Risers and Fallers in the Latest College Player Rankings
- By Andrew Seitz, Day 120, 2021
Over the course of last season, Detrez Owens fell in the rankings and Odel Bracey rose with a lot of fanfare, yet Owens was still taken one spot over Bracey. On the other hand, Idris Berkley was a backup during the regular season. After he started in the tournament, he shot up draft boards and was the #3 pick. The college season advanced only a handful of games, but it resulted in a lot of large swings in individual players’ rankings. Let’s look at some of the risers and fallers so far.
(Note: The initial rankings are just the JD rankings and the current rankings are composite averages)
Jamaal Towns, PG, UTEP, Fr
Initial Rank: 30
Current Rank: 19.3
Towns’ stock has risen more than anyone since the initial rankings game out, despite not being among the top 6 point guards profiled by RKG. The rise makes it more likely that the 17 year old declares for the draft. He has a great 3pt shot (48%) and can drive to the rim. Unfortunately, his broken toe will keep him out of the CUSA tourney, in which UTEP is the #8 seed, and thus likely his season is over.
Trayvon Miller, C, San Diego, Fr
Initial Rank: 8
Current Rank: 5
San Diego (or, as they have to constantly remind people, Not San Diego State) went 2-6 over its last 8 games, but it wasn’t because of the efforts of Miller. The 6’10” center is averaging 23.7 ppg and appears to be a favorite of the commish. Miller is a beast around the rim (68% on 10 shots/g) and can even float outside to hit a three (32%). His rise of 3 spots is not much, but going from 8 to 5 could be huge for the freshman. The draft is center-heavy at the top, but if he continues moving up he could be the first player taken. Unfortunately, he won’t have the tournament to help his draft stock and will have to rely on others floundering.
Dejaun Brooks, SF, Michigan State, Fr
Initial Rank: 20
Current Rank: 12
Brooks has catapulted into the traditional lottery area, despite his numbers staying roughly the same during Michigan State’s 4-5 run which saw them drop from #19 to #39. He looks to be an offensive threat that hasn’t yet figured out the defensive side. Hopefully MSU makes the tournament and we see more of Brooks.
Joakim Barrett, PG, Oklahoma, So
Initial Rank: Unr
Current Rank: 30.7
Barrett has exploded into the rankings, with all three services now seeing him as a fringe first round pick. At 6’2”, he is the top scoring PG prospect, overtaking Rifkind, while also averaging 6 apg. A great majority of Barrett’s shots come from the outside, averaging over 11 long and 3pt attempts per game. Part of his appeal is the great improvement he has shown since his freshman year, increasing his assists and efficiency to become a more complete player.
Honorable mentions: Even Mitchell, PF, Boise State; Kellon Aldridge, C, New Mexico
Cortez Ellison, SG/SF, USC, Jr
Initial Rank: 6
Current Rank: 11.3
Ellison’s drop could be the result of a JRon disinformation campaign, hoping that he falls low enough for the Fireballs to sweep in and make a trade for him. USC has climbed to #3, perhaps as defenses key on Ellison, who has seen his counting numbers stay the same but PER drop from 29.38 to 25.46, which indicates to me that he has been taking and missing more shots. The drastic drop in efficiency as usage increases is a worrying sign.
Isaiah Leonard, PG, Arkansas, Fr
Initial Rank: 7
Current Rank: 14.3
Dubbed the “solid prospect” with the “game that seems to fit into any system” in RKG’s PG analysis, Leonard went from a potential top 5 pick to potentially out of the traditional lottery, from the #1 PG prospect to the #3. His play has dropped off a little, even as Arkansas went 5-2 in the last 7, but most of the drop is attributed to his #20 ranking from ESPN. The Worldwide Leader doesn’t seem to appreciate his balanced skill set, and ranks him behind Towns and Barber.
Dakarai Savage, SF, Syracuse, Fr
Initial Rank: 9
Current Rank: 20
Syracuse ended the regular season going 3-4 but dropping only from #3 to #5. Syracuse’s late-season struggles seem to coincide with the struggles of its young small forward. An early season favorite of the Kings, Savage’s PER dropped from 24.59 to 22.89 in the span of those 7 games. The drop has pushed him from lottery contention.
Nikica Jankovic, PG/SG, Xavier, Jr
Initial Rank: 36
Current Rank: 50
Jankovic has the ignominy of having his draft stock fall the most so far. The 5’10” guard looks to have good assist numbers and a good 3pt shot (47%), but his height and the fact that he has taken a step back this year hurts him. He should probably return to Xavier for his senior year.
Dishonorable mentions: Justin Rooks, SG/SF, Incarnate Wood; Derek Okwarabizie, SG, Marquette; Xavier Maxwell, PF, #1 Arizona