Luke Winn's Top 10 Frontcourts
Entering a season loaded with talented big men, here are my top-10 frontcourts for 2006-07, ranked on the basis of their <i>overall</i> strength. Note that not every player listed as a small forward was considered part of a frontcourt -- only those who don't double as guards. Ohio State, meanwhile, didn't crack the top 10 because of the uncertain injury situation to blue-chip center Greg Oden. <br><br><br>Headliners: Jeff Adrien (left), Hasheem Thabeet, Stanley Robinson, Curtis Kelly<br><br> Adrien was relegated to role-player status behind Hilton Armstrong and Josh Boone in 2005-06, but is ready to have a breakout season. The recent announcement that the 7-foot-3 Thabeet is eligible is huge for the Huskies; he's a rare specimen whom they believe could be one of the nation's top shot-blockers by the time the Big East season arrives
Headliners: Jared Dudley (left), Sean Williams, John Oates<br><br> Dudley may be the ACC's best returner not named Tyler Hansbrough -- plus, he can score from the three-point line -- and big things are expected from the 6-11 Williams, who was the league's top shot-blocker last season but made limited contributions on offense.
Headliners: Aaron Gray, Sam Young, Levon Kendall (left)<br><br> Gray's decision not to enter the NBA Draft kept the Panthers in the preseason top 10 -- and ensured they'd still have a monster on the glass. Pitt is counting on either Young or Kendall to emerge as a strong sidekick for Gray in the post.
Headliners: Alando Tucker (left), Marcus Landry, Brian Butch, Greg Stiemsma<br><br> Tucker, a fifth-year senior, is a darkhorse Wooden Award candidate, and twin 6-11 towers Butch (a strong shooter) and Stiemsma (a strong defender) add different dimensions to the Badgers' lineup. Landry -- one of UW's best athletes -- is an emerging star off the bench at the three spot.
Headliners: Jermareo Davidson (left), Richard Hendrix<br><br> The Tide's offense revolves around Davidson, a 6-10 senior. Hendrix proved to be a fearsome, physical rebounder as a freshman.
Headliners: Spencer Hawes, Jon Brockman (left)<br><br> Brockman is a relentless rebounder who could have a monster sophomore year, and he'll team up with old AAU pal Hawes -- a 6-11, blue-chip center whose post skills are anything but raw -- to give Arizona and UCLA a run in the Pac-10.
Headliners: Tyler Hansbrough (left), Brandan Wright, Reyshawn Terry<br><br> Hansbrough, who averaged 18.9 points and 7.8 boards as a freshman, is on par with -- or perhaps better than -- Florida's Joakim Noah and LSU's Glen Davis at the center position. He'll only get better with the support of Wright, a scary 6-9 power forward, in the Heels' runnin' frontcourt.
Headliners: Glen Davis, Magnum Rolle (left), Tasmin Mitchell, Darnell Lazare<br><br>The Big Baby won't be left stranded with Tyrus Thomas gone to the NBA. The 6-7 Mitchell, who averaged 11.4 points as a freshman, is primed for a breakout season, and Rolle could be a big surprise in the shot-blocking department.
Headliners: Roy Hibbert, Jeff Green (left), Vernon Macklin<br><br> Hibbert, the Hoyas' ever-improving 7-2 giant, has an ultra-athletic sidekick in Green and will welcome a McDonald's All-American in Macklin. Georgetown was Florida's toughest challenger in the NCAA tournament for a reason -- its size -- and has the big boys to make another deep run.
Headliners: Joakim Noah (left), Al Horford, Corey Brewer<br><br> The Gators' front line consists of three first-round draft picks who already have one national championship ring. Is there really any dispute they're No. 1? Noah should have a monster season after averaging 14.2 points and 7.1 rebounds as a sophomore, and the powerful Horford has bulked up even more for a repeat title run.