The season is fast approaching. The first games are on Nov. 10, and the BIAH live blog during ESPN's season kickoff is just two weeks away. We've given you the breakout players. We've given you the teams to watch. We've given you more team previews than you could ever care about.
So with just a week until actual games are played, we figured the best way to finish up our 2008-2009 season previews is to give you our Top 10 players at each position. You know how much we love a good Top 10 list here.
A few caveats. First, we're talking about how good these guys are as college players, not how well they project as a pro.
Second, while it may be too much power for me, I am making the executive decision on what "position" a player is (and it may not necessarily be what he is listed as on a roster).
Third, I am not putting the freshmen in the list. As much as I've read about these guys and as many YouTube clips as I have watched, I have yet to see many of them play a real game (the all-star games don't count), and I don't think that I could give an accurate assessment until I see them play.
Lastly, I love me a good argument, so if you think someone is too low or too high or the wrong position, leave a comment and let me hear about it.
Top 10 Point Guards
Top 10 Two-Guards
Top 10 Small Forwards
Here are the Power Forwards.
- Samardo Samuels, Louisville
- Greg Monroe, Georgetown
- Luke Babbitt, Nevada
- Delvon Roe, Michigan State
- JaMychal Green, Alabama
Best of the Rest
- Jeff Pendergraph, Arizona State
- Connor Atchley, Texas
- Josh Heytvelt, Gonzaga
- Robert Dozier, Memphis
- Trevor Booker, Clemson
10. MARQUS BLAKELY, Vermont
Blakely is just 6'5" but would be a top five pick in a college basketball fantasy league. He averaged 19.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg, and 2.7 bpg for the Catamounts. His length and athleticism make him one of the more exciting players to watch in the country.
9. COLE ALDRICH, Kansas
Aldrich had a coming-out party against UNC and Tyler Hansbrough in the Final Four. The former Mickey D's All-American, who was plastered to the bench as a freshman playing behind Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson, and Sasha Kaun, is the only returning post for the Jayhawks.
8. EARL CLARK, Louisville
Clark initially entered the NBA Draft but withdrew his name. It was probably a good decision as his potential is off the charts, but he is still quite raw. He is a good defender, mainly because he can guard either forward spot, and is great in transition, but he needs to work on his offensive game. Specifically, he must be able to create his own shot, either in the post or from the wing.
7. JAMES JOHNSON, Wake Forest
Johnson is similar to Clark in that they are both combo forwards, but at this point in his career he, too, is still more of a post. Johnson is not as good of a defender as Clark, but he is much more skilled offensively. He is at his best when he faces up a defender. He has a jump shot that you must respect, but he also has a quick first step and can get around a slower defender.
6. DEJUAN BLAIR, Pitt
Blair may be the best positional player in the country. He is a load on the block (6'7", 265 lbs.) and uses his girth to push people around, but he really understands how to box out and how to seal his man. He has long arms, great hands, and great anticipation for where a rebound is going, which makes up for his lack of athleticism.
5. JEFF ADRIEN, UConn
Adrien is an undersized power forward, but he is an exceptional athlete with a huge wingspan. Combine those tools with a great motor and baseball gloves instead of hands, and you are looking at one of the best rebounders in the country.
Adrien gets a majority of his points off offensive putbacks and dunks off the Huskies guards penetrating, but he has a decent jump shot out to 15 feet and a much improved back-to-the-basket game.
4. PATRICK PATTERSON, Kentucky
Patterson is coming off a great freshman season, which ended prematurely after a stress fracture in his ankle caused him to miss the season's last five games. He is healthy now, and ready to carry the torch for the Wildcats. You can't ask for a better specimen down low—he's big, he's strong, he's athletic, he's aggressive, and he has some decent moves when he catches on the block.
3. BLAKE GRIFFIN, Oklahoma
Griffin has much more NBA potential than either of the top two and looks like he will be going No. 1 come June. Griffin has a great motor, is a fantastic athlete, and managed to put up 15 and nine while battling knee problems all year. After his well-documented offseason workouts, expect Griffin to come back ready to win Big 12 POY honors.
2. LUKE HARANGODY, Notre Dame
With all the hype that another white power forward receives, can you believe that 'Gody is actually more productive that a certain psycho down Chapel Hill way? Look at the numbers: 22.6 ppg and 10.2 rpg in 33 mpg for Hansbrough vs. 20.4 ppg and 10.6 rpg in 29 mpg for Luke.
Harangody is the reigning Big East player of the year playing on a team that is expected to contend for the league crown and a Final Four berth.
1. TYLER HANSBROUGH, UNC
Psycho T is the preseason player of the year, so clearly he is going to top this list. What can I say about him that hasn't already been said? I'll leave it at this: You may hate Hansbrough. You may be sick of hearing about how good he is. You may gag every time you see one of his ridiculous celebrations. But isn't he what college basketball "purists" wish for?
He was the college basketball player of the year last season, and he turned down NBA millions (you can argue how good of a pro he will be, but face it—he's going to be a first rounder) to return to campus simply because he loves college and the college game. Like it or not, he will go down as one of the NCAA's all-time greats.