Tyler Haws and Frank Kaminsky lead SI's top projected scorers (in raw and efficiency-based metrics) respectively. Top projected rebounders and assisters are also listed.

By Dan Hanner & Luke Winn
October 14, 2014

How do you project a college basketball season?

Preseason polls are an average of perceptions -- of teams' returning talent and key additions, and their coaching staff's ability to convert it all into wins. Sports Illustrated's preview-issue rankings have always relied on that human-perception model, but this season, we've opted for something more scientific. Economist Dan Hanner has spent four seasons working on a statistical projection model that works from the bottom up, projecting advanced statistics -- including offensive rating, possession usage and rebounding rates -- for all Division I players, and using the results to project overall team performance. Hanner's model simulates the season 10,000 times, accounting for fluctuations in individual performance and health, and ranks teams according to their median performance. We'll reveal the entire 1-351 team rankings on Nov. 4 in SI and on SI.com, and in the lead-up, examine the model's most interesting individual-stat projections.

This is the first season Hanner, working with SI's Luke Winn, has attempted to forecast (and publish) raw points-, rebounds- and assists-per-game totals for every player in the top 11 conferences. The player projections are based on many factors: past advanced-statistical performance in the context of more than a decade of player data; the predictive power of recruiting rankings, both on immediate freshman performance and longer-term development; the quality of teammates and coaches; specific coaches' playing-time distribution tendencies; the estimated pace at which a team will play; and intel from coaches on how their rotations will be structured, which helps us better understand how many minutes and shots will be available to each player.

The first data-drop includes SI's projection of the nation's top 100 scorers according to raw points per game, as well as lists of the top 20 high-usage, high efficiency scorers, the top 20 rebounders, and the top 20 assist leaders. In the coming days we'll roll out our forecast of the top-scoring freshmen, the top-scoring transfers and the biggest breakout scorers. (Remember that these numbers exist within a team context; you won't find any Kentucky players here, because their proposed platoon system -- in which 10 players could each play around 20 minutes per game -- led to our system capping their top scorer, Aaron Harrison, at 11.4 points per game.)

Rank

name

class

pos.

team

ppg

ORtg

Poss (%)

1

Tyler Haws

Sr.

SG

BYU

24.6

118

29

2

Chasson Randle

Sr.

SG

Stanford

20.0

115

26

3

Joseph Young

Sr.

SG

Oregon

19.7

130

24

4

DaVonte Lacy

Sr.

SG

Washington St.

19.4

112

27

5

D.J. Balentine

Jr.

SG

Evansville

19.4

110

30

6

Jarvis Summers

Sr.

PG

Ole Miss

18.8

114

27

7

Myles Mack

Sr.

PG

Rutgers

18.8

114

26

8

Terran Petteway

Jr.

SG

Nebraska

18.6

104

31

9

Georges Niang

Jr.

PF

Iowa St.

18.4

114

28

10

Olivier Hanlan

Jr.

PG

Boston College

18.2

113

28

It was only four seasons ago that a BYU senior shooting guard was the nation's leading scorer and most talked-about player: Jimmer Fredette. The Cougar who could take that crown this season is far less famous: Tyler Haws, who was the country's sixth-leading scorer in 2013-14, on a team that lost its NCAA tournament opener to Oregon. Three of the players ahead of Haws graduated, one turned pro early and the other, Antoine Mason, transferred from Niagara to Auburn, where we forecast a scoring drop-off due to the increased level of competition. Haws' high-volume shooting tendency, reasonable efficiency and BYU's fast tempo makes him the most likely No. 1. The other prime contenders are also senior two-guards from the West Coast. Stanford's Chasson Randle (2) is another under-the-radar star who may have to shoulder a bigger offensive load now that Cardinal co-star Dwight Powell is in the NBA, and Oregon's Joseph Young (3) is a high-efficiency shooter/transition scorer on a roster that was decimated by transfers and player-ineligibility issues.

rank

name

class

pos.

team

PPG

OTRG

poss (%)

11

Jerian Grant

Sr.

PG

Notre Dame

18.1

124

26

12

D'Angelo Harrison

Sr.

SG

St. John's

18.0

114

26

13

D.J. Newbill

Sr.

SG

Penn State

17.8

106

27

14

K.T. Harrell

Sr.

SG

Auburn

17.8

109

28

15

Kellen Dunham

Jr.

SG

Butler

17.6

108

25

16

Brandon Clark

Sr.

PG

Santa Clara

17.4

112

27

17

Jared Brownridge

So.

SG

Santa Clara

17.4

118

23

18

Brad Waldow

Sr.

PF

Saint Mary's

17.4

120

27

19

Marcus Paige

Jr.

PG

North Carolina

17.2

120

22

20

Marcus Foster

So.

SG

Kansas State

17.2

105

27

Notre Dame's Jerian Grant (11) is somewhat of a forgotten man after missing last season's final 19 games due to an academic-related suspension. Grant was allowed to re-enroll at the school and, assuming he's the same player we saw early in '13-14, should battle with Boston College's Olivier Hanlan (10) and North Carolina's Marcus Paige (19) for the ACC scoring title. Santa Clara, meanwhile, looks poised to have the country's highest-scoring backcourt duo in senior point guard Brandon Clark (16) and sophomore shooting guard Jared Brownridge (17).

Rank

name

class

POs.

team

ppg

otrg

poss (%)

21

Evan Payne

So.

SG

Loyola Marymount

17.2

100

29

22

Jon Severe

So.

SG

Fordham

17.2

98

29

23

D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera

Jr.

SG

Georgetown

17.2

122

24

24

Yogi Ferrell

Jr.

PG

Indiana

17.1

120

25

25

Daniel Bejarano

Sr.

SG

Colorado

17.1

113

26

26

Johnny Dee

Sr.

SG

San Diego

17.1

120

23

27

Buddy Hield

Jr.

SG

Oklahoma

17.0

118

24

28

Le'Bryan Nash

Sr.

SF

Oklahoma St.

16.9

109

25

29

James Woodard

Jr.

SG

Tulsa

16.7

120

22

30

Juwan Staten

Sr.

PG

West Virginia

16.6

114

26

With Doug McDermott gone to the Bulls, the Big East should have a more open scoring-title competition between St. John's guard D'Angelo Harrison (No. 12), Butler guard Kellen Dunham (15) and Georgetown guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (23). And with Oklahoma State missing its two leading scorers from last season, Marcus Smart and Markel Brown, Cowboys guards LeBryan Nash (28) and Phil Forte (36) are both projected to become 16-point-plus per-game contributors.

Rank

name

class

pos.

team

PPg

otrg

poss (%)

31

Kendall Anthony

Sr.

PG

Richmond

16.3

110

26

32

Stacy Davis

Jr.

PF

Pepperdine

16.3

108

27

33

Will Cummings

Sr.

PG

Temple

16.3

110

25

34

Seth Tuttle

Sr.

PF

Northern Iowa

16.3

120

27

35

Treveon Graham

Sr.

SF

VCU

16.2

116

26

36

Phil Forte

Jr.

SG

Oklahoma St.

16.2

124

19

37

Perry Ellis

Jr.

PF

Kansas

16.1

127

23

38

Jahlil Okafor

Fr.

C

Duke

16.1

121

24

39

Rashad Vaughn

Fr.

SG

UNLV

16.0

118

23

40

Andre Hollins

Sr.

SG

Minnesota

15.9

117

24

The first freshmen appear! Duke's Jahlil Okafor (38), the No. 1 overall recruit in our aggregate Class of 2014 rankings, is a legit national player-of-the-year candidate. He's stepping into a perfect opportunity, with no one blocking him at the center position in the Blue Devils' rotation, two efficient point guards helping him in Quinn Cook and Tyus Jones, and plenty of shots available after the departure of Jabari Parker. UNLV's Rashad Vaughn (39) is the top talent in a huge Rebels recruiting class, and they need him to inherit the shots freed up by Bryce DeJean-Jones' transfer to Iowa State.

rank

name

class

pos.

team

ppg

otrg

poss (%)

41

Craig Sword

Jr.

SG

Mississippi St.

15.9

99

29

42

Jordan Sibert

Sr.

SG

Dayton

15.8

117

22

43

Codi Miller-McIntyre

Jr.

PG

Wake Forest

15.7

106

25

44

Rayvonte Rice

Sr.

SG

Illinois

15.6

110

26

45

Anthony Drmic

Sr.

SF

Boise St.

15.6

118

24

46

Patrick Holloway

Jr.

SG

George Mason

15.5

109

22

47

Sindarius Thornwell

So.

SG

South Carolina

15.5

107

27

48

Derrick Marks

Sr.

PG

Boise St.

15.4

108

30

49

Charles Mann

Jr.

PG

Georgia

15.4

101

29

50

Jordan Loveridge

Jr.

SF

Utah

15.3

111

24

Boise State, which was on the outside of the NCAA bubble last season after making the tournament in 2013, returns the projected Nos. 2 and 3 scorers in the Mountain West in wing Anthony Drmic (45) and point guard Derrick Marks (48). Utah, meanwhile, has two projected 15-plus point per-game scorers in Jordan Loveridge (50) and Delon Wright (57), who could help the Utes reach their first NCAA tournament since 2009.

Continue reading: 51-100 scorers, top rebounders and leading assist men

[pagebreak]

Wichita State's Fred VanVleet (L) and Ron Baker are both projected as top-90 scorers.
Peter G. Aiken/Getty
 

rank

name

class

pos.

team

ppg

otrg

poss (%)

51

Trevor Cooney

Jr.

SG

Syracuse

15.3

119

20

52

JayVaughn Pinkston

Sr.

PF

Villanova

15.2

120

26

53

Cezar Guerrero

Jr.

PG

Fresno St.

15.1

111

25

54

Sheldon McClellan

Jr.

SF

Miami (Fla.)

15.1

114

24

55

Josh Scott

Jr.

PF

Colorado

15.1

121

21

56

Anthony Beane

Jr.

SG

Southern Illinois

15.1

112

22

57

Delon Wright

Sr.

PG

Utah

15.1

121

22

58

Aaron White

Sr.

PF

Iowa

15.0

124

21

59

Montrezl Harrell

Jr.

PF

Louisville

15.0

122

23

60

Kevin Bailey

Sr.

SF

Portland

15.0

109

28

Trevor Cooney (51) should be the leading scorer by default for offensively challenged Syracuse. The model projects the junior shooting guard to increase his average from 12.1 to 15.3 points per game. All-America candidate Montrezl Harrell (59) is projected to average 15.0 points for Louisville; while he's the Cards' lone frontcourt scoring threat, he'll have to share shots with the backcourt duo of Chris Jones and Terry Rozier, both of whom are projected to score 12.5 points per game.

rank

name

Class

pos.

Team

ppg

otrg

poss (%)

61

Frank Kaminsky

Sr.

C

Wisconsin

15.0

126

25

62

Kyle Collinsworth

Jr.

PG

BYU

15.0

109

24

63

Marcus Marshall

Jr.

PG

Missouri

14.8

115

25

64

LaDontae Henton

Sr.

SF

Providence

14.7

115

21

65

E.C. Matthews

So.

SG

Rhode Island

14.7

106

25

66

Kyan Anderson

Sr.

PG

TCU

14.6

107

25

67

Nigel Williams-Goss

So.

PG

Washington

14.5

111

24

68

Ryan Boatright

Sr.

PG

Connecticut

14.5

110

24

69

Darrun Hillard

Sr.

SG

Villanova

14.5

116

23

70

Ron Baker

Jr.

SG

Wichita St.

14.3

124

23

Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky (61), one of the preseason frontrunners for the Wooden and Naismith awards, has a 15.0-point projection. While the Badgers' pace of play limits its leaders' raw point totals, Kaminsky should be regarded as one of the country's most efficient, high-usage scorers. At UConn, the system projects senior point guard Ryan Boatright (68) to average 14.5 points; freshman Daniel Hamilton and N.C. State transfer Rodney Purvis are the other Huskies who could reach double-digits.

rank

name

class

pos.

team

ppg

otrg

poss (%)

71

Dezmine Wells

Sr.

SG

Maryland

14.2

112

25

72

Kethan Savage

Jr.

SG

George Washington

14.2

107

25

73

Kevin Pangos

Sr.

PG

Gonzaga

14.2

127

20

74

Zak Irvin

So.

SF

Michigan

14.1

121

21

75

Milton Doyle

So.

PG

Loyal Chicago

14.1

98

30

76

J.J. Avila

Sr.

PF

Colorado St.

14.0

113

27

77

Pat Connaughton

Sr.

SF

Notre Dame

14.0

127

19

78

Aaron Thomas

Jr.

SG

Florida

13.9

107

25

79

Jalen Jones

Sr.

SF

Texas

13.9

109

24

80

Michael Perez

Sr.

PG

Nevada

13.8

105

21

Gonzaga point guard Kevin Pangos (73) has made a career out of efficient, moderate-usage scoring, and that should continue this season. We project him to crack the top 100 at 14.2 points per game and be the leader of a Zags offense that could have four other double-digit scorers in Kyle Wiltjer, Gary Bell Jr., Przemek Karnowski and Byron Wesley. At Michigan, our projections see wing Zak Irvin (74) making a big jump from 6.7 points per game as a freshman to 14.1 as a sophomore.

rank

name

class

pos.

team

ppg

otrg

poss (%)

81

Jonathan Stark

So.

PG

Tulane

13.8

109

24

82

Quenton DeCosey

Jr.

SG

Temple

13.8

107

22

83

Sam Dekker

Jr.

SF

Wisconsin

13.8

105

22

84

Thomas

Sr.

PF

Portland

13.8

121

22

85

Daishon Knight

Sr.

SG

Illinois St.

13.8

98

27

86

Louis Dabney

Jr.

SG

Tulane

13.7

103

28

87

Fred VanVleet

Jr.

PG

Wichita St.

13.7

130

21

88

Jordan Mickey

So.

PF

LSU

13.7

112

20

89

Larry Nance Jr.

Sr.

PF

Wyoming

13.7

114

24

90

DeAndre Mathieu

Sr.

PG

Minnesota

13.7

109

23

Fred VanVleet (87) isn't forecasted as Wichita State's leading scorer -- that would be Ron Baker (70) -- but its senior point guard is projected to put up an incredibly efficient 13.7 points per game with an offensive rating of 130, while also dishing out 5.5 assists. The system has Larry Nance Jr. (89), who's coming back from a February ACL tear, regaining his status as Wyoming's leading scorer, but that's contingent on a full return to health.

RANK

NAME

CLASS

POS.

TEAM

PPG

OTRG

POSS (%)

91

Tyrone Wallace

Jr.

PG

California

13.6

110

22

92

Kadeem Jack

Sr.

PF

Rutgers

13.6

105

24

93

Nic Moore

Jr.

PG

SMU

13.6

117

21

94

A.J. Hammons

Jr.

C

Purdue

13.6

106

25

95

Billy Garrett

So.

PG

DePaul

13.6

108

24

96

Adam Smith

Jr.

SG

Virginia Tech

13.6

106

25

97

Cady Lalanne

Sr.

PF

Massachusetts

13.6

111

21

98

Jerrell Wright

Sr.

PF

La Salle

13.6

110

27

99

Matt Carlino

Sr.

PG

Marquette

13.5

106

23

100

Brian Sullivan

Jr.

SG

Davidson

13.5

112

22

Even though SMU won't have super-recruit Emmanuel Mudiay -- he chose the Mustangs but opted for a pro deal in China instead -- it has an efficient lead guard in Nic Moore (93), who's projected to score 13.6 points per game. In order to surprise anyone in the Big Ten, Purdue probably needs a huge year out of 7-foot junior A.J. Hammons (94), but our system projects a modest 2.8-point jump from his sophomore year average, to 13.6 points per game.

Continue reading: Top efficient, high-usage scorers; leading rebounders and assist men

[pagebreak]

Jerian Grant was playing at an elite level last season before an academic suspension sidelined him. He projects strongly in our raw and efficiency-based projected stats.
Joe Robbins/Getty

Projecting the most efficient, high-usage scorers

Anyone familiar with advanced stats (or really, basketball at all) knows that the top 100 scorers in raw points per game aren't the 100 most valuable scorers in the game. That's why we've broken out a separate projection chart of the 20 most efficient scorers whom the system expects to use at least 24 percent of their team's possessions, thus making them "high-usage" players.

This is where Kaminsky's value to Wisconsin really becomes evident. He's projected to use a quarter of the Badgers' possessions at a 1.259-points-per clip -- the best of anyone in the country. Okafor's All-America candidacy also becomes clearer, and this suggests that pundits should be talking more about Saint Mary's senior forward Brad Waldow in the preseason:

rank

name

class

team

pred. volume

pred. otrg

1

Frank Kaminsky

Sr.

Wisconsin

25%

125.9

2

Jerian Grant

Sr.

Notre Dame

26%

124.0

3

Jahlil Okafor

Fr.

Duke

24%

120.6

4

Brad Waldow

Sr.

Saint Mary's

27%

120.0

5

Seth Tuttle

Sr.

Northern Iowa

27%

120.0

6

Yogi Ferrell

Jr.

Indiana

25%

120.0

7

JayVaughn Pinkston

Sr.

Villanova

26%

119.7

8

Tyler Haws

Sr.

BYU

29%

118.2

9

Anthony Drmic

Sr.

Boise St.

24%

117.9

10

Treveon Graham

Sr.

VCU

26%

115.6

11

Chasson Randle

Sr.

Stanford

26%

115.4

12

Joshua Smith

Sr.

Georgetown

26%

114.9

13

Marcus Marshall

Jr.

Missouri St.

25%

114.7

14

Georges Niang

Jr.

Iowa St.

28%

114.5

15

Jarvis Summers

Sr.

Mississippi

27%

114.3

16

Larry Nance Jr.

Sr.

Wyoming

24%

114.3

17

Juwan Staten

Sr.

West Virginia

26%

114.2

18

D'Angelo Harrison

Sr.

St. John's

26%

114.1

19

Myles Mack

Sr.

Rutgers

26%

113.6

20

Daniel Bejarano

Sr.

Colorado St.

26%

113.5

Projecting the top 20 rebounders

Many of the college game's elite rebounders (Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes, Kentucky's Julius Randle, Boise State's Ryan Watkins, etc.) either turned pro or graduated after last season, and thus no player from the top 11 conferences is projected to average double-digit boards. UMass senior Cady Lalanne, who averaged 7.9 rebounds last season, is the system's top pick. Three players who made the most-efficient high-usage scorers list -- Okafor, Waldow and Northern Iowa's Seth Tuttle -- also appear among the top glass-cleaners.

rank

player

class

team

rpg

1

Cady Lalanne

Sr.

Massachusetts

9.2

2

Nate Austin

Sr.

BYU

9.1

3

Jahlil Okafor

Fr.

Duke

9.1

4

Steve Zack

Sr.

La Salle

8.8

5

Ricardo Gathers

Jr.

Baylor

8.7

6

Egidijus Mockevicius

Jr.

Evansville

8.7

7

Ryan Rhoomes

Jr.

Fordham

8.6

8

Josh Scott

Jr.

Colorado

8.5

9

A.J. Hammons

Jr.

Purdue

8.5

10

Kameron Woods

Sr.

Butler

8.5

11

Ryan Spangler

Jr.

Oklahoma

8.5

12

Brad Waldow

Sr.

Saint Mary's

8.5

13

Seth Tuttle

Sr.

Northern Iowa

8.4

14

Myles Turner

Fr.

Texas

8.2

15

Kennedy Meeks

So.

North Carolina

8.2

16

Domantas Sabonis

Fr.

Gonzaga

8.1

17

Jordan Mickey

So.

LSU

8.0

18

Stacy Davis

Jr.

Pepperdine

7.9

19

A.J. West

Sr.

Nevada

7.9

20

David Kravish

Sr.

California

7.8

Projecting the top 20 assist leaders

Notre Dame's Grant isn’t just a high-volume, high-efficiency scorer: He's also projected to chase the national assist title, which makes him a strong All-ACC candidate. Christopher Anderson, a senior point guard at San Diego who averaged 5.0, 5.7 and 6.2 assists during his first three seasons, is forecasted to be the No. 1 distributor in our 11-conference sample. VanVleet's presence in the top five, combined with his low turnover rate and smart shot selection, is what makes him an All-America candidate. Duke's Tyus Jones, a five-star point guard recruit, is projected as freshman who will have the most assists -- with plenty of them expected to go to Okafor.

rank

player

class

team

apg

1

Christopher Anderson

Sr.

San Diego

6.5

2

Jerian Grant

Sr.

Notre Dame

6.2

3

L.J. Rose

Jr.

Houston

5.8

4

Matt Carlino

Sr.

Marquette

5.7

5

Fred VanVleet

Jr.

Wichita St.

5.5

6

Juwan Staten

Sr.

West Virginia

5.2

7

T.J. McConnell

Sr.

Arizona

5.1

8

Shannon Scott

Sr.

Ohio

5.1

9

Tyus Jones

Fr.

Duke

4.9

10

Austin Chatman

Sr.

Creighton

4.9

11

Delon Wright

Sr.

Utah

4.9

12

Nic Moore

Jr.

SMU

4.8

13

Anthony Collins

Sr.

South Florida

4.8

14

Jeremy Major

So.

Pepperdine

4.8

15

Alex Caruso

Jr.

Texas A&M

4.8

16

James Robinson

Jr.

Pittsburgh

4.7

17

Myles Mack

Sr.

Rutgers

4.6

18

Marcus Paige

Jr.

North Carolina

4.6

19

Kenny Chery

Sr.

Baylor

4.6

20

Jarvis Summers

Sr.

Missisippi

4.6

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