College Basketball: Ranking the Top 25 Seniors in the Country

Luke DykesCorrespondent IFebruary 1, 2011

College Basketball: Ranking The Top 25 Seniors in the Country

0 of 25

    PROVIDENCE, RI - DECEMBER 04:  Marshon Brooks #2 of the Providence Friars drives for a shot attempt against the Rhode Island Rams at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on December 4, 2010 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
    Chris Chambers/Getty Images

    One of the things that makes college basketball great is the cycle of players.

    The fact that programs will have an entirely new roster every four years means there are plenty of opportunities for players to develop their game by the time they graduate. Some of those players are included here.

    Yes, there are players that have been around forever it seems, but others have just emerged as great players this season. With so many players set to graduate in the spring, this may be the final chance to see some of these stellar leaders.

25. C.J. Wilkerson, North Carolina Central University

1 of 25

    C.J. Wilkerson is a virtual unknown, but his poise as a senior leader was especially showcased this season.

    Wilkerson is averaging 19.5 points per game this year, but last Monday, Wilkerson managed to throw up 41 points against in-state foe North Carolina A&T while also racking up four assists, six rebounds and two steals. He hit a crucial three-point play down the stretch in overtime, which was essential in the win.

24. Delroy James, Rhode Island

2 of 25

    PROVIDENCE, RI - DECEMBER 04:  Delroy James #21 of the Rhode Island Rams brings the ball up court against the Providence Friars at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on December 4, 2010 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
    Chris Chambers/Getty Images

    James has used his increased playing time as a senior to emerge as the Rams best player.

    Managing 17.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, one block and 1.5 steals per game isn't easy, but leading your team in four of the five categories is even harder.

    If James can help the Rams finish strong in the A-10, we may see a birth in the NCAA tourney for Rhode Island.

23. Matt Howard, Butler

3 of 25

    LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 16: Matt Howard #54  of the Butler Bulldogs grabs a rebound during the game against the Louisville Cardinals at the KFC Yum! Center on November 16, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Matt Howard ran with his sudden fame in last year's NCAA tournament, but many people forgot about him once the Butler Bulldogs fell into mid-major mediocrity this season.

    Howard is still as strong as he's ever been though, actually increasing his numbers this season with an increased role in the offense and better defense. He's averaging almost 18 points per game and just over eight rebounds.

22. Chris Warren, Mississippi

4 of 25

    NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 12:  Chris Warren #12 of the Mississippi Rebels drives against the Tennessee Volunteers during the quarterfinals of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at the Bridgestone Arena on March 12, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by An
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Chris Warren came back for his senior season after initially declaring for the NBA Draft in 2010.

    He did increase his scoring without Terrico White to share the load, but his stats in the other categories have decreased a bit. This isn't to say Warren isn't having a great season though.

    His 18.2 points per game is good for second in the SEC, and he's still fourth in the conference in assists with 3.9 per game. 

21. Gary Flowers, Southern Mississippi

5 of 25

    Flowers has used his bigger role in the Golden Eagles offense to add an extra five points per game onto his average. He's second in Conference USA in scoring, and he's also pulling down 7.6 rebounds per game.

    Flowers has matured to a great leader after being dismissed from the Oklahoma State team as a freshman. Now, he's the player that Southern Miss turns to in the clutch, making him a great asset to have.

20. Vlad Moldoveanu, American

6 of 25

    Vlad is putting up great stats for American this season, his second year with the Eagles.

    He played his first two years at George Mason before transferring to play at American, and it seems to have worked out. He's just outside the top-20 scorers in the nation, averaging 20.3 points per game and snatching up 6.3 rebounds as well. He can shoot well for a big man too; the 6'9" forward is shooting 36 percent from outside.

19. Jacob Pullen, Kansas State

7 of 25

    KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 23:  Jacob Pullen #0 of the Kansas State Wildcats in action during the CBE Classic championship game against the Duke Blue Devils on November 23, 2010 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Jacob Pullen is generally a household name amongst college basketball nation.

    He had a great season last season and was integral in the Wildcats run into the Elite Eight. However, this season has been somewhat of a letdown for Kansas State, and sometimes Pullen looks frustrated as the leader of the team.

    His level of play hasn't really decreased, but it has become harder for him to maintain his stats and success without Dennis Clemente to anchor the backcourt. Pullen is still one of the better guards in the Big 12 and the nation, but his role as a leader may not be as high as it once was.

18. Jon Leuer, Wisconsin

8 of 25

    LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 20:  Jon Leuer #30 of the Wisconsin Badgers looks to pass the ball inbounds as Derrick Jasper #5 of the UNLV Rebels defends during their game at the Thomas & Mack Center November 20, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UNLV won 68-65.  (Photo
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Jon Leuer belongs in the upper echelon of big men in the country.

    Not only can he rebound and bang in the post, but he is a very good shooter and has plenty of range. He's third in the Big Ten in scoring and eighth in rebounding, plus he's been the leader of the Badger team that is ranked in the top 20 in the nation.

17. E'Twaun Moore, Purdue

9 of 25

    WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - JANUARY 09:  E'Twaun Moore #33 of the Purdue Boilermakers drives against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Mackey Arena on January 9, 2011 in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue won 75-52. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
    Chris Chambers/Getty Images

    Moore really stepped up as a leader of this Boilermaker team after Robbie Hummel hurt his knee once again this season.

    He's adding valuable leadership to a somewhat inexperienced team in the backcourt, and he rarely turns the ball over. He's sixth in the conference in scoring, 15th in assists and 15th in rebounds as well. 

16. Corey Fisher, Villanova

10 of 25

    NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 26:  Corey Fisher #10 of the Villanova Wildcats looks on against the Tennessee Volunteers during the Championship game at Madison Square Garden on November 26, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Corey Fisher is one of the better scoring point guards in the country, and he's in the top 10 in both scoring and assists in the stacked Big East Conference.

    He's also stepped in as the team leader for the Wildcats in the absence of star Scottie Reynolds. After three years of playing second fiddle, Fisher has emerged as the go-to-guy of the Villanova team, and he has them playing excellent basketball.

15. Xavier Silas, Northern Illinois

11 of 25

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 18:  Xavier Silas #13 of the Northern Illinois Huskies looks on against the Temple Owls at the Liacouras Center on December 18, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
    Chris Chambers/Getty Images

    Xavier Silas is one of the rising stars of the senior class.

    He has many scouts turning their heads because of his scoring campaign this season. Now second in the nation in scoring (just above UCONN's Kemba Walker), Silas is easily the best player on Northern Illinois. He's the only one on his team averaging double-digit scoring, and he's shooting 48 percent from the floor and 43 percent from long-range. He scored 39 against Akron on Wednesday and grabbed eight rebounds as well. 

    While the Huskies probably won't be dancing this March, that won't keep Silas from improving his draft status.

14. Andrew Goudelock, College of Charleston

12 of 25

    Goudelock has plenty of experience against better teams, and he's brought some down before as well.

    Last season, he was the catalyst that led to the self-implosion of the North Carolina team. Their loss to Goudelock and the Cougars began their slide towards the bottom of the ACC. He's an all-around player that leads his team in scoring and assists.

    His 23.5 points per game is fifth best in the nation, and his play has the Cougars in prime territory for a tournament bid. 

13. Keith Benson, Oakland

13 of 25

    MILWAUKEE - MARCH 19:  Keith Benson #34 of the Oakland Golden Grizzlies shoots the ball over Gary McGhee #52 of the Pittsburgh Panthers in the second half during the first round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Bradley Center on March 1
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Keith Benson is another mid-major talent that has emerged as a possible NBA prospect.

    His play in the post is part of why the Grizzlies have a three-game lead in the Summit league. Benson averages a bit above 17 points per game and just a shade under a double-double (9.9 rebounds per game). He's also an excellent defender, currently third in the nation in blocks as well.

    Expect to see Benson in the NCAA tournament, making a case for a first-round draft pick.

12. Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech

14 of 25

    ATLANTA - MARCH 13:  Malcolm Delaney #23 of the Virginia Tech Hokies reacts to play against the North Carolina Tar Heels during day two of the 2009 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament on March 13, 2009 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Malcolm Delaney has been around forever it seems, but that's only because he's been playing at such a high level since he arrived in Blacksburg three-and-a-half years ago.

    He's about as consistent as they come, but he's not having as great of a season as he normally does. That's saying something as he's still averaging 18.1 points per game and 4.5 assists which is good for third in the ACC in both categories.

    His team has lost a lot of the supporting cast, but the Hokies might finally get an NCAA birth this season if Delaney can keep playing like he has been. 

11. Ryan Rossiter, Siena

15 of 25

    DAYTON, OH - MARCH 20: Ryan Rossiter #22 of the Siena Saints handles the ball against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the University of Dayton Arena on March 20, 2009 in Dayton, Ohio.  (
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Ryan Rossiter is definitely in the top three mid-major big men in the country, which, judging by this year's crop is really saying something.

    He's second in the country in rebounding (12.9 pg), and he's averaging 19.1 points too. Siena isn't having the success that they have had in the past, but Rossiter is putting together a great season for himself.

10. Demetri McCamey, Illinois

16 of 25

    CHAMPAIGN, IL - JANUARY 22: Demetri McCamey #32 of the Illinois Fighting Illini tries to get to the basket while being defended by Aaron Craft #4 of the Ohio State Buckeyes at Assembly Hall on January 22, 2011 in Champaign, Illinois. Ohio State won 73-68.
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    McCamey came back for his senior season after a less than welcoming reception from NBA scouts last season.

    The defending assists leader is back for a fourth time around though, and it is going pretty well for him. Although his numbers are down a little bit, Illinois is still playing really well, and he's proving that he's more than just a passer. He's shooting almost 50 percent from three-point land, and he is still averaging 15.1 points per game as a pass-first point guard.

    He's still fifth in the country in assists, and in the long run, there are very few point guards in the country I would rather have than Demetri McCamey.

9. Norris Cole, Cleveland State

17 of 25

    Norris Cole is another surprise from the mid-major ranks.

    With the fall of Butler, Norris Cole and Cleveland State rose to the top of the Horizon League. Cole is a huge reason for the Vikings' success. Amazingly, the 6'2" guard is leading the Horizon league in points, assists, steals and is in the top 10 in rebounds. His play has the Vikings at a 20-3 mark on the season and in sole possession of first place, for now.

    They have a huge game on Thursday vs. second place Valparaiso that may very well decide who gets the first seed in the conference tournament.

8. Talor Battle, Penn State

18 of 25

    INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 13:  Talor Battle #12 of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on against the Purdue Boilermakers during the second round of the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 13, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Phot
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Talor Battle has been the guy at Penn State for three straight years now, and he's not slowing down.

    As each year passes, Battle improves his statistics and has Penn State playing better. In fact, this year, Battle and the Nittany Lions may actually make the tournament. Riding his 20.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists, Penn State has already beaten Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan State in conference play and the only losses separating those wins are a three-point loss at Ohio State and a one-point heartbreaker to Purdue. 

7. Marshon Brooks, Providence

19 of 25

    Marshon Brooks may be more of a surprise than anyone else this season.

    My vote for Big East Most Improved Player, Brooks has taken his increase in playing time and hit the ground running. With an increase in minutes, he's also increased his output in almost every statistical category. He's second in the Big East in points per game (23.5 ppg) and leads Providence in rebounds as a guard. He's also an excellent defender, averaging 1.3 blocks and 1.7 steals per game.

    With recent upsets over Villanova and Louisville, Providence still has an outside shot at an at-large bid, but Brooks has to step up big time in the next few weeks.

6. Kyle Singler, Duke

20 of 25

    WINSTON SALEM, NC - JANUARY 22:  Kyle Singler #12 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts to a play on the way to defeating the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 83-59 at Lawrence Joel Coliseum on January 22, 2011 in Winston Salem, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Leck
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The Preseason Player of the Year in the NCAA, Singler hasn't exactly lived up to expectations.This is no fault of his however; he's still having a great season.

    He's fourth in the ACC in scoring and still grabs over six rebounds per game. Just because he's not putting up statistical numbers doesn't necessarily mean he's having a bad season. Singler is still one of the leaders on the Blue Devil team and usually he's a measuring stick as to how the team as a whole is playing.

    People don't name someone Preseason Player of the Year for no reason. He has all the tools; he just hasn't needed to use them. 

5. Kenneth Faried, Morehead State

21 of 25

    Faried has improved his draft status more than any other senior this season—hands down.

    The nationwide leader in rebounds is averaging over 14 per game, plus he's putting up 17.1 points per game while still managing to shooting 62 percent from the field. If that weren't enough, he's an incredibly athletic player and an extremely dominant defender, blocking two shots per game and averaging a little over one steal per game.

    His athleticism makes him a huge sleeper in the NBA Draft, and if the rest of his team can pull together, the Eagles may make the tournament, only one game out of first place in the Ohio Valley.

4. Charles Jenkins, Hofstra

22 of 25

    Charles Jenkins is the best mid-major player in the country this season.

    His 23.3 points per game is just outside the top five in the country, and the semi-success of Hofstra is definitely a result of Jenkins. He can take over any game, and he's about as good at passing the ball as he is shooting and scoring. He still manages to get over five assists per game and just under four rebounds too. Hofstra's team relies on Jenkins and for good reason.

    The Pride may be within striking distance of the top spot in their conference, but Jenkins will have to show exactly why he's so good to get there.

3. JaJuan Johnson, Purdue

23 of 25

    WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - JANUARY 09:  JaJuan Johnson #25 of the Purdue Boilermakers looks on against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Mackey Arena on January 9, 2011 in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue won 75-52. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
    Chris Chambers/Getty Images

    JaJuan Johnson is in a battle for Big Ten Player of the Year with the upstart freshman Jared Sullinger.

    Johnson definitely has the numbers to support such a nomination, posting 20.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. His leadership, along with E'Twaun Moore's, has helped to keep the Boilermakers afloat, and Johnson has hit multiple big shots for them this season.

    Although he may be eclipsed by Sullinger as Big Ten Player of the Year, Johnson is still an All-American to me.

2. Nolan Smith, Duke

24 of 25

    NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 30:  Nolan Smith #2 of the Duke Blue Devils shoots the ball over D.J. Kennedy #1 of the St. John's Red Storm at Madison Square Garden on January 30, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Nolan Smith has shown why he is the best player in the ACC and one of the best in the nation this season.

    His ACC high 21 points per game is easily the best in the ACC, and he still dishes out over 5.5 assists per game and grabs almost five rebounds per game as well. An excellent on-ball defender, Smith is the complete package, and he's proved it this season. He has one of the best teams in the country surrounding him, yet he still manages to put up monster numbers. In fact, he's made Kyle Singler look less talented than he normally does, which is a feat in and of itself.

    Although they lost, Smith took over the comeback for Duke against St. John's on Sunday and ended up with 32 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

1. Jimmer Fredette, Brigham Young

25 of 25

    LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 05:  Jimmer Fredette #32 of the Brigham Young University Cougars shoots a technical free throw during a game against the UNLV Rebels at the Thomas & Mack Center January 5, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. BYU won 89-77.  (Photo by Ethan
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    There really shouldn't be much dissension for the top spot. Fredette is easily one of the top two players in the country this season, possibly the best.

    He's leading the entire country in scoring, and he has the Cougars in the Top 10. Not only is he averaging 27.6 points per game, he's dishing over four assists per game and grabbing three rebounds. He's about as complete a player for his size, and it doesn't seem like he's slowing down.

    Expect more big things from the Fredette show this season.