In April, a loaded group of veterans at Baylor edged out Gonzaga, the best team in the country all year, to win the men’s national title convincingly, 86–70.
Next season, as the world reopens amid improving numbers from the COVID-19 pandemic and teams return to campus on a more normal schedule, the expectation is that freshmen will again push the successes of many of the best teams in the country.
To that end, we take a look at the top 10 players in the final SI99 men’s basketball recruiting rankings for 2021 and analyze what kind of impact each player could have on their team next season.
1. PF / C Chet Holmgren / Minneapolis (Minnehaha Academy) —Gonzaga
How he’ll help the Bulldogs: Holmgren is billed as a power forward / center, and he totally can be, but if you need him to be a point guard, he can be too. Do you need me to score 3s like a shooter? He has you covered. Does he work his way from the perimeter to the basket for a momentum-changing dunk? Done.
Suffice it to say that Holmgren, the IS All-American Player of the Year, is the most versatile player Mark Few has ever had on campus, as evidenced by his “unicorn” nickname. Still, perhaps his most dominant skill is blocking and altering shots. Holmgren is a master at timing his blocks and is kind of, if not more, dominant on the defensive end.
2. PF / C Paolo Banchero / Seattle (O’Dea) —Duke
How he will help the Blue Devils: Banchero is the most important player to Duke’s goal of sending Mike Krzyzewski to a national title in his final season. At 6’11 “, Banchero is a three-tier scorer you can create with dribbling from the wing, and that specific skill set will open the floodgates offensively for a young and talented Blue Devils team. Expect Banchero to be the most popular. player on the court for Duke, which should give Trevor Keels, Jaylen Blakes, Jeremy Roach and Joey Baker a better appearance from the perimeter.
3. SG Jaden Hardy / Henderson, Nevada (Coronado) —G League Ignite
How It Will Help Ignite: Hardy is a dead-eyed shooter with a range that extends well beyond the NBA’s three-point line. At 6-foot-4, Hardy was the deadliest baseline scorer in high school basketball last year due to his limitless and efficient reach, quick release, strength, and athleticism. Just a few steps beyond the line. half court and is within reach, a devastating reality for defenders due to his elite versatility as a three-level scorer.
4. PF Michael Foster / Phoenix (Hillcrest Prep) —G League Ignite
How it will help Ignite: Foster went the pro route because his game is more suited to a pro style. The 6 ‘9 “Foster scores efficiently on all three levels and is adept at using his brute force to finish through contact efficiently. Foster thrives on pick-and-pop, pick-and-slip, and pick-and-slip. roll while also doubles as a rebounder gifted with a relentless motor.
5. SF Patrick Baldwin Jr. / Sussex, Wis. (Hamilton) —UW-Milwaukee
How he’ll help the Panthers: Milwaukee, coached by Baldwin’s father Patrick Sr., fought from the perimeter (32%) last season, but that number should increase as Baldwin is inserted into the lineup. Baldwin has an NBA range from deep with a large size (6’8 “) and a high basketball IQ. His ability to make plays will give the Panthers multiple offensive looks, and his ability to protect all five positions. should cut Milwaukee’s 76.3 points per game, he gave up last season.
6. PG Kennedy Chandler / Wichita, Kansas (Sunrise Christian Academy) —Tennessee
How he’ll help the Vols: As talented as Jaden Springer at the point last season for Rick Barnes, Chandler will be an upgrade. It’s that rare combination of a leader doing it both vocally and by example. Chandler combines elite athleticism, superior vision, three-level scoring ability, and a high basketball IQ with supreme confidence that is relentless. His personality and leadership are infectious and demand elevation throughout the game.
7. PF Jabari Smith Jr. / Tyrone, Georgia (Sandy Creek) —Auburn
How he will help the Tigers: Smith will be the most versatile player in Bruce Pearl’s lineup next season. The 6’10 “big man is a capable rebounder and tire protector and dominates the paint with his back to the basket, but he’s an even bigger threat up front. Still, his ability to knock down 3s efficiently is what sets him apart. and what will ultimately make Auburn terrifying in the SEC next season.
8. SG Caleb Houstan / Montverde, Fla. (Montverde Academy) —Michigan
How it will help the Wolverines: Iowa narrowly surpassed the Wolverines as the best three-point shooting team in the Big Ten last season, but with Houstan in the lineup, Juwan Howard’s team has a chance to reach first place. from the deep. Houstan, Howard’s number one recruiting star for 2021, has the size (6’8 “) and efficiency from the perimeter to replace Isaiah Livers’ 43% of the three from last season.
9. PF Moussa Diabaté / Bradenton, Fla. (IMG Academy) —Michigan
How it will help the Wolverines: Diabaté is a 6 ’10 “workhorse in the paint with a 7′ 3” wingspan and an engine that stays at full throttle. His bouncing prowess and skill as a tire protector is where his presence will be most felt next season as Howard & Co. wait to see if Hunter Dickinson returns to Ann Arbor.
10. PG JD Davison / Letohatchee, Ala. (Calhoun) —Alabama
How It Will Help Crimson Tide: Davison has a special blend of speed, dexterity and athleticism that devastates rival guards and makes it tailored to Nate Oats’ system, which relies on quick scoring opportunities and guards who play to their instincts. . Davison scores in groups at all three levels and should pair well with Jaden Shackelford, Jahvon Quinerly and Nimari Burnett. That quartet will be the deepest and most deadly guard quartet in college basketball next season.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.