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Harrison Barnes will draw much of the attention when top-ranked North Carolina makes its season debut against Michigan State atop the USS Carl Vinson on Friday night. The sophomore swingman is arguably the top player in college basketball and a preseason All-America selection for the second straight year.
But do NBA scouts adore Barnes just as much? Or, is their focus on a couple of freshmen big men in Connecticut's Andre Drummond and Kentucky's Anthony Davis?
The consensus is that Barnes, Drummond and Davis are the top three prospects right now with the order varying, depending on the scout who's ranking them. With the college basketball season starting, NBA talent evaluators will be busy assessing what a longtime scout described as potentially one of the deepest drafts in the past 10 years.
"Since a lot of guys stayed in school [after last season], this is a very, very strong draft," the scout said. "There will be guys selected [from Nos.] 15-25 that can come in and be contributors right away. Next year will be a very, very strong and deep draft."
Here's Yahoo! Sports' top 10 college NBA draft prospects:
1. Andre Drummond, Connecticut, C, Fresh., 6-11, 251 pounds – Scout's comment: "He's the first legitimate center prospect since Greg Oden(notes). He's got the physical tools of an everyday center in our league. Haven't seen him a whole lot, but he's big, raw and physical. You have to take him first."
2. Anthony Davis, Kentucky, PF, Fresh., 6-10, 220 pounds – Scout's comment: "He was intriguing because he was a shooting guard for most of his high school career before he blew up to his height. His versatility at his size stands out. He continues to get better and better."
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3. Harrison Barnes, North Carolina, G-F, Soph., 6-8, 210 pounds – Scout's comment: "He is the most prolific scorer in the draft and can be a big scorer in the NBA. But can you be instrumental on just one end of the floor? What can he do to make a team better? He deserves an argument for No. 1, but you always pick size."
4. Jared Sullinger, Ohio State, PF, Soph., 6-8, 250 pounds – Scout's comment: "The only thing you can question about him is weight and lack of athleticism. He has to prove consistently that length won't bother him. Undersized guys have to prove that. But he's physical, he knows how to use his body. A thoughtful post player who knows his limitations and makes up for them."
5. Perry Jones, Baylor, PF, Soph., 6-11, 220 pounds – Scout's comment: "He has the potential to be better than everyone ahead of him on this list. However, the term I won't use with him is 'aggressive.' He's content on being a perimeter guy instead of more versatile with his back to the basket. Guys like that are often saying, 'I'm so gifted I will do what I want instead of taking advantage of mismatches.' "
6. Terrence Jones, Kentucky, SF-PF, Soph., 6-8, 244 pounds – Scout's comment: "Versatile. Can really handle the ball for a guy his size with good vision. He can get to spots he wants with the ball because of his skill set. Big men won't want to guard him on the perimeter. He has the mentality to post smaller players and take bigger players on the perimeter."
7. Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut, SG, Soph., 6-5, 185 pounds – Scout's comment: "He really came on late last season. The reason why they won it last year was because he was the second option and took pressure off Kemba Walker(notes). He played the role of Robin real well. But can he play the role of Batman? They need a guy to be Batman this year. We'll see."
8. Tyler Zeller, North Carolina, PF-C, 6-11, 240 pounds – Scout's comment: "He's the most skilled big man in the country. He's a better athlete than given credit for. He's coachable and comes from an elite program, so pressure is nothing. He's experienced and will be a guy who can play in the league for 10 to 12 years. Haven't seen him back down to anyone."
9. Marquis Teague, Kentucky, PG, 6-2, 189 pounds – Scout's comment: "They say he's better than his brother [Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague(notes)] right now. He knows the game. He understands when to score and set people up. He has pretty good size for a young guy. He's a big point guard. He won championships in high school so he's a winner."
10. John Henson, North Carolina, PF, 6-10, 205 pounds – Scout's comment: "I love his versatility. It's taken him a while to really get used to his body. He was gangly and awkward. I love his defense. He's a decent rebounder. They are trying to make him a wing, but he doesn't have the skill set."
Honorable Mention: Vanderbilt C Festus Ezeli (Sr.); Kentucky G Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Fr.); Vanderbilt SG John Jenkins (Jr.); North Carolina F James McAdoo (Fr.); Baylor SF Quincy Miller (Fr.); Duke SG Austin Rivers (Fr.); Kansas SF-PF Thomas Robinson (Jr.).
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