If you haven't noticed, I've been trying to rank these players by the positions they mostly play in college, not how they're projected as professionals. So Morris Almond is a small forward instead of a shooting guard, and Mario Chalmers is a shooting guard instead of a point guard.
|Al Horford has something no one else on this list does: a ring. (Getty Images)|
I tell you that as a preemptive strike, to ensure you don't go nuts looking for Tyler Hansbrough and Glen Davis on this list of power forwards. Relax. They're coming. On Friday. With the centers.
Until then ...
Top power forwards
1. Al Horford (Florida): Though Joakim Noah became the darling of March Madness, it's worth noting Horford's stats were similar for the season, and that the 6-foot-9 junior actually outrebounded his pony-tailed teammate (7.6 to 7.1 per game). One preseason magazine described Horford as "unspectacularly spectacular." I kind of think that's a pretty good description.
2. Josh McRoberts (Duke): For some reason some believe because McRoberts only got 8.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game as a freshman that he didn't live up to the hype. That's a silly deduction, though, because with Shelden Williams in the way, McRoberts' level of production had an obvious ceiling. Now, Williams is out of the way. Consequently, I'm betting McRoberts comes close to doubling his output while maintaining his status as an NBA lottery pick.
|Point guards||Oct. 2|
|Shooting guards||Oct. 3|
|Small forwards||Oct. 4|
|Power forwards||Oct. 5|
3. Al Thornton (Florida State): Here's the other side of that Horford coin, someone who is spectacularly spectacular, a big-time scorer with a knack for producing huge numbers in huge games. Thornton averaged 16.1 points and 6.9 rebounds last year, but he went for 30-plus three times, including 37-point efforts at both Duke and Boston College. That's strong.
4. Jeff Green (Georgetown): The Hoyas could win the Big East this season, and if that happens Green will be the league's Player of the Year. He's a do-everything type of guy whose team is simply better when he's on the floor. That's why he played 32.5 minutes per game as a sophomore, and will do the same as a junior.
5. D.J. White (Indiana): All indications out of Indiana are that White has rehabbed nicely from a foot injury that cost him all but five games last season. He has added muscle and skill, and should make Kelvin Sampson's transition easier while pushing for Big Ten Player of the Year honors.
6. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (UCLA): His 17-point, nine-rebound effort against LSU in the Final Four introduced him to the nation, and if you don't already know how to spell his name (that little 'a' can be tricky) you'd better learn. Mbah a Moute will be All Pac-10 this season, and he could lead the Bruins back to the Final Four before following former teammate Jordan Farmar to the NBA after just his sophomore season.
7. Cartier Martin (Kansas State): If you have to get suspended for a violation of team rules, it's best to do it in the summer, like Martin did. That way you don't have to miss any games, and the suspension amounts to little more than nothing, if that much. Come the start of the season, the 6-8 senior will be officially reinstated. That's good news for Kansas State, and 18.0 points per game it won't have to find somewhere else.
8. Julian Wright (Kansas): Wright's numbers of 8.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game don't justify this ranking. But he's an important piece to a title-contending puzzle, and seems willing to sacrifice individual accolades for the sake of the team, evidence being that he plays mostly inside despite NBA scouts projecting him as a wing at the next level. For being unselfish, Wright gets bonus points, and enough of them to push him into the top 10 of this list.
9. Carl Landry (Purdue): Landry had 57 points through two games last season before soreness from an ACL surgery sidelined him for the rest of the year. Now, he's reportedly healthy and ready to return Purdue to respectability. Statistics close to the 18.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game Landry averaged in 2004-05 shouldn't be too much to expect.
10. Brandan Wright (North Carolina): Wright is another one of those freshmen who is probably only in college because of the age limit. Combined with Hansbrough, he'll give UNC a daunting frontcourt ... and then turn pro.
|11. Caleb Green (Oral Roberts)||6-8||Sr.||20.8||8.8||Big numbers for Tulsa's finest|
|12. Richard Hendrix (Alabama)||6-8||So.||9.4||8.0||Not a great freshman season, but he was consistently solid|
|13. Wilson Chandler (DePaul)||6-8||So.||10.6||7.2||When he's not suspended, he's good|
|14. Jeff Adrien (Connecticut)||6-6||So.||6.5||5.0||With all those pros now gone, Adrien will flourish|
|15. Terrence Roberts (Syracuse)||6-9||Sr.||10.7||7.6||If he's good, Orange can be really good|
|16. Coleman Collins (Virginia Tech)||6-9||Sr.||14.5||6.8||Just might be the piece that pushes the Hokies into the NCAA Tournament|
|17. Tyrone Nelson (New Mexico State)||6-9||Jr.||17.8||8.7||If he can stay out of jail, he'll have NMSU in the hunt for the Big Dance|
|18. Robert Dozier (Memphis)||6-9||So.||5.6||5.5||Memphis had two first-round picks last season, but scouts liked Dozier the best|
|19. Jon Brockman (Washington)||6-7||So.||8.4||6.5||At 245 pounds, Brockman gets things done in the paint|
|20. Darrell Arthur (Kansas)||6-9||Fr.||NA||NA||If you've got to sign a kid late, this is the kid you want|