The nation's best big men
Ranking the best bigs from college, NBA perspectives
During college hoops season, Jay Bilas and Chad Ford will start the week by addressing a big question, evaluating NBA prospects on the rise and looking ahead to the next week.
The discussion: Who are the best big men in the nation?
Jay Bilas: I consider a big man to be one who can play and guard the pivot, not necessarily a face-up 4 or an inside-out forward such as Doug McDermott of Creighton, Anthony Bennett of UNLV, Ryan Kelly of Duke or Kenny Kadji of Miami. I am talking more about a center or a 5 who can score and guard in the post, and is the man in the middle.
The one player I had trouble leaving off of this list is Nerlens Noel of Kentucky, who is as good as any big man as a shot-blocker, rebounder and energy guy, but does not have a reliable post game or an offensive skill set beyond playing off of penetration, rim runs and offensive rebounding. Another player I considered was Louisville center Gorgui Dieng, who is an outstanding shot-blocker and rebounder (leading the Big East in rebounding) but is not yet the offensive player that these other players are.
Of mid-major bigs, I went back and forth on the inclusion of Akron's Zeke Marshall, a skilled and efficient 7-footer who shoots better than 70 percent from the field, but he's not a high-volume rebounder, averaging 6.8 rebounds per game.
To read more from Chad Ford and Jay Bilas on the nation's best big men, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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