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College basketball’s top 100 players for 2019-20 season: No. 50 through No. 1

From a guard out of Siena to Michigan State’s veteran leader, here are the top 50 players in college basketball for the 2019-2020 season.

A collage of Louisville’s Jordan Nwora (left), Oregon Payton Pritchard (center), and Michigan State’s Cassius Winston.
Louisville’s Jordan Nwora (left), Oregon Payton Pritchard (center), and Michigan State’s Cassius Winston appear in our list of the top 100 players in college basketball.

We’re counting down the top 100 players in college basketball for the 2019-2020 season. Find players No. 100 to No. 51 here. — ed. note

50. Jalen Pickett, SO, G, Siena

Pickett has been receiving some early 2020 NBA Draft buzz after a 2018-19 season where he set Siena freshmen records for both scoring (521) and steals (66), while also achieving the fourth-highest single-season assist total overall (221) in school history. When he scored 46 points and dished out 13 assists against Quinnipiac, he became just the second Division I player this century with 45 or more points and 10 or more assists in a single game.

49. Scottie Lewis, FR, G, Florida

Lewis enters college with phenomenal size for a guard, phenomenal athleticism and phenomenal explosiveness. What he doesn’t have right now is a phenomenal jump shot. If that changes, expect him to be several spots higher on the postseason version of this list. Even if it doesn’t, Lewis should be one of the best defensive guards in the country, and a guy who is nearly impossible to slow down when the Gators get out on the break.

48. Kamar Baldwin, SR, G, Butler

Looking to bounce back from a slightly disappointing junior season, Baldwin enters his final year at Butler ranked sixth on the school’s career steals list (162) and 16th in career scoring (1,453 points). His 1,453 career points through three seasons are the fourth-most in Butler history.

47. Ty-Shon Alexander, JR, G, Creighton

Alexander’s breakout sophomore season saw him average 15.7 ppg and bury 97 three-pointers. Kyle Korver is the only Creighton sophomore to ever make more in a season. Alexander’s scoring jump of 10.2 ppg from his freshman season to his sophomore one was the largest scoring improvement of any player in the Big East.

46. Mamadi Diakite, SR, F, Virginia

Regardless of how his senior season plays out, Diakite seems destined to be remembered as the man who capped off “the play” against Purdue and kept Virginia’s eventually-realized dream of a national championship alive. That defining moment has overshadowed the fact that Diakite — already established as one of the best shot-blockers in the ACC — was sensational throughout UVA’s run to the title. As the only returning starter from that squad, he’ll have to be even more sensational in his final season in Charlottesville if the Hoos are going to have any shot at a repeat.

45. Breein Tyree, SR, G, Ole Miss

The SEC’s leading returning scorer, Tyree poured in 17.9 ppg last season on his way to First Team All-Conference honors. He was the only player to rank in the league’s top-10 in scoring, field goal percentage, free-throw percentage, and three-pointers made.

44. Jon Axel Gudmundsson, SR, G, Davidson

Gudmundsson was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year last season after posting averages of 16.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. The native of Iceland will get together with Kellan Grady this season to form what should be one of the highest-scoring backcourts in the country.

43. Obi Toppin, SO, F, Dayton

Toppin was a revelation in his first season for the Flyers, averaging 14.4 ppg and finishing fourth in the nation in field-goal percentage at 66.6 percent. For his efforts he was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, the first Dayton player to win said honor.

42. Desmond Bane, SR, G, TCU

Bane averaged 15.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game for a TCU squad that was wrecked by injuries but still managed to make a run to the NIT semifinals. The sharpshooter’s 1,315 minutes played were the most in the Big 12 and the most in the history of TCU basketball.

41. Jaden McDaniels, FR, F, Washington

A consensus top 10 player in the class of 2019, McDaniels is a remarkably gifted big who should be a nightmare for Pac-12 opponents all winter long. His above-the-rim prowess will make him a staple on highlight videos, but it’s his touch around the perimeter that has pro scouts salivating.

ACC Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

40. Markell Johnson, SR, G, NC State

After leading the ACC in assists as a sophomore, Johnson emerged as more of a scoring threat in his junior season, finishing second on the team at 12.7 ppg while shooting 42.3 percent from beyond the arc. Few point guard in America are better at driving downhill than Johnson, who is a perfect fit for Kevin Keatts’ system. Don’t be shocked if he has a monster senior year.

39. Naji Marshall, JR, F, Xavier

A First Team All-Big East selection a year ago, Marshall led Xavier in scoring (14.7 ppg) and was second in both rebounding (7.2 rpg) and assists (3.4 apg). He was the Musketeers’ clear standout during the team’s summer trip to Spain, averaging 19.0 points, 4 assists and 2.3 steals per game on the exhibition tour.

38. Vernon Carey, FR, F, Duke

The crown jewel of Mike Krzyzewski’s 2019 recruiting class, Carey might not be Zion Williamson, but don’t be surprised if the Blue Devils play through him the same way. Carey is a 6’10, 270-pound freak who can score from a variety of spots on the floor and will be a matchup nightmare for 95 percent of the teams Duke plays this season. Defense and conditioning are concerns, but Carey has the tools necessary to improve both in the months to come.

37. Zavier Simpson, SR, G, Michigan

One of the best defenders in the country and the heart and soul of multiple highly successful Michigan teams in his college career, Simpson must play the role of bridging the John Beilein era to the Juwan Howard one. Side note: A former member of the Fab Five coaching a point guard whose most lethal offensive move is a hook shot is just wonderful.

36. Alpha Diallo, SR, G, Providence

Diallo was tremendous as a junior, averaging 16 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.6 steals, and establishing a reputation as arguably the best defender in the Big East. He spent the summer leading a young Team USA in scoring (15 ppg) and rebounding (5.6 rpg) at the Pan American Games.

35. Andrew Nembhard, SO, G, Florida

A year ago, Nembhard became the first freshman since Bradley Beal in 2011-12 to start in every game for the Gators. Always in control of Mike White’s offense, Nembhard dished out 196 assists, the fourth-highest single-season total in Florida history and second-most by a freshman. Expect his scoring to increase this season now that high-usage guards Jalen Hudson and KeVaughn Allen have both graduated.

34. Jalen Smith, SO, F, Maryland

Smith was solid throughout his freshman season, but it was his play down the stretch that really has Terrapin fans excited for Year 2. Smith was an absolute force in Maryland’s two NCAA tournament games, missing just one shot in a 19-point, 12-rebound effort in the Terps’ narrow first round win over Belmont. Two days later he scored 15 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked five shots in the team’s last-second loss to LSU.

33. Xavier Tillman, JR, F, Michigan State

Tillman took a huge step forward as a sophomore and figures to repeat the process as a junior. His pro potential was on full display when he went shot for shot with Zion Williamson in Michigan State’s East Regional final win over No. 1 overall seed Duke. He is an advanced stats star who should have a big impact in a larger role this season for the Spartans.

32. Kira Lewis, SO, G, Alabama

Despite being the second youngest player in all of college basketball last season, the then-17-year-old Lewis led Alabama in scoring (13.8 ppg) and assists (2.9 apg) in 2018-19. He entered the NCAA transfer portal following the firing of head coach Avery Johnson, but weeks later became the first major recruiting victory for new head coach Nate Oats when he announced he’d be staying in Tuscaloosa.

Kentucky State v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

31. Ashton Hagans, SO, G, Kentucky

Kentucky’s 2018-19 campaign didn’t really find his groove until John Calipari handed the keys to the team to Hagans. The freshman promptly helped guide the Wildcats to 30 wins and an Elite Eight trip while establishing himself as one of the best on-ball defenders in the country along the way. He and incoming McDonald’s All-American Tyrese Maxey have the potential to form one of the most lethal backcourts in America this season.

30. Payton Pritchard, SR, G, Oregon

Pritchard was spectacular down the stretch last season as Oregon rescued what had appeared to be a lost year by winning the Pac-12 tournament and then making a run to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16. He’ll look to improve on his junior year averages of 12.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game as the Ducks look to make even more noise in the Big Dance in 2020.

29. Matthew Hurt, FR, F, Duke

There are plenty of questions about how the most lethal scoring threat on this year’s Duke team will be. Tre Jones is the team’s engine, but he’s known more for his defense and for being a facilitator on the offensive end. Vernon Carey is remarkably gifted, but there are questions about both his defense and his conditioning. Don’t be surprised if Hurt is the Blue Devils’ most consistent offensive performer this season. He’s a knockdown outside shooter who will have a size and skill advantage against virtually every player who will attempt to guard him over the next five months.

28. Tyrese Maxey, FR, G, Kentucky

It’s tough to pinpoint who will be the star of stars on this year’s Kentucky team, but here’s one vote for Maxey. He’s a pure scorer who should benefit greatly from playing alongside the more experienced and drive and dish centric Ashton Hagans.

27. Anthony Cowan, SR, G, Maryland

Cowan has been really good at Maryland for what feels like a decade now, but the Terps’ best chance of making a regional final for the first time since 2002 rest with his ability to go from really good to great in his senior season. For that to happen, he’ll need to improve on the 33.7 percent rate at which he shot the three a year ago.

26. Jordan Ford, SR, G, Saint Mary’s

As a junior in 2018-19, Ford posted the third most points in a season (716) in the history of Saint Mary’s basketball. His 21.1 ppg average was the second-best in the West Coast Conference.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Hartford Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

25. Anthony Lamb, SR, F, Vermont

The reigning America East Player of the Year led the Catamounts into the NCAA tournament by averaging 21.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game as a junior in 2018-19. In his final collegiate season, Lamb has the opportunity to become just the second player in the history of the America East to be named MVP of the league’s tournament three times.

24. Yoeli Childs, SR, F, BYU

He’ll have to sit out the first nine games of the season because he messed up the order of some paperwork when going through the draft process last offseason (that’s a real thing that the NCAA did), but when he returns, Childs figures to be among the most dominant post presences in the country. He was sensational as a junior last season, posting career-bests in points (21.2 ppg) and rebounds (9.7 rpg).

23. Lamar Stevens, SR, F, Penn State

The fastest Penn State player to reach the 1,500-point milestone, Stevens enters his senior season sitting at No. 5 on the school’s all-time scoring list. He finished 2018-19 ranked second in the Big Ten in scoring (19.9 ppg) and seventh in rebounding (7.7 rpg), and is the conference’s top returner in both those categories.

22. Tristan Clark, JR, F, Baylor

Clark was phenomenal last season before a season-ending knee injury on Jan. 8 capped his sophomore year at just 14 games. He scored in double figures in 11 of those 14 games and was leading the nation in field goal percentage (73.7 percent) at the time of his injury. Clark also notched 34 blocks over those 14 games, five more than the 29 he swatted in 33 games as a freshman.

21. Tres Tinkle, SR, F, Oregon State

The coach’s son is back in Corvallis and looking to earn First Team All-Pac-12 accolades for a third straight year. As a junior, the exceptionally versatile Tinkle finished second in the Pac-12 in scoring (20.8), fifth in rebounding (8.1), ninth in assists (3.8), third in steals (1.7), 14th in field goal percentage (.483), 14th in three-point field goals made (1.8), 13th in assist/turnover ratio (1.3) and second in minutes (36.4).

20. Isaiah Stewart, FR, F, Washington

The No. 3 player in the class of 2019, Stewart ultimately picked Washington over the unstoppable and immovable current recruiting forces that are both Duke and Kentucky. As a result, Mike Hopkins now has arguably the most naturally gifted player in the Pac-12, a dominant big man on offense, and the perfect rim protector for the backend of his 2-3 zone defense.

19. Sam Merrill, SR, G, Utah State

Despite playing in the same conference as a Nevada team loaded with next level talent, it was Merrill who brought home both Mountain West Player of the Year and Tournament MVP honors last season. He ranked second the in the conference in scoring (20.9 ppg), and his 731 points were the fifth-most ever in a single season by a Utah State player.

18. Kaleb Wesson, JR, C, Ohio State

Wesson is the rare big man who is an equally effective scorer from virtually every spot in the halfcourt, including beyond the arc. He’s also a capable rebounder and passer, and he figures to be at the center of everything Ohio State does this season.

17. Killian Tillie, SR, F, Gonzaga

Assuming the injury bug finally stops biting him, Tillie should be in the thick of the All-American hunt in his final college season. An exceptionally skilled 6’10 forward who is a knockdown shooter from deep, those injury concerns are the only thing keeping Tillie from being in the top 10 on this list.

16. McKinley Wright, JR, G, Colorado

Despite playing through a torn labrum, Wright earned First Team All-Pac-12 honors as a sophomore by averaging 13 points, 4.8 assists and 1.1 steals over 35 games. Now fully healthy after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, Wright figures to be the unquestioned star of a Colorado team poised to be in the thick of the race for a conference championship.

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Media Day Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

15. Nico Mannion, FR, G, Arizona

Most believe that Arizona’s tenure in the middle of the Pac-12 standings is going to be reserved to last season, and Mannion is a large part of the reason why. The crown jewel of Sean Miller’s top-10 recruiting class averaged 30.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists while running the point as a senior last season at Pinnacle (Arizona) High School.

14. Tyrese Haliburton, SO, G, Iowa State

Fans of other teams in the conference might push back strongly against this, but to this observer, Haliburton looks like the best pro prospect in the Big 12. He was excellent for the USA U19 team this summer, and now steps into a role where he’ll be the unquestioned No. 1 option in his second season at Iowa State. The Cyclones will go as far as Haliburton can carry them in 2019-20.

13. James Wiseman, FR, C, Memphis

No team is more intriguing or difficult to pin down going into the 2019-20 season than Memphis. A large portion of the reason for that is Wiseman, the No. 1 recruit from the class of 2019. If the Memphis native is as good as advertised, it could feel a lot like the John Calipari/Derrick Rose days inside FedExForum.

12. Ayo Dosunmu, SO, G, Illinois

Dosunmu is on every “breakout sophomore” list in the world, and for good reason. He’s 6’5, he’s an electric finisher, he’s nearly impossible to catch in the open court, and he eats up smaller guards on the other end of the floor. If his decision making improves, it’s not difficult to envision a scenario where Dosunmu carries Illinois to its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2013 and then heads off to the NBA.

11. Tre Jones, FR, G, Duke

While Duke’s other three freshmen garnered nearly all of the headlines last season, it was Jones who wound up setting an impressive school record. The floor general’s sparkling 3.62 assist-turnover rate shattered the old Blue Devil record of 3.03, which had been set by Steve Wojciechowski in 1996-97. With Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish all cashing NBA paychecks now, it’s time for Jones to step into a starring role in Durham.

10. Udoka Azubuike, SR, C, Kansas

With a healthy Azubuike last season, Kansas won its first nine games, defeating three top-20 opponents in the process. After Azubuike was sidelined for the year with a hand injury, the Jayhawks went just 17-10 and saw their streak of 14 consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles come to an end. Now, the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year is fully healthy and has a chance to be the most dominant big man in college basketball.

9. Anthony Edwards, FR, G, Georgia

Whether or not Edwards’ talents will be enough to carry Georgia to the NCAA tournament in Tom Crean’s second year on the job is up for a debate. The fact that the No. 2 player from the class of 2019 will make the Bulldogs infinitely more watchable this season is not. Enjoy the show.

8. Jarron Cumberland, SR, G, Cincinnati

The reigning AAC Player of the Year and an honorable mention All-American, Cumberland produced impressive numbers (18.8 ppg, 3.6 apg) last season despite playing for a coach in Mick Cronin who isn’t exactly known for lighting up scoreboards. Under the more offensive-minded direction of Brannen, Cumberland appears poised to put up some monster numbers, much to the delight of the fans in the Queen City.

7. Jordan Nwora, JR, F, Louisville

One of college basketball’s most surprising breakout stars in 2018-19, Nwora flirted with an early jump to the NBA before waiting until the last minute to announce that he’d be returning to school. The ACC’s Most Improved Player for 2018-19, Nwora improved his scoring average by 11.3 ppg from his freshman season to his sophomore campaign, the third-largest jump in the country. He’ll be the focal point of a Louisville team that has legitimate national title aspirations in year two under Chris Mack.

6. Devon Dotson, SO, G, Kansas

One of the fastest players in all of college basketball, Dotson was criticized at times for playing out of control during the first part of his freshman season. He corrected that issue and was quietly fantastic down the stretch, scoring at least 13 points in each of Kansas’ five postseason games while also tallying 18 assists against just five turnovers. That version of Dotson seems likely to be the one hoops fans see throughout 2019-20.

5. Kerry Blackshear, SR, F, Florida

The most coveted grad transfer of the 2019 offseason, Blackshear’s move from Virginia Tech to Florida instantly moved the Gators from fringe top-20 squad to legitimate Final Four contender. The brawny and versatile power forward averaged 14.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for a Hokie team that came a missed layup away from beating Duke and playing in the program’s first regional final since 1967.

Oak Hill Academy v La Lumiere Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

4. Cole Anthony, FR, G, North Carolina

There may not be a perceived national title contender that will be more reliant on a freshman than North Carolina will be on Anthony. The good news for Roy Williams and company is that the five-star frosh has the potential to be the most explosive scorer in the country.

3. Myles Powell, SR, G, Seton Hall

Powell’s return for his senior year means he’ll be taking a run at the Seton Hall career scoring record of 2,494 points, set 27 years ago by Terry Dehere. If Powell improves slightly on his junior year scoring average of 23.1 ppg — or if the Pirates make their first run to the Sweet 16 in two decades — he’ll have a real shot.

2. Markus Howard, SR, G, Marquette

The unanimous choice for 2019 Big East Player of the Year and a consensus Second Team All-American, Howard returns to Marquette after a junior season in which he also set the school’s single-season scoring record by netting 851 points. He scored 20 or more points in 24 of the Golden Eagles’ 34 games last season, and finished fifth in the nation in scoring at 25 ppg. He may miss out on some individual awards if the Golden Eagles wind up not being a top-25 team, but he gets the nod over every player in the country but one on this list.

1. Cassius Winston, SR, G, Michigan State

Everyone’s preseason National Player of the Year is back after a junior season where he led Michigan State to the Final Four and earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors along the way. Winston’s return to East Lansing is the biggest reason why so many people believe 2020 will be the year Tom Izzo captures his elusive second national championship. He’s the first AP First Team All-American to return to college for another season since Creighton’s Doug McDermott did it in both 2012 and 2013.

Honorable Mention:

Trevion Williams, SO, F, Purdue
Franz Wagner, FR, F, Michigan
LJ Figueroa, SO, G, St. John’s
Rapolas Ivanauskas, SR, F, Colgate
Nick Muszynski, SO, C, Belmont
Nico Carvacho, SR, F, Colorado State
Dwayne Sutton, SR, F, Louisville
Trendon Watford, FR, F, LSU
Jerrick Harding, SR, G, Weber State
Paul Reed, JR, F, DePaul
EJ Montgomery, SO, F, Kentucky
Isaiah Livers, JR, G, Michigan
Corey Kispert, JR, F, Gonzaga
Isaiah Joe, SO, G, Arkansas
Temple “T.J.” Gibbs, SR, G, Notre Dame
Mac McClung, SO, G, Georgetown
Isaac Okoro, FR, G, Auburn
James “Beetle” Bolden, SR, G, Alabama
Christian Keeling, SR, G, North Carolina
Garrison Brooks, JR, F, North Carolina
Quentin Grimes, SO, G, Houston
Mitch Ballock, JR, G, Creighton
Saddiq Bey, SO, F, Villanova
Danjel Purifoy, JR, F, Auburn
Tevin Brown, SO, G, Murray State
Jermaine Marrow, SR, G, Hampton
Trey McGowens, SO, G, Pittsburgh
C.J. Elleby, SO, G, Washington State
Jermaine Samuels, JR, G, Villanova
Chris Clarke, SR, F, Texas Tech
Cameron Krutwig, JR, C, Loyola-Chicago
Justin Moore, FR, G, Villanova
Isaiah Miller, JR, G, UNC-Greensboro
Giorgi Bezhanishvili, SO, F, Illinois
Justin Turner, JR, G, Bowling Green
Pat Spencer, SR, G, Northwestern
Quinton Rose, SR, F, Temple