Ranking the Top 100 And 1 best college basketball players entering the 2021-22 season


College basketball’s offseason has (almost) officially morphed into the 2021-22 college basketball season. We’re now less than two weeks out from competition as the drumbeat to the season-opener slowly beats louder and louder. And now that the AP poll has dropped, Norlander’s No. 1-358 rankings are out and our All-America teams have been named, one gargantuan task remains: ranking the top college basketball players.

As we do every year, our staff combined brainpower and tabulated votes for who we think — ranked from 1-101 — will be the best in the sport this season. Not the best draft prospects, not even necessarily the most productive — but the best players. Think of it if you will as a preseason power ranking of who we’re highest on ahead of the upcoming season. 

As usual, it’s a list littered with veterans. Seniors and super-seniors lead the way accounting for nearly half the spots, followed closely by juniors or redshirt juniors. Fewer than 20% of our list includes sophomores or redshirt sophomores, followed by just 10 freshmen or redshirt freshmen.

Our list breaks down by class like this:

Freshmen: 10Sophomores: 18Juniors: 33Seniors/graduates: 40

If you want to know who you need to know, you’ve come to the perfect place. So behold, the CBS Sports Top 100 And 1 college basketball player rankings for this season.

CBS Sports Top 100 And 1 college basketball players

1. Drew Timme | Gonzaga | Junior

Timme is the only CBS Sports First Team All-American from last season who returned to college basketball, which makes him the most logical player to top this list. The 6-foot-10 forward averaged a team-high 19.0 points and a team-high 7.0 rebounds as a sophomore while leading the Zags to a 31-1 record. He’s the biggest reason Mark Few’s program is the betting favorite to win the 2022 NCAA Tournament. —Gary Parrish

2. Kofi Cockburn | Illinois | Junior

The Fighting Illini have a beast of a big man, someone who averaged 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds a season ago and will surely strengthen those stats this season. Cockburn has a case as the toughest one-on-one matchup — on both ends of the floor — in college basketball. The Illini have three players on our list and will be must-see. But their path to the Final Four must be forcefully blazed by the big man. —Matt Norlander

3. Paolo Banchero | Duke | Freshman 

Rarely do highly touted recruits — even five-stars — step in and immediately become the alphas for their team. Banchero may be one of the few exceptions. On a Duke team littered with talent, the 6-foot-10 forward does a little of everything and should be showcased heavily on a Duke team that has the goods to send Coach K into retirement on a high note. —Kyle Boone

4. Johnny Juzang | UCLA | Junior

Juzang emerged as one of the major stars of the 2021 postseason by averaging 22.8 points on 50.9% shooting in six NCAA Tournament games. The 6-6 wing was a revelation for the Bruins as a sophomore after transferring in from Kentucky and will be the best player on a national title contender this year. —David Cobb

5. Chet Holmgren | Gonzaga | Freshman

Holmgren was the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2021, according to 247Sports, and is considered a legitimate candidate to be the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. He’s a 7-foot center who is comfortable floating around the perimeter on offense while serving as a rim-protector on defense. The only real long-term concern with him is whether his skinny frame will allow him to avoid being pushed around by stronger players.  — GP

6. Trevion Williams | Purdue | Senior

Only a few other seasons in Boilermakers history have been as optimistic and anticipated as this one. Williams (15.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg) took 36.7% of Purdue’s shots while he was on the floor last season (so says KenPom.com), which was the highest rate in the sport. He also ranked top-five in offensive rebound rate. The Boilermakers can be great. It starts with Williams, who has diligently built out a great college career the way we used to see so often from players a generation or two (or three) ago. —MN

7. Max Abmas | Oral Roberts | Junior

There is no shot too deep for Abmas. The nation’s leading scorer a year ago, he’s back for ORU as a junior to defend his throne as the most fearless shot-maker in the sport. The Golden Eagles lost co-star Kevin Obanor to the transfer portal so Abmas should see a green light each time he hits the court. — KB

8. Trayce Jackson-Davis | Indiana | Junior

Jackson-Davis averaged 19.1 points and nine rebounds as a sophomore for Indiana last season and is back to anchor first-year coach Mike Woodson’s inaugural roster. If he can expand his shooting range, Jackson-Davis could be the most difficult player to defend in college basketball. —DC

9. Collin Gillespie | Villanova | Graduate senior

Gillespie is a reigning Big East Player of the Year who decided to take advantage of the extra year of eligibility the NCAA provided all players because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 6-3 guard averaged 14.0 points, 4.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds last season. He’s the leading returning scorer for a Villanova team that should be good enough to help Jay Wright compete for his third national championship. —GP

10. Hunter Dickinson | Michigan | Sophomore 

Take a look at our top 10 and you’ll see how it’s overly populated with big men. This is going to be the season of the big, and Dickinson (14.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 60.7 2-pt%) will be a major factor in that narrative nationally and in the best conference, the Big Ten. Michigan has a lot of new pieces, but it’s Dickinson’s presence and decision to return for a sophomore campaign that makes the Wolverines a preseason national title contender. —MN

11. E.J. Liddell | Ohio State | Junior

As a sophomore Liddell ranked inside the top 10 among Big Ten players in scoring, field goal percentage, rebounding and total number of 20-point games. He’s already a star. Now, with Duane Washington Jr. on to the NBA, he returns after testing the NBA Draft waters primed to be the star for a really talented and experienced Ohio State team. —KB

12. Remy Martin | Kansas | Graduate transfer

After scoring 1,754 points in four seasons at Arizona State, Martin opted to give college basketball one last shot. The 6-foot guard will be the lead playmaker for a deep Kansas team and hopefully get to showcase his clutch playmaking prowess beyond the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time. —DC

13. Marcus Carr | Texas | Senior

Carr was a late addition to the Texas roster and is the biggest piece capable of making the Longhorns legitimate national title contenders. The 6-2 guard averaged 19.4 points, 4.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds at Minnesota last season. How he’ll fit in the backcourt with UT veterans Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramey will be an interesting thing to watch early in the season. —GP

14. Jahvon Quinerly | Alabama | Junior

Here comes the pop for the Crimson Tide junior point guard who has a chance to be the most valuable player in the SEC. Quinerly averaged a respectable 12.9 points and 3.2 assists a season ago. With backcourt mate Jaden Shackelford preventing an overload of double teams, look for Quinerly to raise his numbers almost across the board as he tries to keep the Crimson Tide at the top of their conference. —MN

15. Buddy Boeheim | Syracuse | Senior

Boeheim went supernova in the postseason for Syracuse scoring 58 points in two ACC Tournament games and then tallying 31, 30 and 25 points in three NCAA Tournament games before cooling off in a Sweet 16 loss. In the process he scored the third-most points by an Orange player through two NCAA Tournament games in history. He should be able to pick up where he left off this season as one of the best sharp-shooters not just at Syracuse but in all of college basketball. —KB

16. Ochai Agbaji | Kansas | Senior

Agbaji has been on a steady climb since joining the Jayhawks as a relatively unheralded prospect in the 2018 class. He hit 37.7% of his 3-pointers as a junior last season and led the Jayhawks in scoring. He’s also a solid defender and will combine with Martin to give Kansas one of the sport’s best backcourts. —DC

17. Jaime Jaquez Jr. | UCLA  | Junior

Jaquez’s uptick in production in the NCAA Tournament is among the things that allowed the Bruins to make a surprising run to the Final Four. The 6-7 wing scored 27 points in the First Four victory over Michigan State and averaged 15.0 points and 6.3 rebounds in six NCAA Tournament games. He’s just 330 points shy of the 1,000 career-points club.  –-GP

18. Armando Bacot | UNC | Junior

We’re putting a lot on Bacot here, as the big man stayed in school, kept true to new coach Hubert Davis — and got a bit of a makeover to his game in the process. Bacot (12.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg) took 217 2-pointers last season; but just one 3-pointer. Expect the latter to increase at least 40-fold, as Bacot will be the focal point of one of the most interesting teams in the country this season. —MN

19. Emoni Bates | Memphis | Freshman

Once considered the No. 1 prospect in his class, Bates, who is still just 17 years old, reclassified this offseason and slots in as one of Memphis’ most talented players right away. The 6-9 forward has been a bucket-getter at every level of competition and for the Tigers his ability to take, make and create shots from anywhere on the court should change the trajectory of their team’s potential for the better. –KB

20. Kennedy Chandler | Tennessee | Freshman

Tennessee has struggled offensively the past two seasons without a natural, pass-first point guard. Chandler should solve that problem. The No. 8 overall prospect in the 2021 class is a floor general who will spearhead the offense for the preseason No. 20 Volunteers while also getting plenty of buckets for himself. —DC 

21. Andrew Nembhard | Gonzaga | Senior

Nembhard’s return is why the Zags will remain great in the backcourt despite the loss of Jalen Suggs. The 6-5 reigning West Coast Conference Sixth Man of the Year averaged 4.4 assists and just 1.2 turnovers last season as a part-time point guard. —GP

22. Eric Ayala |  Maryland | Senior 

Senior leader. It’s as simple and cherished as that. The Terps are the tasty Big Ten dark horse, led by Ayala’s scoring from last season (15.1 ppg). If he can improve his accuracy from behind the arc (34% on 169 attempts) by five or six percentage points he’ll have a shot at being an All-American. Why? More than half his shots last season were 3-point attempts. —MN

23. Jaden Ivey | Purdue | Sophomore

Ivey is a human firecracker whose game sizzles and pops with unmatched pizazz. A true difference-maker. He can create his own offense and has the instincts to consistently bring energy and enthusiasm to the defensive side of the ball for Purdue. Top-five player on my list who easily lands on our list as a breakout star in waiting. —KB

24. Andre Curbelo | Illinois | Sophomore

With Ayo Dosunmu gone to the NBA and Adam Miller transferring to LSU, expect Curbelo to enter the starting lineup and become a focal point of the Illinois offense after earning Big Ten All-Freshman and Sixth Man of the Year honors. The 6-1 guard ranked sixth in the Big Ten with 4.2 assists per game last season, despite playing just 21.5 minutes. —DC

25. Kendric Davis | SMU | Senior

Davis led the American Athletic Conference in both points (19.0) and assists (7.6) last season while helping SMU finish 56th at KenPom. His assist rate of 46.4 ranked first nationally, according to KenPom. Memphis coach Penny Hardaway has called him the most difficult opposing player to contain in the AAC. —GP

26. Isaiah Mobley | USC | Junior

Sure, younger brother Evan was a tantalizing one-and-doner who’s now on the Cavs, but did you know that Isaiah’s building a nice résumé for himself, too? The Trojans can again claim to have one of the best players in the Pac-12, as Mobley (9.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 43.6 3-pt%) will step into the spotlight as a junior who will be one of the best stretch fours in college hoops. —MN

27. Patrick Baldwin Jr. | Milwaukee | Freshman

Baldwin was the only top-10 recruit in the 2021 class to choose a mid-major, opting to play for Milwaukee — and his father, who is the head coach — over the likes of Duke and others. The 6-9 combo forward is a skilled shooter and one of the most talented prospects in the sport entering next season. Easily the best player in the Horizon League — and on a Panthers team capable of making their first NCAA Tournament appearance in eight years, too. —KB

28. Julian Champagnie | St. John’s | Junior

Champagnie led the Big East in scoring at 19.8 points per game last season and was seventh in rebounding. Now, the versatile 6-8 forward is back for more. He developed into a precise outside shooter last season. If Champgnie can add passing and facilitating to his repertoire, he can become a first-round NBA Draft prospect. —DC

Matthew Mayer returned to Baylor after testing the NBA Draft waters.
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29. Matthew Mayer | Baylor | Senior

Mayer was just a borderline top-100 prospect coming out of high school but is now a legitimate NBA prospect for the reigning national champions. The 6-9 wing will have a much bigger role this season considering Baylor lost four starters from its championship team. He’s a shooter with size whose production of 8.1 points per game could increase by more than 50%. —GP

30. Zach Edey | Purdue | Sophomore

He’s No. 30 in our list here, but mark my words: Edey (8.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg) will be playing like a borderline All-American and be the 1B to Trevion Williams’ 1A for Purdue by the time the NCAA Tournament starts. At 7-4, Edey is going to be the biggest of all the great big men in the Big Ten. “Breakout season” doesn’t quite cover it — he’s going to grow like He-Man in ’21-22. —MN

31. Terrence Shannon Jr. | Texas Tech | Junior

Chris Beard is gone but Texas Tech — now led by former assistant Mark Adams — should be in good hands thanks to the return of skilled lefty Terrence Shannon Jr. After testing the NBA Draft waters he returned and immediately thrust himself into the mix as a top-50 player in the sport. Crafty scorer who loves to get downhill and create plays — and highlights — around the rim. —KB

32. Marcus Sasser | Houston | Junior

With Dejon Jarreau and Quentin Grimes departed, Sasser is in line to feast offensively during his third season in the Houston program. The 6-1 guard is the Cougars’ leading returning scorer and a volume shooter who can take strides as a ball-handler. —DC

33. Keve Aluma | Virginia Tech | Senior

Aluma followed coach Mike Young from Wofford to Virginia Tech after the 2019 season and became his best player last season after sitting out the previous year per (old) NCAA transfer rules. The 6-9 forward averaged a team-high 15.2 points and a team-high 7.9 rebounds for a Virginia Tech team that made the NCAA Tournament. His presence gives the Hokies a chance to be the surprise team in the ACC. —GP

34. Tyson Etienne | Wichita State | Junior

Etienne (co-player of the year in the AAC) averaged 16.3 points and 3.4 rebounds while growing into the team’s alpha in 2020-21. He has a knack for helping with winning plays and doesn’t make many mistakes. The Shockers have had an NCAA Tournament-worthy team in nine of the previous 10 seasons. Etienne can be the one to keep that trend alive. —MN

35. Scotty Pippen Jr. | Vanderbilt | Junior

Pippen Jr. is coming off a stellar sophomore season where he averaged 20.8 points and 4.9 boards per game for Vanderbilt. He was voted the 2021 Preseason SEC Player of the Year by the media and should be the frontrunner to lead the league in scoring by a healthy margin. —KB

36. Jalen Duren | Memphis | Freshman

Duren ranks as the No. 5 overall prospect in the 2021 class and is coming into a league not known for its quality front court play. That should allow the athletic 6-10 to feast in the paint and follow in the footsteps of Precious Achiuwa, who won AAC Freshman and Player of the Year honors for Memphis in the 2019-20 season. —DC

37. Justin Moore | Villanova | Junior

Moore has averaged double-figures in points in each of his first two seasons for the Wildcats. The 6-4 guard provides playmaking from the backcourt next to Collin Gillespie. If Moore can get his 3-point percentage back up to where it was two years ago — he shot 39.6% from beyond the arc as a freshman but just 31.0% as a sophomore — he’ll become an even bigger weapon for the Big East favorite. —GP

38. Adam Flagler | Baylor | Junior

With Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell, MaCio Teague and Mark Vital now gone from the 2021 national champions, who’s the best Bear on the roster? Mayer’s rated a little higher, but we also really like Flagler (9.1 ppg), who has been impressing all preseason behind closed doors and boasts a 43.4% 3-point accuracy on 3.5 shots per game. The junior sharpshooter is ready for his time on a bigger stage. —MN

39. Keion Brooks Jr. | Kentucky | Junior

On a John Calipari-coached Kentucky team that by any measure is old and experienced, Brooks Jr. is the Wildcats most experienced player. He emerged as a leader for UK as a sophomore amidst a turbulent season and after missing the first nine games of the campaign, helped guide Kentucky with a steadying presence averaging 10.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in 16 appearances. —KB

40. Caleb Mills | Florida State | Junior

Mills made the AAC All-Freshman team in 2019-20 while leading Houston in scoring. He transferred after four games last season and should fit well in a Florida State program that prioritizes defense and unselfish offense like Houston does. —DC

41. Ron Harper Jr.  | Rutgers | Senior

Harper averaged 14.9 points and 5.9 rebounds last season for a Rutgers team that made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1991. The 6-6 guard averaged 27.0 points in a three-game stretch against Syracuse, Maryland and Illinois. In addition to being a scorer, he’s also a plus-defender. —GP

42. Marcus Bagley |  Arizona State | Sophomore

You won’t find anyone else as high on Bagley as CBS Sports. The sophomore forward averaged 10.8 points and 6.2 rebounds last season, but it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he improves his load in both those categories by 75% as the main man on a just-OK Sun Devils roster this season. We can only hope his father doesn’t take to Twitter to demand he leaves the team, the way he did for big brother Marvin and the Kings earlier this month. —MN

43. Kyler Edwards  | Houston | Senior

What’s Texas Tech loss is Houston’s gain with the addition of Kyler Edwards. He averaged 10.1 points and 4.8 boards per game for the Red Raiders last season and enters the mix on a Houston team coming off a Final Four appearance with expectations of revisiting the promised land. —KB

44. Jabari Smith | Auburn | Freshman

Smith ranked as the No. 6 overall player in the 2021 class and will combine with North Carolina transfer center Walker Kessler to give Auburn a potentially elite front court. If his outside shot is as good as advertised, the 6-10 Smith may be the toughest assignment for opposing defenses in the SEC.  –DC

45. David McCormack | Kansas | Senior

McCormack had a breakthrough junior season in which he averaged 13.4 points and 6.1 rebounds. That was enough to get him the Big 12 Most Improved Player award. His field goal shooting of 51.5% was third in the league among players who averaged at least double-figures in points. —GP

46. Kellan Grady | Kentucky | Graduate transfer

Longtime readers of this list will recognize Grady’s presence, as he’s here for the third straight season. A Davidson grad transfer, we expect Grady (14.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg) to be the most prominent perimeter player for a retooled Kentucky roster that needed 3-point threats more than a cow needs grass. Grady is a 36% 3-point shooter on 644 attempts in four seasons. —MN

47. Will Richardson | Oregon | Senior

Oregon lost its two all-league performers from a season ago but Richardson’s return should give the team a steady-handed senior to retool around. He averaged 11.3 points and 3.9 assists per game in a complementary role a season ago and enters the season as the current Ducks player with the most starts for the program. —KB

48. Bennedict Mathurin | Arizona | Sophomore

Mathurin earned a starting role midway through last season while outplaying his modest recruiting billing as a freshman. Now, he’s back to anchor the perimeter for first-year coach Tommy Lloyd and should build on last season’s averages of 10.8 points and 4.8 rebounds. —DC

49. Donta Scott | Maryland | Junior

Scott started 27 games last season while averaging 11.0 points and a team-high 5.9 rebounds. The 6-8 forward made 43.8% of the 3.6 3-pointers he attempted as a sophomore. That’s the fifth-best single-season 3-point percentage in Maryland history. —GP

50. Mark Williams | Duke | Sophomore

If Duke is going to make the NCAA Tournament, Paolo Banchero will need a frontcourt running mate to take some of the pressure off, and Williams is that guy. To paraphrase one person I spoke with who’s familiar with Williams’ game and potential: If he’s not a top-10 center this season, something has gone terribly wrong. Williams is one of the chic ACC breakout candidates after averaging 7.1 points in 15 minutes per game a season ago. —MN

51. Chris Lykes | Arkansas | Graduate senior

An ankle injury derailed what would’ve been another boom year for Lykes at Miami last year but it could simply be delayed gratification for the new Arkansas addition. After averaging 15.8 points his final three years with the Hurricanes, he joins an up-tempo Razorbacks team that, under Eric Musselman, thrives on pushing the pace and featuring its guards. —KB

52. Andrew Jones | Texas | Senior

Jones is entering his sixth season in the Texas program after leading the Longhorns in scoring at 14.6 points per game last season. Getting the 6-4 guard to return for another year was huge for first-year coach Chris Beard, who is otherwise relying on a massive class of incoming transfers. —DC

53. DeAndre Williams  | Memphis | Senior

Williams was one of only six players last season to average at least 11.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals. Memphis went 16-5 after he became eligible with all five losses coming by a total of just 15 points. It’s reasonable to suggest the Tigers would’ve made the NCAA Tournament if the 6-9 forward would not have missed the season’s first seven games. —GP

54. Kenneth Lofton Jr. | Louisiana Tech | Sophomore

Few players boosted their stock in the past five months like the big fella down in Ruston, Louisiana. Lofton was a difference-maker for Team USA’s U19 squad. C-USA’s best freshman can turn into C-USA’s best player, as Lofton will almost certainly improve upon his stat line (12.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 56.7 FG%) as a sophomore … considering he only logged 22.8 minutes per game last season. Hoops diehards already know all about this bulky baller. —MN

55. Isaiah Wong | Miami | Sophomore

Miami’s leading scorer from a season ago, Wong was one of college basketball’s breakout stars as he averaged 17.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game for the Hurricanes after being thrust into a large role somewhat unexpectedly. The 6-3 guard led all ACC players in total points scored and is a sure bet to pace Miami in that category again this season. —KB

56. Avery Anderson | Oklahoma State | Junior

Anderson averaged 12.2 points per game as Oklahoma State’s second-leading scorer behind eventual No. 1 overall draft pick Cade Cunningham. In a game that Cunningham missed on March, Anderson exploded for 31 points. Perhaps it was a preview of the 2021-22 season. —DC

57. Keegan Murray | Iowa | Sophomore

Murray was mostly a role player as a freshman while averaging 7.2 points and 5.1 rebounds in just 18 minutes per game. Regardless, his ability to guard in space at 6-8 has placed him on NBA radars. A breakthrough season is expected for the second-year Hawkeye. —GP

58. Oscar Tshiebwe | Kentucky | Junior

Sure, Kentucky is coming off one of its worst seasons ever. But check our rankings and you’ll see that UK is once again well-stocked with great players. Tshiebwe (career: 10.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 27.2 PER) was a borderline top-10 freshman two years ago, then things went sideways in a hurry last year at West Virginia. Now a junior, he’s positioned to be one of the best rebounders and most intimidating presences in the sport. —MN

59. Fatts Russell  | Maryland  | Graduate transfer

Russell’s a known quantity in college hoops circles — he averaged at least 14.2 points per game in each of his three seasons at Rhode Island — but he has nonetheless impressed his new team at Maryland upon his transfer. The speedy 5-11 guard is a playmaker on both ends of the court as he leaves the Rams as the all-time leader in steals and sixth all-time in assists. –KB

60. Jaden Shackelford  | Alabama | Junior

Shackelford led Alabama in scoring last season and is back after entering his name in the NBA Draft and the transfer portal during the offseason. He should be one of the SEC’s top offensive performers and a major part of the preseason No. 14 Crimson Tide’s attack. —DC

61. Jalen Wilson | Kansas | Redshirt sophomore

Wilson entered last season as a mostly forgotten player after missing the previous year with an injury — but he ended it as Kansas’ leading rebounder and third-leading scorer. The 6-8 forward averaged 11.8 points and 7.9 rebounds even though he cooled off late and failed to reach double-figures in points in each of his final four games. His return is among the reasons KU is the favorite in the Big 12. —GP

62. Paul Scruggs | Xavier | Senior

Any coach in the country would take this guy in their starting lineup. The 6-5 senior averaged 14.0 points, 5.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds in 21 games last season. The assists were most per game in the Big East. What’s impressive about how Scruggs goes about his business is the way he makes room for others to get theirs. You’ll see him and the Musketeers comfortably in the NCAA Tournament. —MN

63. Garrison Brooks | Mississippi State | Senior

The preseason ACC Player of the Year a season ago, Brooks did not quite meet expectations for UNC as a junior as he averaged 10.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for the Tar Heels. But a clean slate at Mississippi State to play for the program he initially signed with out of high school and for his dad, who is a Bulldogs assistant coach, should give him a chance to step into a huge role in the frontcourt right away. –KB 

64. Courtney Ramey | Texas | Senior

Keeping Ramey was another big win for first-year Texas coach Chris Beard. He averaged 3.9 assists for the Longhorns last season and hit 41.4% of his 3-pointers. He and Andrew Jones will pair with incoming Minnesota transfer Marcus Carr to comprise a proven, veteran backcourt. —DC

65. Walker Kessler | Auburn | Sophomore

Kessler got caught in a numbers game at UNC last season and averaged only 8.8 minutes per game. But when the 7-1 center played at least 20 minutes, he averaged 18 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks. So don’t be surprised if he’s the breakout sophomore of this season. —GP

66. Iverson Molinar | Mississippi State | Junior

Look at Mississippi State getting a couple guys on this list, huh? Molinar is a well-kept secret in the SEC no more. He’ll be at the helm of a Bulldogs team that has a promising chance to make just its second NCAA Tournament since 2009. The 6-3 junior (16.7 ppg, 43.6 3-PT%) was the most improved player in the SEC last season, and a classic example of how deep college basketball’s talent pool is every year. You might not be familiar with Molinar yet, but watch him and see just how good D-I guard play is outside of teams populating the top 25. —MN

67. James Akinjo | Baylor | Senior

Playing on his third team in three years, Akinjo is coming off an All-Pac-12 level season at Arizona where he led the team in scoring, steals and assists. For Baylor he steps into a backcourt that loses Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell, and Scott Drew seems uniquely qualified to bring out the best in Akinjo as a scorer and facilitator for the reigning national champions after his most efficient season yet in which he averaged 15.6 points, 5.4 assists and shot 40.8% from 3-point range. —KB

68. Azuolas Tubelis | Arizona | Sophomore

Tubelis stepped into the starting lineup in the seventh game of his freshman season and cemented his rising stardom with a 31-point outing against USC and the Mobley brothers in January. Now, after averaging 12.2 points and 7.1 rebounds, the 6-9 interior force is in line to be Arizona’s leading scorer as a sophomore. —DC

69. Tyger Campbell | UCLA | Redshirt junior 

Campbell started all 32 games last season while averaging 10.4 points and a team-high 5.4 assists. The 5-11 point guard has tallied at least 10 assists in a game four times through two seasons with the Bruins. He and Juzang comprise one of the best backcourts in college basketball. —GP

70. TyTy Washington | Kentucky | Freshman

You may be wondering where the Kentucky freshmen are on a list like this. Usually good for at least two, right? Not this year. Washington is the lone UK newcomer to crack our 101, and he’ll be tasked with sharing lead guard duties alongside Georgia transfer Sahvir Wheeler. Washington was the No. 14-rated player in the 2021 class, per 247 Sports, but we anticipate he’ll easily be one of the 10 best freshmen by March. —MN

71. Matt Bradley | San Diego State | Senior

Bradley dominated the Pac-12 at Cal the last two seasons averaging 17.7 points per game and he steps into a situation at San Diego State that is looking to replace its top three scorers from a season ago. The 6-4 guard was third in scoring among all Pac-12 players last season and top-10 in both free-throw percentage and 3-point shooting. — KB

72. Colin Castleton | Florida | Senior

Castleton stands out as one of the biggest surprises of last season after transferring in from Michigan, where he barely played, and becoming a dominant force in the SEC. He is the league’s leading returner in blocks per game (2.3) and Florida’s leading returning scorer after averaging 12.4 points on 59.7% shooting. —DC

73. Posh Alexander | St. John’s | Sophomore

Alexander is the reigning Big East Freshman of the Year and Co-Defensive Player of the Year. The 6-foot guard averaged 10.9 points, 4.3 assists and 3.4 rebounds last season. He’s only the fourth player to ever win Big East Defensive Player of the Year as a freshmen — with the others being Naismith Memorial Hall of Famers Allen Iverson, Alonzo Mourning and Patrick Ewing. —GP

74. DeVante’ Jones | Michigan | Senior 

Last season’s Sun Belt Player of the Year is one of the best snuff-it-out guards in the sport. Jones averaged 19.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg and 2.8 spg for Coastal Carolina (18-8). It’s a fair question to ask: If Jones was still in a Chanticleers uniform, would he make this list? I’m not sure about that, and it speaks more to how power-conference players get the benefit of the doubt much more often than stat compilers in one-bid leagues. The buzz out of Ann Arbor now, though, is that this senior will be ready for the up-transfer adjustment. —MN

Detroit’s Antoine Davis gets one more season to add to his gaudy numbers.
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75. Antoine Davis  | Detroit Mercy | Senior

Davis is the only player in the country who has been top-five among all college basketball players in points scored per game in each of the past three seasons. The sharpshooting guard averaged a career-low of 24.0 ppg last season and was still the second-leading scorer in the sport behind only Max Abmas. —KB

76. Grant Sherfield | Nevada | Junior

Sherfield was part of Wichita State’s mass exodus following the 2019-20 season and shined in his new home by leading the Mountain West in assists per game at 6.1 and finishing second in points at 18.6 last season. Now, as a junior, he is the league’s Preseason Player of the Year. —DC

77. Timmy Allen | Texas | Senior

Allen transferred to Texas after starting 82 games in three seasons at Utah. The 6-6 forward averaged 17.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists last season. He was the only Power Five player besides Illinois star Ayo Dosunmu to average at least 17.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. —GP

78. Qudus Wahab | Maryland | Junior

Here’s one of the more intriguing transfers. Wahab, a junior, was one of the most improved players last season (12.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg), but left Georgetown for would-be rival Maryland. He took 103 shots at the rim in 26 games, per Hoop Math’s tracking; that number will rise. Mark Turgeon’s Terps have a lot of speed, toughness, shooting and age. In Wahab, they also now have size — and another quality big in the best conference of bigs in the country. —MN

79. Kevin Obanor | Texas Tech | Senior

In an unlikely run to the Sweet 16 as a No. 15 seed for Oral Roberts, Obanor posted three consecutive double-doubles including a 30 point eruption over No. 2 seed Ohio State in the first round. The 6-8 senior steps into a new environment at Texas Tech where his size and outside shot paired next to Terrence Shannon Jr. will give the Red Raiders a potent punch on offense to defend. —KB

80. Landers Nolley | Memphis | Redshirt junior

Nolley shined on the perimeter after transferring in from Virginia Tech, where he was cast as a small-ball forward. The 6-7 gunner refined his 3-point shot by hitting 38.7% of them last season on six attempts per game and is the leading returning scorer for a Memphis team that begins the season ranked No. 12. —DC

81. Caleb Houstan | Michigan | Freshman 

Houstan reclassified to 2021 in July 2020 so that he could enroll at Michigan early. The McDonald’s All-American is projected by most to be a lottery pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. He started on a high school team two seasons ago at Montverde Academy in Florida alongside three lottery picks in the 2021 NBA Draft — Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes and Moses Moody. —GP

82. Taevion Kinsey | Marshall | Senior

If you aren’t aware of Mr. Kinsey, educate yourself ASAP. The senior averaged 19.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 60.2% true shooting percentage for Dan D’Antoni’s zip-zip-zip offense. A major-conference athlete with a high level of composure in dictating a scheme with plenty of acceleration built in. Could grow into a fun NBA prospect by next year, too. We love putting this list together in part because we get to showcase guys like Kinsey, and in doing so, let you know about them in advance of a promising season. —MN

83. Jermaine Samuels | Villanova | Senior

The Big East is Villanova’s to lose and Samuels will play an integral role in helping the Wildcats in their efforts to four-peat as regular-season champs. He’s one of three returning ‘Nova standouts who averaged double figures last season and is coming off a career-best year as a junior where he averaged 12.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game and stepped into a starring role in the postseason with Collin Gillespie injured. — KB

84. Nate Watson | Providence | Graduate senior

Watson enjoyed a breakout season as a senior by averaging 16.9 points and 6.7 rebounds for Providence last season. Now, he’s back for a bonus season after reaching double figures in 23 of 26 games last year.  —DC

85. Alex Barcello | BYU | Senior 

Barcello averaged a team-high 16.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists last season after transferring from Arizona following his sophomore year. The 6-2 guard has shot at least 47% from 3-point range in each of the past two years. His true shooting percentage of 64.7% last season ranked 41st nationally. —GP

86. Allen Flanigan | Auburn | Junior

Our trickiest ranking, as Auburn’s leading returning scorer required surgery on his right Achilles in early September — a procedure that will hold him out for at least the first six weeks of the season. But the prognosis is good enough, and his production easily worthy enough from last season (14.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.9 apg) to warrant including him on our list. If he can return almost fully to form by the end of February, Auburn should be operating as a top-30 team. —MN

87. Quincy Guerrier | Oregon | Junior

We’ve got more than a few transfers of note on this list, and this former Syracuse player is another one. If anyone is going to challenge UCLA this season, it will likely be Oregon. Having Guerrier (13.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg) in the fold is huge; Dana Altman gets more out of his transfers than any other coach (and the stats back that up). Guerrier is a 6-7 two-way junior wing who was Syracuse’s most well-rounded player last season. —MN

88. Dawson Garcia | UNC | Sophomore

A former top-40 national prospect, Garcia averaged 13.0 points and 6.6 rebounds at Marquette as a freshman before transferring to North Carolina after an offseason coaching change. The change of scenery should help highlight his do-it-all skill set in Chapel Hill as a floor-spacer and versatile offensive weapon. He made 35.6% of his 3-pointers with the Golden Eagles and new UNC coach Hubert Davis has already gushed about his potential to impact the game on both ends of the court. –KB

89. Trent Frazier | Illinois | Senior

Frazier (an elite defender) has been a steady contributor over 127 appearances and 107 starts in four seasons at Illinois. Now, the 6-2 guard is back for some bonus ball and could have his best offensive year yet as the Illini replace star guard Ayo Dosunmu. —DC

90. Kihei Clark | Virginia | Senior

Clark is the only player still in Virginia’s program who was a member of the 2019 national championship team. The 5-10 point guard averaged 9.5 points and 4.5 assists last season. His pass to Mamadi Diakite in the final seconds of regulation in that 2019 Elite Eight win over Purdue remains a classic March Madness moment. —GP

91. Darius Days | LSU | Senior

The Tigers have to fill a lot of needs, and Days — after three years of dues paying — will be the stat compiler supreme for Will Wade’s program. Days averaged 11.6 ppg and 7.8 rpg last season while shooting 66.4% from 2-point range and 40% from beyond the arc on 130 attempts. If you make a list like this it’s hard to argue you’re underrated, but generally speaking, Days is probably the most underrated guy in the SEC heading into November. —MN

92. Prentiss Hubb | Notre Dame | Junior

Hubb averaged career-highs in points (14.8), assists (5.8), rebounds (3.2), field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage and minutes played per game last season for Notre Dame. His progression into an all-ACC caliber player makes him one of the more underrated players in our rankings. —KB

93. Caleb Love | North Carolina | Sophomore

Love’s spot on this list is a vote of confidence that the former five-star guard will make big strides after a rocky freshman season. Love shot just 31.6% from the floor and turned the ball over 3.1 times per game a year ago while also showing flashes of greatness that will need to be on display more regularly. —DC

94. Michael Devoe | Georgia Tech | Senior 

Devoe is the best returning piece from a Georgia Tech team that made the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time since 2010. The 6-10 senior averaged 15.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists last season. He’s made 41.4% of his 3-point attempts through three years of college. —GP

95. Kyle Lofton | St. Bonaventure | Senior

It’s the most anticipated season for the Bonnies in ages, and Lofton will be the one guiding this group to maybe its best NCAA Tournament seed in program history. Lofton (14.4 ppg, 5.5 apg, 3.5 rpg) is an alpha combo guard who, despite being 6-3, took 38% of his shots last season at the rim, per Hoop Math. We like that confidence. By the way, we almost sneaked his teammate, center Osun Osunniyi, on this list as well. —MN

96. Wendell Moore Jr. | Duke | Junior

A former McDonald’s All-American, Moore is one of the veterans of a Duke team that recently voted him as a team co-captain. He’s a glue guy generating real buzz entering his third season in Durham after a disappointing sophomore season. We’re expecting him to build off his second-year campaign with the Blue Devils where he averaged 9.7 points and 4.8 boards per game for a Duke team that missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1995. —KB

97. Jacob Gilyard | Richmond | Senior

Gilyard has started 117 games in his Richmond career and is already the program’s all-time assists leader. His assist-to-turnover ratio was among the best in the nation last season, and he led the country in steals with 3.6 per game. —DC

98. JD Davison | Alabama | Freshman

Davison is a top-10 prospect who doubles as one of the highest-rated basketball recruits to ever enroll at Alabama. The 6-3 point guard is a McDonald’s All-American and two-time Mr. Basketball in the state of Alabama. — GP

99. A.J. Green | Northern Iowa | Junior

The Panthers’ primary problem-inducer for opponents is coming off hip surgery, otherwise he would have been ranked higher. (He was No. 55 in our rankings last year.) Green’s career numbers: 17.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.6 apg, 88.5% FT and a 37.3% 3-point shooter. Green, a senior with another year of eligibility after this, is a high-major starter in a mid-major conference. —MN

100. Mike Miles | TCU | Sophomore

This is a captain’s pick for me and I’ll wear it with pride with a peek behind the curtain: I actually had Miles 54th on my own personal rankings. He’s coming off a stellar freshman year with TCU where he was one of only five freshmen in the country to average at least 13 points, three rebounds and three assists per game. He also had a big summer playing on the FIBA U19 World Cup team where he won a gold medal and averaged 9.1 points and 3.9 assists per game in seven showings in the World Cup. He enters the 2021-22 season as the fifth-leading returning scorer in the Big 12 and I’m banking on a breakout sophomore campaign. —KB

And 1 — Jae’lyn Withers | Louisville | Redshirt sophomore

Withers hit 54.9% of his shots, flashed outside shooting range and pulled down 7.7 rebounds per game as a redshirt freshman. Now, the 6-8 forward is the leading returning scorer on a Louisville team with NCAA Tournament aspirations. —DC



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