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20 Best College Basketball Players for 2019-2020

The college basketball season tips off and a new crop of elite players are poised to become household names alongside the cagers who dominated the sport last year. Here is a scientific ranking of the top 20 players in college basketball.

1. Cassius Winston, Michigan State

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 31: Cassius Winston #5 and Aaron Henry #11 of the Michigan State Spartans react following a play in the second half against the Duke Blue Devils during the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament East Regional Final at Capital One Arena on March 31, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images

Winston returned to East Lansing for one reason and that's to win a national title. One of the smartest point guards the college game has seen in decades, he is an incredible passer and knockdown 3-point shooter. He is a magician at getting the most out of a rather pedestrian body and seems to know every trick in the book. A season in which he averages 20 points and 9 assists per game is not out of the question.

2. Markus Howard, Marquette

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15:  Markus Howard #0 of the Marquette Golden Eagles dribbles the ball against the Seton Hall Pirates in the semifinals of the Big East Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 15, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)
Porter Binks/Getty Images

The best pure scorer in the college game, the sweet-shooting guard poured in 25 points/game last season and could see that figure climb higher with the departure of some surrounding talent. The 5-foot-11 gunner is capable of going for 45 points on any given night and is virtually unstoppable when he's in the zone.

3. Cole Anthony, North Carolina

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 20:  Cole Anthony #50 brings the ball up the court during the Jordan Brand Classic boys high school all-star basketball game at T-Mobile Arena on April 20, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Anthony is likely the most college-ready freshman in this year's class. Greg Anthony's son is a well-rounded 6-foot-3 point guard who was named MVP of the McDonald's All-American Game and Nike Hoop Summit, while taking home co-MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic. UNC fans are in for a treat this year.

4. James Wiseman, Memphis

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 20:  James Wiseman #32 warms up at halftime of the Jordan Brand Classic boys high school all-star basketball game at T-Mobile Arena on April 20, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Wiseman is the odds-on favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. At 7-foot-1 and 240 pounds with a 7-foot-6 wingspan, he's a prototypical modern big man. He runs the floor well, finishing around the rim with ease, is elite inside of 10 feet on both ends of the court and is a fantastic passer. He'll be great for Memphis this season before departing for the NBA in a few months.

5. Myles Powell, Seton Hall

JACKSONVILLE, FL - MARCH 21: Myles Powell #13 of the Seton Hall Pirates dribbles the ball during the First Round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament against the Wofford Terriors at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on March 21, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Powell is a darkhorse contender for National Player of the Year honors and is coming off a stunning campaign in which he averaged 23.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists. The 6-foot-2 senior is one of those scorers capable of getting his even when the entire kitchen sink is employed in trying to stop him.

6. Devon Dotson, Kansas

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - MARCH 21: Devon Dotson #11 of the Kansas Jayhawks drives to the basket during the second half against the Northeastern Huskies in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 21, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Dotson can absolutely fly and excels at rim-running. He is capable of finding buckets and others in transition and is seemingly comfortable in any situation. His sophomore year should bring great strides.

7. Isaiah Stewart, Washington

MIDDLE VILLAGE, NEW YORK - APRIL 06:  Isaiah Stewart #33 of La Lumiere in action against IMG Academy in the championship game of the GEICO High School National Tournament at Christ the King High School on April 06, 2019 in Middle Village, New York. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Stewart is 6-foot-9 and 245 pounds with a 7-foot-4 wingspan as a freshman. He's an active, high-motor post player who plays outstanding defense, rebounds as well as anyone in the freshman class and is an elite finisher in transition and at the rim.

8. Kerry Blackshear Jr.. Florida

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29:  Kerry Blackshear Jr. #24 of the Virginia Tech Hokies takes a foul shot during the East Regional game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against the Duke Blue Devils at Capital One Arena on March 29, 2019 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The Florida Gators have struck gold getting this transfer. The versatile 6-foot-10 forward averaged 14.9 points and 7.5 boards for Virginia Tech last season and was at his best against top competition. He's also not afraid to get his nose dirty on the defensive end, which will fit right into Mike White's rigorous system.

9. Tre Jones, Duke

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 31:  Tre Jones #3 of the Duke Blue Devils dribbles up court during the East Regional game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against the Michigan State Spartans at Capital One Arena on March 29, 2019 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Jones is returning to Durham for more seasoning, but was NBA-ready after last season. The 6-foot-2 guard is a dogged defender and above-average facilitator. He shot only 26 percent from deep during his freshman campaign and will have to show strides there if the Blue Devils want to return to the Final Four.

10. Jordan Nwora, Louisville

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 17: Jordan Nwora of Louisville speaks to the media during the 2019 NBA Combine at Quest MultiSport Complex on May 17, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Nwora is a 6-foot-7 slasher who can knock down the outside jumper and get to the rim. He's arguably the ACC's top returning player and poised to do even bigger things en route to a lottery selection next spring.

11. Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, IL - MARCH 07: Ayo Dosunmu #11 of the Illinois Fighting Illini drives to the basket against Romeo Langford #0 of the Indiana Hoosiers at State Farm Center on March 7, 2019 in Champaign, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

He's 6-foot-5, has no conscience and could be the most exciting player in all of college basketball. His freshman campaign was so tantalizing that it's hard not to expect otherworldly things in his sophomore season.

12. Anthony Edwards, Georgia

MARIETTA, GA - MARCH 25:  Anthony Edwards reacts during the 2019 Powerade Jam Fest on March 25, 2019 in Marietta, Georgia.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images for Powerade)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

A top five recruit nationally, Edwards is a well-rounded shooting guard who has excellent size (6-foot-5, 220 pounds). He's an elite scorer who can shoot, handle, pass and find points everywhere. He's worth tuning in to see every night.

13. Jalen Smith, Maryland

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - MARCH 23: Jalen Smith #25 of the Maryland Terrapins shoots against Marlon Taylor #14 of the LSU Tigers during the second half of the game in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Vystar Memorial Arena on March 23, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Smith was incredibly raw during his first year in College Park, but his shot-blocking and rim-running showed signs of electricity. Bruno Fernando's departure means he'll get a chance to own the paint for the Terrapins, which should be terrifying to opponents.

14. Tyrese Maxey, Kentucky

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - NOVEMBER 01:   Tyrese Maxey #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball against the Kentucky State Thorobreds at Rupp Arena on November 01, 2019 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
] | Andy Lyons/Getty Images

One of the top freshmen in the country, Kentucky's newest combo guard is a pure scorer who should lead the Wildcats' offense this season before entering the draft in 2020.

15. Sam Merrill, Utah State

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 16:  Sam Merrill #5 of the Utah State Aggies drives the ball against the San Diego State Aztecs during the championship game of the Mountain West Conference basketball tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center on March 16, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Utah State won 64-57.  (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
David Becker/Getty Images

What would one of these lists be like without a Mountain West player you can watch late-night get bucket after bucket. The 6-foot-5 senior struggled a bit with his 3-point shooting last year and will be even more lethal if he regains his form from his underclassman years. He's a threat to score 40 every time he steps on the court and is yet a willing and above-average passer.

16. Jarron Cumberland, Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, OH - MARCH 02: Jarron Cumberland #34 of the Cincinnati Bearcats drives to the basket during the game against the Memphis Tigers at Fifth Third Arena on March 2, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Cumberland is a sturdy guard who at times was the only player capable of scoring in Mick Cronin's disastrous offensive system. With new coaching comes new possibilities and Cumberland has the ability to bump his scoring average into the mid-20s.

17. Mamadi Diakite, Virginia

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - APRIL 08:  Mamadi Diakite #25 of the Virginia Cavaliers reacts against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the first half during the 2019 NCAA men's Final Four National Championship game at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 08, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

This one may feel like a bit of a reach. But Diakite was excellent when the lights were brightest last year. Remember the buzzer-beater against Purdue? He is a matchup problem on both sides of the floor and loves to play that stingy defense the Cavaliers are known for.

18. Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State

TULSA, OKLAHOMA - MARCH 22: Kaleb Wesson #34 of the Ohio State Buckeyes drives to the basket against Michael Jacobson #12 of the Iowa State Cyclones during the second half in the first round game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at BOK Center on March 22, 2019 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

This junior is a 6-foot-9, 270 pound powerhouse. His numbers could go sky-high if he figures out a way to stay out of foul trouble, which too often sidelined him during last season. The Ohio State Buckeyes are supposed to be better this year and that will mean defenses won't be able to key in on Wesson as much. He even showed a nice outside shooting touch, posting a 35 percent figure from beyond the arc.

19. Ashton Hagans, Kansas

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - NOVEMBER 01:   Ashton Hagans #0 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball against the Kentucky State Thorobreds at Rupp Arena on November 01, 2019 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

This 6-foot-3 guard may end the season with the fewest highlight reel plays. But he is an elite defender and does a little bit of everything; the spark plug role every championship-caliber team needs. Hagans, a sophomore, is looking to add to his 7.7 points/game and weak 3-point shooting. Look for him to be among the nation's leaders in steals come season's end.

20. Xavier Tillman, Michigan State

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 31:  Xavier Tillman #23 of the Michigan State Spartans takes a foul shot during the East Regional game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against the Duke Blue Devils at Capital One Arena on March 29, 2019 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Tillman made incredible strides during his sophomore year and will be a walking double-double this season. On defense, the 6-foot-8 forward can match up one-through-five and has a relentless motor. His versatility and athleticism allow the Spartans to go uptempo and he's turned himself into an above-average screen-setter for Cassius Winston on the ol' pick-and-roll. Tillman is a classic Tom Izzo crash-the-offensive-glass guy, but if there's a place for him to improve it's the outside jumper.