There isn't yet a clear consensus on who holds the title of the top player in college basketball this season. There are the returning players like Marcus Smart and Doug McDermott who have already established themselves. Then there are the legions of hyped freshman who had everyone drooling before they ever took a shot.
Everyone knew Smart and McDermott would be fine. Early indicators on Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Jabari Parker and Aaron Gordon show that the hype for the freshman class was worth the wait. But there are still plenty of other players who are also worthy of attention who have been overshadowed at the beginning of the season.
Let's take a quick look at some of the more underrated players in college hoops right now.
The Atlantic 10 wasn't supposed to have the UMass Minutemen sitting on top two months into the season, but that is exactly what is happening. Much of that is owed to the stellar play of their point guard, who should be considered among the best at his position in the nation. Williams is leading the very fun offense of the Minutemen in both points and assists. His 17.5 points per game are good for fifth in the conference, and his 7.5 assists per game are good for second in the nation. The diminutive 5'9 guard has stepped up most when the Minutemen need him. He came up big against the BYU Cougars with 32 points and 15 assists, both figures a career-high.
Travis Bader - Oakland Golden Grizzlies
Last year, some of the better three-pointer shooters in the nation included Marshall Henderson and Rotnei Clarke. Clarke isn't a household name, but plays on a good team. Henderson made himself a household name with his theatrics on and off the court. But the player that led the nation? Some kid named Travis Bader from Oakland. Not Oakland, Calif. mind you, but Oakland University in Michigan.
Bader led the nation with 139 three-pointers last season. The year before, he hit 124. He sits at just a few under 400 for his career right now, and if he continues his current barrage, he will demolish JJ Redick's Division I record 457 three-pointers made. Unfortunately, Bader is doing this all for a team that is severely struggling. The Golden Grizzlies opened the season with seven-straight losses, and their opening road slate against North Carolina, UCLA, Cal and Gonzaga didn't help.
With all the new introductions into the ACC, Florida State was always going to have a tough go. That go didn't get any easier after freshman Xavier Rathan-Mayes was declared ineligible, and that is why White is needed more than ever. So far, the lanky forward has stepped up in every way. White's statistics are up across the board, averaging 14.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. He is doing all of that while improving his shot selection. He holds a true shooting percentage of 66.6 percent (according to statsheet.com), which is good for fourth in the ACC.
He has been especially big when the spotlight is on for the Seminoles. In a two-point overtime loss to the then No. 14 Michigan Wolverines, White finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds in 41 minutes. In a decisive win against the then No. 10 VCU Rams, White had 14 points, nine rebounds, two steals and three blocks. There are plenty of big name forwards in the ACC, and White deserves to be right up there.
It seems a bit dumb to call the Pac-12's second leading scorer last year an underrated player. If Carson was playing on the Arizona Wildcats, he would be a household name. But the 5'10 speedy guard plays on the Arizona State Sun Devils, so that impairs the media coverage a bit. It is a shame really, because Carson is one of the better scoring point guards in the nation. He averages 20.5 points and 5.1 assists for Arizona State. He does it in big ways half the time as well, dropping 40 points on the road against UNLV.
Spencer Dinwiddie - Colorado Buffaloes
The junior guard for the Buffaloes burst onto the national scene in the NCAA Tournament last year. He is also one of the big reasons Colorado has won nine straight and is sitting in the top 25. He is averaging 15.3 points and 3.7 assists per game for Colorado. At 6'6 and 200 pounds, Dinwiddie has the size that NBA scouts love in guards, and he puts it to good use. He shoots 45 percent from the floor, but a solid chunk of his production comes from driving into the lane. Dinwidde averages nearly seven free-throws a game, and his 69 made free-throws on the season are fourth in the nation.
Dinwiddie also does it all pretty quietly. He has scored in double figures in all but one game this season, and often does it in a way you don't even notice until the game is over. Half of his points have come from the free-throw line in six games this season. Games like his 15 point effort in a nail-biting win over Kansas are easy to overlook. Dinwiddie was 3-for-8 from the floor in the win, but he also went 8-for-10 from the free-throw line while hitting huge free-throws to close out the game.