2020-21 College Basketball Preview

Corey Kispert
Corey Kispert is one of four Gonzaga players ranked among HP's preseason top-100 prospects. (Photo courtesy of Gonzaga Athletics)

The 2020-21 college basketball season tips off on Wednesday (November 25), but many are refraining from getting their hopes up because of COVID.  As of now, at least 19 first-day games have either been canceled or postponed, and it’s difficult to imagine the situation improving anytime soon.  International basketball has been plagued by COVID postponements and cancellations, and some wonder if many overseas leagues will be able to finish their seasons.  The same could apply to the NCAA Championship — there is a real chance that March Madness may not happen for the second consecutive year.

I have my fingers crossed that the season will be salvaged; however, given that we’re counting on the NCAA and the various conferences to manage this situation, I have serious doubts.  Unlike the NBA, college basketball has no clear leadership, and even if it did, you can’t round up 350 Division I teams and put them in a “bubble” for four or five months.  The current “plan” seems to be failing, and on some level, you have to question the decision-making up to this point, especially given that those in power had nearly nine months to come up with a viable solution. 

Hoping for the best, let’s take a look at my rankings of the top teams (40) in the country.  For each squad, I have included the top returning players and the top newcomers.  For the players who are ranked on the Hoops Prospects 2020-21 Draft Board, their ranking is in parentheses following their position. Also, a player with an asterisk means that person could miss all or part of the season due to transfer rules or injury.

You also may want to check out HP’s Team Rankings, which are based on the overall pro potential on each squad. 

Rank Team Top Returning Players Top Newcomers
1 Gonzaga Joel Ayayi (PG, 24) Jalen Suggs (SG, 11)
Corey Kispert (W, 44) Andrew Nembhard (PG, 140) *
Drew Timme (PF, 93) Julian Strawther (W)
Anton Watson (F, 104) Oumar Ballo (C)
  Dominick Harris (SG)
2 Duke Matthew Hurt (F, 33) Jalen Johnson (PF, 12)
Wendell Moore (SF, 49) D.J. Steward (PG, 42)
Joey Baker (SF, 188) Jeremy Roach (PG, 53)
  Mark Williams (C, 98)
  Jaemyn Brakefield (F, 105)
  Henry Coleman (SF)
3 Kansas Ochai Agbaji (W, 47) Bryce Thompson (SG, 38)
Marcus Garrett (CG, 68) Jalen Wilson (SF)
Christian Braun (W, 185) Tyon Grant-Foster (F)
David McCormack (C)  
Tristan Enaruna (SF)  
4 Villanova Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (PF, 36) Eric Dixon (PF)
Collin Gillespie (PG, 114)  
Justin Moore (CG, 122)  
Bryan Antoine (SG, 163) *  
Jermaine Samuels (F)  
Cole Swider (SF)  
Brandon Slater (SF)  
5 Kentucky Keion Brooks (SF, 164) B.J. Boston (W, 6)
  Terrence Clarke (W, 9)
  Isaiah Jackson (PF, 43)
  Devin Askew (CG, 58)
  Olivier Sarr (C, 79)
  Lance Ware (F, 155)
  Cam’Ron Fletcher (SF)
6 Baylor Jared Butler (PG, 17) Dain Dainja (C)
MaCio Teague (SG, 134) L.J. Cryer (PG)
Davion Mitchell (PG, 153)  
Matthew Mayer (SF, 174)  
Mark Vital (PF)  
7 Tennessee Yves Pons (F, 61) Jaden Springer (SG, 18)
Josiah James (CG, 91) Keon Johnson (CG, 23)
John Fulkerson (PF) Victor Bailey (SG)
Santiago Vescovi (PG) Corey Walker (F)
8 Michigan
State
Aaron Henry (SF, 27) Mady Sissoko (F, 137)
Marcus Bingham (C, 113) Joey Hauser (PF)
Rocket Watts (CG, 162)  
Josh Langford (SG)  
Gabe Brown (SF)  
Malik Hall (SF)  
9 North
Carolina
Armando Bacot (PF, 82) Caleb Love (SG, 16)
Garrison Brooks (C, 141) Day’Ron Sharpe (C, 51)
Leaky Black (W) Walker Kessler (C, 87)
  R.J. Davis (PG)
  Puff Johnson (SF)
10 Virginia Jay Huff (C, 116) Sam Hauser (F, 67)
Kihei Clark (PG) Jabri Abdur-Rahim (SF, 136)
Casey Morsell (SG) Reece Beekman (PG)
  Kadin Shedrick (C)
11 Texas
Tech
Terrence Shannon (W, 28) Nimari Burnett (SG, 102)
Kyler Edwards (SG) Mac McClung (CG, 131)
  Jamarius Burton (CG, 190)
  Micah Peavy (SF)
  Joel Ntambwe (PF)
12 Illinois Ayo Dosunmu (CG, 25) Adam Miller (PG, 101)
Kofi Cockburn (C, 57) Andre Curbelo (PG)
Trent Frazier (CG)  
Giorgi Bezhanishvili (PF)  
13 West
Virginia
Oscar Tshiebwe (PF, 22) Isaiah Cottrell (PF)
Miles McBride (PG, 52) Kedrian Johnson (PG)
Derek Culver (C, 197)  
Emmitt Matthews (SF)  
14 Texas Kai Jones (PF, 107) Greg Brown (F, 10)
Courtney Ramey (CG)  
Andrew Jones (SG)  
Jericho Sims (C)  
Matt Coleman (PG)  
Will Baker (C)  
Donovan Williams (W)  
Gerald Liddell (SF)  
15 Oregon Will Richardson (CG, 69) L.J. Figueroa (SF, 150) *
Chris Duarte (SG, 77) Jalen Terry (PG)
N’Faly Dante (C, 108)  
Chandler Lawson (PF)  
16 Florida Scottie Lewis (SF, 20) Samson Ruzhentsev (W)
Keyontae Johnson (SF, 26) Colin Castleton (PF)
Tre Mann (CG, 125)  
Omar Payne (PF)  
Noah Locke (SG)  
17 LSU Trendon Watford (F, 63) Cam Thomas (CG, 41)
Darius Days (SF, 103) Joshua LeBlanc (SF, 187) *
Ja’vonte Smart (CG, 157) Mwani Wilkinson (F)
  Shareef O’Neal (PF)
18 Alabama John Petty (SG, 30) Josh Primo (W, 147)
Herb Jones (SF, 99) Jordan Bruner (PF, 172)
Jaden Shackelford (PG) Jahvon Quinerly (PG)
19 Arizona
State
Remy Martin (PG, 100) Josh Christopher (SG, 15)
Alonzo Verge (CG) Marcus Bagley (F, 81)
Taeshon Cherry (SF) Luther Muhammad (W) *
  Pavlo Dziuba (PF)
20 Iowa Luka Garza (C, 59) Patrick McCaffery (SF)
Joe Wieskamp (SF, 65)  
C.J. Fredrick (SG, 189)  
Jordan Bohannon (CG)  
Connor McCaffery (W)  
21 Michigan Franz Wagner (SF, 46) Hunter Dickinson (C, 156)
Isaiah Livers (F, 78) Chaundee Brown (W)
Brandon Johns Jr. (PF) Zeb Jackson (CG)
22 Memphis Boogie Ellis (CG, 182) Moussa Cisse (PF, 14)
D.J. Jeffries (SF) Landers Nolley (SF, 83)
Lester Quinones (SG) DeAndre Williams (F)
Alex Lomax (PG)  
23 Florida
State
Balsa Koprivica (C) Scottie Barnes (F, 8)
M.J. Walker (W) SarDaar Calhoun (SG)
Malik Osborne (PF)  
Anthony Polite (W)  
24 Wisconsin Nate Reuvers (C, 196) Ben Carlson (PF)
D’Mitrik Trice (PG)  
Brad Davison (SG)  
Micah Potter (PF)  
Aleem Ford (F)  
25 UCLA Chris Smith (F, 73) Johnny Juzang (W)
Jalen Hill (PF)  
Jaime Jaquez (F)  
Tyger Campbell (PG)  
David Singleton (CG)  
26 Houston Quentin Grimes (SG, 120) Tramon Mark (SG)
Caleb Mills (SG)  
Marcus Sasser (CG)  
Dejon Jarreau (CG)  
J’wan Roberts (F)  
27 Louisville David Johnson (CG, 37) Carlik Jones (PG, 170)
Sam Williamson (SF, 94)  
Malik Williams (C, 199)  
Aidan Igiehon (C)  
28 Stanford Oscar Da Silva (PF, 97) Ziaire Williams (F, 7)
Spencer Jones (SF, 178) Michael O’Connell (PG)
Daejon Davis (CG)  
29 Indiana Trayce Jackson-Davis (PF, 34) Khristian Lander (PG, 183)
Race Thompson (F)  
A.J. Durham (CG)  
Jerome Hunter (SF)  
30 Oklahoma
State
Isaac Likekele (PG, 76) Cade Cunningham (SF, 1)
Kalib Boone (PF) Rondel Walker (CG)
  Matt Alexander-Moncrieffe (F)
31 Ole
Miss
K.J. Buffen (F, 128) Matthew Murrell (SG, 160)
Devontae Shuler (SG, 195) Romello White (PF)
  Dimencio Vaughn (W)
32 Marquette Jamal Cain (SF) D.J. Carton (CG, 54)
Theo John (C) Dawson Garcia (PF, 90)
  Justin Lewis (F)
33 Creighton Marcus Zegarowski (PG, 75)  
Mitchell Ballock (SG, 191)
Damien Jefferson (W)
Christian Bishop (F)
34 Connecticut James Bouknight (SG, 48) Andre Jackson (W)
Akok Akok (F) Adama Sanogo (PF)
  R.J. Cole (PG)
35 Ohio
State
E.J. Liddell (PF, 96) Seth Towns (SF)
C.J. Walker (PG) Meechie Johnson (PG) *
Kyle Young (PF) Justice Sueing (W)
36 Maryland Aaron Wiggins (SF, 144) Jairus Hamilton (F)
Eric Ayala (CG)  
Darryl Morsell (W)  
Chol Marial (C)  
37 Providence David Duke (PG, 88) Brycen Goodine (SG)
A.J. Reeves (SG)  
Nate Watson (C)  
Greg Gantt (SF)  
38 Seton
Hall
Sandro Mamukelashvili (PF, 138) Bryce Aiken (PG)
Jared Rhoden (W, 168)  
Tyrese Samuel (PF)  
Myles Cale (W)  
39 Arizona Jemarl Baker (CG) James Akinjo (PG, 119)
  Azuolas Tubelis (PF, 121)
  Dalen Terry (CG)
  Jordan Brown (PF)
  Bennedict Mathurin (W)
  Kerr Kriisa (PG)
  Daniel Batcho (PF) *
40 Rutgers Ron Harper Jr. (SF, 64) Cliff Omoruyi (C)
Geo Baker (CG)  
Myles Johnson (C)  
       

About the Author(s)

  • Richard has worked as a sports writer/editor/analyst since 1998. He is the former CEO of FantasyFootballExperts.com and a former member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA). He has contributed to various magazines, radio shows, and a number of other sites, including ESPN.com, SI.com, and USAToday.com. Follow on Twitter @HoopsProspects.