The list of Athlon Sports' top 100 college basketball players for the 2021-22 season once again goes heavy on experience. Although big men Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren check in at No. 2 and 8, respectively, they are the only true freshman in the top 18. Gonzaga junior Drew Timme, perhaps the face (and mustache) of the NCAA, leads an exciting group of upperclassmen ready to take their teams far in March Madness.
Athlon Sports' Top 100 College Basketball Players
1. Drew Timme, F, Gonzaga
Timme is the favorite to win the national Player of the Year award this year. He’s a 6'10" forward with a soft touch around the rim who averaged 19 points per game last year for the 31–1 Bulldogs. He’ll anchor the interior for a Gonzaga team again expected to compete for a national title.
2. Paolo Banchero, F, Duke
Banchero is a special talent, a 6'10" forward who is a solid 240-plus pounds and can also create off the bounce. He hits 3s, can make shots on the low block and is always aware defensively of what’s happening around him. He’ll lead the way for Duke in Coach K’s final year.
3. Johnny Juzang, G, UCLA
Juzang emerged in the second half of last season as the Bruins’ go-to guy and keyed their run to the Final Four. He’s the epitome of a tough shotmaker, and he averaged 23 points per game in the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins are absolutely loaded this season.
4. Kofi Cockburn, C, Illinois
Cockburn was a second-team All-American last year, pairing with Ayo Dosunmu to dominate college basketball as the biggest interior presence in the country due to his length and finishing ability. He should remain dominant inside, as new starting guard Andre Curbelo is arguably an even better pick-and-roll passer than Dosunmu and should feed Cockburn within Illinois’ offense.
5. Trayce Jackson-Davis, F, Indiana
Jackson-Davis was named first-team All-Big Ten last year while averaging 19 points and nine rebounds per game. He’s proven capable of creating his own shot when surrounded by less talent. Look for him to showcase a bit more of an expanded perimeter game this year under Mike Woodson.
6. Buddy Boeheim, G, Syracuse
One of the top returning scorers in the country. After Syracuse adjusted midseason and centered its offense around Boeheim, the team drastically improved on offense. He averaged 22 points on outstanding shooting percentages over Syracuse’s final 12 games. Look for that to be pretty close to the norm this season.
7. Max Abmas, G, Oral Roberts
There may be no more fun player in college basketball to watch. Defenses have to pick him up at halfcourt, which creates so much space for Oral Roberts’ offensive attack. His pick-and-roll partner-in-crime Kevin Obanor may be gone, but Abmas is a solid bet to lead the country in scoring.
8. Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga
The second half of the best frontcourt in America, Holmgren will pair with Timme as complementary pieces inside. Holmgren is a monster perimeter threat as a scorer and an elite rim protector inside due to his length as a shot-blocker. He’s expected to be a top-five pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
9. E.J. Liddell, F, Ohio State
Liddell is a tough, physical 6'7" forward who plays an inside-out game with the ability to post, drive and shoot from distance. He was often relegated to playing the 5 last season in small-ball looks, but Ohio State recruited some big men who should enable him to slide into his more natural spot at the 4.
10 Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue
Ivey is poised to be one of the breakout stars of college basketball this season after he led Purdue’s offense late in the season then followed it up with an outstanding showing at the U19 World Cup this past summer. He averaged over 15 points per game in his final 10 games for Purdue as a freshman and should be the best point guard in the Big Ten.
11. Scotty Pippen Jr., G, Vanderbilt
The most productive player returning to the SEC, Pippen averaged 21 points and five assists last year. Vanderbilt should be much better this year, and with that should come further accolades for just how special Pippen is as an offensive creator.
12. Trevion Williams, F, Purdue
One of the best interior scorers in college basketball, Williams is coming off of a 15-point, nine-rebound year. He’s one of the best rebounders on a per-possession basis in college basketball, and he creates a ton of extra possessions for Purdue. He and Zach Edey will be the most physical pair of centers in the country, as Purdue will have 40 minutes of great center play this year.
13. Jaime Jaquez Jr., G/F, UCLA
There isn’t anything Jaquez can’t do. He’s a terrific shotmaker, he plays well within the team construct, he rebounds hard and he defends. He’s the most well-rounded player in the Pac-12, and he’s an enormous reason why UCLA looks poised for another Final Four run.
14. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s
Champagnie decided to return for the 2021-22 season after averaging 20 points per game for the Red Storm. He’s a tremendous shooter at 6'8", and he plays off of that to drive into the lane to pressure the defense.
15. Collin Gillespie, G, Villanova
Gillespie is one of the best point guards returning to college basketball. His feel for getting his own shot versus getting his teammates involved is outstanding, and he’s one of the most poised leaders in the country. He’s a big reason why Villanova remains the favorite in the Big East.
16. Isaiah Mobley, F, USC
He was USC’s second-best player a season ago as the Trojans made a deep run, and it should finally be Isaiah’s show after being stuck in brother Evan’s shadow last season. Isaiah has a tough, physical inside-out game that should make him one of the biggest mismatches in the Pac-12.
17. Hunter Dickinson, C, Michigan
Dickinson considered going pro after his freshman season, but following a lack of interest, he chose to return to school. At 7'1", 260 pounds, Dickinson can establish position wherever he wants. He needs to get a bit better defensively, though.
18. Marcus Carr, G, Texas
The Minnesota transfer will lead a fearsome Texas offensive attack. Coaches in the Big Ten raved about Carr’s ability to create shots; they just sometimes worried about his efficiency and decision-making. The bet is he’ll be much better with those factors when surrounded by much better talent in Texas.
19. Patrick Baldwin Jr., F, Milwaukee
One of the best pure shooters to come through high school basketball in a while, Baldwin ended up at Milwaukee because his father is the head coach, but he’s a clear one-and-done prospect who should absolutely torch the Horizon League.
20. Kendric Davis, G, SMU
Davis is a maestro with the ball in his hands, consistently working to make things happen for SMU both as a scorer and passer. He averaged 19 points and nearly eight assists last year. He’s a dark-horse All-America candidate.
21. David McCormack, F, Kansas
Bill Self loves to run his offense through a big center in the middle, and McCormack has emerged as the player most likely to take up that role for a Final Four contender. He could easily be a 15-point, nine-rebound per-game guy.
22. Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas
It’s finally time for the true Agbaji breakout at Kansas. He improved drastically as a 3-point shooter and averaged 14 points per game for the Jayhawks last year. This season, look for him to improve as a ball-handler.
23. Mark Williams, C, Duke
A true breakout candidate, Williams averaged 17 points and eight rebounds over his final six games last season. He profiles as potentially the best big man in the ACC this season.
24. Terrence Shannon Jr., G, Texas Tech
Shannon was one of the best NBA Draft prospects to return to college. He’ll be one of the best wing defenders in the country, and he should take a bigger leap on the offensive end under new head coach Mark Adams. He’s a good straight-line driver who just needs to prove he can shoot.
25. DeVante’ Jones, G, Michigan
A Coastal Carolina transfer, Jones will take over the Michigan offense from Mike Smith and will be an upgrade. Jones is a tremendous defender who has a great feel for running the show in the backcourt. Watch for some of his outrageously deep running floaters from the midrange.
26. Andrew Nembhard, G, Gonzaga
With Jalen Suggs and Joel Ayayi gone, look for Nembhard to step into a bigger role on offense this year for Gonzaga, carrying the load and becoming the critical perimeter player who stirs the ball-screen offense and gets the big men involved. His leadership and poise at the point give head coach Mark Few a steady hand he can trust.
27. Jahvon Quinerly, G, Alabama
One of the best ball-handlers in college basketball, Quinerly is an offensive explosion waiting to happen for the Tide, whose scheme should allow him to put up monster numbers even playing next to elite freshman guard JD Davison.
28. Isaiah Wong, G, Miami (Fla.)
One of the most creative guards in the ACC last year, Wong returned to school after averaging 17 points per game. Outside of Buddy Boeheim, he’s the clear No. 2 bet to lead the ACC in scoring due to his smoothness off the bounce and his terrific pull-up game.
29. Armando Bacot, F, North Carolina
With Day’Ron Sharpe, Garrison Brooks and Walker Kessler gone, the space inside has been vacated for Bacot to have an enormous season leading the Tar Heels in Hubert Davis’ first season at the helm in the post-Roy Williams era.
30. Adam Flagler, G, Baylor
The Baylor staff absolutely loves the way that Flagler goes about his business. He has a bit of the Jared Butler gene in terms of creativity and shooting out of any situation. He’s the most likely player to carry the load for the Bears on offense.
31. Timmy Allen, F, Texas
One of the most underrated scorers in college basketball the past two years at Utah, Allen gets to step onto the big stage in Austin. He averaged 17 points per game the last two years as a midrange killer who is a mismatch nightmare for 3s and 4s alike. He also averaged four assists per game last season.
32. Jabari Smith Jr., F, Auburn
A likely one-and-done with the Tigers, Smith is a very skilled perimeter stretch-4 man who loves to face up and try to drive or shoot. He’s a perfect fit for the up-tempo offense that Auburn loves to run because of that mixture of body control and athleticism.
33. Kellan Grady, G, Kentucky
Grady transferred to Kentucky from Davidson after averaging 17 points per game over his four-year career there. He’s a terrific shot creator who can pull up from distance, knock down shots off the catch and make plays as a passer. He should be the guy who carries the load for the Cats.
34. Tyson Etienne, G, Wichita State
The AAC Co-Player of the Year last year, Etienne led Wichita State back to the NCAA Tournament as a tough combo guard and scorer. He never turns it over, makes great decisions and has a phenomenal sense for how to get defenders off-balance with his pull-up game from 3.
35. Tyger Campbell, G, UCLA
Campbell was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection last year as he organized and structured the Bruins attack. Every Final Four team has strong, experienced guard play in some respect. If the Bruins are to make it back, Campbell will be that guy due to his leadership.
36. Keegan Murray, F, Iowa
One of the best per-minute players in the Big Ten last year due to his performance on both ends of the floor, Murray should step into the main role offensively and carry the load in what is annually one of the best offenses in the country.
37. Ąžuolas Tubelis, F, Arizona
Tubelis had a monster freshman season for Arizona, where he averaged 12 points and seven rebounds and made the All-Freshman Team in the Pac-12. The 6'11" Tubelis is skilled both in the post and on the perimeter. He’s a perfect fit for new head coach Tommy Lloyd’s scheme.
38. Taevion Kinsey, G, Marshall
Kinsey averaged nearly 20 points, six rebounds and three assists while shooting over 50 percent from the field. He’s an outstanding athlete whose ability to run the floor is a perfect fit for head coach Dan D’Antoni’s up-tempo scheme.
39. Keve Aluma, F, Virginia Tech
A stretch big man, Aluma is the perfect centerpiece for Mike Young’s free-flowing, spacing-conscious offense. Aluma should pair with his former Wofford teammate Storm Murphy to lead the Hokies back to the NCAA Tournament.
40. Matthew Mayer, F, Baylor
One of the most explosive per-minute players last season offensively, Mayer will take a step forward into a primary role for the Bears this season. He needs to prove that last year’s flashes can become consistent, but few players made more ridiculous contested jumpers last year.
41. Nate Watson, C, Providence
One of the oldest players in college basketball has a weird face-up mid-post game that is often reliant on floaters and push shots. He is also a space-carver inside who grabs offensive boards. He averaged 17 points and seven rebounds last season.
42. Eric Ayala, G, Maryland
Much more of a scorer than a passer, Ayala is a very efficient player who generally makes the right decisions while being able to get his own bucket both from 3 and off of drives.
43. Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee
Chandler is the top point guard entering college basketball from the high school ranks, a diminutive dynamo who is one of the best distributors in the class. His feel for the game and decision-making are off the charts.
44. Walker Kessler, C, Auburn
The North Carolina transfer had moments of brilliance this past season but got stuck behind the Brooks-Bacot-Sharpe triumvirate. He will be the centerpiece of Auburn’s interior play this season.
45. Jalen Wilson, F, Kansas
Wilson had an absolutely terrific first season in the Big 12. He’s a mismatch nightmare because of his size and athleticism, along with his driving ability.
46. Marcus Sasser, G, Houston
Sasser was second-team All-AAC last year. He’ll move into an even larger, more primary role this season, and he will certainly have moments where he shows that he’s one of the best shotmakers in the country.
47. Justin Moore, G, Villanova
Feels like the breakout is coming for Moore. He is great on both ends of the floor and seems to be just a small improvement away in terms of consistency with regard to his jump shot from being a go-to guy for the Wildcats.
48. Iverson Molinar, G, Mississippi State
One of the most underrated, creative guards in the country, the Panama native is one of the best shooters in the SEC and has a real shot to lead the conference in scoring.
49. Bennedict Mathurin, G/F, Arizona
He hit over 40 percent from 3 and is seen as a real NBA Draft prospect entering 2022. He could very easily explode into the kind of player that Corey Kispert was for Gonzaga.
50. Marcus Bagley, F, Arizona State
Bagley is another high-level NBA prospect who decided to return. He’ll lead the new-look Arizona State following some transfers and the departure of Josh Christopher.
51. Dawson Garcia, F, North Carolina
52. Posh Alexander, G, St. John’s
53. Jaden Shackelford, G, Alabama
54. Caleb Houstan, F, Michigan
55. JD Davison, G, Alabama
56. Jermaine Samuels, F, Villanova
57. Osun Osunniyi, F, St. Bonaventure
58. Josiah-Jordan James, G, Tennessee
59. TyTy Washington, G, Kentucky
60. Jordan Hall, G, St. Joseph’s
61. Darius Days, F, LSU
62. Paul Scruggs, G, Xavier
63. Ron Harper Jr., G/F, Rutgers
64. Remy Martin, G, Kansas
65. Prentiss Hubb, G, Notre Dame
66. Donta Scott, F, Maryland
67. Colin Castleton, F, Florida
68. Jabari Walker, F, Colorado
69. Allen Flanigan, G, Auburn
70. Zach Edey, C, Purdue
71. Courtney Ramey, G, Texas
72. Dylan Disu, F, Texas
73. Zach Freemantle, F, Xavier
74. Tyson Walker, G, Michigan State
75. Stanley Umude, G, Arkansas
76. Emanuel Miller, F, TCU
77. Keion Brooks Jr., F, Kentucky
78. Nate Laszewski, F, Notre Dame
79. AJ Griffin, F, Duke
80. Hyunjung Lee, F, Davidson
81. Antoine Davis, G, Detroit
82. Kadary Richmond, G, Seton Hall
83. Jayden Gardner, F, Virginia
84. Paul Atkinson, F, Notre Dame
85. Will Richardson, G, Oregon
86. Quincy Guerrier, F, Oregon
87. Oscar Tshiebwe, F, Kentucky
88. Andrew Jones, G, Texas
89. Grant Sherfield, G, Nevada
90. Sahvir Wheeler, G, Kentucky
91. Rasir Bolton, G, Gonzaga
92. Warith Alatishe, F, Oregon State
93. James Akinjo, G, Baylor
94. Jared Rhoden, G, Seton Hall
95. Kevin Obanor, F, Texas Tech
96. Qudus Wahab, C, Maryland
97. Noah Williams, G, Washington State
98. Xavier Johnson, G, Indiana
99. Jae’Lyn Withers, F, Louisville
100. Myreon Jones, G, Florida