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Maria Sharapova, Women’s Tennis, WTA, 25: Sharapova would easily be in the top 10 had she not passed the quarter-century mark in April of this year.
Novak Djokovic, Men’s Tennis, ATP, 25: If this article were written a month ago, Djokovic might have garnered the top spot. But like his tennis-playing female counterpart, Sharapova, he just missed eligibility.
John Wall, Point Guard, Washington Wizards, 21: The former No. 1 draft pick regressed a little in his second NBA season. But expect Wall to stay in the conversation for the next few years.
DeMarcus Cousins, Power Forward, Sacramento Kings, 21: Though he entered the NBA with many questions about his maturity, and seemed to validate those concerns as a rookie, Cousins blossomed in his second year, averaging a double-double for the first of what is sure to be many seasons to come.
Russell Westbrook, Point Guard, Oklahoma City Thunder, 23: If Westbrook can help teammate Kevin Durant lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to their first NBA championship this season, expect his name to shoot up this list quickly.