Top 10 college basketball players

Indiana's Cody Zeller, Duke's Mason Plumlee among nation's top players

Originally Published: December 24, 2012
By Jay Bilas and Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
Cody Zeller and Mason Plumlee Getty ImagesCody Zeller and Mason Plumlee are two of the top college basketball players in the nation.

During college hoops season, Jay Bilas and Chad Ford will start the week off by addressing a big question, evaluating NBA prospects on the rise and looking ahead to the next week.

The discussion: Who are the 10 best players in college basketball?

Chad Ford: When I'm watching college games, I tend to focus exclusively on NBA potential. So this question requires me to stretch my brain a little more. For the last decade or so, my definition of a great college player has always been how he will be as a future pro.

However, objectively I know that this definition is far from accurate. Some of the best college players of all time have either been terrible pros (Adam Morrison, Marcus Fizer, Shelden Williams) or mediocre ones (Tyler Hansbrough and Michael Beasley).

So if I throw away the NBA draft lens ... who do I think are the 10 best players in college basketball? I took a combination of advanced statistics, individual importance to team and team success to come up with the following list:

1. Cody Zeller, C, Indiana Hoosiers

While NBA scouts are starting to get cold feet, there's no denying that Zeller is one of the top college players in the country. He ranks seventh in PER, is second in Ken Pomeroy's Offensive Rating and has one of the highest basketball IQs in the game. Zeller runs the floor like a guard and he's the unquestioned leader on a team that should be playing in the Final Four come April.

2. Trey Burke, PG, Michigan Wolverines

I might be the only guy in America who has the Wolverines ranked ahead of the Blue Devils on my Power Rankings ballot. While I think Duke has been phenomenal, I think Michigan has the most talent of any team in the country and I think Burke is their secret weapon. He's a true floor leader who contributes in every single way for Michigan -- scoring, passing, defense and clutch leadership. If I were choosing one point guard to lead my team into the Final Four, Burke would be my guy.


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Jay Bilas

College Basketball analyst

Chad Ford | email

Senior Writer, NBA Insider