It’s summer time in the sports internet world and that means we’re right in the middle of list season. Basketball Prospectus is making sure that they get in on the fun with their rankings of the Top 100 College Basketball Players. Doron Lamb was 43, which many of you disagreed with and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is #29, which probably might not sit well either. However, it’s Anthony Davis’ ranking that appears to be the most curious. The place the nation’s top incoming player at #21 overall. Yes, they think there are 20 better college basketball players than Anthony Davis.
Here is what they based the decision on:
21. Anthony Davis, Kentucky (Fr., PF)
Obviously I don’t wildly disagree with Gary Parrish’s preseason All-American teams: I have seven of his ten players in my own top ten, and Davis carries the lowest ranking of any of the three Parrish players that I omitted. I do think, though, that people are beginning to give too much credit to impact freshmen before they step on campus. Of the top-5 talents from the recruiting classes of 2006 through 2010, college basketball reaped seven All-Americans (Jared Sullinger, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, and Kevin Love), six all-conference selections (Tyreke Evans, Harrison Barnes, Derrick Rose, Eric Gordon, O.J. Mayo, and Brandan Wright), seven high-major starters (Avery Bradley, Jrue Holiday, Samardo Samuels, Derrick Favors, Kyrie Irving, Spencer Hawes, Ty Lawson), three high-major nonstarters (Byron/B.J. Mullens, Josh Selby, John Henson), and two guys who never played in the NCAA (Brandon Jennings and Enes Kanter). That’s a high bar. More than half of those 25 guys were all-conference. But I see way too much potential in the Derrick Favors route to put Davis much higher than 21. Don’t get me wrong, Davis is a serious talent with tons of upside. I think he’s ready to play and contribute in the SEC right now. Davis was a guard less than two years ago, and he still has legitimate guard skills. He’s a scary defender. It’s just that I’ve seen him on teams with less talent than the 2012 Kentucky Wildcats will have, and on those teams he’s been forgotten on offense for long stretches. If Davis demands the ball and takes a measure of control of this UK team, he’ll have a tough time staying off the All-America list at the end of the year. But there’s a very real chance that he doesn’t, even though he could easily find himself an integral member of an NBA rotation in 18 months. My expectations for Davis are high, it’s just that everyone else’s have gotten really, really high. Of the last five No. 1-ranked entering freshmen, just one became a freshman All-American: Greg Oden.
Kaboom! 20 players better than Anthony Davis. Start listing them now. Go!