Predicting the Top Double-Double Machines in the 2016-17 NCAA Basketball Season
Most college basketball fans probably never heard the name Rokas Gustys before today, but Hofstra's big man tops our list of projected double-double machines for the 2016-17 season.
Though a double-double is an impressive individual achievement, you should probably be hoping you don't see a player from your favorite team on the list. In many situations, the player is projected to put up big numbers because there aren't any better options—like Harvard's Zena Edosomwan and Arkansas' Moses Kingsley combining for 27 double-doubles last season for teams that finished at or below .500.
There are certainly exceptions to that rule. Oregon's Chris Boucher, Wisconsin's Ethan Happ and California's Ivan Rabb all cracked our top 20 while playing for teams that ought to open the season ranked in the Top 25. For the most part, though, these are frontcourt studs who will rack up points and rebounds for teams that might struggle to stack up wins.
Players are ranked in ascending order of expected double-doubles. Players near the bottom of the list could be headed for 15, but the top dogs might tally as many as 30.
Amile Jefferson, Duke
11.4 PPG, 10.3 RPG, three double-doubles in nine games
Jefferson was only able to appear in a handful of games last season, but he averaged a double-double in them. However, with Harry Giles, Marques Bolden and Jayson Tatum in the frontcourt picture (as well as Chase Jeter and Sean Obi), there are more mouths to feed in the rebounding department. It's tough to forecast any individual Blue Devil for more than a dozen double-doubles.
Johnathan Motley, Baylor
11.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, four double-doubles
Motley didn't have many double-doubles last year, but he only played 21 minutes per game while battling teammate Rico Gathers for boards. As the primary big man in the Bears offense, he should put up huge numbers.
Drew McDonald, Northern Kentucky
10.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG, five double-doubles
For a team that didn't have much else to write home about—the Norse went 9-21 last season—McDonald put up impressive numbers in less than 20 minutes per game. With Jalen Billups and Jake Giesler both graduating, McDonald becomes the singular rebounding threat on this roster.
Wayne Martin, Tennessee State
11.1 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 10 double-doubles
Martin recorded more than four times as many rebounds last season as any returning teammate. He should easily be the best rebounder in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Evan Boudreaux, Dartmouth
17.7 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 10 double-doubles
Boudreaux had a fantastic freshman year, but how much room for improvement does he have? He averaged 32.1 minutes per game for a school that has never played more than 30 games in a season.
Thomas Welsh, UCLA
11.2 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 10 double-doubles
Stud freshman T.J. Leaf will likely pick up most of the slack from Tony Parker's departure, but Welsh stands to gain from the increased availability as well. He should be the primary frontcourt weapon for a potential Top 10 team.
Caleb Swanigan, Purdue
10.2 PPG, 8.3 RPG, eight double-doubles
If he comes back, Swanigan will probably lead the Big Ten in double-doubles. With A.J. Hammons out of the picture, that's more minutes and rebounds for Swanigan to claim.
Justin Tillman, VCU
7.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG, five double-doubles
Tillman's rebounding percentages were off the charts last season, but he only played 16 minutes per game. That number should increase, but with Mo Alie-Cox still in the picture, we can't exactly assume Tillman's playing time will double.
Thomas Bryant, Indiana
11.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, two double-doubles
Bryant should be headed for a huge sophomore season, but he only averaged 10.2 rebounds per 40 minutes last year. He'll need to improve considerably as a glass-crasher in order to get anywhere near the national leaderboard for double-doubles.
Pick a Highly Rated Freshman
We only have one freshman in our top 20. That's not because freshmen are incapable of recording double-doubles—Ben Simmons had 22, Henry Ellenson had 18 last season—but rather because this year's batch isn't in the best position to excel in that category.
As already mentioned, Duke's top freshmen will be battling with Jefferson for rebounds. Kentucky has three 5-star power forwards, so good luck picking which one is most likely to average 10 rebounds per game. Jarrett Allen would probably sneak into our top 20 if he chooses Texas, but still no word on that front.
20. Emmanuel Omogbo, Colorado State
Per Game: 10.9 PPG, 8.0 RPG
Per 40 Minutes: 17.8 points, 13.1 rebounds
Emmanuel Omogbo became famous through tragedy, losing his parents, niece and nephew in a house fire in late January, yet he somehow found the strength to play in Colorado State's next game.
But before serving as the face of a GoFundMe campaign that has accumulated more than $100,000, Omogbo was an anonymously effective power forward. He averaged 17.0 points and 10.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore at South Plains College and was the best interior weapon for the Rams this past season.
He only played 24.5 minutes per game in 2015-16, but that number should increase considerably with Antwan Scott, Joe De Ciman and Dantiel Daniels graduating and leaving behind more than 90 minutes per game to be distributed elsewhere. Moreover, that trio ranked second through fourth on the team in total rebounds, so Omogbo should haul in a higher percentage of the team's rebounds while getting a boost in playing time.
Considering the situation, his rebounding rate last season and the dearth of quality big men in the Mountain West Conference (save for one notable exception to be addressed shortly), Omogbo may well lead the nation in rebounds per game in 2016-17.
19. Mike Daum, South Dakota State
Per Game: 15.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG
Per 40 Minutes: 29.3 points, 11.7 rebounds
Mike Daum only had a pair of double-doubles last season, but we can thank playing time for that. He was a monster during his 20.8 minutes per game on the court as a freshman, making it incredibly difficult to understand why that's all the more he played.
In his final 19 games last year, Daum—aka The Dauminator—averaged 18.1 points and 7.0 rebounds and was the KenPom.com MVP in nine of those contests.
Perhaps the only reason his rebounding rate wasn't higher was the amount of time he spent at either the free-throw line or the three-point arc. That's because unlike the majority of double-double threats, Daum is a gifted shooter. He shot 58.1 percent inside the arc, 44.6 percent beyond it and 82.4 percent from the free-throw line.
Seven Jackrabbits averaged at least 4.0 points per game last season. Four of those players graduated, including three that recorded at least 120 rebounds. Daum could be headed for the type of individually dominant career that Jameel Warney had with Stony Brook, particularly considering he is already averaging more points and rebounds per 40 minutes than Warney did in either of his first two seasons.
18. Chris Boucher, Oregon
Per Game: 12.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 2.9 BPG
Per 40 Minutes: 18.7 points, 11.4 rebounds, 4.5 blocks
Quite a few JUCO transfers made immediate impacts with their new D-I programs this past season, but none more so than Chris Boucher at Oregon. One of the most versatile players in the nation, Boucher was a rare combination of range and rejections, becoming just the fifth player since 1993-94 to record at least 100 blocks and 100 three-point attempts in the same season.
And with Elgin Cook and Dwayne Benjamin out of the picture, look for Boucher to become more of a nightly double-double threat. Boucher had to share frontcourt playing time with that duo of seniors (as well as sophomore Jordan Bell), so he only averaged 25.8 minutes per game and had inconsistent outputs.
Now the primary interior weapon, his rebounding rate ought to increase out of sheer necessity.
Then again, shot-blocking and rebounding don't often go hand in hand. In the past five seasons, Kentucky's Anthony Davis and UNLV's Khem Birch were the only players to average at least 3.0 blocks and 10.0 rebounds per game in the same season—and they each just barely reached the latter threshold. Throw in Dillon Brooks (5.4 RPG) and Tyler Dorsey (4.3 RPG) as wings who crash the glass well, and Boucher might not get as many boards as he probably should.
He might be the most valuable player in the Pac-12 this year, but we're hesitant to put him any higher on the double-doubles list than this.
17. Brandan Stith, Old Dominion
Per Game: 10.4 PPG, 9.7 RPG
Per 40 Minutes: 15.3 points, 14.3 rebounds
Double-doubles are just as much about playing time and opportunity as they are talent. Move former McDonald's All-American Isaiah Hicks about 220 miles west of Chapel Hill to join UNC-Asheville's vertically challenged lineup, and he gets a double-double every single night. Instead, he has just one such performance in three seasons behind Brice Johnson, Kennedy Meeks and James Michael McAdoo.
And on the one hand, Old Dominion's Brandan Stith has a ton of opportunity with Trey Freeman—the nation's leader in percentage of shots taken—graduating and taking Aaron Bacote's 13.1 points per game with him. Stith averaged just 7.6 field-goal attempts per game last season and still put up better than 10 points per contest. Both of those numbers should increase by at least 40 percent with those two guards no longer around to attempt nearly 30 shots per game.
On the other hand, rebounds are usually the tough part of double-doubles, and the frontcourt competition on this roster isn't going anywhere. The Monarchs still have 6'7" Denzell Taylor and 6'7" Zoran Talley—a frontcourt duo that averaged a combined 18.7 rebounds per 40 minutes last season.
Stith should be the focal point of this offense (and its defense as the leading shot-blocker by a mile), but whether there's enough room on the glass for him to rack up 20 double-doubles in a season is the big X-factor in his ranking.
16. Ethan Happ, Wisconsin
Per Game: 12.4 PPG, 7.9 RPG
Per 40 Minutes: 17.7 points, 11.3 rebounds
Even the Wisconsin faithful who expected big things from Ethan Happ could not have possibly foreseen the impact he would make as a redshirt freshman. The big man had 10 double-doubles and 10 other games with at least 10 points and seven rebounds.
By the time the NCAA tournament rolled around, he was the star of the show, scoring 27.8 percent of Wisconsin's points in those three games. For sake of comparison, Buddy Hield scored 33.6 percent of Oklahoma's points in the tournament, and he was on the court for 94 percent of their minutes. Happ didn't even average 30 minutes per game. (He played 74.2 percent of available minutes.)
With Nigel Hayes still on the fence about the NBA draft, though, it's possible the Badgers will not lose a single player from last year's roster—and they would even be adding redshirt freshmen Brevin Pritzl and Andy Van Vliet to the mix. Wisconsin already had six active players 6'8" or taller on the roster, and adding another 6'11" forward (Van Vliet) doesn't increase the likelihood that Happ's rebounding percentage will increase.
Still, he improved as the season progressed, and there's still room for growth in terms of minutes played and percentage of shots taken. Let's just say we see no reason for his numbers to decrease.
15. Brett Bisping, Siena
Per Game: 15.9 PPG, 10.4 RPG
Per 40 Minutes: 19.1 points, 12.5 rebounds
Even including Duke's Amile Jefferson (nine games), there are only nine returning players who averaged a double-double in 2015-16. So it would only take a quick look through last year's rebounding leaders to figure out who eight of our top 15 players are.
Brett Bisping is the first such player we've encountered in the top 20, but given his situation, it's hard to expect much more than we've already seen. Bisping already led Siena in minutes played at 33.2 per game, and Nos. 2 and 3 on that list are also-returning forwards Javion Ogunyemi and Lavon Long.
Though he did average 10.4 rebounds per game last season, can we really expect him to improve upon that number? Most of the players on this list are destined for more playing time, more rebound opportunities or both because of departing teammates, but Bisping has minimal room for growth in either category. Thus, expecting a jump from 13 double-doubles to 20 or more may be overly optimistic.
Still, we couldn't possibly omit someone who put up those numbers. Even if he merely duplicates what he did last season, Bisping would likely rank in the top 50 in the nation in double-doubles.
14. Zena Edosomwan, Harvard
Per Game: 13.2 PPG, 9.8 RPG
Per 40 Minutes: 20.2 points, 15.1 rebounds
It took a few years and a bit of a "What else are we going to do?" roster situation at Harvard, but Zena Edosomwan finally had a breakout year as a junior.
Wesley Saunders, Steve Moundou-Missi, Jonah Travis and Kenyatta Smith all graduated after the 2014-15 season. When Siyani Chambers tore his ACL in September, the Crimson were left with just three returning players who had scored more than 50 points—one of which (Corbin Miller) was little more than a three-point specialist.
To say the door was open for Edosomwan to make an impact would be an understatement. As would saying that he took advantage of it.
Despite playing just 26.0 minutes per game, he took nearly twice as many shots as he did in his first two seasons combined, more than tripling both the scoring and rebounding averages from his sophomore campaign. He led the Ivy League in rebounds per game while ranking fifth in blocks per game and 12th in points per game.
Granted, the team still sputtered to a 14-16 record, but not for lack of effort from Edosomwan. With Chambers back in the fold this season, head coach Tommy Amaker might have the best inside-outside duo among minor-conference teams.
13. Jonathan Isaac, Florida State
Per Game: N/A (Freshman)
Per 40 Minutes: N/A (Freshman)
Double-Doubles: N/A (Freshman)
The only freshman in our top 20 is the only 5-star big man going to a school where he's guaranteed to be a major contributor from day one.
In total, 247Sports gave 5-star ratings to 14 big men. Six of them—Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, Marques Bolden, Bam Adebayo, Wenyen Gabriel and Sacha Killeya-Jones—are going to either Duke or Kentucky where they'll be battling each other and a couple of veterans for playing time. One (Thon Maker) isn't playing college basketball, while another (Jarrett Allen) still hasn't decided where he'll play.
From the remaining six candidates, Tony Bradley (North Carolina), Lauri Markkanen (Arizona) and T.J. Leaf (UCLA) are joining rosters that are already overrun with talent, Omari Spellman (Villanova) is somewhat unlikely to start ahead of Darryl Reynolds, and Omer Yurtseven (NC State) is admittedly the one player we're most likely to regret omitting.
And then there's Jonathan Isaac, who's joining a Seminoles team loaded with backcourt talent while losing its starting power forward and center (Montay Brandon and Boris Bojanovsky). Isaac will need to battle Jarquez Smith for frontcourt supremacy, but he should have little difficulty outdoing a forward who averaged just 14.4 minutes and 5.1 points per game as a junior.
He should get a lot of playing time and rebounds, but the question mark here is the points. Florida State lost a lot between Bojanovsky, Malik Beasley and Devon Bookert, but it still has Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes.
Most of the guys on our list are, at worst, the projected second-best scoring option on their respective rosters. But Isaac will likely only be the third-best scoring option for the Seminoles, and that's if he's fortunate.
He could have a 9.5 PPG/9.5 RPG type of season with just a handful of double-doubles sprinkled throughout. He could be a double-double machine. Or he could follow in the footsteps of Skal Labissiere, Cheick Diallo, Chase Jeter and Carlton Bragg by failing to record a single double-double despite sky-high ratings out of high school.
Isn't projecting stats for freshmen fun? For what it's worth, Ben Simmons was No. 13 on our list last summer, and he finished in a tie for fifth nationally with 22 double-doubles, so at least we're giving Isaac some good mojo by putting him here.
12. Cameron Oliver, Nevada
Per Game: 13.4 PPG, 9.1 RPG
Per 40 Minutes: 18.2 points, 12.3 rebounds
Cameron Oliver took an unconventional path to freshman year stardom, missing his entire junior year of high school due to a torn ACL before coming back stronger than ever. He received interest from UCLA, Oregon, Gonzaga and California, ultimately signing with Oregon State. But a few months after Craig Robinson was fired, Oliver decided to go elsewhere and was not eligible to play during the 2014-15 season because he broke his national letter of intent with the Beavers.
All that to say Nevada ended up with a dandy of a big man.
Not only did Oliver have a dozen double-doubles as a freshman, but he had six games with at least 20 points and a pair of games with at least 20 rebounds—including one magical night against Fresno State with 20 points, 24 rebounds and three blocks for good measure. In fact, he averaged 2.6 blocks per game on the season.
In a potential sign of things to come, Oliver averaged 20.1 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game in his final eight contests, as he played nearly every minute in six of those games. After New Mexico's dynamite duo of Elijah Brown and Tim Williams, he's arguably the best player in the Mountain West Conference.
11. Tim Kempton, Lehigh
Per Game: 17.7 PPG, 9.5 RPG
Per 40 Minutes: 23.8 points, 12.8 rebounds
Tim Kempton is well on his way to a career total of 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds—a feat achieved by just 20 players whose collegiate careers began in 2000 or later, including such legendary names as Doug McDermott, Tyler Hansbrough, Hakim Warrick and Kenneth Faried.
If the two-time reigning Patriot League Player of the Year is going to join that club, he'll need to rack up quite a few double-doubles, as he's 610 points and 238 rebounds away from those marks. In both categories, that's a little bit less than Brandon Ingram did in his one season with Duke (624 points and 244 rebounds), and Kempton isn't facing anywhere near the competition Ingram did.
In fact, Kempton ranked second in the Patriot League in both points per game and rebounds per game last year and was just starting to really heat up when the season ended. In his final 10 games, Kempton averaged 18.8 points and 12.4 rebounds per game, including three games with at least 15 points and 15 rebounds.
Better yet, what little competition he had in the frontcourt is now gone. With 6'8" Jesse Chuku and 6'8" Justin Goldsborough graduating, Lehigh does not have a single returning player taller than 6'4". The Mountain Hawks do have a couple of redshirt freshmen joining the frontcourt rotation, but everything within 10 feet of the hoop should run through Kempton.
10. Jeremy Combs, North Texas
Per Game: 14.9 PPG, 10.5 RPG
Per 40 Minutes: 18.8 points, 13.3 rebounds
Jeremy Combs is hardly a mountain of a man. At 6'7" and roughly 195 pounds, he makes Kevin Durant look like a sumo wrestler. But he is by far the best thing going in the Mean Green frontcourt.
There were four other players on last year's North Texas roster taller than 6'4". That quartet combined for 355 rebounds, while Combs corralled 325 of his own. And the leader of that quartet in both points and rebounds (Eric Katenda) graduates, which leaves Combs that much further ahead of the pack.
Combs didn't have a great start to his sophomore season, as he recorded just three double-doubles in his first 14 games, but the numbers he put up in the next 15 games—prior to suffering an ankle injury in early March—were downright ridiculous. He averaged 18.4 points and 12.9 rebounds for nearly two full months, tallying at least 10 points and nine rebounds in each game.
Though he did finish the year with an impressive 14 double-doubles in 29 healthy games, he also had a propensity for coming up just short of that achievement by falling either one bucket or one rebound shy of the mark on seven different occasions. In other words, he was already right on the doorstep of 20 double-doubles before losing his top challenger for rebounds.
If he stays healthy in 2016-17, there will be a lot of major-conference coaches trying to poach the Conference USA star for his senior year.
9. Derrick Griffin, Texas Southern
Per Game: 13.3 PPG, 11.0 RPG
Per 40 Minutes: 15.6 points, 13.0 rebounds
In terms of percentage of games played, no freshman had more double-doubles last season than Texas Southern's Derrick Griffin. The two-sport star missed the first few weeks of the basketball season while finishing up a football season with more than 700 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, but he had at least 10 points and 10 rebounds in 19 of his 27 games—good for 70.4 percent and slightly ahead of LSU's Ben Simmons at 69.7 percent (23 of 33).
But Texas Southern isn't supposed to get guys like Griffin, and that's why he has been so dominant from day one.
A highly rated wide receiver out of high school, Griffin originally committed to Texas A&M, switched to Miami when academic eligibility issues arose and eventually ended up sitting out the 2014-15 season, attending Texas Southern to improve his grades. He then decided to stick with the school that gave him a chance.
Back in August, Dr. Charles McClelland—Texas Southern's vice president for intercollegiate athletics—told Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston, "It's unbelievable to have a 5-star athlete such as Derrick Griffin out here playing for Texas Southern University. ... He had the opportunity, based upon his athletic ability, to go anywhere in the nation, but because he didn't qualify nobody reached out to him."
Just like that, a SWAC phenom was born. He had at least 17 points and 12 rebounds in each of the first three games of his college basketball career. According to Sports-Reference.com, Griffin ranked third in the nation in field-goal percentage and 10th in total number of offensive rebounds, despite only playing in 27 games.
The only concern here is that number of games. If Griffin was in a position to play 32 games (injury permitting) before Selection Sunday, he might be No. 1 on our list with a good chance to notch 25 or more double-doubles. As is, he would almost need to record one in every single game to have a shot at the national lead in that category.
8. Moses Kingsley, Arkansas
Per Game: 15.9 PPG, 9.3 RPG
Per 40 Minutes: 21.5 points, 12.7 rebounds
Moses Kingsley's evolution into the most unstoppable big man in the SEC was rather unexpected. We knew that Arkansas' options in the frontcourt were slim and none after losing Bobby Portis, Michael Qualls, Alandise Harris and Jacorey Williams, but there was little to suggest Kingsley would answer the bell with such vigor.
The big Razorback had just one double-double through his first two seasons, and it came during a 102-56 destruction of Tennessee-Martin. But he nearly averaged one double-double for every two games as a junior.
In the final nine games of his sophomore season, Kingsley had a combined total of 21 points and 19 rebounds in 84 minutes of action. Through the first two games of his junior year, he had 39 points and 24 rebounds in just 57 minutes. Granted, Southern and Akron didn't offer the type of resistance that Arkansas faced at the end of the 2014-15 season, but it was a sign of great things to come for Kingsley.
He scored in double figures in 33 of 35 games, including eight contests with 20 points or more. Not too shabby for a guy who entered the season with four career 10-point games and a career high of just 12 points. Now that he has been established as a frontcourt weapon, look for the Razorbacks to ride him even harder as a senior.
7. Chinanu Onuaku, Louisville
Per Game: 9.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG
Per 40 Minutes: 16.1 points, 13.8 rebounds
Even Chinanu Onuaku's head coach is operating under the assumption that he won't be coming back this season, but with no official word yet on whether he will stay or go, let's use these last few hours before the NBA draft withdrawal deadline to pretend that Onuaku will remain a Cardinal for one more year.
If he does, he'll be one of the most dominant major-conference big men in the country.
Onuaku had just one double-double through 13 nonconference games, but he somehow became unstoppable in ACC play and notched at least 10 points and 10 rebounds in each of his first six conference games.
There were some notable exceptions to the rule of his dominance. He had just two points and three rebounds in a loss to Duke and had a total of eight points and four rebounds in a pair of losses to Virginia. But if we remove those duds from the pile, Onuaku averaged 11.4 points and 10.4 rebounds in his final 16 games, including a bounce-back performance with 10 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and three assists in a late February win over the Blue Devils.
But he was even more impressive than the per-game numbers suggest. Onuaku only played 24.6 minutes per game for the team that had the second-longest average length of defensive possession in the country, according to KenPom. Per 100 possessions, he averaged 24.3 points and 20.8 rebounds, according to Sports-Reference. For sake of comparison, Karl-Anthony Towns' numbers in those categories were 30.6 and 19.9, respectively.
6. Josh Hawkinson, Washington State
Per Game: 15.4 PPG, 11.1 RPG
Per 40 Minutes: 18.4 points, 13.3 rebounds
Following what could only be described as a lost freshman year (6.4 minutes, 1.2 points per game), Josh Hawkinson has recorded 20 double-doubles in back-to-back seasons. A fine lot of good it's actually doing for the Cougars—who now have a 32-61 record in his three-year career—but don't blame the guy who has corralled more than 31 percent of available defensive rebounds in each of the past two years.
Rather, Wazzu's problem has been lack of talent around Hawkinson, and that hasn't gotten any better this offseason with Que Johnson, Valentine Izundu, Renard Suggs and Ny Redding all transferring out of the program.
As far as Hawkinson's individual prospects for this season are concerned, Izundu was the most noteworthy of those transfers. The 6'10" center was one of just three players on the roster taller than 6'7", leaving Hawkinson and Conor Clifford as the only remaining players who fit that bill.
Hawkinson was already the team leader in minutes played and field goals attempted, so there isn't much room for expansion. Still, the departures of Johnson and Suggs should open things up for him to become even more involved in the offense.
Expect another season with at least 20 double-doubles, and expect his tireless efforts to go unnoticed once again as the Cougars flounder at the bottom of the Pac-12 standings.
5. James Thompson IV, Eastern Michigan
Per Game: 14.8 PPG, 10.6 RPG
Per 40 Minutes: 18.5 points, 13.3 rebounds
What happens when a conference's leader in both rebounds and win shares remains on a team losing two of the top challengers for his job?
We'll find out this season in the form of James Thompson IV, as Eastern Michigan's frontcourt stud no longer has to worry about splitting points or boards with Brandon Nazione (graduated) and Jodan Price (transferred). As a result, 6'6" Tim Bond is the only returning Eagle taller than 6'3" who scored at least 65 points last season.
(They do add 6'9" Nick Madray to the fold via transfer from Binghamton, but he had more three-point attempts than rebounds during his two years with the Bearcats. It's unlikely that he comes in and immediately starts encroaching on Thompson's rebounding turf.)
What we love most about Thompson for the upcoming season is that he was only a freshman this past year. Thus, it was within the first month of his collegiate career that he averaged 12.0 points and 12.0 rebounds in three road games against Michigan State, Penn State and Louisville.
He had eight games with at least 18 points and 14 rebounds, and that was while dealing with foul trouble on a nearly nightly basis. Thompson fouled out of eight games and committed four fouls in 15 other contests. If and when he gets that issue under wraps, he could be the most dominant big man to come through the MAC since Central Michigan's Chris Kaman in the early 2000s.
And yet, he's not even the highest-ranked player from the conference on our list...
4. Antonio Campbell, Ohio
Per Game: 17.1 PPG, 10.2 RPG
Per 40 Minutes: 23.6 points, 14.1 rebounds
The reigning MAC Player of the Year made conference play look like his own personal playground. In mid-February, Antonio Campbell had a four-game streak of double-doubles in which he averaged 25.8 points and 14.0 rebounds—including 33 points and 11 rebounds against Eastern Michigan while limiting the aforementioned James Thompson IV to just 11 points and five rebounds.
Like so many others on our list, Campbell should be even more effective during the 2016-17 season due to noteworthy teammates graduating.
In his case, there's only one senior leaving the team, but it's the one who ranked second in rebounds per game. With Treg Setty (5.1 RPG) out of the picture, the returning Bobcat with the most total rebounds behind Campbell is 6'1" Jaaron Simmons—and Campbell had nearly three times as many rebounds as his point guard (357 vs. 124).
Becoming even more of a one-man show is a frightening proposition for a guy who already ranked 17th in the nation in total rebound percentage, according to Sports-Reference. And at just 28.9 minutes per game in 2015-16, he still has room for expansion in playing time. His per-game numbers next season may well approach his per-40 numbers from last season.
3. Ivan Rabb, California
Per Game: 12.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG
Per 40 Minutes: 17.5 points, 11.9 rebounds
We only had Utah's Jakob Poeltl as an honorable mention on this list last summer. Even though he was one of the biggest surprises to return to school for another season, he merely had three double-doubles as a freshman, and we weren't sure how much his numbers would increase.
He ended up with 16 double-doubles and four other games in which he fell one rebound shy of the mark.
So, even though Ivan Rabb didn't have nearly as many double-doubles in 2015-16 as most of the big men in our top 10, we refuse to ignore his sophomore-year potential to become the most dominant frontcourt player in the entire country.
It didn't take long for Rabb to show how special he could be. He put up 14 points and 13 rebounds in just 16 minutes in California's season opener and continued to dominate the low post for much of the season—despite playing just 28.7 minutes per game with limited scoring opportunities behind Jaylen Brown and Tyrone Wallace.
This coming season, though, there's no question who the most valuable Golden Bear is. Jordan Mathews and/or Jabari Bird may wind up scoring more points than Rabb—since they'll get 50 percent more points for most of their buckets—but Rabb should battle Oregon's Dillon Brooks for Pac-12 Player of the Year.
There is still the minor issue of the other giants on the roster, though. Brown and Wallace leaving with their combined 29.9 points and 10.7 rebounds per game means there's plenty of slack for Rabb to pick up, but it also means there's more playing time for Kameron Rooks and Kingsley Okoroh to claim.
Maybe the Golden Bears go with a primary lineup of Grant Mullins, Sam Singer, Mathews, Bird and Rabb, putting him in a position to get all of the rebounds. But Rabb will likely spend much of the year sharing the paint with a 7-footer. That might be the only thing that keeps him from getting 25 double-doubles this year.
2. Pascal Siakam, New Mexico State
Per Game: 20.2 PPG, 11.6 RPG
Per 40 Minutes: 23.4 points, 13.4 rebounds
Considering he tied for the national lead in double-doubles last season and is the only returning player who recorded more than 22 of them, Pascal Siakam should have been a no-brainer for No. 1 on the list.
The only problem is we haven't yet been assured that he actually is returning.
New Mexico State's big man is still mulling his NBA draft options with two days remaining until the withdrawal deadline. And with both NBA Draft Room and NBADraft.net both projecting him as a late first-round pick in their latest mock drafts, why not? Siakam already put up incredible numbers as a sophomore and doesn't have much left to prove at the collegiate level. Throw in watching his head coach leave to take the job at UNLV, and it would hardly be a surprise if he decided not to risk returning for one more season with the Aggies.
If he does come back, though, look out.
Siakam's name is splattered all over last year's national leaderboards on Sports-Reference, including ranking eighth in rebounds per game, sixth in player efficiency rating and fourth in total win shares. During a span of more than two months from mid-November through late January, he recorded a double-double in 17 of 18 games. In the middle of that run was a ridiculous 24 points, 23 rebounds and five blocks in a win over UTEP.
Let's not forget the level of competition he would be coming back to face in the WAC, either. Siakam didn't just lead the conference in most big-man statistics; he had a cushion of 124 points, 105 rebounds and 15 blocks between himself and second place in each category. Take out the players who either graduated or transferred, and his lead in both rebounds and blocks becomes even larger.
But even though he is a dominant forward in an obvious position to succeed, we couldn't quite stomach giving the No. 1 spot on this list to someone who might decide in the next 48 hours that he's done with college basketball.
1. Rokas Gustys, Hofstra
Per Game: 13.5 PPG, 13.0 RPG
Per 40 Minutes: 17.8 points, 17.1 rebounds
As a sophomore at Morehead State back in 2008-09, Kenneth Faried averaged 13.9 points and 13.0 rebounds while playing 30.1 minutes per game. Only eight times in the past two decades has a player recorded at least 450 rebounds in a single season. Faried is responsible for three of those seasons and is the only repeat offender on the list.
As a sophomore at Hofstra this past season, Rokas Gustys averaged 13.5 points and 13.0 rebounds while playing 30.4 minutes per game. He fell just eight rebounds shy of 450, because he played one game fewer than Faried did.
I'm not saying Gustys is the second coming of one of the greatest collegiate rebounders of all time, but there is almost no chance the Pride become less reliant on their big man this season.
Six players on last year's team averaged better than 3.0 points per game. Four of them graduate, leaving Gustys and three-point specialist Brian Bernardi as the only returning players who have made a real impact at Hofstra.
And while 30.4 minutes per game isn't bad for a big man, head coach Joe Mihalich has proved he has no issue with riding his best options for as long as physically possible. Three of last year's starters ranked in the top 75 in the nation in percentage of minutes played, and a fourth checked in at 114th on that list. Gustys might be headed for at least 35 minutes per game this season if fouls and fatigue allow it.
Hofstra does add a potential challenger for playing time and rebounds in 6'8" JUCO transfer Hunter Sabety, but don't expect it to make a difference. Gustys should lead the CAA in points and rebounds en route to roughly 30 double-doubles.
Kerry Miller covers college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @kerrancejames.