Basketball

Ranking the top 25 players in men’s college basketball for the 2020-21 season, version 2.0

  • ESPN Insider college basketball contributor
  • First began covering college hoops in 2004
  • Has written for Basketball Prospectus and the Wall Street Journal

Even in this most challenging and uncertain of seasons, we’ve now seen enough basketball to update our rankings for the top 25 players in the game.

One clarification for any newcomers. This is not a mock draft. (We at ESPN.com have very talented people who do that.)

This is instead a ranking of the impact that players have had this season. There are no-brainer 2021 lottery picks who are not found here. Their omission is in no way a vote of no-confidence on their pro potential.

Here are the top 25 players of 2020-21 to this point:

1. Luka Garza, Iowa Hawkeyes

Score one for the conventional wisdom from the preseason: Garza was a consensus choice as national player of the year three months ago, and he has proceeded to make that consensus look very smart. Put it this way: If Garza were to continue his current pace on offense through the NCAA tournament, the question could be posed as to whether he had put together the best individual season we’ve seen in the past decade. Incredibly, he ranks among the top 50 players in the nation for effective field goal percentage despite the fact that he personally accounts for 33% of Iowa’s shot attempts during his minutes on the floor.

Garza keeps opponents honest with about three attempts per game from beyond the arc (and he’s draining nearly half of those shots), but scoring in the paint is still his bread and butter. He gets about as many shots at the rim as Udoka Azubuike did last season, yet unlike the former Kansas star, Iowa’s scorer records a relatively small number of dunks. Instead, he buries opposing defenses with a steady stream of layups and putbacks. Garza has been the best player in the country to this point in the season.

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