Preseason rankings have always been reliant on the expected impact of newcomers: a group of players notoriously difficult to predict. And with the introduction of the one-time transfer rule, combined with the passing of name, image and likeness (NIL) legislation and the NCAA's extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19 still in effect, offseason player movement has been at an all-time high (and roster continuity an all-time low) the past two springs.
Instead of having separate freshman rankings and transfer rankings entering the 2022-23 season, though, I've once again grouped them together. Below, I take a look at the 100 newcomers -- and some other names to watch -- who should have the biggest impact on their new teams.
As always, a reminder: This is a ranking based solely on expected impact. It is not a mock draft, and it is not simply rehashing recruiting rankings. For example, Indiana's Jalen Hood-Schifino was ranked behind high school classmate Kyle Filipowski (Duke) and might go lower in the NBA draft than Kel'el Ware (Oregon) -- but he has a clearer path to an immediate impact this season.
1. Nick Smith Jr., Arkansas Razorbacks (freshman)
Arguably the best NBA prospect in college basketball this season, Smith will have the ball in his hands a ton from day one. He can make 3s consistently, is an effective playmaker off the dribble and plays with intensity.