Top 25 College Basketball Players of the 2013-14 Season So Far
The Top 25 College Basketball Players of the 2013-2014 Season So Far
The 2014 NBA draft is anticipated as an historic draft -- the best since 2003. Headlining the 2014 NBA draft class is Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle. The hype for these talented players is real, and they are truly great prospects. NCAA men's basketball is once again in the middle of an exciting and highly competitive season.
While the NBA is currently losing popularity, college basketball is gaining more and more fans. This is due in part of the star-studded teams this year. Some say the NBA draft will be top-heavy and that the talent is loaded up at the top. I disagree, I think there is plenty of talent across the entire board. There are potential franchise pieces within the top 10 picks, along with several players that could make solid contributions to any team.
Plenty of NBA teams have begun tanking in order to obtain one of these great players. They will be banking on the draft being as good as it was in 2003. Of course, that notorious draft class included LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Teams will be extremely happy to land a player of that quality in this year’s draft.
There is a plethora of terrific players who have strong potential playing in college basketball this season. Some of the most complete and dynamic athletes are going at it each and every night. This is making college basketball more entertaining to fans than it has been in a few years. The players included in this presentation have made strong contributions to their teams, as well as been impressive on the stat sheet. Also, most of these players have bright futures in the NBA if they continue their great work ethic.
Let’s take a look at the top 25 players at this point of the season.
Michael LeDuc is a Boston Celtics writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @mike_leduc, and add him on Google.
26. Honorable Mentions
Before we start, let's take a look at some players that were close to making the list, but didn't quite make the cut:
Glenn Robinson III -- Michigan, C.J. Fair -- Syracuse, Kieth Appling -- Michigan St., Tyler Haws -- BYU, Spencer Dinwiddie -- Colorado, Roscoe -- UNLV, Sam Dekker -- Wisconsin, Mitch McGary -- Michigan, Tyler Ennis -- Syracuse, Aaron Craft -- Ohio State
25. Chaz Williams -- UMass
The Minutemen have been an exciting team to watch, and Chaz Williams has been at the helm all season long. He is currently second in the nation in assists. He's very small, but runs an offense beautifully and shoots the ball from the perimeter efficiently. He is not ranked very high for the draft, but he could be a sleeper.
Stat Line: 15.4 PPG, 7.5 APG, 2.9 RPG, 43% 3PT
NBA Comparison: Isaiah Thomas
24. Jahii Carson -- Arizona State
He's an all-around type of point guard. Jahii Carson can score the ball and has the ability to get his teammates involved in the offense as well. He's got blazing speed as well as a lot of athletic ability. Carson can score in many different ways, and especially likes to penetrate. He is a great finisher in traffic. His passing abilities are above average.
Stat Line: 18.6 PPG, 4.8 APG, 3.9 RPG, 51% 3PT
NBA Comparison: Brandon Jennings
23. Adreian Payne -- Michigan State
Payne is a freak athlete in need of some offensive fine-tuning. He has terrific strength and can finish in transition. He out-rebounds his opponents with his great leaping ability. He has good potential and has the frame to add much more NBA-appropriate weight.
Stat Line: 16.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.0 BLKPG
NBA comparison: Robert Horry
22. Andrew Harrison -- Kentucky
He doesn't have a great shot, but Andrew Harrison is a strong, slashing point guard with the ability to finish in the paint. He's had a bit of a disappointing year, but he has improved over the last few weeks. With a lot of upside, he could develop into a decent point guard in the NBA.
Stat Line: 10.9 PPG, 3.3 APG, 2.8 RPG
NBA Comparison: Devin Harris
21. Russ Smith -- Louisville
Russ Smith is a fearless, extremely aggressive scorer. He relentlessly attacks the rim and has the length and quickness to get there. He works incredibly hard and is currently leading Louisville to another impressive season. At only 6-feet tall, Smith has the ceiling to be an Allen Iverson-type player, but he doesn't have the jump shot or playmaking ability to be successful in the NBA with his size.
Stat Line: 17.8 PPG, 4.8 APG, 3.1 RPG
NBA Comparison: Dominic James
20. Nick Johnson -- Arizona
Arizona has had an incredible season, and Nick Johnson has a lot to do with it. The 6-foot-3 combo guard is the team's leading scorer and the only one who can create his own shot. He's a leader on the court, and he's got an excellent shot. Johnson's very athletic and is an above average defender. He may not have that high of ceiling in the NBA.
Stat Line: 16.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.4 APG
NBA Comparison: E'Twaun Moore
19. Montrezl Harrell -- Louisville
Montrezl Harrell is strong, physical and has unbelievable athleticism. He's a face-up, above-the-rim type of power forward, which makes up for his somewhat short height. However, he is extremely raw and is limited offensively. Harrell gets his share of blocks and steals. He Could be a solid rebounder and defender in the NBA.
Stat Line: 11.9 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.3 STLPG
NBA Comparison: Bo Outlaw
18. Willie Cauley -- Stein-Kentucky
The seven-footer has plenty of upside, but is also extremely raw offensively. Willie Cauley-Stein is a capable defender and could be that defensive anchor. He protects the paint effectively with his shot-blocking ability. He also needs to hit the weight room and add some needed strength. Overall, he has the potential to become a a decent big man in the league.
Stat Line: 9.4 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 3.7 BLKPG
NBA Comparison: Samuel Dalembert
17. Wayne Selden -- Kansas
Wayne Selden shows tremendous hustle, takes charges and is unselfish. He's an incredible athlete that can finish in traffic and has terrific leaping ability. He is capable at hitting an open jumper, but is not very consistent. He's not the best on-ball defender and struggles when handling the ball.
Stat Line: 10.3 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.1 APG
NBA Comparison: Shannon Brown
16. T.J. Warren -- NC State
T.J. Warren is 6-foot-8 small forward. He's not the most athletic player and lacks a consistent jump shot. However, he is a gifted scorer, plays extremely aggressively and is very smooth. He's got good hands and a nice touch around the rim. He does well in transition. He scores in bunches and is leading NC State successfully.
Stat Line: 22.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.6 STLPG
NBA Comparison: John Salmons; Best-Case Scenario: Jamal Mashburn
15. Semaj Christon -- Xavier
An extremely explosive point guard, Semaj Christon has star potential. He's quick and speedy, and is a capable finisher around the rim. He's flashy and acrobatic. Christon is a strong ball-handler and possesses quick hands that lead to many steals. Despite drawing a lot of fouls, he is a poor free throw shooter and doesn't run an offense as well as he should. He's ball-dominant at times and turnover-prone, but has plenty of upside.
Stat Line: 15.6 PPG, 4.3 APG, 1.4 STLPG
NBA Comparison: John Wall
14. Noah Vonleh -- Indiana
Noah Vonleh is a tenacious rebounder with a high motor. At 6-foot-10, he's got good size and length. He could be a small forward, but plays more like a power forward. He has high upside and could become a star in the NBA. He is capable at hitting open jumpers and is proficient in the post.
Stat Line: 12.3 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.1 BLKPG
NBA Comparison: Serge Ibaka
13. Doug McDermott -- Creighton
Doug McDermott is one of the best shooters in college basketball. He's consistent and is never affected by the defense. He is currently second in Division I in points per game. He is a decent post player and efficient rebounder. He's versatile and could be a small forward, power forward, or shooting guard. His athleticism, however, is major downside. He's not very fast and has no leaping ability. However, he could be a shooting specialist in the NBA.
Stat Line: 24.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 43 percent 3PT
NBA Comparison: Kyle Korver
12. Jerami Grant -- Syracuse
Jerami Grant has been moving up the big boards for the last month. His ability to finish in traffic and attack the rim is something special. He's physical with a combination of size and length. He has a high motor and gets a lot of put-backs. Grant is a solid defender and decent shooter. However, he is still raw and doesn't have a post game, and doesn't have the perimeter shot to play the wing.
Stat Line: 12.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.6 APG
NBA Comparison: Thaddeus Young
11. Zach LaVine -- UCLA
Zach LaVine has been a standout guard for UCLA this season. He is explosive, strong, aggressive, attacks the rim and can pull up for jumper with consistency. He's extremely athletic with speed and leaping ability. Capable of being a posterizer, decision-making is his downside. He is not mentally tough, showing bad body language. However, the way he attacks the rim and finishes is comparable to Russell Westbrook.
Stat Line: 12.2 PPG, 2.3 APG, 44% 3PT
NBA Comparison: Russell Westbrook
10. James Young -- Kentucky
James Young is not a pure shooter, but is an above-average shooter from beyond the arc. He's got great rebounding ability for his size, and has a nice pull-up mid-range jumper. He's fearless and wants to score. He is extremely unselfish and is a good team player.
Stat Line: 14.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.2 STLPG
NBA Comparison: Michael Redd
9. Joel Embiid -- Kanas
Joel Emiid is the best center in college basketball right now. He's got so much upside and potential that it is scary. He's got great defensive instincts, rebounding ability and is developing a post game.
Stat Line: 10.5 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.4 BLKPG
NBA Comparison: Andrew Bynum
8. Gary Harris -- Michigan State
Gary Harris could be the most complete guard in college right now. He can score inside, hit a perimeter shot, create offense and play tough defense. He is a jack of all trades. He won't blow anyone away with his offense, but stays steady on both ends of the floor.
Stat Line: 17.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.8 STLPG
NBA Comparison: O.J. Mayo
7. Shabazz Napier -- Connecticut
Shabazz Napier has been under the radar, but has put together a terrific season nonetheless. He's a clutch player with good intangibles and a killer instinct. He's confident, efficient, a good catch-and-shoot player, and can finish in transition. He's hit big shots this season and has led UConn to wins over Florida, Indiana and Boston College. He's not a great athlete and is very streaky.
Stat Line: 16 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 6.0 APG, 2.1 STLPG
NBA Comparison: Derek Fisher
6. Aaron Gordon -- Arizona
Aaron Gordon is an excellent player on both sides of the ball. His athleticism is off the charts. He's not a finished product, but he has good length and can attack the rim with ease. He's not a post player, but he's a cutter and a slasher to the basket. He can play the wing or inside. He can handle the ball in the open floor and is a fun player to watch. He's been a big part of Arizona's success.
Stat Line: 12.3 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.0 BLKPG
NBA Comparison: Blake Griffin/Michael Beasley
5. Rodney Hood -- Duke
Rodney Hood is a bit of a surprise this season. He's been on a tear this far, and can only get better. He has great length, and is a very smooth athlete. He is unselfish and a terrific outside shooter. Hood also has the ability to pull up to hit a mid-range jumper. He's a true scorer, but needs to add some strength.
Stat Line: 18.6 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 48% 3PT
NBA Comparison: Rudy Gay
4. Marcus Smart -- Oklahoma State
Marcus Smart is more of a combo guard than a true point guard. He's a strong competitor with a winner mentality. Smart can score in a variety of ways: he attacks the rim with ease and has the strength and athleticism to finish in traffic. He's a lock-down defender and has an outstanding pull-up jumper. He's a great playmaker, but is ball-dominant at times.
Stat Line: 17.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 4.1 APG, 2.6 STLPG
NBA Comparison: James Harden
3. Andrew Wiggins -- Kansas
Andrew Wiggins has been surrounded by a lot of hype the last couple years. He hasn't exactly lived up to his expectations, but the numbers prove he's still one of the best. Wiggins is an excellent defender, smooth offensive player, and displays exceptional athleticism. He has the whole package and just needs to assert himself. Wiggins may be the real deal, but he has a long way to go.
Stat Line: 15.7 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.0 STLPG
NBA Comparison: Paul George/Dwyane Wade
2. Julius Randle -- Kentucky
Julius Randle is a strong, multi-skilled forward that can score in the post and hit an outside shot. He finishes with ease and is a tenacious rebounder. Randle has been a double-double machine. One downside is that he is turnover prone and settles a little too much. Overall, Randle projects as a star in the NBA someday.
Stat Line: 16.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 1.5 APG
NBA Comparison: Carmelo Anthony/Chris Webber
1. Jabari Parker -- Duke
Jabari Parker has tremendous scoring ability. He can catch and shoot, create his own offense, penetrates to the rim, and has a smooth mid-range jumper. His defense is solid and is a very capable rebounder. However, he does lack explosion and does not possess the greatest athleticism.
Stat Line: 19.5 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.2 BLKPG
NBA Comparison: Paul Pierce