Smith (pictured) fell under the "Good Player/Bad Team" category last season, putting up averages of 16.5 points and 7.3 rebounds while the Wolfpack stumbled to a 5-11 finish in the ACC. N.C. State should emerge from the ACC basement in '10-11, though, with a recruiting class that included Leslie, a locally grown, five-star power forward.
2 of 16Greg Nelson/SI
The Spartans' frontcourt consists exclusively of role players, but they're excellent role players. The offense often runs through Green (pictured), who averaged 9.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists last season while winning the Big Ten's Sixth Man of the Year award. Roe is a banger who averaged 5.0 rebounds in 20.6 minutes, and Nix is another bulky glass-crasher. Payne, a highly coveted center prospect, will have to fight to earn minutes as a freshman.
3 of 16Greg Nelson/SI
Young is an intriguing addition to the Gators' frontcourt. He's a defensive-minded power forward who, on the U.S. Under-18 team in this summer's FIBA Americas tournament, controlled the paint while shouting out commands like a middle linebacker. Parsons (pictured) is a versatile three-man who pounds the defensive boards but also shot 35.8 percent from beyond the arc last season, while Macklin (at 6-foot-10) and Tyus (at 6-8) are strictly low-post operators.
4 of 16Greg Nelson/SI
Harris was the West Coast Conference's newcomer of the year in '09-10, averaging 14.9 points and 7.1 rebounds; the German "hybrid" forward is a leading candidate for the league's overall player of the year award as a sophomore. Olynyk had a breakout summer playing with the Canadian senior national team in the FIBA Worlds, and should be another versatile scorer for the Zags. Sacre is a classic, back-to-the-basket 7-footer with solid offensive skills.
5 of 16Bob Rosato/SI
Acy (pictured) is a 6-foot-7 leaper who led the NCAA in field-goal percentage last season at 69.7 -- mostly because he was throwing down dunks on feeds from the Bears' talented guards. Jones, a five-star, 6-11 small forward, is the most highly touted recruit ever to play for Baylor, and is projected as a top-five pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. The Bears added depth when Morgan, another 6-10 forward, received an immediate-eligibility waiver after transferring out of UCLA.
6 of 16Bill Frakes/SI
USA Basketball's staff -- particularly Villanova coach Jay Wright, who ran the college Select team this summer -- raved about the 6-foot-10 Leuer (pictured), predicting that he'll be a future pro. His junior season was abbreviated by nine games due to a broken wrist, but he should be an All-Big Ten pick, and potential All-American, as a senior. Nankivil is another under-the-radar athlete who likes to crash the offensive glass, grabbing 10.2 percent of available offensive boards last season.
7 of 16AP
While the Bulldogs finished last in the SEC East in '09-10, Thompkins (left) saved face by putting up big numbers: 17.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. He and Leslie (right), who's listed as a 6-4 guard but sees minutes at power forward, are regarded as being among their conference's top pro prospects. (Leslie's numbers last season -- 14.8 points, 6.8 rebounds -- weren't bad, either, which begs the question: Why did the Dawgs lose so many games?)
8 of 16John Biever/SI
Lauderdale is a 6-foot-8 shot-blocker with an enormous, 7-6 wingspan; he swatted 9.9 percent of opponents' two-point attempts last season. Sullinger is a 6-9 widebody who has all the offensive skills that Lauderdale lacks, and could very well be an All-Big Ten first-team selection as a freshman. Don't be surprised if Sullinger, and not shooting guard William Buford, leads the Buckeyes in scoring in '10-11.
9 of 16AP
Kanter (pictured) has yet to be cleared by the NCAA, which is investigating allegations that he was paid a salary by a Turkish pro team two seasons ago. If allowed to play, though, the 6-foot-11 Turk should be among the college game's best big men. He's already honed his skills against senior Euroleague competition and will have little trouble dominating in the NCAA. Jones, the other five-star forward to commit to UK from the Class of 2010, is a Lamar Odom-like talent who'll be a major matchup problem on the perimeter for opposing fours.
10 of 16John Biever/SI
Big things are expected out of Joseph (pictured), a 6-foot-7 Montreal product who played an auxiliary role in '09-10, averaging 10.8 points while Wesley Johnson and Andy Rautins took the bulk of the Orange's shots. Joseph was named to the Wooden Award's watch list and should lead Syracuse in scoring. Coach Jim Boeheim has been talking up Melo, a five-star, 7-foot Brazilian, as a possible Big East Freshman of the Year.
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Tisdale (right), a 7-foot-1 senior, is one of the country's more underrated offensive big men. He shot 58.0 percent from the field last season, made 83.9 percent of his free throws -- and five of his six long-range attempts. Davis (left) isn't quite as effective as a scorer, but he dominates the defensive glass (grabbing 23.5 percent of opponents' shots to limit second-chance attempts). Richmond, a 6-7, five-star freshman, is so versatile that he could be counted as a member of the frontcourt or the backcourt, but since he'll play the three and do most of his work inside the arc, he appears on this list.
12 of 16Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
This is the season of the Brothers Morris in Lawrence. Marcus (left) is being hyped as an All-America candidate, and justifiably so, after posting the team's best offensive rating (120.7) last season, as well as its second-best offensive rebounding percentage (12.8). Markieff's impact is felt more on the defensive end, where he should be the Jayhawks' top shot-blocker and rebounder. Robinson could potentially be a beast on the glass as well, and Withey, if he recovers from a broken foot suffered in September, gives KU a nice 7-foot defensive presence.
13 of 16David E. Klutho/SI
Kelly (pictured) had a nice debut season for the Wildcats in '09-10, averaging 11.5 points and 6.2 rebounds, and the 6-foot-8 lefty should again be their primary interior scorer. Samuels (who's 6-7) and Judge (who's 6-9) are both phenomenal athletes who'll make sure K-State remains among the national leaders in offensive rebounding. The wild card here is Asprilla, a 6-10 transfer from Florida Atlantic who was named the Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year in '08-09. After a year off, does he have what it takes to be a force in the Big 12?
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Barnes is the real deal. He's the best freshman in the Class of 2010 and could very well win the Wooden and Naismith Awards. His silky smooth inside-out game is rarely seen -- or at least for very long -- at the college level, and he has drawn comparisons to (the good version of) Tracy McGrady. Although he may be a guard in the NBA, Barnes will do enough glasswork at Carolina to be counted as a member of the frontcourt. Henson (left), who had a lackluster freshman year while playing out of position, should start at the four while the 7-foot Zeller (right) holds down the paint.
15 of 16Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Singler (left) is the best senior in the eyes of the NBA -- a 6-foot-8 forward who can score inside and out, and would've been a first-round pick had he not pulled out of the 2010 draft. Younger Plumlee brother Mason, a 6-10 sophomore, is expected to have a breakout season after being restricted in Year 1 due to a broken wrist. His brother, Miles (right), a 6-10 junior, was a key cog in the Blue Devils' frontcourt during their national-title run, and was their second-best rebounder (in offensive and defensive percentage) after Brian Zoubek. Hairston is a mature freshman power forward who can help fill the role vacated by Lance Thomas.
16 of 16Joe Robbins/Getty Images
No other team has a 1-2 punch in its frontcourt like the Boilers' Hummel (left) and Johnson (right). Recovered from an ACL injury that spoiled Purdue's shot at making the Final Four in Indy, Hummel is one of the game's most versatile scorers as well as his team's best defensive rebounder. Johnson pulled out of the NBA Draft at the 11th hour and gives them a huge presence (he's 6-foot-10 with a 7-4 wingspan) in the middle of the paint.
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