November 3, 2010

Preseason Power Rankings: Small forwards

MORE: Shooting guard rankings

The lack of depth nationally at small forward often makes it a struggle to come up with a list of the nation's top 25 players at the position.

This season is no different.

But it's hard to quarrel with the star power at the top of the list of small forwards for the preseason edition of the Rivals.com College Basketball Power Rankings, which measure the nation's top performers at each position.

Duke's Kyle Singler and North Carolina's Harrison Barnes were each first-team selections on The Associated Press' preseason All-America team. You can make a good argument that Singler is the nation's top returning player and Barnes is the nation's most promising freshman.

Our list of small forwards would have been even stronger at the top if Purdue's Robbie Hummel hadn't torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last month, knocking him out for the season. If he had stayed healthy, Hummel certainly would have ranked among the nation's top three small forwards.

Here are the top 25 small forwards entering the season.

1. Kyle Singler (6-8/230, Sr.), Duke: This fourth-year starter was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four and the MVP of the ACC tournament last season. He ranks among the top 20 career scorers (1,767) and rebounders (762) in school history.

2. Harrison Barnes (6-8/210, Fr.), North Carolina: Barnes is the first freshman ever to be named a preseason first-team Associated Press All-American. He led Ames (Iowa) High School to back-to-back undefeated seasons and state titles.

3. Kris Joseph (6-7/210, Jr.), Syracuse : Joseph averaged 10.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last season as the Big East's sixth man of the year. He should inherit a starring role this season as Syracuse looks to replace Wes Johnson, Andy Rautins and Arinze Onuaku.

4. Jimmy Butler (6-7/220, Sr.), Marquette : Butler averaged 14.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists last season as one of the Big East's most improved players. He made 53 percent of his shots to rank eighth in the Big East.

5. Chris Singleton (6-9/220, Jr.), Florida State : Singleton, the reigning ACC defensive player of the year, led the ACC in steals (2.2) and finished fifth in blocks (1.5). He was just the fifth player in ACC history to rank among the league's top five in steals and blocks during the same season.

6. Jeffery Taylor (6-7/225, Jr.), Vanderbilt : This potential first-round draft pick averaged 13.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals last season. He should improve those numbers this season after adding 25 pounds during the offseason.

7. Chandler Parsons (6-10/215, Sr.), Florida : Parsons showed his flair for the dramatic last season by hitting buzzer-beaters to beat North Carolina State and South Carolina. He showed vast improvement last season, when averaged 12.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists.

8. Tim Abromaitis (6-8/235, Sr.), Notre Dame : Abromaitis averaged 16.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game last season while shooting 87.3 percent from the free-throw line and 42.9 percent from 3-point range.

9. Wesley Witherspoon (6-9/210, Jr.), Memphis : Witherspoon has the size and versatility to play just about anywhere on the floor. He averaged 12.5 points and 4.6 rebounds last season while shooting 43 percent from 3-point range.

10. Jamar Samuels (6-7/220, Jr.), Kansas State : Samuels was the Big 12 sixth man of the year and one of the most productive reserves in the nation last season. He averaged 11.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists. He shot 53.9 percent overall.

11. D.J. Kennedy (6-5/214, Sr.), St. John's: Kennedy led the Red Storm in scoring (15.1), rebounds (6.1), assists (3.1), steals (1.2) and free-throw percentage (.756) last season. He also tied for the team lead in 3-point percentage (.383).

12. Sergio Kerusch (6-5/225, Sr.), Western Kentucky : The preseason Sun Belt player of the year averaged 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds last season despite missing 14 games with a foot injury.

13. Jordan Hamilton (6-7/220, Soph.), Texas : Hamilton is the Longhorns' top returning scorer. He averaged 10.0 points and 3.7 rebounds per game and sank a team-high 58 3-pointers despite playing just 19.9 minutes per game.

14. C.J. Leslie (6-8/206, Fr.), North Carolina State: The No. 14 prospect in the 2010 recruiting class should make an immediate impact for the Wolfpack. He scored 19 points in the Jordan Classic and pulled down nine rebounds in only 17 minutes at the McDonald's All-American Game.

15. Mike Singletary (6-6/235, Sr.), Texas Tech : Singletary led the Red Raiders in scoring (15.0) and rebounding 6.8) last season. He also provided 80 assists and 43 steals to rank second on his team in both categories.

16. Shamari Spears (6-6/245, Sr.), Charlotte : This Boston College transfer led the 49ers in scoring at 16.0 points per game and also averaged 5.9 rebounds last season. He scored in double figures in 26 of his 30 games.

17. Chace Stanback (6-8/210, Jr.), UNLV : This UCLA transfer averaged 10.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last season. He ranked second in the Mountain West Conference in steals (1.6) and ninth in blocks (0.8).

18. Christian Watford (6-9/230, Soph.), Indiana : Watford led all Big Ten freshmen last season in scoring (12.0), rebounds (6.0) and free-throw percentage (.800). He was the Hoosiers' leading rebounder.

19. Gilbert Brown (6-6/215, Sr.), Pittsburgh : Brown missed the first 11 games of last season for academic reasons, but he returned in time to average 10.7 points and 3.2 rebounds in 23.7 minutes. He averaged 15.5 points and went a combined 5-of-7 from 3-point range in two NCAA tournament games.

20. Noah Dahlman (6-6/215, Sr.), Wofford: Southern Conference coaches named Dahlman the league's player of the year last season. He ranked fourth in the conference in scoring (16.6) and seventh in rebounds (6.3).

21. Chris Johnson (6-6/201, Jr.), Dayton : Johnson averaged 11.9 points and 6.9 rebounds and was named the Atlantic 10's most improved player last season. He was selected as the Most Outstanding Player of the NIT.

22. Jeff Robinson (6-6/230, Sr.), Seton Hall : This Memphis transfer joined his new team in time for the start of the spring semester last season and averaged 12.2 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 53.6 percent

23. Reeves Nelson (6-8/235, Soph.), UCLA: Nelson averaged 11.1 points and 5.7 rebounds in 23.4 minutes last season. He shot 64.7 percent to rank second in the Pac-10 in field-goal percentage.

24. John Holland (6-5/205, Sr.), Boston University: Holland has earned first-team All-America East honors in each of the past two seasons. He led the America East in scoring (19.2) and ranked 10th in rebounding (6.1) last season.

25. Marshon Brooks (6-5/200, Sr.), Providence : Brooks has scored in double figures each of the past two seasons and averaged 14.2 points to go along with 4.2 rebounds last season.

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com.



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