Lack of star power, but still plenty of talent

September, 28, 2010
The 2010 NBA draft gutted college basketball of most of its household names, so compiling a Wooden Award preseason watch list that can't have freshmen or transfers gives one a stark realization of that lack of star power.

To the junkies, there are still a handful of familiar players who will get their share of attention, like Duke's Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith, Butler's Shelvin Mack, Purdue's Robbie Hummel, BYU's Jimmer Fredette, Kansas State's Jacob Pullen and Michigan State's Kalin Lucas.

There are also plenty of players who will get their due as the games get rolling -- players like Syracuse's Kris Joseph, Florida State's Chris Singleton, Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney and Wisconsin's Jon Leuer.

But the names that might have the most staying power are again the freshmen. Duke's Kyrie Irving, North Carolina's Harrison Barnes, Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and, if he's eligible, Kentucky's Enes Kanter will lead a freshman crop that will ultimately dominate the headlines. Mainstreaming the names will take time and patience as the sport reinvents itself over the next few months. As football dominates the sporting slate through the fall, the freshmen should be ready to blossom after the first of the year when the attention turns to hoops.

As you can see on the below list, it should be a wide-open race for national player of the year, let alone all-American honors. And there's no doubt even more players will earn spots on this list once the season heats up and everyone is given consideration.

For now, though, here's a shot at 50 players who have earned the right to be on this preseason watch list. Keep in mind that there are very good players who just missed the cut -- unless we compile a never-ending list, there always will be.

(Players listed in alphabetical order)

Lavoy Allen, Temple
Kevin Anderson, Richmond
Talor Battle, Penn State
Keith Benson, Oakland
William Buford, Ohio State
Alec Burks, Colorado
Randy Culpepper, UTEP
Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech
LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor
Kenneth Faried, Morehead State
Corey Fisher, Villanova
Jimmer Fredette, BYU
Austin Freeman, Georgetown
Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh
Elias Harris, Gonzaga
Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall
John Henson, North Carolina
Robbie Hummel, Purdue
Reggie Jackson, Boston College
Charles Jenkins, Hofstra
JaJuan Johnson, Purdue
Kevin Jones, West Virginia
Kris Joseph, Syracuse
Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State
Travis Leslie, Georgia
Jon Leuer, Wisconsin
Kalin Lucas, Michigan State
Shelvin Mack, Butler
Demetri McCamey, Illinois
Marcus Morris, Kansas
Adrian Oliver, San Jose State
Chandler Parsons, Florida
Jacob Pullen, Kansas State
Damian Saunders, Duquesne
Durand Scott, Miami (Fla.)
John Shurna, Northwestern
Kyle Singler, Duke
Chris Singleton, Florida State
Nolan Smith, Duke
Durrell Summers, Michigan State
Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt
Isaiah Thomas, Washington
Trey Thompkins, Georgia
Klay Thompson, Washington State
Kemba Walker, Connecticut
Chris Warren, Ole Miss
Tai Wesley, Utah State
Derrick Williams, Arizona
Jordan Williams, Maryland
Chris Wright, Dayton

Just missed the cut: Kenny Boynton (Florida), Mason Plumlee (Duke), John Jenkins (Vanderbilt), E'Twaun Moore (Purdue), Damian Lillard (Weber State), Scotty Hopson (Tennessee), Tu Holloway (Xavier), Adnan Hodzic (Lipscomb), Matt Howard (Butler), Kim English (Missouri), Tre'Von Willis (UNLV, legal issues)

The folks who run the Wooden Award don't want freshmen or transfers -- or players who haven't played any college ball (i.e. Renardo Sidney) -- on their preseason watch list. But here are 40 names that might be worthy of consideration when the midseason and final lists are put together:

Keith Appling, Michigan State
Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
Will Barton, Memphis
Vander Blue, Marquette
Reggie Bullock, North Carolina
Seth Curry, Duke
Greg Echenique, Creighton
Jio Fontan, USC
Drew Gordon, New Mexico
Josh Hairston, Duke
Tobias Harris, Tennessee
Ryan Harrow, NC State
Kyrie Irving, Duke
Joe Jackson, Memphis
Perry Jones, Baylor
Terrence Jones, Kentucky
Cory Joseph, Texas
Enes Kanter, Kentucky
Jelan Kendrick, Memphis
Brandon Knight, Kentucky
C.J. Leslie, NC State
Nate Lubick, Georgetown
Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota
Ray McCallum, Detroit
Fab Melo, Syracuse
Adreian Payne, Michigan State
Dwight Powell, Stanford
Phil Pressey, Missouri
Jereme Richmond, Illinois
Gerald Robinson, Georgia
Terrence Ross, Washington
Josh Selby, Kansas
Renardo Sidney, Mississippi State
Josh Smith, UCLA
Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State
Tristan Thompson, Texas
Dion Waiters, Syracuse
Patric Young, Florida
Trey Zeigler, Central Michigan

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer



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