In anticipation of opening day, many people have offered up lists of the best players in college hoops.
These are the lists I have found as of press time:
Well, I am offering my own list, but it is just a top five: the top five players that aren’t on anyone’s top 100 list or were even considered for it. Just to be safe on the latter condition and since I can’t read minds, all players who are on DraftExpress’s top 100 prospect list for their class are also ineligible. (Apologies to Eastern Michigan’s James Thompson IV and Wake Forest’s Bryant Crawford.)
But these gentlemen shouldn’t feel bad because someday they will show the world that they should have been more respected as players…and as people.
5. Peyton Aldridge, Davidson (6-8, 225, Jr.). Aldridge’s game took a nice jump from his freshman to sophomore season. He want from a spot-shooting novelty act at the four to a guy who could create his own shot in the paint while setting up teammates when necessary. Who knows if there’s more room for growth in his game, but even just duplicating the 120 offensive rating on average usage would be a nice contribution to a Davidson offense that figures to be one of the best in country.
4. Tra-Deon Hollins, Nebraska-Omaha (6-2, 195, Sr.). Hollins most notable achievement as a junior was ranking second in the land in steal percentage, and first in steals per game – with 1.3 more than any other person playing Division-I men’s basketball. He also assisted on 31 percent of his teammates’ buckets during the season and in Omaha’s fast-paced offense that translated to three games with double-digits in the helper department. It’s not like he slipped through the higher-major cracks because of size issues, either. He’s a 6-2 person playing point guard.
3. John Konchar, Fort Wayne (6-5, 207, So.). Konchar redshirted his first year in Fort Wayne under Jon Coffman and that patience paid off with a fine freshman season. He’s 6-5 and that works out to playing the 3 in the Summit League but he put up some mind-boggling numbers for a player of that size. It is true there was a noticeable dropoff against better competition, but he closed the season with a 10-point, 18-rebound, four-assist, six-steal performance in the NIT against San Diego State. He made 62% of his two’s and 43% of his three’s and his steal and rebound rates were stellar for any human let alone one listed at 6-5. He also threw down over 30 dunks. The thing holding him back from Alan Williams-like acclaim is that he took just 16 percent of the Mastodons’ shots. With three starters gone from last season, he’ll have the opportunity to do more as a sophomore.
2. Dazon Ingram, Alabama (6-5, 205, Fr.). We didn’t get to see much of Ingram in his rookie season because he broke his left foot after starting the first seven games. But what we did see was a youngster who may have been overlooked by the recruiting services. He was active in good ways and bad, but generally speaking, activity is a good thing for a freshman, even if it involves a turnover rate approaching 35% as it did for Ingram. He also made 54% of his 2’s and got to the line a healthy amount while rebounding 21% of opponents’ misses and assisting on 29% of his teammates’ shots. The outlook for Alabama isn’t all that rosy this season, but it’s a safe prediction that Ingram will be fun to watch.
1. Desi Rodriguez, Seton Hall (6-6, 215, Jr.). Rodriguez lurked in the shadows of Isaiah Whitehead last season, but he should get more attention this season. Still, much of the preseason ink given to the Hall is being used on point guard Khadeen Carrington and big man Angel Delgado. Those guys are good players, too, and collectively the trio gives the Pirates enough talent to get back to the NCAA tournament. But Rodriguez is an equally important contributor, coming off a season where he made 55 percent of his 2’s and developed a perimeter shot to go with his ability to get to the rim. He also had a steal on 3.5% of Seton Hall’s possessions.