College basketball, especially this time of year, is all about mismatches.
In general, that means a power forward with quickness or a big guy who can step out to take a 3.
With 351 teams in college basketball, the sample size leads to size mismatches between a 5-foot-8 guard and a 7-6 center. And we’re not kidding. This is a matchup that actually happened a year ago.
That leads us to the Tall-America team, a collection of the best players at every height from a 5-7 point guard to a 7-6 center.
For sake of consistency, we used only the heights provided on school rosters for this season. We’re not ignorant to schools adding an inch or two to each player, but we also don’t have exact heights from the NBA Draft.
Christopher Anderson, San Diego
Anderson does what you’d hope for a 5-7, 150-pound point guard. He dished out 197 assists and grabbed 58 steals. Anderson finished his career 9.2 points, 5.9 assists and 2.0 steals per game.
Saah Nimley, Charleston Southern
Nimley — whose Twitter handle is @CantGuardNims — had a career year as a senior, averaging 21.2 points per game to lead the Big South.
Nic Moore, SMU
The Mustangs have had their personnel issues this season, but Moore, the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, has held it together. The Illinois State transfer averaged 14.4 points and 5.3 assists per game.
Stefan Moody, Ole Miss
Moody transferred from FAU to junior college to Ole Miss, where he’s become a clutch performer for a Rebels team en route to the NCAA Tournament. Moody averaged 18.8 points per game in conference play and shot better than 90 percent from the free throw line.
Phil Forte, Oklahoma State
One of the Cowboys’ Big Two, Forte rounded out his game from just a 3-point jump shooter. He’s still hitting nearly 40 percent for his 3s, but he’s doubled his production from inside the arc to average 15.5 points per game.
Yogi Ferrell, Indiana
Ferrell played as a freshman for the 2012-13 team that spent much of that season ranked No. 1. His last two teams haven’t had the record of his rookie season, but Ferrell has stood out through some difficult times. He was seventh in the Big Ten in scoring (16 ppg) and fourth in assists (five per game).
Tyus Jones, Duke
Jones took over the point guard spot manned by senior Quinn Cook and met all expectations for a national championship-contending Duke team. Jones is in the top 40 nationally in offensive rating, and his clutch play in the second half led Duke to a come-from-behind win over North Carolina on Feb. 18.
Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga
Pangos is averaging a career-low 11.6 points per game, but he’s having one of his best years. Credit that to the best supporting cast he’s had at Gonzaga. The senior is sixth nationally in offensive rating and a career-high five assists per game.
Kris Dunn, Providence
Dunn is arguably the nation’s must underrated player. He’s overshadowed by teammate LaDontae Henton’s 20 points per game, and he doesn’t play on a glamour team in a glamour league. Dunn averages 15.5 points of his own and leads the nation in assist rate at nearly 50 percent and ranks fifth in steal rate.
Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Hield is leading the Big 12 at 17.4 points per game, winning the first Big 12 Player of the Year award for the Sooners since Blake Griffin in 2009. Hield topped 20 points in a Big 12 game eight times.
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
The representatives for 6-foot-5 may be the most loaded group in the country. Utah’s Delon Wright, Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell and BYU’s Tyler Haws were all considered here. The nod, though, goes to Notre Dame’s high-scoring guard who averages 16.9 points per game and leads the ACC in assists (6.6).
Justin Anderson, Virginia
Anderson returned from an eight-game absence in the ACC tournament against Florida State, going scoreless in 12 minutes. When healthy, Anderson has been the MVP of the 29-2 Cavaliers, averaging 12.8 points per game and ranking in the top 50 nationally in offensive rating.
Stanley Johnson, Arizona
Johnson has had his trouble finishing around the basket at times this season (a 3-for-19 performance against Utah), but he still leads the Pac-12 champion in scoring at 14.1 points per game while averaging 6.6 rebounds.
Montrezl Harrell, Louisville
This is another loaded height with Iowa State’s Georges Niang, LSU’s Jordan Mickey and Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle all representing for 6-foot-8. Harrell, though, can’t be dismissed as the pick. Harrell has an imposing offensive game that’s only getting more dangerous as he’s able to stretch the floor. Harrell is averaging 15.7 points per game and 9.5 rebounds.
Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse
Christmas is one of the most improved players in the country. After failing to average double figures in his first three seasons, the former role player is averaging 17.5 points and nine rebounds for the Orange this season.
Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga
The most offensively productive Kentucky player is one who had to transfer to find playing time. Wiltjer’s game has been a perfect fit for Gonzaga as the junior has averaged 17.1 points per game, buoyed by 61 3-pointers by the forward.
Jahlil Okafor, Duke
Okafor has been exactly what was promised for the post presence who could be the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. Okafor is second in the ACC at 17.4 points per game, sixth nationally in effective field goal rate and eighth in offensive rebound rate. He’s neck and neck with our seven-footer for National Player of the Year.
Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein is also listed at 7-foot, but we have to go for Frank the Tank. Kaminsky burst onto the scene last season and has been even better in 2014-15, averaging 18.4 points per game and 8.1 rebounds. He’s always been a effective 3-point shooter, but he’s improved his jumper to 41 percent from long range.
Ben Lawson, Western Kentucky
The Brit is a defensive specialist for the Hilltoppers, averaging 3.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots in 18.8 minutes per game.
Isaac Haas, Purdue
The freshman Haas may have lit a fire under 7-foot center A.J. Hammons, who had a career year for the Boilers. Haas wasn’t so bad himself, averaging 7.9 points and 4.2 rebounds.
Boris Bojanovsky, Florida State
The Slovak is averaging 5.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game for the Seminoles.
Mamadou N’Diaye, UC Irvine
The tallest player in college basketball for two seasons averaged 11.1 points and five rebounds per game in an injury-shortened season.
Christopher Anderson image courtest of Brock Scott. Mamdou N'Diaye image courtesy of UC Irvine.