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College Basketball Insider

College Basketball Preview: Top 30 Bigs for 2013-14

Mitch McGary (USATSI)
Michigan's Mitch McGary averaged 14.3 points and 10.7 rebounds in the NCAA tournament last season. (USATSI)

More player rankings: Top 100 | Top 30 Points and Combos | Top 30 Wings

You've seen our list of Points and Combos. You've seen our list of Wings. Now comes our list of college basketball's Top 30 Bigs, and it's a list headlined by the reigning Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year who now plays in the Big East.

Three Kentucky players made the list.

That's more than the number from any other school

So check it out and debate until you can't debate anymore.

CBSSports.com Top 30 Bigs

1. Doug McDermott

Creighton

Vitals: 6-8 | Sr.

Comment: McDermott is the two-time Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, and he'll finish his storied career with a Big East Player of the Year honor, too. Then he'll be in the NBA. All of which isn't bad for a former mid-major recruit who initially committed to Northern Iowa. -- Gary Parrish


2. Julius Randle

Kentucky

Vitals: 6-9 | Fr.

Comment: Outside of Andrew Wiggins, Randle is arguably the best NBA prospect in college basketball. He's a physical specimen who is ready to dominate, and could also become a leader of sorts for the Wildcats. Don't be surprised to see a slew of 20 and 10 games. -- Jeff Borzello


3. Aaron Gordon

Arizona

Vitals: 6-8 | Fr.

Comment: Gordon is an absolutely ferocious athlete who's frequently drawn comparisons to Blake Griffin in the past 12 months. He also has step-out ability and could become a hybrid forward by year's end. Be ready for the highlights. -- Matt Norlander


4. Mitch McGary

Michigan

Vitals: 6-10 | Soph.

Comment: It took McGary a while to get going last season. But when he got going -- specifically in the NCAA tournament -- he was really, really good. There's no reason to think that won't carry-over into his sophomore year. -- GP


5. Willie Cauley-Stein

Kentucky

Vitals: 7-0 | Soph.

Comment: The 7-footer had an up and down freshman season, but he showed flashes of his potential on several occasions. He's extremely long and athletic, and is capable of finishing around the basket on lobs and blocking shots at a high rate. -- JB


6. Adreian Payne

Michigan State

Vitals: 6-10 | Sr.

Comment: I caught Payne, in person, at practice this week. His body is terrific and his rebounding is likely to be among the best in the nation this season. He can run the floor much better now than ever. -- MN


7. Montrezl Harrell

Louisville

Vitals: 6-8 | Soph.

Comment: Harrell isn't as big as Gorguis Dieng, but he's more athletic and, probably, a better pro prospect. Expect a breakout season followed by a jump to the NBA Draft. -- GP


8. Isaiah Austin

Baylor

Vitals: 7-1 | Soph.

Comment: If not for a torn labrum suffered in April, Austin could be in the NBA right now. As it stands, the 7-1 sophomore is back at Baylor and prepared to take his game to the next level. Austin needs to add bulk to his upper body, but he has an extremely high ceiling and an outstanding skillset. -- JB


9. Joel Embiid

Kansas

Vitals: 7-0 | Fr.

Comment: A svelte big man from Cameroon, Embiid will give legitimacy to a Final Four-good Kansas team. His post presence will be all the more difficult to handle because he works the block well and is very agile. -- MN


10. James Michael McAdoo

North Carolina

Vitals: 6-9 | Jr.

Comment: McAdoo has gone from a great prospect to a good college player … but he still hasn't been a consistently great college player. Perhaps this is the year he does it? If so, UNC can maybe make a Final Four. -- GP


11. Cory Jefferson

Baylor

Vitals: 6-9 | Sr.

Comment: Overshadowed by Austin heading into last season, Jefferson more than held his own up front. He came on very strong down the stretch, leading many to believe he's poised for a big senior season. In five NIT games, Jefferson averaged 21.2 points and 6.0 rebounds. -- JB


12. Chane Behanan

Louisville

Vitals: 6-6 | Jr.

Comment: Well, this is a little awkward. Behanan was indefinitely suspended by Louisville Thursday, and from the sound of it, it seems he's not going to play until at least December. When -- or if -- he gets back on the court, Louisville is likely to be better. Say this about his value to the Cardinals: I think they can't make a Final Four without him. With him, a national title is reasonable. -- MN


13. Jarnell Stokes

Tennessee

Vitals: 6-8 | Jr.

Comment: What Stokes might lack in height for a post player he makes up for with bulk and strength. Few college players use their bodies better. He and frontcourt mate Jeronne Maymon -- whom Tennessee guard Jordan McRae told me this week that we'd regret leaving off this list -- are going to be tough to deal with in the SEC. -- GP


14. Noah Vonleh

Indiana

Vitals: 6-10 | Fr.

Comment: It's going to be interesting to see what sort of role Vonleh plays for the Hoosiers this season. They could put him in the middle and create a ton of matchup problems for opposing defenses. Either way, Vonleh is a dominant rebounder at both ends, and his wingspan helps defensively. -- JB


15. Alex Kirk

New Mexico

Vitals: 7-0 | Jr.

Comment: Kirk had a breakout season last year and should continue to do damage the old school way: with lumbering size and overpowering shot-blocking ability. Kirk swatted away 7.4 percent of the shot attempts against him last season, which was one of the best rates in the country. -- MN


16. Jarell Martin

LSU

Vitals: 6-9 | Fr.

Comment: Johnny Jones is going to turn LSU into a program that consistently competes at the top of the SEC, and his recruiting is the main reason why. Which brings me to Martin. He's the first five-star recruit Jones has landed at LSU, but he will not be the last. -- GP


17. Juvonte Reddic

VCU

Vitals: 6-9 | Sr.

Comment: Reddic is the best pro prospect in the Atlantic 10. He recorded 11 double-doubles last season, including 16 points and 13 rebounds against Mason Plumlee and Duke. Once he gets the ball near the rim, it's over. -- JB


18. Jerrelle Benimon

Towson

Vitals: 6-8 | Sr.

Comment: Know the name, because if Towson wins out in the CAA and makes the NCAA tournament, he'll be one of the few mid-major guys to know come the Round of 64. Benimon is now a senior and an efficient glass-chewer. -- MN


19. Augustine Rubit

South Alabama

Vitals: 6-7 | Sr.

Comment: The reigning Sun Belt Player of the Year averaged 19.4 points and 10.5 rebounds last season. He scored 30 in a game four different times. -- GP


20. Dwayne Evans

Saint Louis

Vitals: 6-5 | Sr.

Comment: It might be weird to see a 6-5 player on this list, but Evans isn't your average forward. Forty-two percent of his offense came off post-ups or offensive rebounds, and his assortment of post moves make him dangerous. -- JB


21. Dwight Powell

Stanford

Vitals: 6-10 | Sr.

Comment: The Canadian will be asked to do a lot in order to get this team back to its first NCAA tournament since 2008. Powell is a very good rebounder on the defense end but needs to match that intensity and hunger when his team misses shots. -- MN


22. Melvin Ejim

Iowa State

Vitals: 6-6 | Sr.

Comment: Ejim is an undersized power forward, sure. But that doesn't hurt him in the Big 12. The Canadian import averaged 11.3 points and 9.3 rebounds last season. Also worth noting: Ejim is the reigning Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. -- GP


23. Mike Moser

Oregon

Vitals: 6-8 | Sr.

Comment: This ranking is obviously predicated on Moser returning to his 2011-12 form, when he was a nightmare for opponents en route to averages of 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds. An early-season injury and the emergence of freshman Anthony Bennett hindered him a year ago. At Oregon, though, he'll bounce back. -- JB


24. Ryan Anderson

Boston College

Vitals: 6-9 | Jr.

Comment: Anderson averaged 15 points and eight rebounds last season, and he's going to be a key big in the ACC this season if he gets his shooting percentage above 50. -- MN


25. Johnny O'Bryant

LSU

Vitals: 6-9 | Jr.

Comment: I know folks in Baton Rouge are excited about the arrival of Martin (and Jordan Mickey, too). But don't forget about O'Bryant. He averaged 14 points and nine rebounds last season. -- GP


26. Dakari Johnson

Kentucky

Vitals: 7-0 | Fr.

Comment: The third Kentucky player on this list, Johnson will make an impact for the Wildcats this season. He carves out position down low effectively, and knows how to score with his back to the basket. His athleticism isn't on par with some other Wildcats. But he has good post moves. -- JB


27. Mike Tobey

Virginia

Vitals: 6-11 | Soph.

Comment: I think his play can correlate to how Virginia finishes in the ACC. If you're telling me this sophomore can go from 6.8 points and 2.9 rebounds to, say, 10 points and five rebounds (and that is the expectation), then Virginia has to be fifth, at worst, in the league. -- MN


28. Alec Brown

Green Bay

Vitals: 7-1 | Sr.

Comment: Brown is the main reason to try to catch some Horizon League games this season. If you don't, just know that NBA scouts will. -- GP


29. Georges Niang

Iowa State

Vitals: 6-7 | Soph.

Comment: It's been the same story for Niang ever since his high school days. He's only 6-7 and is not all that athletic – yet he creates matchup problems for opponents and consistently finds ways to be productive. Niang is crafty around the basket and can step out to knock down 3-pointers. -- JB


30. Davante Gardner

Marquette

Vitals: 6-8 | Sr.

Comment: Marquette's big man has dropped some pounds and will be a prime player in the reformed Big East. I expect him to make First Team in the conference at year's end. -- MN


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