Ranking the 10 Most Physical Players in College Basketball

Scott HarrisMMA Lead WriterMarch 9, 2014

Ranking the 10 Most Physical Players in College Basketball

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    UC Santa Barbara forward Alan Williams
    UC Santa Barbara forward Alan WilliamsEthan Miller/Getty Images

    In college basketball, often it's the guards who get all the gaudy stats, cheers and column inches. But the flashy guys can't shine without the ones who do the dirty work.

    There's simply no substitute for being able to knock a guy out of the metaphorical box and grab the gosh darn ball. And this one's for that set, the rugged post players who roll up their sleeves and put their hard hats on every time up the court.

    Ranked in order of, uh, physicality (based in part on rebounds and shot-blocking stats), these are the 10 most physical players in college basketball right now.

10. Ousmane Drame, Quinnipiac

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    Height: 6'9"
    Weight: 225
    Rebounds per game: 10.3
    Blocks per game: 2.3

    Ousmane Drame won't blow you away with athleticism. But he doesn't need athleticism to blow you away.

    Check out the video, in which he bulls his way to the hoop for an easy basket over what appear to be a horde of Lilliputians.

    Drame is dominant on both sides of the ball. Along with frontcourt mate Ike Azotam, he has led the Bobcats to a 12.3 rebounding margin—good for tops in the nation.

9. Jerami Grant, Syracuse

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    Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

    Height: 6'8"
    Weight: 210
    Rebounds per game: 6.7
    Blocks per game: 0.6

    Jerami Grant isn't as wide-bodied as some of the others on this list, but he is a physical specimen who is helping to pace the Syracuse Orange this year and could be legit at the next level.

    Grant's most impressive physical stat might be his seven-foot wingspan. He doesn't get to flash his individual defensive prowess as much as he might if he played in a man-to-man scheme, but when he does flash it, it's pretty spectacular.

8. Khem Birch, UNLV

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    Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

    Height: 6'9"
    Weight: 220
    Rebounds per game: 9.7
    Blocks per game: 3.8

    Second in the nation in blocks and 20th in rebounding, Canadian Khem Birch is the motor that keeps the UNLV Rebels running.

    He isn't the most polished of offensive players, and he isn't usually the tallest guy in the gym, but he has boundless energy and protects the rim with abandon.

    If UNLV finds a way into the NCAA tournament, chances are it will be on Birch's back. 

7. Jerrelle Benimon, Towson

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Height: 6'8"
    Weight: 245
    Rebounds per game: 11.7
    Blocks per game: 1.3

    Jerrelle Benimon has been the cornerstone to Towson's resurgence. He is the leading scorer, rebounder, assist man and shot-blocker for the 22-9 Tigers. Talk about doing it all.

    Benimon isn't huge, relatively speaking, nor is he super athletic. But he's good, he's big and he's awfully tough inside. He has a low center of gravity and seems almost impossible to move if he doesn't want you to move him.

    Despite not exactly being an NBA prototype, you have to think the scouts are taking notice. Benimon currently leads the nation in rebounds and might be leading Towson into the Big Dance.

6. Patric Young, Florida

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    Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

    Height: 6'9"
    Weight: 240
    Rebounds per game: 6.2
    Blocks per game: 0.9

    Florida's ripped center can put a hurting on just about anyone. Patric Young is just a physical monster. Every time he sets a screen, you expect the other guy to dislocate something.

    He doesn't get as much attention as other members of the top-ranked Gators, but something tells me that's OK with him. Just let the big man eat and he'll be happy.


5. Rhamel Brown, Manhattan

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    Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Height: 6'7"
    Weight: 230
    Rebounds per game: 5.8
    Blocks per game: 3.8

    Rhamel Brown is a freaking load. No two ways about it. 

    Don't let the big frame fool you, though. He can get up in the air, as evidenced by his eye-popping block statistics. The defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year might be the best inch-for-inch shot-blocker in the country.

    The Brooklyn, N.Y., native patrols the paint for the 22-7 Jaspers and might get a little more visibility soon if Manhattan emerges from the MAAC.

4. Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee

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    Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

    Height: 6'8"
    Weight: 260
    Rebounds per game: 10.3
    Blocks per game: 1

    Jarnell Stokes is the slightly more statistically accomplished member of one of the country's most bruising frontcourt tandems. Jeronne Maymon, who is exactly the same size as Stokes, also pours in eight boards per contest.

    Together, they don't take a backseat to many people, and they've propelled the Volunteers to a tie for seventh in the nation in rebounding margin. 


3. Adreian Payne, Michigan State

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    Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

    Height: 6' 10"
    Weight: 245
    Rebounds per game: 7.5
    Blocks per game: 0.8

    The big man from Dayton, Ohio, is the second-leading scorer and rebounder for the 23-7 Spartans.

    Adreian Payne is pretty thick for his height, and he couples it with an in-game intensity and blue-collar work ethic that fit perfectly at Michigan State. 

    Not only is he a big dude, but he can also get above the rim and run the floor. Woe be to him who tries to draw a charge on Payne at the tail end of a fast break.


2. Julius Randle, Kentucky

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    Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

    Height: 6'9"
    Weight: 250
    Rebounds per game: 10.5
    Blocks per game: 0.8

    It's been a long time since a big man this young had a post game this sugary. But he can put a licking on you, too.

    Julius Randle doesn't always give his full attention to the defensive end of the game. That's probably his biggest weakness. On offense, though, he cuts through opponents with ease on his way to the basket. The guy is a stud, plain and simple. 


1. Alan Williams, UC Santa Barbara

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    Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

    Height: 6'8"
    Weight: 280
    Rebounds per game: 11.6
    Blocks per game: 2.3

    This Gaucho is a man, baby.

    The nation's second-leading rebounder, Alan Williams, is also the leading scorer for UC Santa Barbara, which has amassed a 20-8 record and is currently running second in the Big West Conference.

    What he lacks in height and wingspan he makes up for in pure, brute strength. He can toss defenders aside and is an intimidating presence underneath (even if he does camp out in the lane sometimes and fall asleep at the switch occasionally). He also has good hustle and will dive for loose balls. The only sane advice in that situation? Just let him have it.

    He is probably the best pure rebounder in the nation this year, thanks in large part to those huge hands. No one else controls the glass the way he does, and he's the most physical player out there.