR. F, Notre Dame
66. Nate Wolters, SR, G, South Dakota State
65. Dexter Strickland, SR, G, North Carolina
64. Ray McCallum, JR, G, Detroit
63. Keith Clanton, SR, F, Central Florida
62. Lorenzo Brown, JR, G, NC State
61. Sean Kilpatrick, SR, G, Cincinnati
60. Brandon Paul, SR, G, Illinois
59. Vincent Council, SR, G, Providence
58. Khalif Wyatt, SR, G, Temple
57. Matthew Dellavedova, SR, G, Saint Mary's
56. Seth Curry, SR, G, Duke
55. Pierre Jackson, SR, G, Baylor
54. Tim Hardaway, JR, G, Michigan
53. D.J. Cooper, SR, G, Ohio
52. Allen Crabbe, JR, G, California
51. Reggie Johnson, SR, C, Miami
50. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SO, G, Georgia
This could very well be the last collegiate season for Caldwell-Pope, who is as athletic a guard as there is in college basketball.
49. Isaiah Austin, FR, C, Baylor
The 7-foot sharp-shooter should help make the losses of Quincy Miller, Perry Jones and Quincy Acy a little bit easier to stomach for Bears fans.
48. Archie Goodwin, FR, G, Kentucky
There has already been plenty of talk from those who have seen the team playing pickup in Lexington that Goodwin might end up leading the Wildcats in scoring.
47. Chaz Williams, JR, G, Massachusetts
The likely preseason Player of the Year in the Atlantic 10, Williams will be looking to the lead the Minutemen into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998.
46. Chane Behanan, SO, F, Louisville
The 2012 West Region MVP, Behanan has spent the offseason working on his jump shot in an effort to improve upon his 9.5 ppg scoring average from last season.
45. Shabazz Napier, JR, G, Connecticut
Napier will likely be asked to do a little bit of everything in what is sure to be a rough season in Storrs.
44. Jeff Withey, SR, C, Kansas
The NCAA Tournament record of 31 blocked shots that Withey set during Kansas' run to the national title game isn't likely to be broken anytime soon.
43. Elijah Johnson, JR, G, Kansas
Johnson's improved ability to hit outside shots during conference play last season was as major a development for the Jayhawks as it was for him individually.
42. Aaric Murray, JR, C, West Virginia
Murray played just two seasons at La Salle but still left as the school's No. 2 all-time leading shot blocker.
41. Jeronne Maymon, SR, F, Tennessee
The Marquette transfer scored at least 12 points in every SEC game last season.
40. Elias Harris, SR, F, Gonzaga
The senior has been a rock solid performer for three seasons, but now he's hungry for his first trip to the NCAA Tournament's second weekend.
39. Jarnell Stokes, SO, F, Tennessee
Stokes joined the team in January last season and immediately started to put up solid numbers despite not really having any idea what he was doing. It's not a surprise that people are expecting him to explode (figuratively) as a sophomore.
38. Ben McLemore, FR, G, Kansas
McLemore, who didn't qualify to play for the Jayhawks last season, will be looking to step into the lead scoring guard role left behind by Tyshawn Taylor.
37. Reggie Bullock, JR, G, North Carolina
Bullock grew tremendously as a defender and rebounder during the second half of last season after Dexter Strickland's ACL tear forced him into the starting lineup.
36. Keion Bell, SR, G, Missouri
Bell put up monster numbers for three seasons at Pepperdine, and should prove they weren't a fluke as he leads Frank Haith's talented quartet of Tiger transfers.
35. Solomon Hill, SR, F, Arizona
Hill has both the body and the athleticism the country has come to expect from elite Arizona forwards.
34. Kyle Anderson, FR, G, UCLA
Anderson is still awaiting clearance from the NCAA, but most expect that to occur prior to the start of practice on Oct. 12.
33. Erik Murphy, SR, F, Florida
Murphy was a star down the stretch for Florida, helping turn the Gators from underachievers to a team that was five decent minutes of play away from a trip to the Final Four.
32. Andre Roberson, JR, F, Colorado
Roberson showed proved he was one of the nation's most underrated players when he led the Buffs to the 2012 Pac-12 tournament title. National hype avoids him because he's not an explosive scorer, and that's a shame because he's as well-rounded a player as there is in college basketball.
31. Myck Kabongo, SO, G, Texas
The much ballyhooed Canadian native had a bit of a disappointing freshman campaign for the Longhorns. Expect his production to increase dramatically with J'Covan Brown off to the league.
30. B.J. Young, SO, G, Arkansas
Leading Arkansas with an average of 15.3 points per game, Young topped all SEC freshmen in scoring and shot 50.4 percent from the floor last season on his way to being selected second team all-conference.
29. Mason Plumlee, SR, F, Duke
Frontcourt talent would have been a major concern for Coach K had Plumlee, probably Duke's most consistent performer last season, not chosen to return for his senior year. He averaged 11.1 points and 9.2 rebounds for the Blue Devil squad which earned a two-seed before being stunned by Lehigh in their NCAA Tournament opener.
28. Otto Porter, SO, F, Georgetown
The freshman All-American's remarkable progress during the second half of last season is the reason why just about everyone is expecting him to have a breakthrough sophomore campaign for the Hoyas.
27. Trevor Mbakwe, SR, F, Minnesota
Perhaps the biggest mystery on this list. If Mbakwe's knee is close to 100% and he can stay healthy for an entire season, then he'll be one of the best players in America. Both of those issues, however, are extreme question marks at this point.
26. Alex Poythress, FR, F, Kentucky
If Nerlens Noel is the new Anthony Davis in Lexington, then Poythress is the new Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He's every bit as perfect a fit in John Calipari's system as MKG was, and could easily wind up being UK's most productive player this season.
25. Patric Young, JR, F, Florida
The sophomore big man basically shouldered the entire load in the post for the perimeter-oriented Gators, and averaged 10.2 points and 6.4 rebounds despite battling a foot injury for much of the season. He figures to step into a heightened role next season for a Florida team which should again start the season ranked somewhere in the top 15.
24. Wayne Blackshear, SO, F, Louisville
Blackshear was expected by many to be the biggest impact freshman of the Rick Pitino era at Louisville, but a shoulder injury forced him to miss more than half the season and limited his productivity once he returned to the floor. His two electrifying dunks against Kentucky in the Final Four gave Cardinal fans a brief glimpse at what they hope is the near future.
23. Adonis Thomas, SO, F Memphis
A lottery pick in many early 2013 NBA mock drafts, Thomas has packed on 30 pounds during the offseason in an effort to become more of a force in the paint. With Will Barton off to the league, he's expected to be the star of a Tiger team that should once again dominate Conference USA.
22. Kenny Boynton, SR, G, Florida
Boynton has earned a reputation for being able to shoot Florida in or out of a game anytime he steps on the floor. As a veteran leader and Billy Donovan's most talented player, he needs to find more consistency in his final collegiate season.
21. Jamaal Franklin, JR, G, San Diego State
Franklin came from completely off the radar to average 17.4 points and 7.9 rebounds on his way to Mountain West Player of the Year honors a year ago. He's not going to sneak up on anyone this season.
20. Phil Pressey, JR, G, Missouri
The diminutive Pressey is the guy who makes Frank Haith's style of play work. On a team with a few holdovers from last season's Big 12 tournament champions as well as some extremely talented newcomers, he'll be asked to spearhead the unification process.
19. Le'Bryan Nash, SO, F, Oklahoma State
A freak athlete who mulled going pro after his first season in Stillwater, Nash averaged 13.3 points and 5.0 rebounds on his way to co-Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors.
18. Christian Watford, SR, F, Indiana
Best known for hitting the shot that gave Kentucky its only regular season loss last season, Watford spurned the NBA last spring in order to try and win a national championship in his final season as a Hoosier.
17. Michael Snaer, SR, G, Florida State
Snaer proved last year that he's one of the most clutch performers in college basketball, now he wants the world to know that he's best shooting guard in the country.
16. Gorgui Dieng, JR, C, Louisville
Louisville's man in the middle improved dramatically during his sophomore year and should take an even larger leap forward this season. He figures to assume the role of college basketball's dominant shot-blocker that was left behind by Anthony Davis.
15. Rodney McGruder, SR, G, Kansas State
McGruder hit double figures in every game but one after Christmas last season, and dropped 30 in K-State's NCAA Tournament-opening victory over Southern Miss.
14. C.J. Leslie, JR, F, NC State
Leslie was the last major name to announce that he was returning to school, a piece of news that led more than a few folks to declare NC State a legitimate national title contender in just Mark Gottfried's second season in Raleigh.
13. Trey Burke, SO, G, Michigan
Most pundits expected Burke's first season as a Wolverine to be his only one, but he stunned those people by announcing he was coming back to Ann Arbor last April. He led team in scoring, steals and blocks last season and also set a Michigan freshman record for assists.
12. Aaron Craft, JR, G, Ohio State
His reputation for being the best on-ball defender in college basketball well established, Craft will look to lead the Buckeyes back to the Final Four for a second straight season.
11. Peyton Siva, SR, G, Louisville
The 2012 Big East Tournament MVP, Siva is as difficult to keep out of the lane as any player in America. If he can learn how to consistently make the right decision once he gets there, and stay out of foul trouble, then his senior season should end with All-American honors.
10. Mike Moser, JR, F, UNLV
One of college basketball's biggest double-double threats, Moser's combination of size and athleticism is the biggest reason the Runnin' Rebels are a darkhorse national title contender.
9. Tony Mitchell, SO, F, North Texas
The decision by Mitchell, who originally committed to Missouri but never made it to Columbia because of academic issues, to return to school was probably the most surprising of the offseason. His level of talent is rarely seen in the Sun Belt, and he figures to single-handedly turn the Mean Green into one of America's favorite mid-majors this season.
8. Nerlens Noel, FR, C, Kentucky
All the last Kentucky freshman center who was the No. 1 player in the previous year's recruiting class did was become the consensus national Player of the Year, lead the Wildcats to a national title and wind up being the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. You have to admire Noel for welcoming the challenge and signing with UK.
7. DeShaun Thomas, JR, F, Ohio State
Though frontcourt mate Jared Sullinger earned the majority of the headlines, it was probably Thomas who was the Buckeyes' best player during their run to the Final Four. In five NCAA Tournament games, the sophomore averaged a team-best 19.2 points per game, including a 31-point, 12-rebound performance against Loyola (Md.) in the round of 64. With Sullinger off to the league, Thomas has a tremendous opportunity to both emerge as OSU's unquestioned star and solidify a spot in the 2013 lottery.
6. Shabazz Muhammad, FR, F, UCLA
Assuming he's eventually cleared by the NCAA, all Muhammad will have to worry about then is being the person most responsible for bringing UCLA back into the national conversation...oh, and also probably saving his head coach's job.
5. Isaiah Canaan, SR, G, Murray State
The second team AP All-American was tremendous as a junior, averaging better than 19 points per game and nearly leading Murray State to an unbeaten regular season. Many saw Canaan's as a "strike while the iron is hot" situation, but he chose to make the slightly risky play to wait around for a 2013 draft, which figures to be less guard-heavy. His return, coupled with head coach Steve Prohm choosing to stick around, should garner the Racers at least a little bit of preseason top 25 love.
4. C.J. McCollum, SR, G, Lehigh
The two-time Patriot League Player of the Year would be a star for any team in the country. No one who watched him light up Duke in last year's NCAA Tournament would disagree.
3. James McAdoo, SO, F, North Carolina
McAdoo looked lost for most of his freshman campaign before injuries forced him into the Tar Heel starting lineup late in the season. As a part-time starter in March, McAdoo showed flashes of brilliance while averaging 10.6 points and 4.8 rebounds over UNC's final seven games. Expect him to make the Thomas Robinson-esque leap from overshadowed backup to Player of the Year candidate this in 2012-13.
2. Doug McDermott, JR, F, Creighton
The lone first team All-American from last season who's back in college for another year, McDermott averaged 22.9 points while playing for his father, Greg, as a sophomore in 2011-12. Expect the younger McDermott's viability as a national Player of the Year contender to become one of the hottest national debates during the middle part of the season
1. Cody Zeller, SO, F, Indiana
The co-Big Ten Freshman of the Year averaged 15.6 points and 6.6 rebounds during his first season in Bloomington, and was the biggest reason the Hoosiers were able to make (and advance in) the NCAA Tournament for the first time under Tom Crean. Zeller proved his pro potential by going toe-to-toe with Anthony Davis in IU's Sweet 16 loss to eventual national champion Kentucky. He finished that game with 20 points while holding the consensus national Player of the Year to just nine. He would seem to be the player in America most capable of doing what Davis did last season: winning a national title and then being the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.