SI projects Gonzaga's Kyle Wiltjer, Colorado's Josh Scott and Georgetown's D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera to be the top three high-volume, high-efficiency scorers in college basketball.

By Dan Hanner & Luke Winn
October 16, 2015

Over the coming weeks, SI will reveal its player projections, conference forecasts and national rankings for the 2015-16. These are derived from our statistical projection system, a collaboration between economist Dan Hanner and SI's Luke Winn and Chris Johnson that's now in its second year.

We used our projection model to generate individual stats for every player in each of the top 11 conferences. The individual projections are based on many factors: players' past advanced-statistical performance in the context of more than a decade of D-I player data; the predictive power of recruiting ratings, both on immediate freshman performance and longer-term development; coaches' abilities to develop and maximize talent, as well as their playing-time distribution tendencies; teams' estimated pace of play; and intel from teams on how their rotations will be structured, which helps us better forecast how many minutes and shots will be available to each player.

The third reveal of SI's projection-system output is our top high-volume, high-efficiency scorers—players we forecast to use at least 24 percent of their team's possessions with an offensive rating of at least 120:

Rank Name Team Projected ORTG Last year’s ORTG Projected Poss% Projected Min%
1 Kyle Wiltjer Gonzaga 127.9 129.7 26% 83%
2 Josh Scott Colorado 122.8 127.6 24% 75%
3 D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera Georgetown 121.3 121.4 24% 88%
4 Fred VanVleet Wichita St. 121.1 120.5 25% 79%
5 Jordan Barham Davidson 120.7 121.1 24% 55%

Wiltjer's frontrunner status in our preseason POY projections is largely due to his hyper-efficient scoring. SI projects Wiltjer to post usage-and-efficiency numbers similar to what Frank Kaminsky did for Wisconsin in 2014-15. Our projections also view Colorado's Josh Scott as an under-the-radar star and possibly the most valuable offensive player in the Pac-12—even if his Buffaloes are unlikely to make the NCAA tournament.

MORE: Wiltjer leads SI's preseason Player of the Year projections

Rank Name Team Projected ORTG Last year’s ORTG Projected Poss% Projected Min%
6 Jack Gibbs Davidson 120.0 122.3 26% 85%
7 Jared Brownridge Santa Clara 118.6 120.0 26% 86%
8 Melo Trimble Maryland 117.9 117.1 24% 84%
9 James Blackmon Jr. Indiana 117.9 115.1 25% 72%
10 Anthony Gill Virginia 117.2 122.7 25% 70%

The key reason Davidson will contend for a second straight Atlantic-10 title is the inside-outside duo of Jordan Barham (who made 60.3% of his twos last season) and Jack Gibbs (who made 42.4% of his threes). Davidson projects to be the nation's only team featuring two high-volume scorers with offensive ratings in the 120s. Indiana, meanwhile, has a super-efficient duo of its own in shooting guard James Blackmon Jr. and wing Troy Williams.

Rank Name Team Projected ORTG Last year’s ORTG Projected Poss% Projected Min%
11 Troy Williams Indiana 116.6 113.7 24% 60%
12 Perry Ellis Kansas 116.4 108.3 24% 80%
13 Nigel Hayes Wisconsin 116.1 124.7 27% 85%
14 Buddy Hield Oklahoma 114.4 110.8 26% 80%
15 Zach Auguste Notre Dame 114.1 116.3 27% 69%

Junior hybrid forward Nigel Hayes is primed to become Wisconsin's go-to-guy—and the most efficient, high-volume frontcourt player in the Big Ten. Virginia's Anthony Gill and Notre Dame's Zach Auguste, meanwhile, are expected to battle for the title of most efficient post player in the ACC.

• MORE: Projecting the top 100 scorers in college basketball

Rank Name Team Projected ORTG Last year’s ORTG Projected Poss% Projected Min%
16 Denzel Valentine Michigan St. 113.8 114.9 24% 89%
17 Kyle Collinsworth BYU 113.0 113.0 27% 85%
18 Jaylen Brown California 113.0   27% 80%
19 T.J. Cline Richmond 112.5 108.9 26% 70%
20 Malcolm Hill Illinois 112.5 113.1 24% 74%

Michigan State's Denzel Valentine and BYU's Kyle Collinsworth are darkhorse POY candidates; each player is his team's most effective scoring option and primary playmaker. The lone freshman to crack the top 20 is Cal's Jaylen Brown, an athletic wing whom we project to have a Justise Winslow-like offensive rating—while using more possessions than Winslow did last season at Duke.

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