With so many sophomores returning to campuses this year and an exciting incoming freshman class that has as many blue chippers as any in recent years, we may be overlooking a deep and talented senior class that has stuck around for a variety of reasons. While Kentucky was able to make a Final Four run with youngsters last year, and UConn had a ton of underclassmen helping Kemba Walker win the title, let us not overlook the value of age, experience and talent with this year's seniors.
Tyler Zeller Lost in the return of Harrison Barnes is the return of Zeller at the 5 spot. Zeller runs the floor better than any center in college basketball and looks to be a legit 6-foot-11, maybe even 7 feet tall. With a solid, go-to right-hand jump hook and a decent face-up game, Zeller carried the Heels until Barnes and fellow frosh Kendall Marshall came into their own. Zeller is a good shot blocker, quality outlet passer and the only low-post scorer on their roster. He will excel this year.
Ashton Gibbs Though Pitt struggled to score from behind the arc at other positions on the floor last year, Gibbs has always provided the Panthers with a floor-stretching element. The gunner has improved his off-the-bounce game over the past three years. Maybe most impressive is how Gibbs managed to run the team and still find his points within the offense when Travon Woodall was not on the floor. Gibbs is a 2 who loves the corner 3-pointer coming off a down screen or the free throw line extended 3 from NBA range. Last year Gibbs showed an improved step-back jumper going left. If he has added to his game this year and others can take some of the pressure off him to score, Gibbs should once again be in the running for Big East Player of the Year.
For more on the best seniors in college baseketball and how they may impact the upcoming season, you must be an ESPN Insider.