Luke Winn's Top 15 Frontcourts
Randal Falker (pictured), Matt Shaw <br><br>The free-spirited Falker was the beast of the Missouri Valley last season, averaging 12.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks en route to winning the conference's defensive player of the year honors. Shaw was a steady inside-out presence at the four position, scoring 11.3 points and grabbing 5.7 rebounds per game. He and Falker form the best mid-major forward duo in the country.
Charles Thomas (pictured), Stephen Hill, Sonny Weems, Darian Townes, Vincent Hunter<br><br>The Hogs have four players 6-foot-10 or taller on their roster: Hill (7-0), Townes (6-10), Hunter (6-10) and Michael Washington (6-10). Hill, who swatted 99 shots in 35 games, is one of the nation's top shot blockers, while the one forward who's under 82 inches -- the 6-8 Thomas -- is Arkansas' best all-around inside presence. He averaged 10.7 points and 5.7 rebounds as a junior, including an 18-point, 18-rebound game against Mississippi State in February.
Josh Heytvelt (pictured), Abdullahi Kuso, David Pendergraft, Austin Daye<br><br>The return of Heytvelt, who was suspended for the final nine games of last season after being arrested with psychedelic mushrooms in his gymbag, boosts the Zags frontcourt into elite status. He averaged 15.5 points and 7.7 rebounds prior to the suspension, and starred with a 19-point, eight-board effort in Gonzaga's upset of North Carolina in the Preseason NIT. Kuso is a high-quality hustle player in the post, and the addition of Daye -- a five-star, 6-10 forward with NBA genes -- could help get the Zags back in the national rankings after a down year.
Taj Gibson (pictured), Davon Jefferson, Mamadou Diarra, RouSean Cromwell<br><br>The fact that Jefferson is arriving in the same class as O.J. Mayo means the 6-8 forward is destined to get overlooked, but in the Trojans' abbreviated (one-game) trip to Mexico over Labor Day weekend, Jefferson equaled Mayo's scoring output of 29 points. Gibson, meanwhile, was a strong post presence as a freshman, averaging 12.2 points and a team-high 8.7 rebounds.
D.J. White (pictured), Mike White, Eli Holman<br><br>Holman, a four-star, 6-10 freshman from Richmond, Calif., could start at center from Day One ... as long as the NCAA declares him academically eligible. That decision is still pending. It'll affect where Hoosiers star D.J. White -- who's the only reason they're on this list -- is positioned for his senior season. He averaged 13.8 points and 7.3 rebounds playing the five in '06-07, and would presumably be more effective playing alongside another legitimate big man.
Derrick Caracter (pictured), Juan Palacios, David Padgett, Earl Clark<br><br>Caracter's freshman year was marred by conflict with coach Rick Pitino, causing the former five-star prospect to only appear in 18 of the Cardinals' 34 games. The low-post giant (Caracter is listed at 6-9, 265 pounds) showed glimpses of star potential down the stretch last season, and both he (55.8 FG percent) and Padgett (59.7 percent) are high-efficiency scorers.
Michael Beasley (pictured), David Hoskins, Bill Walker<br><br>The Wildcats do not have a deep frontcourt. Former star Cartier Martin is gone. And Walker, a 6-6 small forward whose weight ballooned after a freshman-year knee injury, has work to do to get back to his former state, which was that of a five-star mega-prospect. K-State is mostly on this list because of Beasley, who just might put up bigger numbers -- we're talking 20-and-10 potential -- than any other freshman in the country. He's going to bolt for the NBA Draft soon, though, so 'Cats fans better savor this season.
Ryan Anderson (pictured), DeVon Hardin, Theo Robertson <br><br>The 6-10 Anderson had an unexpectedly huge freshman season, averaging 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. While Anderson is an inside-outside presence (he hit 58 threes), the 6-11 Hardin is the Bears' force in the paint. He only played 11 games last season before suffering a stress fracture in his left foot, but averaged 10.7 points and 8.4 rebounds prior to the injury.
Darrell Arthur, Sasha Kaun, Darnell Jackson (pictured), Cole Aldrich<br><br>If Julian Wright had kept good on his promise to stay at Kansas until graduating, this might be the nation's No. 1 frontcourt. Arthur is no slouch, though, and will be a first-rounder whenever he wants to jump to the NBA Draft. Jackson is a high-volume rebounder who averaged 5.1 boards in just 15.4 minutes per game last season, and Aldrich, an incoming freshman, is a four-star center out of Minnesota.
Brook Lopez (pictured), Lawrence Hill, Fred Washington, Robin Lopez<br><br>Brook Lopez has his mental breakdowns: He was ruled academically ineligible for the first semester of the '07-08 school year. He does, however, happen to be a 7-foot future lottery pick who averaged 12.6 points and 6.0 rebounds as a freshman. And he'll only miss a handful of Stanford's early-season games. That's why this frontcourt remains top 10 worthy. His brother Robin, a fellow 7-footer, is a block machine who swatted 73 shots last season. Hill, meanwhile, is the Card's most versatile player and its leading scorer at 15.7 points per game.
Joseph Jones (pictured), DeAndre Jordan, Bryan Davis<br><br>Of all the coaches fresh off the carousel, is there any luckier guy than Mark Turgeon? He left Wichita State and inherited an Aggies team with two elite big men in Jones, a senior who passed on the NBA Draft, and Jordan, a five-star in-state recruit. A&M might struggle to make up for the loss of Acie Law's leadership, but no other team in the Big 12 has this much size and skill in its frontcourt.
Brandon Costner (pictured), Ben McCauley, J.J. Hickson, Gavin Grant<br><br>During last season's ACC tournament, in which the Wolfpack made a miraculous run to the title game as a No. 10 seed, Costner and McCauley showed the potential to be a dominant front line. The addition of Hickson, a five-star forward from Georgia who can take care of the dirty work in the paint, only makes NC State an even better darkhorse pick in the ACC.
Kevin Love, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (pictured), Lorenzo Mata-Real, Alfred Aboya<br><br>The Bruins are adding perhaps the nation's most polished big man in Love, who should be an instant star as a freshman. He'll also free up Mbah a Moute, a stellar rebounder and versatile defender, to move to his natural position -- the three -- rather than power forward. Mata-Real and Aboya, meanwhile, provide valuable interior muscle and won't need to be relied on to score.
Tyler Hansbrough (pictured), Deon Thompson, Alex Stepheson, Marcus Ginyard<br><br>Hansbrough is the preseason frontrunner for every national player-of-the-year award, and for good reason: He's capable of averaging 20-and-10 as a junior. Thompson, who will assume the power-forward spot vacated by Brandan Wright, played only 12.4 minutes per game as a freshman, but was highly productive and should blossom into one of the ACC's better low-post players.
Roy Hibbert (pictured), Dajuan Summers, Patrick Ewing Jr., Vernon Macklin<br><br>How can the Hoyas still have the No. 1 frontcourt after losing Jeff Green to the NBA? Because Summers, Green's replacement at the four, flashed future-star potential during the '07 NCAA tournament and should have a strong sophomore campaign. There's also the matter of a certain 7-2 monstrosity in the paint. With Greg Oden gone, are there any centers left -- anywhere -- to match up with Hibbert? <br><br>Send comments to email@example.com.