The game of basketball—especially at the college level—has become more guard oriented, but there is still a need for interior players.
While many of the top frontcourt players can take their games to the outside, they are still capable of banging, grabbing rebounds and putting up high scoring numbers.
Here is a list of the top 30 frontcourt players heading into this season. Some are veterans and some are freshmen. All are looking to make their mark in the paint and beyond for their respective teams.
As with all lists, some players may have been overlooked or left out. It certainly was not intentional.
Duke's Kyle Singler is the quintessential big man. He is versatile, able to play inside or outside.
Last year in the Blue Devils' national title run, Singler dropped weight and played more on the perimeter. This season he put on weight and he is expected to play more inside.
Singler averaged 17.7 points and seven rebounds per game last season. He is expected to put up big numbers again and is a front-runner for the Naismith College Player of the Year.
The Florida State big man is expected by many to have a breakout season in the ACC.
Singleton falls right in with the typical athletic frontcourt players that coach Leonard Hamilton likes so much.
The rising junior has averaged 10 points and seven rebounds per game in his first two seasons. His ability to score should help establish FSU as a formidable threat in the ACC.
The big man for Butler will definitely be expected to step up following the departure of Gordon Hayward from last year's national runners-up.
Howard averaged 11.6 points and just over five rebounds last season. He will need to step up to fill in for Hayward, but he and guard Shelvin Mack should be enough of a one-two punch to help keep Butler a viable contender in 2010-11.
The seven-foot center is coming to the Washington Huskies from College of Southern Idaho, a junior college that, in one year, produced two Division-I prospects.
N'Diaye is originally from Senegal and was recruited by schools like Duke and Oklahoma. But he chose the Huskies and he is expected to step in and be a legitimate big-time threat in the post.
The North Carolina big man isn't very big at 6'10" and barely over 200 pounds, but he is athletic and came on strong in the Tar Heels' NIT run.
Henson has to be more aggressive and take his opportunities when they come. He still isn't strong enough to bang in the post entirely, but he is quick enough to create his shot.
He is expected to contribute much more than the five points and four rebounds he averaged as a freshman.
The Vandy big man averaged 13 points and five rebounds as a sophomore.
With that kind of success so early in a career, it is either followed up by a letdown or continued growth. Vanderbilt has always been a fringe power, occasionally putting together a nice team that makes a run in the SEC and beyond.
With Taylor holding down the post, it could be that kind of year again for the Commodores.
With the departure of Cole Aldrich, Morris is expected to hold down the post for the Kansas Jayhawks this season.
Morris averaged nearly 13 points and six rebounds per game last season. Even a slight increase should help Kansas' post production from dropping off too drastically post-Aldrich.
Yes, these are two players. Yes, their games are different even if they are brothers playing on the same team.
Miles Plumlee is the older brother with more experience. He is athletic, getting stronger and expected to step up defensively and on the boards. He runs the court well and is a starter.
Mason Plumlee is slightly taller and perhaps just a bit more athletic than his brother. He is expected to be more of a scorer.
Miles averaged five points and five rebounds per game last season. Mason averaged three and three. Both will need to step those averages up for Duke to make the kind of run many are expecting.
Joseph averaged 10.8 points and 5.5 rebounds last season.
While he isn't even expected to be the key big man this year, with the arrival of incoming freshman Fab Melo, Joseph should benefit from all the attention paid to the newcomer.
At 6'7" Joseph is more of a slasher than a back-to-the-basket big man, but his athleticism should help him put up good numbers again this season.
At only 6'6", Brown is small for a true frontcourt player. But like most Pitt big men under coach Jamie Dixon, they make the most of their size and talent.
DeJuan Blair was considered undersized, but he was a rebounding machine. Brown isn't Blair, but after averaging 10 points and six rebounds per game last season, he should still be a major contributor for the Panthers this season.
The Boilermakers big man will have to put this year's team on his capable shoulders after the loss of Robbie Hummel.
Johnson has the potential to be a superstar. He averaged 15 points and seven rebounds last year, mostly with Hummel on the court. How will his numbers look without him?
As a freshman Williams averaged 10 points and eight rebounds in the ACC, and that was with a guy like Greivis Vasquez running the show.
It will be interesting to see if his numbers go up or down with the loss of Vasquez to the NBA. Even similar numbers will make him one of the best in the country down low.
Zeller's career has been characterized by two words: potential and injury.
The rising junior has missed substantial time in both seasons due to injury. When healthy, he has shown potential and he is expected to break out if he can avoid getting injured in 2010-11.
In two seasons, he has averaged nine points and four rebounds per game.
While he isn't the star of the Gators squad, he is definitely a major contributor for a team that has fallen on hard times in the last two or three years.
Tyus averaged 11.8 points and 6.9 rebounds last season. Those types of numbers will be needed to help the Gators get back to the Big Dance.
While Jay Wright's offense is more guard oriented, he can still find use for an athletic forward to give the Wildcats an inside-outside threat.
Pena does that for Villanova. He averaged 10.5 points and seven rebounds last season.
Allen gives coach Seth Greenberg a versatile and mobile big man.
Virginia Tech is expected to compete in the ACC and one of the biggest reasons is the expected output of Allen in the post.
Allen averaged 12 points and seven rebounds per game last season. He is expected to provide a nice one-two punch with Hokies guard Malcom Delaney.
Roe was a highly sought-after recruit coming out of high school, but he has spent time battling knee injuries while in East Lansing.
So far, in two seasons, he has only averaged six points and five rebounds. His toughness, a trademark of Tom Izzo's players, makes him a threat. This could be a breakout year if he can stay healthy.
Trapani is another versatile forward that can play either inside or outside, similar to Kyle Singler of Duke.
He is likely to be overshadowed in the ACC in what is expected to be a down year for the Eagles, but he still should lead the team.
He averaged 14.1 points and 6.4 rebounds for Boston College last year.
The seven footer from Illinois isn't the most imposing force in the country, but he gets the job done.
At 7'1", Tisdale is a shot-alterer by nature. He averaged 11 points and eight rebounds per game last season for the Illini.
For the first time in quite awhile, the Wolfpack are being discussed as a factor in the ACC.
A big part of that is the incoming freshman class, but stars like Tracy Smith are also returning to the mix. Smith has shown glimpses of being an amazing player.
He averaged 16.5 points and seven rebounds last season.
The senior forward for the Irish stepped in nicely last season when star Luke Harangody was sidelined with injuries.
Now a senior, Abromaitis finds himself the star. After averaging 16 points and four rebounds per game last season, more will be expected to keep Notre Dame competitive in the Big East.
Parsons, another outside-in forward, is one of the reasons Florida believes it will once again become relevant on the national stage.
The 6'9" Parsons averaged 12 points and nearly seven rebounds per game last season.
The Missouri forward is part of the reason why the Tigers are working their way back to relevance in the Big 12 and on the national scene.
Bowers averaged 10 points and five rebounds last season.
It seems like every year Gonzaga has at least one guy you have to watch, and this season that guy is big man Robert Sacre.
He is hoping to follow up his breakout season last year with an even stronger campaign. He averaged 11 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last year.
Sullinger is one of the most highly anticipated freshmen in this year's class. He is one of the best cases of hometown-boy-makes-good since another kid from Ohio went straight to the NBA—LeBron James.
In his senior year of high school, Sullinger was Parade's Player of the Year nationally. He continued Ohio State coach Thad Matta's run of recruiting success that dates back to Greg Oden.
The incoming freshman is expected to give Jim Calhoun some post options this season.
While only a freshman, he was highly recruited by programs like Duke, Georgetown, Kansas and Florida.
He was a 5-star recruit and the 34th-highest-rated player according to ESPN.
From one great freshman to another, Harrison Barnes is expected by many to be an All-American as a freshman.
He is more of a wing/perimeter player, but Barnes can take his game inside as well as outside. He has a lot of pressure to be the savior of a North Carolina program that experienced one of its worst seasons in recent memory last year.
As it turns out, Kanter won't even play this season thanks to the NCAA. He has been ruled permanently ineligible for allegedly taking money while playing in his home country of Turkey.
Kentucky is appealing the decision and, in the unlikely scenario that Kanter is given the go-ahead, he will be Kentucky's inside weapon after the Wildcats lost DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton to the NBA draft last season.
Of course the NCAA never reverses a decision, and Kanter will likely be playing overseas this season while getting paid to do so.
The incoming freshman and the rest of his class is expected to help put the NC State Wolfpack back on the map in both the ACC and the national scene.
Leslie was highly recruited and is extremely versatile. If he can mesh with the rest of the veterans and rookies then coach Sidney Lowe should have enough to challenge in the conference and beyond.
Another superstar freshman, Melo is expected to anchor Jim Boeheim's zone defense and be an offensive weapon as well.
Syracuse hasn't had a more anticipated Melo since Carmelo Anthony was a freshman and led the Orange to a national title.