2017 College Basketball’s
by Mike Rutherford
Tyus Battle Syracuse
With Taurean Thompson out of the fold, there’s no question that Battle will be Jim Boeheim’s best player in 2017-18. On a team without a great deal of offensive firepower, Battle could put up some massive numbers in ACC play.
Devin Sibley Furman
The reigning Southern Conference Player of the Year, Sibley averaged 17.7 points per game and shot 44.9 percent from beyond the arc last season. The Paladins are expecting even greater things from Sibley as a senior.
Quentin Snider Louisville
A starter since the end of his freshman season, Snider has improved steadily each season at Louisville. He’ll be the most experienced player and the rock on a team that has already faced more adversity off the court than it’s likely to see on it.
Mark Alstork Illinois
Arguably the highest-profile transfer on the market last offseason, Alstork averaged 19 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game for Wright State last season. He took visits to Louisville and Georgetown and also considered South Carolina, Pitt and LSU before settling on the Illini.
Jaylen Hands UCLA
No, he isn’t Lonzo Ball, but Steve Alford doesn’t need him to be in order for UCLA to have a successful season. The 6’3” floor general is explosive both in terms of his first step and his vertical leaping ability.
Trae Young Oklahoma
Oklahoma took an enormous step back last season after Buddy Hield carried the Sooners to the Final Four in 2016. OU fans are optimistic that 2017-18 will be better, and Young is the main reason why. The McDonald’s All-American averaged 42.6 points per game as a high school senior at Norman North High School last year.
Chris Clemons Campbell
Clemons flirted briefly with jumping to the NBA after a sophomore season where he averaged 25.1 points per game, the fourth-highest total in Division-I. He was at his best in the Big South Tournament, averaging 37.6 points per game and dropping 51 in an upset win over UNC-Asheville.
Tres Tinkle Oregon State
If he can stay healthy, Tinkle has the potential to make the Beavers competitive in the Pac-12 again. He averaged 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds as a freshman in 2015-16, but missed Oregon State’s first NCAA tournament appearance in 26 years because of a broken foot. Last season, Tinkle was averaging 20.2 points and 8.3 rebounds before a broken right wrist ended his campaign after just six games.
James Daniel III Tennessee
A graduate transfer from Howard, Daniel led the nation in scoring two seasons ago at 27.1 points per game. He’ll look to add some offensive firepower to a Tennessee squad that ranked 145th in the country in scoring last season.
Quade Green Kentucky
It’s no secret that point guard is the position that makes John Calipari’s teams go, but Green is more of a shooter than a slasher like John Wall or De’Aaron Fox. Regardless of style, if Green proves himself to be the next great UK floor general, then the Wildcats will once again be right in the national championship mix come March.
E.C. Matthews Rhode Island
Matthews averaged 14.3 points per game as a freshman all the way back in 2013-14, which makes it seem like he’s been around forever. His crowning college achievement to date came last season when he was named Most Outstanding Player of the Atlantic 10 Tournament after averaging 19.3 points and 5.7 rebounds to get the Rams into the Big Dance for the first time since 1999.
Kyle Guy Virginia
The man bun, aka the “Guy Bun,” is gone. In his second college season, Kyle Guy hopes he can go from the “guy with the weird hair who could score in streaks” to Virginia’s most complete player. He’s added 10 pounds to his frame and is hoping to make the same freshman-to-sophomore leap that guys like Malcolm Brogdon and Klay Thompson did under Tony Bennett.
Chandler Hutchison Boise State
A First Team All-Mountain West selection in 2016-17, Hutchison had six games where he scored at least 20 points and snagged at least 10 rebounds. He also became the first player in Boise State history to record 500 points, 200 rebounds and 75 assists in a single season.
Justin James Wyoming
James was the Mountain West's Sixth Man of the Year as a sophomore, averaging a team-high 16 points per game to go with five rebounds and 2.2 assists. He figures to be the unquestioned star of a Wyoming team that hopes to compete for a top tier finish in what should be a rejuvenated Mountain West.
Omari Spellman Villanova
A former five-star recruit, Spellman was forced to sit out the entire 2016-17 season after the NCAA ruled that he did not complete his initial eligibility requirements in time. The addition of the 6’9” power forward should give Jay Wright the elite inside presence his team desperately missed at times a year ago.
Chris Clarke Virginia Tech
With Zach LeDay and Seth Allen both graduated, the pressure will be on Chris Clarke to first get healthy, and second become a star. Clarke was the team’s leading rebounder (7.3 rpg) and third-leading scorer (11.4 ppg) when he tore his ACL in mid-February. The Hokies performance on the glass took a huge hit, and the team went just 5-4 after his injury. If Clarke is 100 percent for the duration of 2017-18, he should be an All-ACC performer.
Josh Okogie Georgia Tech
A Second Team preseason All-ACC honoree, Okogie was the leading scorer for the 2017 NIT runners-up, averaging 16.1 points per game. He will miss at least the team’s season-opening game against UCLA due to a suspension for receiving impermissible benefits totaling less than $750.
Markus Howard Marquette
Howard was the most accurate three-point shooter in the country last season, connecting on 54.0 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. His goal as a sophomore is to prove to the rest of the Big East that he’s developed into more than just an outside assassin.
Andrew Jones Texas
Jones had an up-and-down freshman season, but begins his sophomore campaign as the only Longhorn returnee who averaged double-digit figures last year (11.4 ppg). Shaka Smart’s hope is that Jones joins forces with freshman big man Mo Bamba to form the most lethal inside-outside attack in the Big 12.
Jo Lual-Acuil Baylor
Acuil is a known commodity as a 7-foot defensive force. With Johnathan Motley gone, the big man’s offensive game is going to have to be dramatically improved in order for the Bears to avoid taking a dramatic step in the wrong direction.
Khyri Thomas Creighton
The Big East’s co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2017, Thomas did a little bit of everything for Creighton a year ago. He was the team’s most efficient offensive player after point guard Mo Watson’s season-ending injury, and in league play he ranked third in the Big East in assists (3.9 per game), sixth in rebounding (6.2), and eighth in steals (1.5).
Esa Ahmad West Virginia
Ahmad will be ineligible for the first semester of the season, dealing a huge blow to the Mountaineers’ chances of capably handling a tough non-conference slate. The power forward scored in double figures 20 times last season and was arguably the top defensive performer on one of the nation’s best defensive teams.
B.J. Johnson La Salle
Johnson flirted with making a leap to the NBA after a junior season where he led the Explorers in points (17.6 per game) and rebounds (6.3). He also became just the 30th player in school history to score 500 or more points in a single season.
Theo Pinson North Carolina
Known as much for his comic relief during press conferences as his on-court talents, Pinson is looking to finally emerge as a consistent (and healthy) offensive threat in his final collegiate season. He set career highs in points (6.1 per game), rebounds (4.6) and assists (3.7) last season, but shot just 38.1 percent from the field.
Jordan Caroline Nevada
An explosive athlete, Caroline averaged 15.0 points and 9.2 rebounds per game last season. The rebounding average was the second-best in the Mountain West. He was also named MVP of the Mountain West Tournament after helping the Wolfpack punch its first ticket to the Big Dance in a decade.
Shamorie Ponds St. John’s
A Big East All-Freshman team performer in 2016-17, Ponds averaged 17.4 points per game and hit double figures in all but three of St. John’s 33 games. If the Red Storm take a large step forward in year three under Chris Mullin, Ponds will likely be the biggest reason why.
J.P. Macura Xavier
Macura was the only player on an injury-ridden Xavier team to appear in all 38 games last season, and he was at his best when the lights were the brightest. The guard averaged 13 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists during a surprise run to the Elite Eight that rescued what had been a disappointing campaign for the Musketeers.
Tyler Hall Montana State
One of the best-kept secrets in college basketball, Hall will have you up late trying to find streams for Big Sky Conference games this winter. In his sophomore season, the 6’4”, 175-pound point guard ranked seventh in the nation in scoring (23.1 points per game) and second in three-pointers made. He did this while shooting 42.9 percent from beyond the arc and turning the ball over an average of just 2.0 times per game.
Kyron Cartwright Providence
Cartwright proved to Friar fans last season that life would go on without Kris Dunn. He led the Big East with 6.7 assists per game (fourth nationally) while also chipping in 11.4 points per game.
Lonnie Walker Miami
The crown jewel of Miami’s top 10 recruiting class, Walker is likely the most hyped freshman to ever suit up and play for Jim Larranaga. He had surgery for a torn right meniscus in July, but was cleared to return to practice in mid-October.
De'Anthony Melton USC
Melton is a freak athlete who earned a starting spot as a freshman on a loaded USC team last season because of his defensive prowess. If he can develop a consistent jump shot in his sophomore season, he could find himself ready for the league in a few short months.
Kevin Hervey UT-Arlington
The Sun Belt Player of the Year in 2017, Hervey averaged 17.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game while leading UT-Arlington to the conference’s regular season title. He’ll now look to end his college career with his first NCAA tournament appearance.
Quinndary Weatherspoon Mississippi State
Weatherspoon returns to Mississippi State after leading the team in scoring at 16.5 points per game last season. He’ll have backcourt help this year in the form of his younger brother, four-star recruit Nick.
Elijah Brown Oregon
Brown started his college career at Butler, spent the past two seasons at New Mexico, and will now wrap things up at Oregon. He averaged 18.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game last season for the Lobos. Brown’s new task will be to lead the offensive charge for an Oregon team that lost a significant amount from last year’s Final Four squad.
Amir Coffey Minnesota
Coffey was Minnesota’s second-leading scorer (12.2 ppg) last season despite using only 19.2 percent of the team’s possessions, just the fifth-most on the team. Expect Richard Pitino to feature the sophomore guard more in 2017-18.
Jaren Jackson Michigan State
A versatile 5-star forward with a 7-foot-4 wingspan, Jackson can score from any spot on the floor. He should serve as the perfect accent to the bigger and stronger Miles Bridges.
Mikal Bridges Villanova
Bridges hasn’t averaged double figures in scoring in either of his first two college seasons, but he’s still widely viewed as the best NBA prospect on Jay Wright’s roster. The reason is because he’s a 6’6” freak who Wright recently referred to as the best defensive player he’s ever coached. If Bridges’ shot improved as much this offseason as it did after his freshman year, he will be a force for the Wildcats as a junior.
Bryant Crawford Wake Forest
One of the most underrated guards in the country, Crawford helped Wake Forest get back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010 last season. He also became the first Demon Deacon with 500 points and 150 assists in a single season since Randolph Childress in 1994-95.
Isaac Haas Purdue
Making room isn’t an easy thing for a 7’2”, 290-pound center to do. That’s the position Haas was forced into last season while sharing a frontcourt with consensus First Team All-American Caleb Swanigan. The loss of Biggie is a huge blow to Purdue as a team, but it figures to give Haas more room to operate on his own in the post.
Wendell Carter Duke
Outside of Jahlil Okafor, highly touted freshmen big men haven’t had a significant amount of success right out of the gates at Duke in recent years. The No. 5 overall player from the class of 2017 is more than talented enough to reverse that trend.
Jerome Robinson Boston College
Robinson might be the best player on a bad team in college basketball. His streak of eight straight games with 20 points or more last season was the longest of any major conference player in America.
Jordan McLaughlin USC
When McLaughlin arrived at USC, the Trojans had just wrapped up three seasons with a losing overall record and five straight with a sub-.500 record in Pac-12 play. Now he’s the senior captain of a squad that won a pair of NCAA tournament games last season and will start this year at No. 10 in the Associated Press preseason top 25.
Tyler Davis Texas A&M
The leader of what has become a veteran Aggie squad, Davis averaged 14.1 points and seven rebounds per game last year. He led the SEC and ranked 14th in the nation in field goal percentage at 62.9.
Gary Clark Cincinnati
For a second straight season, Clark came dangerously close to averaging a double-double, chipping in 10.8 points and a team-best 7.9 rebounds per game. The do-it-all forward has been referred to by Mick Cronin as “the type of player every coach wants to have.”
Thomas Welsh UCLA
College basketball’s king of the mid-range jumper, Welsh has showcased a new skill during UCLA’s preseason: a three-point shot. If he can knock it down consistently the Bruins will be able to spread the court and give their super-athletic guards more room to operate.
Markis McDuffie Wichita State
A First Team All-Missouri Valley performer in 2016-17, McDuffie became the first underclassmen in 23 years to lead Wichita State in both scoring and rebounding. He’ll miss the start of the season because of a stress fracture in his left foot, but figures to be back in time to help the Shockers compete for a conference title in their first year as a member of the AAC.
Justin Jackson Maryland
One of the top breakout sophomore candidates in the country, Jackson ranked second on Maryland’s team in scoring last season at 10.5 ppg. The 6’7” wing shot 43.8 percent from three last season, but has dedicated his offseason to becoming more of a threat off the dribble.
Malik Newman Kansas
There are few mysteries in college basketball this season greater than Newman. Two years ago, he was a highly touted five-star prospect who was expected to put up otherworldly numbers at Mississippi State. That didn’t happen, and now he’s at Kansas where he’s drawn rave reviews from head coach Bill Self since his arrival. How much in-season success those offseason performances translate into is what everyone is waiting to see.
Vince Edwards Purdue
With Caleb Swanigan now suiting up for the Portland Trail Blazers, Vince Edwards is now the top dog in West Lafayette. He’s also the only active player in Division-I with 1,000 career points, 500 rebounds, 300 assists and 100 made three-pointers.
Bryant McIntosh Northwestern
Everyone knows about the history Northwestern made last season, but now the expectations are even higher for 2017-18. That’s because Chris Collins returns nearly every major cog from that team, including McIntosh, who became the first player in NU history to lead the Big Ten in assists (5.4 in league play). He also chipped in 16.3 points per game during league play, seventh-best in the conference.
Johnathan Williams Gonzaga
Four of the five double-figure scorers from the Gonzaga team that made it all the way to the national title game are now gone. The lone returnee is Williams, who averaged 10.2 ppg and also led the team in rebounding (6.4 rpg). His presence is the biggest reason why Mark Few is once again fielding a top 20 squad.
Ben Lammers Georgia Tech
The ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year for 2016-17, Lammers was one of the country’s most improved players last season. Few players are more valuable to their respective teams than Lammers, who averaged 14.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game (fourth in the ACC) last season while hitting 51.6 percent of his shots from the floor (fifth in the ACC).
Peyton Aldridge Davidson
He’s not quite Steph Curry, but it wouldn’t be shocking if Aldridge brought a national scoring title back to Davidson. He put up career bests across the board as a junior last season, including averages of 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Bob McKillop’s team will go as far as Aldridge can carry them this season.
Rodney Bullock Providence
The 6’8” forwardaveraged 15.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game last season, helping the Froars to their fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance.
Jeffrey Carroll Oklahoma State
Quietly last season, Carroll became just the fourth player in Big 12 history to finish in the top 10 in the league in scoring (17.5 ppg, third), rebounding (6.6 rpg, eighth) and three-point percentage (44.4 percent, third). The other three? Georges Niang (Iowa State, 2015-16), Jordan Hamilton (Texas, 2010-11) and Kevin Durant (Texas, 2006-07).
Jalen Adams Connecticut
Without much support a year ago, Adams led UConn in both points (14.4 ppg) and assists (6.1 apg). The return of a healthy Alterique Gilbert and Terry Larrier should force opposing defenses to not key entirely on Adams this season.
Troy Brown Oregon
Dana Altman is going from having one of the most experienced teams in the country to one loaded with fresh faces. The most hyped among those newcomers is Brown, the No. 13 player in the 2017 recruiting class according to Rivals. He and backcourt mate Elijah Brown figure to have green lights brighter than the Ducks’ road uniforms.
Nick Ward Michigan State
Miles Bridges wasn’t the only Spartan who put up numbers as a freshman but still decided to return to East Lansing. Despite playing fewer than 20 minutes per game, Ward still managed to average 13.9 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season. He also ranked third in the Big Ten in field goal percentage at 59.2 percent.
Rawle Alkins Arizona
Alkins won’t see the court until December after breaking his foot in late September, but he still figures to play a major part in whatever success Arizona has this season. Alkins was a standout performer for the Wildcats as a freshman in 2016-17, averaging 10.9 ppg and 4.9 rpg.
Moritz Wagner Michigan
Michigan's leading returning scorer (12.1 points per game) and rebounder (4.2), Wagner emerged as a force for the Wolverines late last season. His most memorable performance came in the second round of the NCAA tournament when he hit 11 of 14 shots and scored a career-high 26 points in a 73-69 win over second-seeded Louisville.
KeVaughn Allen Florida
A year ago, Allen was the leading scorer (14.4 ppg) on a Florida team that came one win away from a trip to the Final Four. Now expectations in Gainesville are higher for both himself and the Gators.
Rob Gray Houston
Gray is a certified bucket-getter, leading the AAC in scoring last season at 20.6 points per game. He also shot 47.5 percent from the floor and led the Cougars in steals 1.2 per game.
Matt Farrell Notre Dame
Despite Demetrius Jackson’s early jump to the NBA, Notre Dame didn’t miss a step at the point guard position last season because of Farrell. The junior emerged from the shadows and helped lead the Fighting Irish to yet another top four finish in the ACC and a trip to the conference tournament title game.
Shake Milton SMU
Some in the Dallas area are calling this a “rebuilding season” for SMU. The preseason AAC Player of the Year doesn’t want to let those predictions come to fruition. Milton was sensational during the team’s summer trip to Canada, averaging 17.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.7 assists in just 23.3 minutes per game.
Khadeen Carrington Seton Hall
Carrington led the Pirates and finished sixth in the Big East in scoring last season at 17.1 points per game. He’ll team up with big man Angel Delgado to headline the most anticipated season of Seton Hall basketball in quite some time.
Kelan Martin Butler
Martin was the leading scorer (16.0 ppg) and rebounder (5.8 rpg) on a Butler team that won 25 games and earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament. He’ll become an even stronger force for the Bulldogs this season if he’s able to pull his three-point percentage up from the 34.8 percent clip he fired at a year ago.
Nate Mason Minnesota
Mason was the top performer on a 2016-17 Minnesota team that was among the biggest overachievers in the country. He led the team in scoring (15.2 ppg), free-throw percentage (80.8 percent), assists (169), and steals (46).
Trevon Duval Duke
Duke never lived up to its preseason hype last season in large part because it never discovered a true point guard. That doesn’t figure to be an issue in 2017-18 thanks to Mike Krzyzewki’s signing of Duvall. The five-star floor general was the top-ranked point guard in the 2017 class.
Jacob Evans Cincinnati
Evans figures to be the top offensive performer on what many are predicting to be the highest scoring and best overall team that Mick Cronin has fielded at Cincinnati. The 6’6” junior netted 13.5 ppg last season, best on the team.
Aaron Holiday UCLA
After playing third fiddle to Lonzo Ball and Bryce Alford last season, this would seem to be Holiday’s show. The junior is the leading returning scorer on a team that lost 72 percent of its offensive output from last season. If the Bruins want to have any hope of making it back to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament, Holiday has to develop into a First Team All-Pac-12 caliber performer.
Reid Travis Stanford
Travis led a sub-.500 Stanford squad in virtually every statistical category last season. He was also the only Pac-12 player to rank in the league’s top five for both scoring (17.4 ppg) and rebounding (8.9 rpg).
Chimezie Metu USC
After averaging 14.8 points. 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game last season, Metu figures to once again be one of the fiercest post players in America. His numbers won’t shine the way they would for 99 percent of the other teams in America because USC has another one of best frontcourt players in college basketball.
Bennie Boatwright USC
Boatright missed 17 of USC’s first 22 games last season because of injury, but still managed to post season averages of 15.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. A 6’10” forward who can score from any spot on the floor, he might be the most versatile player on a Trojan team that’s chock full of them.
Hamidou Diallo Kentucky
This is the youngest Kentucky team of the John Calipari era, which is saying something. It’s so young that Diallo, who was with the team for the second half of the season but did not play in games, is viewed as a veteran leader despite technically being a freshman. The super athletic 6’5” guard will finally get to make his college debut on Nov. 10.
Deng Adel Louisville
With Donovan Mitchell now lighting up box scores for the Utah Jazz, Adel has to emerge as an effective go-to offensive performer for the Cardinals. He showed flashes of having the ability to do just that near the end of last season, averaging 16.2 ppg over Louisville’s final five contests.
Bruce Brown Miami
Brown is a strong candidate to take a large step forward after a solid freshman season where he averaged 11.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He also became just the second player in Miami history to record a triple-double.
Marcus Foster Creighton
Foster was a unanimous First Team All-Big East selection in his first season with the Bluejays, averaging a team-high 18.2 points per game. The transfer from Kansas State is a strong candidate to be the conference’s top scorer in 2017-18.
Jaylen Adams St. Bonaventure
Regardless of how the team performs, make some time to watch at least one Saint Bonaventure game this season. Adams, who posted averages of 20.6 points and 6.5 assists per game last year, will make it worth your while.
DeAndre Ayton Arizona
Ayton is one of the most naturally skilled centers college basketball has seen in some time. He spent the bulk of his early years being regarded as the top player in the 2017 class, but questions about his effort allowed others to surpass him heading into college. Those same questions are the only ones surrounding his potential to help take Sean Miller to his first Final Four.
Collin Sexton Alabama
A remarkably gifted scorer, Sexton should make Alabama one of the most entertaining teams to watch in college basketball this season. The likely one-and-done talent could also help the Tide win a game in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006.
Landry Shamet Wichita State
Like Wichita State’s other top performer, Markis McDuffie, Shamet has spent a solid chunk of the offseason sidelined by a foot injury. Once he’s back to 100 percent, the redshirt sophomore should be the best player on a Shockers team that could be good enough to compete for a national title.
Yante Maten Georgia
There’s been a lot of chatter this offseason about the NBA talent in the SEC, but not nearly enough sent in the direction of Maten. The 6’8” forward did all for Georgia in 2016-17, averaging 18.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He missed four games late in the year because of a knee sprain, an injury which ultimately sealed the Dogs’ fate as an NIT team.
Jevon Carter West Virginia
Carter is the senior leader of a West Virginia team that will begin the 2017-18 season with a top 10 ranking in the USA Today coaches poll. He was the leading scorer on the Mountaineers’ Sweet 16 squad a year ago, averaging 13.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game.
Mike Daum South Dakota State
In one year, Daum went from completely off the map to one of the nation’s most elite scorers (25.1 ppg). The 6’9” sharp-shooter dropped a season-high 51 on Fort Wayne last February and figures to put up more absurd numbers as a junior.
Robert Williams Texas A&M
Williams, a highly skilled 6’10” forward, stunned everyone last spring when he announced that he was bypassing the NBA Draft in favor of another season at Texas A&M. The potential lottery pick averaged 11.9 points and 8.2 rebounds as a freshman for the Aggies in 2016-17. He’ll miss the first two games of this season while serving a suspension for a violation of team policy.
Jock Landale Saint Mary’s
Arguably the most efficient big man in college basketball, Landale finished his junior season shooting 61.1 percent from the field while averaging 16.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. His numbers were stellar enough to earn a runner-up finish in Ken Pomeroy’s player of the year rankings.
Kevin Knox Kentucky
An explosive 6’8” forward who can do a little bit of everything, Knox will be Kentucky’s best player this season. He’ll be a matchup nightmare for every team on the Wildcats’ schedule.
Mohamed Bamba Texas
Perhaps the most interesting NBA prospect in the world, Bamba is the centerpiece of a Texas recruiting class that has Longhorn fans rejuvenated after a disappointing 11-22 campaign in 2016-17. The big man’s on-court talent and off-court personality could make him the Kevin Durant for a new generation of UT fans.
Angel Delgado Seton Hall
Delgado took a long time before deciding last spring to put the NBA on hold and return to South Orange for his senior season. The league seemed like a realistic option after he averaged 15.2 points and a Division I-best 13.2 rebounds per game as a junior. This season he hopes to show off more offensive versatility, including a more consistent mid-range jumper.
Trevon Bluiett Xavier
Twice a First Team All-Big East selection, Bluiett scored 20 points or more 19 times last season for the Musketeers. He was at his best during back-to-back NCAA tournament upsets of third-seeded Florida State and second-seeded Arizona, scoring 29 points against the Seminoles and 25 against the Wildcats.
Joel Berry II North Carolina
The Most Outstanding Player of the 2017 Final Four, Berry has already accomplished plenty in his college career. The final task will be to serve as the unquestioned leader and focal point of a North Carolina team looking to make a third straight trip to the national championship game.
Jalen Brunson Villanova
Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins and Darryl Reynolds are all gone, which means it’s officially time for The Jalen Brunson Show at Villanova. Not that the former five-star recruit wasn’t impressive even with a crowded backcourt. He averaged 14.7 points and 4.1 assists per game last season for a Wildcat team that went 32-4.
Ethan Happ Wisconsin
In 2016-17, the ultra-efficient Happ was the nation's only player to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals during conference play. The challenge for Happ as a junior will be to keep posting those types of numbers with less of a supporting cast surrounding him.
Allonzo Trier Arizona
Trier would likely be a member of an NBA franchise right now had it not been for a suspension that forced him to miss the first 19 games of last season. He was terrific when he was eligible, averaging a team-best 17.2 points per game to go with 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists.
Devonte’ Graham Kansas
Graham wasn’t even a top 100 player when he signed with Kansas back in 2013. Now he enters his senior season as the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, and has a chance to step into Frank Mason’s role as the Jayhawks’ leading scorer and a candidate for national Player of the Year.
Grayson Allen Duke
Allen might be the most nationally recognizable player that college basketball has seen in at least a decade. Unfortunately, that status isn’t due entirely to his on-court efforts. The controversial Dukie occupied the top spot on this list a year ago, but then experienced an individual season that was as much of a roller coaster ride as his team’s. If he can eliminate the tripping and the temper tantrums, he has an opportunity to be the leader and top performer on the best team in the country.
Marvin Bagley Duke
When Bagley announced over the summer that he was reclassifying to 2017 and signing with Duke, it all but assured that the Blue Devils would be the No. 1 team in both major preseason polls. Many people’s pick to be the first player selected in the 2018 NBA Draft, the 6’11” Bagley can do a little bit of everything. It might take some time for him to figure out exactly what his role is on Coach K’s loaded team, but once he does, look out.
Bonzie Colson Notre Dame
If the players on this list were being ranked on NBA potential, Colson wouldn’t be anywhere near the top. A 6’5” forward who basically serves as a center for the Fighting Irish, Colson’s remarkable production is hard to explain for anyone who hasn’t actually watched him play. Colson was the only player in the ACC to average a double-double (17.5 ppg, 10.2 rpg) last season — numbers that earned him Third Team AP All-American honors.
Michael Porter Missouri
Missouri basketball suddenly has life thanks mostly to the addition of Porter, the superstar recruit who spent most of last year as the top-ranked player in the 2017 class. Porter hopes to enjoy more college success than Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz, top-rated recruits who signed with struggling power conference programs but failed to take their teams to the NCAA tournament. Porter is probably fine with mimicking where those guys wound up being selected in the NBA Draft, though.
Miles Bridges Michigan State
As a freshman in 2016-17, Bridges put up absurd numbers after getting back to 100 percent following an ankle injury that forced him to miss the entire month of December. He shocked everyone in the spring by announcing that he was returning to Michigan State for one more season. Don’t be surprised if Bridges has a sophomore season that reminds fans of the one Blake Griffin had at Oklahoma almost a decade ago.
Jaylen Fisher, TCU
Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova
Mustapha Heron, Auburn
Carsen Edwards, Purdue
Alize Johnson, Missouri State
Cassius Winston, Michigan State
Manu Lecomte, Baylor
Matt Mobley, St. Bonaventure
DeAndre Burnett, Ole Miss
Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga
P.J. Washington, Kentucky
T.J. Haws, BYU
Brandon McCoy, UNLV
Tra Holder, Arizona State
Jae’Sean Tate, Ohio State
Matthew Fisher-Davis, Vanderbilt
Kevin Huerter, Maryland
Gary Trent Jr., Duke
Giddy Potts, Middle Tennessee