Zion Williamson entertained every night and nearly every possession of the 2018-19 college basketball season. He wasn’t the only show, but he was the one who drew the most attention.
I could go in a variety of directions here for the most entertaining players for the 2019-20 season. And the definition of entertainment isn’t limited to dunks and blocked shots. Players who will dazzle in a variety of ways or even those who can stuff the stat sheet in high volume provide plenty of interest.
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Here’s my list of the 21 most entertaining players who will fill the Zion-sized vacuum this upcoming season.
Myles Powell, Seton Hall: Powell will be a contender for national and Big East player of the year. He is a late-game shot-maker. He embraces the headline, star moment and will be a high-volume scorer.
Markus Howard, Marquette: Howard will be in step with Powell for potential player of the year in the conference and make a play for the national honor. Howard can go for 40, even 50 on a given night.
Cassius Winston, Michigan State: Winston will be dishing out assists, taking a run and extending it beyond five to 10 in a blur. He will make headbands chic again. The Izzone will be all-in on every possession when Winston is on the floor.
James Wiseman, Memphis: Wiseman will be the most discussed and analyzed freshman due to his tag as being the potential top pick in the NBA draft. Wiseman will be a dominant player in the post. You will want to watch his every move.
Cole Anthony, North Carolina: Anthony will be a ball-dominant guard for the Tar Heels. That means he’ll be leading the break, finishing on his own and tossing up alley-oops on the break.
Anthony Edwards, Georgia: Tom Crean will feature Edwards in a variety of ways. And he will likely embrace the attention. Expect Edwards to be the most-watched player in the SEC.
Isaiah Stewart, Washington: Stewart will be an active, disruptive presence in the Huskies’ zone. He will be flying around the basket at both ends of the court. Washington will be worth staying up late to watch throughout the season.
Jalen Smith, Maryland: Bruno Fernando is off to the NBA, leaving Smith to be the dominant player in the post for the Terps. He can face and flush. Maryland will be much more than just Smith, but his entertainment value is high.
Mac McClung, Georgetown: McClung isn’t your traditional high-flyer, but when you see him soar over you for a jam, you’ll know why he’s on this list. He’s got the hops to be a flashy finisher. He also can bury 3s in bunches.
Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Illinois: The smile is infectious. His mannerisms are entertaining. And his play is worth watching since he can score around the basket, using the angles to complete the play.
Kamar Baldwin, Butler: Baldwin is going to be all over the stat box, scoring, dishing assists, picking up steals and rebounding. Butler will lean heavily on his play every night out. And when you control the ball, you can make your own highlights.
Tyrese Maxey, Kentucky: Maxey has the speed to get quickly down court, can pull up for a 3 or mid-range jumper and finish around the rim. Kentucky rarely lacks the player with entertainment value. Maxey fills the need.
McKinley Wright IV, Colorado: If you love watching a player get down the court as fast as anyone, then Wright is your attraction. He should lead the Buffaloes to the NCAA tournament and along the way entertain with his ability to push, push, push the basketball.
Reggie Perry, Mississippi State: Perry is a player to watch if you like seeing someone corral boards one after another. Perry will be one of the most productive players in the SEC. And he will be the reason the Bulldogs are in the hunt for a bid.
Antoine Davis, Detroit: Davis put up over 40 multiple times and averaged nearly 27 playing for his father Mike. Do you think that’s going to change? Not at all. He’s going to be a highlight every night out.
Matt Haarms, Purdue: Haarms has the flowing hair but he also brings the energy and enthusiasm every time he steps on the court. He plays to the crowd and embraces being the one to watch. He’s also becoming more efficient, which makes him a coach pleaser, too.
Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State: Haliburton is going to take over the scoring load for the Cyclones, and anyone who can be highly productive at Hilton Coliseum is going to be someone the crowd embraces.
Kyler Edwards, Texas Tech: Edwards will be the latest to star for the Red Raiders. He’s got the personality to embrace the role, too. Given more opportunities means he’ll have more moments to shine.
Nathan Knight, William & Mary: The big can score around the post, hit the face-up jumper and put the ball on the floor to make a move to the hoop. He’s going to be a name to watch as the season develops. And he’s a player of the year candidate in the Colonial.
Aaron Henry, Michigan State: Winston will make sure Henry gets his fair share of finishing jams, pull-up 3s or jumpers and off-the-dribble moves to the hoop. Henry is ready to shine.
Aaron Wheeler, Purdue: Wheeler won’t make anyone forget Carsen Edwards, but he’s got the goods to provide plenty of entertainment value for the Boilermakers in one of the top five homecourts in the country at Mackey Arena.