Iowa’s Luka Garza and Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu are the top two college basketball players back this season, according to Andy Katz on the latest episode of March Madness 365.
Katz has counted down his top 20 returning players for this season and revealed the top five this week: Garza, Dosunmu, Jared Butler, Remy Martin and Marcus Garrett.
This week’s episode of the podcast features interviews with Garza and Martin, as well as Philadelphia 76er and former Norfolk State big man Kyle O’Quinn.
Here are Andy Katz’s top 20 players back for the 2020-2021 college basketball season:
20. James Bouknight — Guard (UConn, Sophomore)
Bouknight is coming off of an impressive freshman season, averaging 13 points per game. The Huskies will look to their sophomore guard to help them compete when they re-join the Big East conference this season.
19. Oscar Tshiebwe — Forward (West Virginia, Sophomore)
The 6’9″ West Virginia forward averaged 11.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last season.
18. Jalen Crutcher — Guard (Dayton, Senior)
No Obi, no problem for Dayton as they will be looking to their senior guard to help them repeat the success they had during the 2019-2020 season. Crutcher was a key part of what could have been a deep March Madness run for the Flyers. He averaged 15.1 points and 4.9 assists last season.
MORE MM365: Check out every episode of March Madness 365
17. Colbey Ross — Guard (Pepperdine, Senior)
Ross was one of the best-kept secrets in the country, according to Katz. The Pepperdine guard enters this season as one of the best players in the WCC. He averaged 20.5 points per game and had four games during the 2019-2020 season with 30 or more points.
16. Trayce Jackson-Davis — Forward (Indiana, Sophomore)
Jackson-Davis led the Hoosiers in scoring last season with 13.5 points per game and grabbed 8.4 rebounds.
15. Keyontae Johnson — Forward (Florida, Junior)
Johnson shot more than 54 percent from the field last season, averaging 14 points and 7.1 boards per game.
14. Sam Hauser — Forward (Virginia, Senior)
Hauser is back after a season off following his transfer from Marquette. The 6’9″ forward will look to contribute early with his career 12.7 points and six rebounds per game.
13. Garrison Brooks — Forward (North Carolina, Senior)
Roy Williams and North Carolina will look to Brooks to improve upon their 14-19 record. He averaged 16.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last season.
12. Seth Towns — Forward (Ohio State, Junior)
Towns returns to his hometown of Columbus to play for the Buckeyes this season. The former Harvard Crimson forward has battled injuries throughout his career and averaged 16 points per game in the 2017-2018 season.
11. Corey Kispert — Forward (Gonzaga, Senior)
Kispert, who came back for his senior season after considering the 2020 NBA draft, will be a go-to guy for the Zags. Kispert and Gonzaga are No. 1 in Andy Katz’s first Power 36 rankings of the season.
10. Kofi Cockburn — Center (Illinois, Sophomore)
The 7’0″ center will be a force inside for the Illini this season after declining to enter the NBA draft. Cockburn averaged 13.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game during his Big Ten Freshman of the Year campaign.
9. Geo Baker — Guard (Rutgers, Senior)
Baker has averaged more than 10 points per game each season as a Scarlet Knight. The Rutgers guard will look to use his consistency and ability to hit big shots late in games to lead the Knights to their first NCAA tournament since 1991.
8. McKinley Wright IV — Guard (Colorado, Senior)
The 6-foot guard can do it all as he averaged 14.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and five assists per game his junior year.
7. Collin Gillespie — Guard (Villanova, Senior)
Jay Wright is known for having experienced guards on his roster and Gillespie looks to add his name to the list of great Villanova playmakers this season. Although Gillespie excelled on the offensive end this past season, with 15.1 points and 4.5 assists per game, Katz is looking for him to be even more of a contributor on the defensive end.
6. Marcus Zegarowski — Guard (Creighton, Junior)
Zegarowski has made himself one of the best players in the Big East averaging 16.1 points, five assists and just over a steal per game for Creighton. His field-goal percentage is also a key stat for the Bluejays as he shot nearly 50 percent from the field last season with a 42 percent clip from beyond the arc.
5. Marcus Garrett — Guard (Kansas, Senior)
Garrett will look to repeat as the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year. Averaging nearly two steals per game, Garrett will be a key contributor for the Jayhawks not just on the defensive side of the ball but also offensively, as they no longer have their star guard Devon Dotson.
4. Remy Martin — Guard (Arizona State, Senior)
Martin said he wants to push Arizona State to not only a Pac-12 Championship but a national championship this season on the Aug. 25 episode of March Madness 365. The ASU guard will look to improve upon his 19.1 points and 4.1 assists per game last season as Sun Devils are legitimate contenders for the Pac-12 crown and a deep NCAA tournament run.
3. Jared Butler — Guard (Baylor, Junior)
Baylor (fifth in the final NET rankings) was poised to enter the 2020 NCAA tournament as a contender for the Final Four due in part to their top scorer — Jared Butler. Butler and his 16 points per game are back to give the Bears a shot to win the Big 12 and make a deep March run.
2. Ayo Dosunmu — Guard (Illinois, Junior)
Dosunmu is one of the most clutch players in college basketball right now, according to Katz. During his sophomore campaign, Dosunmu led Illinois with 16.6 points and 3.3 assists per game. The Illinois guard has a good chance to compete for Big Ten and National Player of the Year, paired with big man Kofi Cockburn.
1. Luka Garza — Forward (Iowa, Senior)
Garza will go down as one of the all-time best Iowa players, according to Katz. Last season’s Big Ten Player of the Year nearly averaged a double-double with 23.9 points and 9.8 boards per game. The 6’11” forward can do it inside and out, as he shot nearly 60 percent inside the arc and more than 35 percent from three. Expect Luka to be the frontrunner for National Player of the Year throughout the 2020-2021 season.