The latest product of Saint Mary's vaunted Australian pipeline, Emmett Naar tied Matthew Dellavedova's school record for assists in a season by dishing out 223 in 2015-16. He also led the team in scoring at 14.0 ppg for good measure.
The latest product of Saint Mary's vaunted Australian pipeline, Emmett Naar tied Matthew Dellavedova's school record for assists in a season by dishing out 223 in 2015-16. He also led the team in scoring at 14.0 ppg for good measure.
Rodney Bullock (11.4 ppg) is the only returning scorer for a Providence team that will have to adjust to life without superstars Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil. If that life is going to be at all pleasant, Bullock will have to be tremendous.
An increase in consistency will be the key for Davon Reed if he and backcourt mate Ja'Quan Newton want to effectively fill the void left behind by Sheldon McClellan and Angel Rodriguez.
Donte Clark scored 20 or more points nine times last season, and that figures to be surpassed as he takes on even more of an offensive workload in 2016-17.
A junior college transfer, Rob Gray Jr. led Houston in scoring and finished as the American Athletic Conference's second-leading scorer at 16 points per game.
The "old man" on a Kentucky roster dominated by freshmen, Isaiah Briscoe won't have as much pressure to produce offensively as he did a season ago. With plenty of size and scoring surrounding him, don't be surprised if Briscoe flourishes in the role of unselfish glue guy.
Already the all-time leading scorer in North Florida basketball history, Dallas Moore averaged 19.8 points and six assists per game last season on his way to being named the Atlantic Sun Player of the Year.
With all due respect to perpetually underachieving point guard Kasey Hill and Charleston transfer Canyon Barry, it'll be the play of KeVaughn Allen that ultimately determines whether Florida is back to being a player on the national scene or still at least a year away. Allen averaged 11.6 ppg as a freshman last season, but he needs to improve his shooting percentages dramatically and play with more confidence when the ball is in his hands as a sophomore.
The preseason player of the year in the Sun Belt, Hervey was having a tremendous 2015-16 season, averaging 18.1 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, before an ACL tear in January sidelined him for the rest of the year.
It will be interesting to see how Abdul-Malik Abu — a bruising big who averaged 12.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game last season — plays alongside the immensely skilled Omer Yurtseven once the freshman from Turkey has finished serving his nine-game suspension. If they can coexist effectively, NC State should be a worthy dark horse in the ACC.
After posting averages of 9.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, Angel Delgado will need to produce a double-double more times than not if Seton Hall wants to repeat the success it enjoyed in 2015-16.
Few players in college basketball have a better backstory than Chris Flemmings. After starting his college career playing for Division-II Barton, he chose to walk-on at UNC-Wilmington after his mom had showed up at the Seahawks' gym and asked new coach Kevin Keatts if he needed any new players. He wound up being the best player on a Wilmington team that gave Duke a scare in the first round of the NCAA tournament, and he'll begin his senior season as the Colonial Athletic Association's preseason Player of the Year.
The most dominant player in the Mid-American Conference, Antonio Campbell posted 19 double-doubles as a junior in 2015-16. The reigning MAC Player of the Year finished the season averaging 17.5 points and 10 rebounds per game.
It's crazy to think that in a single year, Amile Jefferson has gone from the guy whose absence was used as the justification for all of Duke's shortcomings to the forgotten man on a Blue Devils team that is everyone's pick to win the 2016-17 national title. That second fact is remarkable given that Jefferson was averaging a double-double when a broken right foot in December cost him the rest of the 2015-16 season.
Much to the delight of the rest of the Missouri Valley Conference, the seemingly endless Fred VanVleet/Ron Baker era at Wichita State has come to a close. Now it's time on Markis McDuffie, the conference's reigning Rookie of the Year, to pick up where those guys left off.
Gary Clark fits the mold of a Cincinnati basketball player to a tee. The 2016 AAC Defensive Player of the Year is tough, athletic, and rebounds more aggressively and at a higher frequency than his height should allow.
Taurean Prince and Rico Gathers are both gone, which means it's time for Johnathan Motley to really shine. The 6'10 junior has long been referred to as a future NBA draft pick, and now he finally has an opportunity to justify that hype.
After playing his freshman season at Auburn, Jordan Price has spent the past two seasons getting hoards of buckets for La Salle. He averaged 19.2 ppg last season, but he'd likely give up a chunk of that average if the Explorers can improve on their 9-22 record in 2016-17.
If BYU played in a more prominent conference or had a few more nationally televised games, Nick Emery might challenge Grayson Allen for the title of America's most loathed college basketball player. The always fiery sophomore is going to score a ton of points for the Cougars this season, and he's going to infuriate almost as many student sections on the West Coast.
Isaac Hamilton led UCLA in scoring last season at 16.8 ppg. That's the good news. The bad news is that he was the leading scorer on a Bruins team that had a disastrous 15-17 season. His production might dip with the addition of freshman Lonzo Ball, but his team's win total will likely increase.
There might not be a player on North Carolina's roster who is more important to the Tar Heels' success in 2016-17 than Isaiah Hicks. The 2016 ACC Sixth Man of the Year, Hicks put up some remarkably efficient numbers last season, but he did so in limited playing time thanks to the presence of Brice Johnson. After three years of biding his time as a reserve, the former McDonald's All-American now finally has his opportunity to be the man in Chapel Hill.
When it comes to Cincinnati, all eyes seem to be on preseason Co-AAC Player of the Year Troy Caupain and fellow unanimous First Team All-Conference selection Gary Clark. Even with that being the case, the most talented player on Mick Cronin's roster is sophomore Jacob Evans. If he plays with the increased confidence that he showed at times during the closing weeks of last season, he'll wind up being the Bearcats' most explosive, and best, performer.
After a turbulent freshman season, Carlton Bragg spent the spring and summer adding 30 pounds of muscle in an effort to make his body more conducive to life in the Big 12. If he can cut down on the fouls and pick up his rebounding, Bragg should serve as the perfect accent to Kansas' star-studded perimeter.
A preseason Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award candidate, Seth Allen was the second-leading scorer (14.7 ppg) last season on a surprisingly productive Virginia Tech squad. He also led the team in steals and free-throw percentage, and was second in assists.
Playing for the Turkish club Fenerbahçe for three seasons will cost Omer Yurtseven the first nine games of the 2016-17 season, but NC State fans will take it. The reason is because the international big man's skill set has the full attention of every NBA scout on the planet. On the day before he committed to NC State this summer, Yurtseven scored 91 points on 34-of-49 shooting in a Turkish U18 game.
Seton Hall lost just one starter from the Pirates team that captured the school's first Big East tournament championship since 1993, but he was an important one. Isaiah Whitehead's early departure for the NBA means Khadeen Carrington will be asked to score more than the 14.1 ppg he pumped in last season.
Elijah Brown led the Mountain West in scoring last season at 21.7 ppg, and is the biggest reason why Lobos fans are hopeful that this year's team can make it back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014.
One of the most physically imposing players in college basketball, Tyler Davis plays like a center from an era long gone, but he does it effectively. The rough and tumble big man averaged 11.3 points and 6.2 rebounds as a freshman last season, and is the only returning starter that Billy Kennedy has back for 2016-17.
With 1,187 career points, Michael Young is the leading returning career scorer in the ACC, and one of just three all-league honorees from last season who's back for another go.
What's most impressive about the 18.3 points per game that T.J. Cline averaged last season is that he accumulated the total while shooting 55.8 percent from the field. That percentage was better than all but six players in the Atlantic 10.
South Carolina won its first 15 games last season before a second-half collapse saw the Gamecocks fall short of making the NCAA tournament. Sindarius Thornwell is the leading returning scorer from that team at 13.4 ppg, and he's spent the offseason using the disappointment of missing out on the Big Dance as motivation for his senior year.
After boldly declaring before the start of the season that LSU would win the 2016 national championship, Antonio Blakeney wound up being little more than a sideshow act for the Ben Simmons circus that ended with the Tigers declining a bid to the NIT. With the distractions of last season mostly gone, Blakeney should be able to improve on an inconsistent campaign that saw him average 12.6 points per game.
One of the most interesting NBA prospects west of the Mississippi, Lauri Markkanen has the size of a center and the skill set of a combo guard. He turned heads while playing for the Finnish national team at the U20 European Championships last summer, averaging 24.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.
Jordan McLaughlin led overachieving USC in scoring last season at 13.4 ppg. He'll be asked to do even more as a junior after a slew of unexpected departures has left what was supposed to be a monster season for the Trojans as more of a question mark.
Malik Newman was supposed to be the freshman superstar for Mississippi State last season. Instead, Quinndary Weatherspoon was the team's most consistent backcourt contributor and Newman wound up transferring to Kansas.
The latest transfer success story for Archie Miller at Dayton, Charles Cooke led the Flyers in scoring last season at 15.6 ppg. The former James Madison standout is one of the top preseason candidates for Atlantic 10 Player of the Year.
As a junior last season, Tyler Cavanaugh hit double figures in all 37 of George Washington's games. He led the Colonials in scoring (16.8 ppg) while ranking second in rebounding (7.6 rpg) and field goal percentage (.505), and fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.417).
With three-time All-AAC guard Nic Moore graduated and gone, SMU should turn into the Shake Milton show this season. The 6'6 guard averaged 10.5 ppg and 2.7 apg as a freshman last season.
Andrew White became the most sought-after grad transfer in the country when he announced in June that he'd be spending his final season of college eligibility somewhere other than Nebraska. His 6'7 size and propensity for knocking down the outside shot (41.2 percent from three last season) should make him an ideal fit at Syracuse.
There were times during the final weeks of the 2015-16 season where OG Anunoby's vast potential was so apparent that it seemed like almost a foregone conclusion that he would be spending just one season in college despite an extremely modest stat line. Instead, he chose to play at least one more season for Tom Crean, and has spent the summer popping up on everyone's "breakout stars for 2016-17" list.
The only returning starter from last year's Big Ten Tournament championship team, Eron Harris showed glimpses last season of being a capable go-to scorer for Sparty on offense. He was at his best when eventual national Player of the Year Denzel Valentine was sidelined with a knee injury in December, averaging 16.8 points per game over a five-game span.
After a brilliant freshman season, Marcus Foster's sophomore effort was so disappointing that he decided he needed a total change of scenery. After sitting out last season, he'll look to regain the form that guided him to a 15.5 ppg scoring average for Kansas State in 2013-14.
With grad transfer Sterling Gibbs gone, the show in Storrs will be Jalen Adams' to run full-time in 2016-17. He looked like one of the best point guards in the AAC at times last season, but for the bulk of that campaign he mostly appeared unable to get into a rhythm. A dramatic increase in playing time should solve that issue.
2016 Final Four Most Outstanding Player Ryan Arcidiacono certainly left some large shoes to fill, but Jay Wright is confident that former McDonald's All-American Jalen Brunson is the man for the job.
One of the best pure scorers in the country, Jaylen Adams averaged 17.9 ppg last season, led the Atlantic 10 in three-point field goal percentage (.438) and finished fourth in free-throw percentage (.874). He also averaged five assists and 3.7 rebounds per game.
A late addition to Texas' top five 2016 recruiting class, Allen has the size (6'11) and athleticism to thrive in Shaka Smart's system.
Jonathan Isaac followed the Anthony Davis path to stardom, starting high school standing 6'2 and heading to college at 6'10. He is remarkably gifted and currently projects as a lottery pick in the 2017 NBA draft, but we've heard that description with Florida State players a few times in recent years and seen it not pan out the way the player would have liked.
If Memphis is able to overachieve in its first season under Tubby Smith, there's little doubt that Dedric Lawson will have had a significant amount to do with it. The 2016 AAC Rookie of the Year averaged 15.8 ppg and led the conference in rebounding at 9.3 rpg last season.
A Sports Illustrated cover boy for the first time this offseason, Chris Boucher is coming off a season in which he set an Oregon record for blocked shots with 110, and ranked second in the country with 2.9 blocks per game. He also chipped in 12.1 points and a team-leading 7.4 rebounds per game for good measure.
V.J. Beachem looked like Notre Dame's best player during the Fighting Irish's second consecutive run to the Elite 8. In those four games, the forward averaged 17.5 ppg, shot 42.9 percent from three-point range (12-of-28) and wound up on the East Regional All-Tournament team. He also drastically elevated the expectations for his senior season.
Dillon Brooks is still the most well-known member of the Oregon perimeter, but don't be surprised if there are times this season where Dorsey makes fans wonder why it's not the other way around. The former top-50 recruit flirted briefly with the NBA draft after posting averages of 13.4 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc as a freshman last season.
Martin began his sophomore season coming off the Butler bench. He ended it as the No. 3 scorer in the Big East. Martin is now the conference's leading returning scorer (15.7 ppg) and finds himself in a position where if his team is going to be good, he needs to become great.
After something of a disappointing sophomore season in which he shot 28.5 percent from beyond the arc, Rathan-Mayes is ready to step up and be a leader as he enters his third season at Florida State. The early exit of Malik Beasley should allow Rathan-Mayes to form a better rapport with Dwayne Bacon and also allow the Ontario native to get back to the scoring ways of his freshman campaign.
Injuries have kept E.C. Matthews from being the cornerstone of the Dan Hurley era at Rhode Island, and Rams fans would argue that they've also been the reason the program hasn't been able to snap its streak of 17 consecutive missed NCAA tournaments. If Matthews, who averaged 16.9 ppg two seasons ago, can stay healthy, then both he and his team could claim top honors in the Atlantic 10.
Despite playing alongside All-American Jarrod Uthoff in 2015-16, Peter Jok posted solid averages of 16.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. He'll be the focus of a Hawkeyes offense that lost its top four scorers outside of Jok from last season.
Rick Pitino said at one point last season that he expects Deng Adel to be the highest NBA draft pick that he's produced during his time at Louisville. Injuries kept fans from being able to see that potential for most of Adel's freshman season, but a game late in the year against Duke where he limited Brandon Ingram to 3-of-10 shooting and forced him into 10 turnovers was a nice glimpse of what Adel is capable of doing as a sophomore.
One of the last players to announce his return to school before the NBA draft declaration deadline, Caleb Swanigan is back in Lafayette after a freshman season that saw him 10.2 points and 8.3 rebounds. It was enough to help Purdue earn a top-10 national ranking and a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament, but not to guarantee Swanigan's name would be called on draft night. If he makes the type of sophomore leap that some are predicting, the Boilermakers should be able to compete for a Big Ten title.
Dwayne Bacon and fellow five-star recruit Malik Beasley were both expected to be one-and-done players for Leonard Hamilton last season. Beasley bolted, but Bacon chose to return to Tallahassee even though he averaged 15.8 points and 5.8 rebounds. With Bacon, Rathan-Mayes, and five-star freshman Jonathan Isaac all in the fold, there are no more excuses for the Seminoles.
A double-figure scorer in all three of his collegiate seasons so far, Mo Watson is one of the most slept-on guards in the country. The diminutive point guard averaged 14.1 points and led the Big East in assists with 6.6 per game last season. He'll now look to cap his college career by playing in the NCAA tournament for the first time.
This should be a huge season for Joel Berry, who averaged 12.8 points, 3.8 assists, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.5 steals in 2015-16. With Marcus Paige gone, it's now Berry's time to be the star of the Tar Heel backcourt.
Austin Nichols averaged 13.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks two seasons ago at Memphis before opting to transfer out of the program. In his first season at Virginia, he'll be the player most-tasked with filling the frontcourt void left behind by the graduations of Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey.
The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year averaged 12.9 points per game and 7.9 rebounds last season. He reportedly spent the offseason improving his jump shot, an added skill that could make him a nightmare to defend for Big Ten opponents.
Few players enter the 2016-17 season with more of a chip on their shoulder than James Blackmon. The junior guard was supposed to be the star of a loaded Indiana team last season. Instead, he was labeled as the potential problem when the Hoosiers turned their season around after Blackmon went down with a season-ending knee injury last December. He still averaged 15.8 points, 46.3 percent three-point shooting, and 4.2 rebounds during an injury-shortened sophomore season, but his biggest challenge heading into his third year will be to prove that the concerns over his defensive play are unwarranted.
A preseason All-Big 12 selection, Jawun Evans led all freshman in the conference last season in scoring (12.9 ppg), assists (4.9 apg), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.9 A/TO), field goal percentage (47.1), three-point field goal percentage (47.5), and free throw percentage (83.3).
"The shot" is always going to define his college career, but Kris Jenkins is much more than just the guy who buried the buzzer-beater against North Carolina. Jenkins was Villanova's second-leading scorer last season, averaging 13.6 ppg, and was sensational during the most crucial stretch of the Wildcats' season, averaging 18.4 ppg and hitting double figures in each of their final 15 games.
With Buddy Hield gone, Jordan Woodard has to become a superstar for Oklahoma to remain a player in the national conversation. Playing alongside Hield in the backcourt last season, Woodard averaged 13.0 ppg with a 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio.
While rumors about his eligibility continue to swirl, Allonzo Trier is a difficult player to place on this list. If he winds up playing this season, Trier has every tool necessary to be the Pac-12 Player of the Year.
Illinois' struggles in the John Groce era have unfortunately overshadowed just how brilliant Malcolm Hill has been. The senior averaged 18.1 ppg for the Illini last season, and is one of 20 players on the preseason watch list for the Jerry West Award, given to the top guard in college basketball.
The latest in a long line of players to make the transition from Flint to East Lansing, Miles Bridges might be the most talented freshman that Tom Izzo has ever had the privilege of coaching. With 2016 AP National Player of the Year Denzel Valentine now wearing a Chicago Bulls jersey, Bridges' timing couldn't have been better.
Mitchell's freshman numbers are almost identical to the ones former Cardinal Terry Rozier put up as a freshman in 2013-14. Now, Louisville fans are expecting Mitchell to have a breakout sophomore campaign similar to the one that made Rozier the 16th pick of the 2015 NBA draft.
He may not hit the averages that Stephen Curry posted as a Wildcat, but don't be surprised if no player in college basketball scores more points this season than Jack Gibbs. The outside assassin dropped 41 on Charlotte last season with Chef Curry sitting courtside.
The 6'10 big man came on late for the Hoosiers, and looked sensational in the team's second-round win over Kentucky, but now it's time for Thomas Bryant to prove just how good he can be getting major minutes for an entire season. If that's as good as most people in Bloomington believe, then Bryant will be one of the best centers in the country and a first-round pick in next summer's NBA draft.
Koenig doesn't have the same next-level aspirations as most of the other players in the top 30 of this list, but that doesn't mean shouldn't be here. He's improved his numbers steadily in each of his previous three college seasons, and he is the perfect player to run the show for Greg Gard. You can also ask Xavier about his ability to make clutch shots with the game on the line.
A revelation during the second half of last season, Tyler Lydon's size (6'9), shot-blocking ability, and three-point stroke make him an ideal fit for Jim Boeheim's system. His decision to spurn the NBA for at least one more season with the Orange is the primary reason they'll start 2016-17 with a top-20 national ranking.
While Josh Jackson is absorbing the bulk of the preseason hype surrounding Kansas, Devonte' Graham is quietly preparing to make his skeptics feel dumb yet again. A fairly unheralded recruit when he arrived in Lawrence, Graham struggled with fouls and turnovers as a freshman. He cut down on the giveaways a year ago, improved his shooting numbers dramatically, and became the most reliable defender on Bill Self's roster.
Despite all the talent at Kentucky, it's Arkansas senior Moses Kingsley who is the preseason Player of the Year in the SEC. He got the nod after a breakout junior season in which he averaged 15.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. As a sophomore in 2014-15, those totals had been just 3.6 ppg and 2.5 rpg.
Trevon Bluiett's 15.1 ppg average was four points more than any other player on a Xavier team that won 28 games and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament last season. He'll lead the offensive charge once again for a Musketeer team that will start the 2016-17 season ranked No. 7 in the AP poll.
In his second season at Washington, Nigel Williams-Goss earned Second Team All-Pac-12 honors by averaging 15.6 points and 5.9 assists per game. After sitting out last season per NCAA transfer rules, he now becomes Gonzaga's top scoring option and one of the most talented players in the West Coast Conference.
Unusually springy and quick for someone who stands 6'6, Edmond Sumner does a little bit of everything for Xavier. His height allows him to make passes over the top of more diminutive defenders, and his quick release allows him to get shots off even when he's being checked by small forwards. Sumner is always in control and makes the heady decisions that allow Chris Mack's teams to be so successful.
Justin Jackson posted career highs in points, rebounds and assists per game as a sophomore in 2015-16, but it still wasn't quite the breakthrough season that some had been forecasting. If he improves his outside shooting (or goes away from it more than he did a year ago), the versatile Jackson should wind up being one of the most difficult players in the ACC to slow down.
Few players in college basketball will have more bounce than Malik Monk. The strong and graceful freshman will team up with fellow rookie De'Aaron Fox to form arguably the most exciting backcourt in the country.
As Tony Bennett's point guard for the past three seasons, London Perrantes has helped guide the Cavaliers to an 89-19 record and three top-two seeds in the NCAA tournament. Now, with Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill gone, Perrantes will be the face and the focal point of a Virginia team for the first time.
In his first three seasons at Wisconsin, Nigel Hayes has been a key contributor on Badger teams that have gone to the Sweet 16, the Final Four, and the national championship game. Now, the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year is back for one final run at a national title a year after he averaged 15.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, and a team-leading 3.0 assists in 2015-16.
When Bryce Drew accepted the head coaching position at Vanderbilt, the common thought was that Alec Peters would either be taking his game to the professional ranks or he'd become the crown jewel of the offseason transfer grab. Instead, he's back for one more run at Valpo, where he averaged 18.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game as a junior last season.
For the first time in the John Calipari era, Kentucky found itself without a superstar in the frontcourt, leaving the Wildcats susceptible to being bullied by teams with superior size and talent. That's a problem that Bam Adebayo won't let seep into 2016-17. The 6'10, 260-pound Adebayo is cut from the same cloth as former UK star DeMarcus Cousins, and his presence will make the Wildcats a well-rounded team once again.
There's no shortage of next-level talent on Kansas' 2016-17 roster, but Frank Mason is the tough, reliable senior point guard who figures to form the team's foundation. He fell just shy of a triple-double in the Jayhawks' opening exhibition game, posting 21 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists in a 92-74 victory over Washburn.
An All-ACC performer in 2015-16, Blossomgame averaged 18.7 points per game for a Clemson squad that was one of the most pleasant surprises in the conference. He passed up on the opportunity to potentially be a first-round pick in last summer's NBA draft in favor of making one last run at getting the Tigers into the NCAA tournament.
The top-ranked point guard in the 2016 class, Dennis Smith is fully recovered from a torn ACL and poised to lead an NC State squad that could be the biggest Wild Card in the ACC. After suffering the injury in August of 2015, Smith chose to graduate high school a semester early and enroll at NC State in January of 2016 to have a better feel for campus life and a better relationship with his teammates.
The weight of expectations will be on the shoulders of both Melo Trimble and the team he plays for in 2016-17. As a sophomore, Trimble averaged 14.8 ppg and 4.9 apg last season for a Maryland team that advanced to its first Sweet 16 since 2003. Still, the up and down campaign was a bit of a disappointment for Terp fans who saw their team ranked in the top five at the start of the season. Trimble is the only one of that team's top-five scorers who is back for another season in College Park, meaning he'll have to be a star if Mark Turgeon's team is going to overachieve.
It's no secret that the driving force of most John Calipari teams is the point guard, and Coach Cal will have a lethal new weapon to play with in 2016-17. Despite standing 6'4, De'Aaron Fox is remarkably fast with the ball in his hands, and has an opportunity to be the most effective transition scorer that Kentucky has had since John Wall. As good as Tyler Ulis and Andrew Harrison were the past three seasons, Fox's presence will give Calipari the opportunity to get back to playing the style he enjoys the most.
Averaging a triple-double, Lonzo Ball spent his senior season of high school leading Chino Hills High to a perfect 35-0 record and the No. 1 spot in virtually every set of national high school basketball rankings. Steve Alford will likely center his 2016-17 team around the versatile point guard, who will spearhead the Bruins' up-tempo attack.
There might not be a player on this list more difficult to place than Harry Giles, who has had three knee surgeries since his sophomore year of high school. If he's fully healthy, he has a legitimate case to be the No. 1 player on this list. If he's never 100 percent at any point this season, then obviously anywhere in the top 10 is too high. Mike Krzyzewski isn't going to do anything that might jeopardize Giles' long-term outlook, so only time will tell how much hoops fans get to see of the phenom in a Duke uniform.
As a sophomore, Dillon Brooks averaged 16.7 points and 5.4 rebounds to lead the Ducks to a No. 1 seed and a run to the West Regional final. The preseason First Team All-American underwent foot surgery this summer, but is expected to be 100 percent for the start of the season.
Monte Morris, the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year and a preseason First Team AP All-American, is about to wrap up one of the better careers we've ever seen from a college point guard.
As a freshman, Morris broke the NCAA record with a 4.79 assist-to-turnover ratio, which included a remarkable 6.9 assist-to-turnover ratio in Big 12 play. He nearly broke his own record a year later, leading the nation for a second consecutive season with a 4.63 assist-to-turnover ratio by dishing out 176 assists and committing just 38 turnovers. He assumed more of a scoring role as a junior, averaging a career-best 13.8 ppg. That didn't weigh down his distribution numbers, however, as Morris finished 2015-16 averaging a career-best 6.9 assists per game, a total which was the eighth-best in Division I.
Thanks almost entirely to Morris' return, the Cyclones will begin the season ranked No. 24 in the AP top 25.
In one of the most loaded recruiting classes in recent memory, Jayson Tatum was the 2015-16 Gatorade National Player of the Year. The 6'8 guard/forward hybrid is as smooth as a player that size can be. He's a terrific passer, he's an effective ballhandler, he can knock down shots inside and outside, and he'll make life extremely difficult for any guard or small forward he's matched up against on the other end of the floor.
As a 10th grader at perennial prep powerhouse DeMatha High School, Markelle Fultz wasn't even good enough to make the varsity team. Fast forward three years and the explosive 6'4 guard is a top-three pick in virtually every 2017 NBA mock draft you can find on the internet. Playing on a Washington team that won't provide him with a great supporting cast, the biggest issue for Fultz in 2016-17 might be to avoid having a Ben Simmons-esque season where you're putting up big numbers, but it looks like you and everyone on your team are still miserable. Even if that happens, Fultz will be worth staying up late for this winter.
It's rare in this era that a national championship team returns its leading scorer for another season, but that's the enviable situation Villanova finds itself in with Josh Hart. The 2015-16 Wooden Award finalist and First Team preseason All-American averaged 15.5 points per game last season, and his 6.8 rebounds per game average was the highest of any guard in the Big East. With Final Four MOP Ryan Arcidiacono graduated, Hart is now the unqeustioned leader of a Wildcat team looking to become college basketball's first repeat national champion in a decade.
No player surprised basketball fans more last spring than Ivan Rabb. The Cal star was the only player everyone expected to declare for the NBA draft who wound up coming back for one more season in college. The preseason First Team AP All-American was the Bears' most consistent player last season and likely would have been a lottery pick had he entered the draft. His decision not to came down to the simple fact that he just didn't want to be a professional quite yet.
"At the end of the day, the NBA isn't going anywhere," Rabb said in June. "If I'm the guy I'm supposed to be, I should be there next year, as well. I should be even better, even more comfortable on the floor, have a better mentality. There are some improvements on the floor I want to make, and why not make them in college before I get to the next level? I want to have fewer weaknesses, so when I get there, I can just continue to get better."
Five-star freshman haven't always enjoyed immediate success for Bill Self, but Jackson isn't your typical five-star freshman. The 6'8, 207-pound forward can create his own shot, score from just about any spot on the floor, and should be one of the best defensive players in the Big 12. He's also not lacking in confidence.
"We're going for a national championship this year," Jackson said back in October. "We're also trying to go undefeated. Hopefully that happens. I know it's hard to do, but we've got the power to do it."
He's never going to be America's favorite player, but that doesn't mean Allen can't be its best. Duke's loaded crop of freshman alone could make the Blue Devils great, but it's the presence of an established star like Allen that gives them the opportunity to be one of the more special teams college hoops has seen in recent years. After averaging 21.6 points and 3.5 assists per game, Allen became the only 2015-16 AP All-American to return to college for another year. He won't have to shoulder quite as much of the scoring load in 2016-17, but he'll still be the leader and first offensive option for a team everyone expects to win the national championship.
Evan Bradds, Senior, Forward, Belmont
Alec Wintering, Senior, Guard, Portland
Tyler Roberson, Senior, Forward, Syracuse
Zak Irvin, Senior, Forward, Michigan
Amida Brimah, Senior, Center, Connecticut
Omar Prewitt, Senior, Forward, William & Mary
Kennedy Meeks, Senior, Forward, North Carolina
Malik Pope, Junior, Forward, San Diego State
Justin Robinson, Senior, Guard, Monmouth
Mo Alie-Cox, Senior, Forward, VCU
Josh Hawkinson, Senior, Forward, Washington State
Hassan Martin, Senior, Forward, Rhode Island
Zach LeDay, Senior, Forward, Virginia Tech
Derrick Walton, Senior, Guard, Michigan
Quentin Snider, Junior, Guard, Louisville,
Marques Bolden, Freshman, Center, Duke
Ethan Telfair, Senior, Guard, Idaho State
Stevie Thompson, Sophomore, Guard, Oregon State
Luke Kennard, Sophomore, Guard, Duke
Canyon Barry, Senior, Guard, Florida
Bryce Alford, Senior, Guard, UCLA
JeQuan Lewis, Senior, Guard, VCU
Phil Forte, Senior, Guard, Oklahoma State
Ja'Quan Newton, Junior, Guard, Miami
Kyle Kuzma, Junior, Forward, Utah
Billy Garrett Jr., Senior, Guard, DePaul
Jamel Artis, Senior, Guard, Pittsburgh
Obi Enechionyia, Junior, Forward, Temple
Mike Daum, Sophomore, Forward, South Dakota State
Yante Maten, Junior, Forward, Georgia
Rodney Purvis, Senior, Guard, Connecticut
Scoochie Smith, Senior, Guard, Dayton
Dusty Hannahs, Senior, Guard, Arkansas
Troy Caupain, Senior, Guard, Cincinnati
Przemek Karnowski, Senior, Center, Gonzaga
Jae'Sean Tate, Junior, Forward, Ohio State
Ben Moore, Senior, Forward, SMU
Mikal Bridges, Sophomore, Forward, Villanova
Damyean Dotson, Senior, Guard, Houston
Jeremy Morgan, Senior, Guard, Northern Iowa
Zeek Woodley, Senior, Guard, Northwestern State
James Daniel, Senior, Guard, Howard
JaQuan Lyle, Sophomore, Guard, Ohio State