Alabama 42, Auburn 14

Trent Richardson and No. 2 Alabama have convinced Nick Saban that they’re worthy of competing for college football’s top prize. They’ll have to wait a while before for the final decision is rendered.

FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2017, file photo, Alabama head coach Nick Saban walks the field before the Iron Bowl NCAA college football game against Auburn, in Auburn, Ala. Write-in votes could help decide Alabamas Senate race between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. Saban often gets write-in votes in state elections. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)
No. 4 Alabama's Nick Saban still unhappy with early signing
FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2017, file photo, Alabama head coach Nick Saban walks the field before the Iron Bowl NCAA college football game against Auburn, in Auburn, Ala. Write-in votes could help decide Alabamas Senate race between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. Saban often gets write-in votes in state elections. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)
Courtney Adams, of Auburn, Alabama, started the Facebook group, Holidays for Harvey.
Woman in Alabama brings Christmas to people affected by Harvey
Courtney Adams, of Auburn, Alabama, started the Facebook group, Holidays for Harvey.
Courtney Adams, of Auburn, Alabama, started the Facebook group, Holidays for Harvey.
Woman in Alabama brings Christmas to people affected by Harvey
Courtney Adams, of Auburn, Alabama, started the Facebook group, Holidays for Harvey.
Courtney Adams, of Auburn, Alabama, started the Facebook group, Holidays for Harvey.
Woman in Alabama brings Christmas to people affected by Harvey
Courtney Adams, of Auburn, Alabama, started the Facebook group, Holidays for Harvey.
Courtney Adams, of Auburn, Alabama, started the Facebook group, Holidays for Harvey.
Woman in Alabama brings Christmas to people affected by Harvey
Courtney Adams, of Auburn, Alabama, started the Facebook group, Holidays for Harvey.
In this Nov. 25, 2017, photo, Alabama punter JK Scott throws the ball against Auburn defensive lineman Marlon Davidson during the second half of the Iron Bowl NCAA college football game in Auburn, Ala. We have some bad news. Well, it's not really news because it happened months ago, but since there is a good chance you were not paying attention when the Poinsettia Bowl passed away back in January you might be saddened to find out there are less FBS bowl games this season than last. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Watch every bowl game? Yes, there is a reason why for each
In this Nov. 25, 2017, photo, Alabama punter JK Scott throws the ball against Auburn defensive lineman Marlon Davidson during the second half of the Iron Bowl NCAA college football game in Auburn, Ala. We have some bad news. Well, it's not really news because it happened months ago, but since there is a good chance you were not paying attention when the Poinsettia Bowl passed away back in January you might be saddened to find out there are less FBS bowl games this season than last. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
In this Nov. 25, 2017, photo, Alabama punter JK Scott throws the ball against Auburn defensive lineman Marlon Davidson during the second half of the Iron Bowl NCAA college football game in Auburn, Ala. We have some bad news. Well, it's not really news because it happened months ago, but since there is a good chance you were not paying attention when the Poinsettia Bowl passed away back in January you might be saddened to find out there are less FBS bowl games this season than last. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
In this Nov. 25, 2017, photo, Alabama punter JK Scott throws the ball against Auburn defensive lineman Marlon Davidson during the second half of the Iron Bowl NCAA college football game in Auburn, Ala. We have some bad news. Well, it's not really news because it happened months ago, but since there is a good chance you were not paying attention when the Poinsettia Bowl passed away back in January you might be saddened to find out there are less FBS bowl games this season than last. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
In this Nov. 25, 2017, photo, Alabama punter JK Scott throws the ball against Auburn defensive lineman Marlon Davidson during the second half of the Iron Bowl NCAA college football game in Auburn, Ala. We have some bad news. Well, it's not really news because it happened months ago, but since there is a good chance you were not paying attention when the Poinsettia Bowl passed away back in January you might be saddened to find out there are less FBS bowl games this season than last. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
<p>The college football recruiting calendar is changing. A new early signing period will allow prospects to shut down their recruitments well before the traditional signing date, the first Wednesday of February, which falls on Feb. 7 for this cycle. From Dec. 20-22, recruits can ink National Letters of Intent and officially join their programs of choice. Although some top prospects won’t take advantage of the new period, those 72 hours definitely won’t pass without major recruiting news. With just a week to go until players start putting pen to paper, here are six big storylines to track:</p><h3>How did we get here? Who will the early period help and hurt?</h3><p>This spring, an NCAA council and an association of college commissioners approved a 72-hour early signing period during which high school seniors will be allowed to sign NLIs. Those players also can take official visits, for which schools cover costs, from April to June of their junior years. (Previously, with only the traditional signing date in place, they had to hold off until Sept. 1 of their senior years to make paid-for trips to campuses.) The three-day window, which begins on the same day as the usual signing date for junior college players, will primarily benefit two groups: (1) recruits who are certain they want to play for the programs to which they’ve issued verbal commitments and (2) coaches who won’t have to worry about monitoring those commits through the postseason and into February for fear that they’ll flip to a different program.</p><p>The early period also could help clarify the strength of prospects’ pledges. If they choose not to sign early, that could be an indication those prospects are thinking about jumping ship. However, it also could hurt late bloomers whom programs otherwise would have pursued toward the end of the recruiting cycle had those programs not filled their classes with early-period signees. Certain big-time programs could be negatively affected, too: No longer will they have the luxury of trying to swoop in at the 11th hour to flip prospects committed elsewhere.</p><h3>Alabama’s momentum</h3><p>The Crimson Tide have out-recruited the rest of the nation for much of Nick Saban’s tenure, but they got off to a slower start than usual in this cycle. As of late June, Alabama checked in <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/06/28/alabama-recruiting-2018-football-crimson-tide" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:just inside the national top 50" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">just inside the national top 50</a> with only five commitments, according to Scout.com. Unsurprisingly, it has made up a lot of ground since then, and it’s going to roll into the early period on a hot streak.</p><p>The Crimson Tide have picked up three verbals since last Tuesday: three-star Westminster Christian (Ala.) Academy tight end Michael Parker, four-star Miami Norland (Fla.) High cornerback Nadab Joseph and four-star Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College cornerback Saivion Smith, who transferred away from LSU in May. Those pledges brought Alabama’s total to 14 for 2018 and pushed it to ninth in the team 247Sports Composite Rankings.</p><p>Alabama is in position to make more progress in short order. Brenton Cox, a five-star defensive end from Stockbridge (Ga.) High, decommitted from Ohio State after a recent official visit to Tuscaloosa, and the Crimson Tide are still targeting other esteemed prospects such as five-star St. Francis (Md.) Academy defensive end Eyabi Anoma, four-star Desert Hills (Utah) High offensive tackle Penei Sewell, four-star Colquitt County (Ga.) High linebacker JJ Peterson, four-star Episcopal (Tex.) High wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and Josh Jobe, a four-star cornerback from Cheshire (Conn.) Academy who is committed to Miami.</p><h3>Quarterback shuffling</h3><p>One other player Alabama is recruiting who was not mentioned above is getting a lot of attention in the lead-up to the December signing window. That player is Emory Jones, a four-star quarterback out of Heard County (Ga.) High who pledged to Ohio State in late July of 2016 <a href="https://twitter.com/eXjones6/status/759040998332702720?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&#38;ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.elevenwarriors.com%2Fohio-state-football-recruiting%2F2016%2F06%2F71600%2Ffour-star-2018-quarterback-emory-jones-commits-to-ohio-state" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:by way of a video involving a drone" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">by way of a video involving a drone</a>. Jones remains committed to the Buckeyes for now, but his recruitment is hardly finished. He’s taken visits to both Alabama and Auburn and could end up signing with either of those two programs instead of Ohio State.</p><p>The Buckeyes, in a move that seemed geared toward insuring against the possibility of a Jones flip, picked up a pledge last week from Matthew Baldwin, a three-star passer from Lake Travis (Tex.) High. Jones reacted to that verbal <a href="https://twitter.com/eXjones6/status/938975163219107840" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:by posting" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">by posting</a> a thinking-face emoji on Twitter, but it’s clear Ohio State is at least preparing for the possibility of not having Jones in its haul. While Alabama is starting a true sophomore (Jalen Hurts) and signed a dual-threat five-star (Tua Tagovailoa) and a pro-style three-star (Mac Jones) in its 2017 class, it has yet to reel in a QB for 2018. Auburn has Bartram Trail (Fla.) High four-star Joey Gatewood in tow, but the Tigers <a href="http://www.seccountry.com/auburn/auburn-recruiting-quarterback-analysis-2018" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:seem intent on bringing in two signal-callers for this cycle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">seem intent on bringing in two signal-callers for this cycle</a>. An even more highly-regarded dual-threat quarterback than Jones, Harrison (Ga.) High’s Justin Fields, also bears monitoring during the early signing period. <a href="http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/12/12/recruiting-2018-early-signing-period-coaches-commitments" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:We covered the coveted Georgia commit’s situation here." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">We covered the coveted Georgia commit’s situation here.</a></p><h3>Who’s finishing on top?</h3><p>Ohio State could not claim the top recruiting class in the country last cycle. That honor belonged to Alabama for the seventh year in a row, according to the 247Sports Composite. However, the Buckeyes did earn another title in 2017. Their haul was the best pound-for-pound, by virtue of their average player rating of 94.59, on a scale of 100. (The Crimson Tide finished with a 93.76 average player rating, but their class was bigger than the Ohio State’s.) The Buckeyes could own both distinctions in ’18. Their class occupies the No. 1 slot in the 247Sports Composite with 21 verbals and an average player rating of 94.87, slightly better than their nation-best finish last year.</p><p>Eight prospects rated among the top 60 in the country have made the call for the Buckeyes, including three five-stars: Westerville South (Ohio) High all-purpose back Jaelen Gill, St. John Bosco (Calif.) High safety Jaiden Woodbey and IMG (Fla.) Academy defensive tackle Taron Vincent, the son of former NFL cornerback and current NFL executive VP of football operations Troy Vincent. Losing Emory Jones, one of the aforementioned top-60 recruits, would be a considerable blow at an important position, and <a href="https://n.rivals.com/news/top-db-jaiden-woodbey-talks-commitment-other-interest" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Woodbey may not be totally set on a future in Columbus" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Woodbey may not be totally set on a future in Columbus</a> at this point, but Ohio State got a commitment on Tuesday from four-star Christian Brothers College (Mo.) High wide receiver Kamryn Babb and could add to its 2018 crop by plucking top-shelf prospects like five-star Fairfield (Ohio) High offensive tackle Jackson Carman, four-star Blairstown (N.J.) Academy defensive end Jayson Oweh and four-star Cleveland Heights (Ohio) High defensive end Tyreke Smith. Those three players all have been given ratings higher than the Buckeyes’ current average.</p><h3>Sunshine State shakeup</h3><p>Miami has asserted itself on the recruiting trail under second-year head coach Mark Richt. Its 2018 class counts 21 commitments and ranks third in the 247Sports Composite, 11 spots higher than the next ACC program (Clemson) and behind only Ohio State and Texas. The two other Power 5 programs in the Sunshine State, Florida and Florida State, are currently sitting at No. 18 and No. 38 respectively, after one (Florida) fired its head coach, and the other (Florida State) had its head coach resign to take the same position at a different Power 5 program. Yet both the Gators and Seminoles made smart moves in tabbing replacements who should be able to make gains quickly because of their recruiting ties in the Southeast.</p><p>In new Florida head coach Dan Mullen’s case, he previously spent four years on the Gators’ staff under current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, and new Florida State head coach Willie Taggart led South Florida for four years before taking over at Oregon and then leaving for Tallahassee after only one season in charge of the Ducks. Both Mullen and Taggart are already familiar with the lush recruiting turf they’ll need to scour to elevate their new programs. Richt and his staff had a huge head start in this cycle, and the Hurricanes’ breakthrough season in 2017 will make Coral Gables an even more attractive destination for in-state prep standouts wavering between one nearby program trending toward another double-digit-win campaign in ’18 and two others with longer timelines for national success. That said, while Miami has separated itself from its in-state peers in 2018, Florida and Florida State are both primed for recruiting surges after making promising hires. </p><h3>Elite defensive ends</h3><p>Two of the four top-ranked uncommitted prospects in the 247Sports Composite play the same position, defensive end, and both of them are expected to reveal their college choices during the early period. Both Harrisburg (Pa.) High’s Micah Parsons, the No. 4 player in the country, and West Forsyth (N.C.) High’s KJ Henry, the No. 8 player in the country, have set their announcements for Dec. 20.</p><p>Parsons initially committed to Penn State in February 2016, but he backed out of that pledge in April of this year. Now the Nittany Lions are favored to bring him back in the fold, with Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State rounding out his top six. Henry put out a list of five in July comprising Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Clemson, and while as it stands the Tigers are considered the leaders in Henry’s recruitment, <a href="http://www.thestate.com/sports/college/football/article189214434.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:he indicated this week" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">he indicated this week</a> that if his father, Keith—who coaches running backs at Charlotte—were to be hired by one of his finalists, it could affect his decision.</p><p>Should Henry choose Clemson, he’d give defensive coordinator Brent Venables a second five-star DE in the 2018 class, along with IMG (Fla.) Academy’s Xavier Thomas. That duo could help the Tigers sustain their dominance on the defensive side of the trenches once studs like Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence, Christian Wilkins and Austin Bryant leave campus. Penn State already has assembled the second highest-rated class in the Big Ten, behind only Ohio State, and Parsons would become its most esteemed piece. He’s also more highly regarded than any recruit in the Buckeyes’ haul.</p>
The Players, Programs and Plot Lines to Watch During College Football's Early Signing Period

The college football recruiting calendar is changing. A new early signing period will allow prospects to shut down their recruitments well before the traditional signing date, the first Wednesday of February, which falls on Feb. 7 for this cycle. From Dec. 20-22, recruits can ink National Letters of Intent and officially join their programs of choice. Although some top prospects won’t take advantage of the new period, those 72 hours definitely won’t pass without major recruiting news. With just a week to go until players start putting pen to paper, here are six big storylines to track:

How did we get here? Who will the early period help and hurt?

This spring, an NCAA council and an association of college commissioners approved a 72-hour early signing period during which high school seniors will be allowed to sign NLIs. Those players also can take official visits, for which schools cover costs, from April to June of their junior years. (Previously, with only the traditional signing date in place, they had to hold off until Sept. 1 of their senior years to make paid-for trips to campuses.) The three-day window, which begins on the same day as the usual signing date for junior college players, will primarily benefit two groups: (1) recruits who are certain they want to play for the programs to which they’ve issued verbal commitments and (2) coaches who won’t have to worry about monitoring those commits through the postseason and into February for fear that they’ll flip to a different program.

The early period also could help clarify the strength of prospects’ pledges. If they choose not to sign early, that could be an indication those prospects are thinking about jumping ship. However, it also could hurt late bloomers whom programs otherwise would have pursued toward the end of the recruiting cycle had those programs not filled their classes with early-period signees. Certain big-time programs could be negatively affected, too: No longer will they have the luxury of trying to swoop in at the 11th hour to flip prospects committed elsewhere.

Alabama’s momentum

The Crimson Tide have out-recruited the rest of the nation for much of Nick Saban’s tenure, but they got off to a slower start than usual in this cycle. As of late June, Alabama checked in just inside the national top 50 with only five commitments, according to Scout.com. Unsurprisingly, it has made up a lot of ground since then, and it’s going to roll into the early period on a hot streak.

The Crimson Tide have picked up three verbals since last Tuesday: three-star Westminster Christian (Ala.) Academy tight end Michael Parker, four-star Miami Norland (Fla.) High cornerback Nadab Joseph and four-star Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College cornerback Saivion Smith, who transferred away from LSU in May. Those pledges brought Alabama’s total to 14 for 2018 and pushed it to ninth in the team 247Sports Composite Rankings.

Alabama is in position to make more progress in short order. Brenton Cox, a five-star defensive end from Stockbridge (Ga.) High, decommitted from Ohio State after a recent official visit to Tuscaloosa, and the Crimson Tide are still targeting other esteemed prospects such as five-star St. Francis (Md.) Academy defensive end Eyabi Anoma, four-star Desert Hills (Utah) High offensive tackle Penei Sewell, four-star Colquitt County (Ga.) High linebacker JJ Peterson, four-star Episcopal (Tex.) High wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and Josh Jobe, a four-star cornerback from Cheshire (Conn.) Academy who is committed to Miami.

Quarterback shuffling

One other player Alabama is recruiting who was not mentioned above is getting a lot of attention in the lead-up to the December signing window. That player is Emory Jones, a four-star quarterback out of Heard County (Ga.) High who pledged to Ohio State in late July of 2016 by way of a video involving a drone. Jones remains committed to the Buckeyes for now, but his recruitment is hardly finished. He’s taken visits to both Alabama and Auburn and could end up signing with either of those two programs instead of Ohio State.

The Buckeyes, in a move that seemed geared toward insuring against the possibility of a Jones flip, picked up a pledge last week from Matthew Baldwin, a three-star passer from Lake Travis (Tex.) High. Jones reacted to that verbal by posting a thinking-face emoji on Twitter, but it’s clear Ohio State is at least preparing for the possibility of not having Jones in its haul. While Alabama is starting a true sophomore (Jalen Hurts) and signed a dual-threat five-star (Tua Tagovailoa) and a pro-style three-star (Mac Jones) in its 2017 class, it has yet to reel in a QB for 2018. Auburn has Bartram Trail (Fla.) High four-star Joey Gatewood in tow, but the Tigers seem intent on bringing in two signal-callers for this cycle. An even more highly-regarded dual-threat quarterback than Jones, Harrison (Ga.) High’s Justin Fields, also bears monitoring during the early signing period. We covered the coveted Georgia commit’s situation here.

Who’s finishing on top?

Ohio State could not claim the top recruiting class in the country last cycle. That honor belonged to Alabama for the seventh year in a row, according to the 247Sports Composite. However, the Buckeyes did earn another title in 2017. Their haul was the best pound-for-pound, by virtue of their average player rating of 94.59, on a scale of 100. (The Crimson Tide finished with a 93.76 average player rating, but their class was bigger than the Ohio State’s.) The Buckeyes could own both distinctions in ’18. Their class occupies the No. 1 slot in the 247Sports Composite with 21 verbals and an average player rating of 94.87, slightly better than their nation-best finish last year.

Eight prospects rated among the top 60 in the country have made the call for the Buckeyes, including three five-stars: Westerville South (Ohio) High all-purpose back Jaelen Gill, St. John Bosco (Calif.) High safety Jaiden Woodbey and IMG (Fla.) Academy defensive tackle Taron Vincent, the son of former NFL cornerback and current NFL executive VP of football operations Troy Vincent. Losing Emory Jones, one of the aforementioned top-60 recruits, would be a considerable blow at an important position, and Woodbey may not be totally set on a future in Columbus at this point, but Ohio State got a commitment on Tuesday from four-star Christian Brothers College (Mo.) High wide receiver Kamryn Babb and could add to its 2018 crop by plucking top-shelf prospects like five-star Fairfield (Ohio) High offensive tackle Jackson Carman, four-star Blairstown (N.J.) Academy defensive end Jayson Oweh and four-star Cleveland Heights (Ohio) High defensive end Tyreke Smith. Those three players all have been given ratings higher than the Buckeyes’ current average.

Sunshine State shakeup

Miami has asserted itself on the recruiting trail under second-year head coach Mark Richt. Its 2018 class counts 21 commitments and ranks third in the 247Sports Composite, 11 spots higher than the next ACC program (Clemson) and behind only Ohio State and Texas. The two other Power 5 programs in the Sunshine State, Florida and Florida State, are currently sitting at No. 18 and No. 38 respectively, after one (Florida) fired its head coach, and the other (Florida State) had its head coach resign to take the same position at a different Power 5 program. Yet both the Gators and Seminoles made smart moves in tabbing replacements who should be able to make gains quickly because of their recruiting ties in the Southeast.

In new Florida head coach Dan Mullen’s case, he previously spent four years on the Gators’ staff under current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, and new Florida State head coach Willie Taggart led South Florida for four years before taking over at Oregon and then leaving for Tallahassee after only one season in charge of the Ducks. Both Mullen and Taggart are already familiar with the lush recruiting turf they’ll need to scour to elevate their new programs. Richt and his staff had a huge head start in this cycle, and the Hurricanes’ breakthrough season in 2017 will make Coral Gables an even more attractive destination for in-state prep standouts wavering between one nearby program trending toward another double-digit-win campaign in ’18 and two others with longer timelines for national success. That said, while Miami has separated itself from its in-state peers in 2018, Florida and Florida State are both primed for recruiting surges after making promising hires.

Elite defensive ends

Two of the four top-ranked uncommitted prospects in the 247Sports Composite play the same position, defensive end, and both of them are expected to reveal their college choices during the early period. Both Harrisburg (Pa.) High’s Micah Parsons, the No. 4 player in the country, and West Forsyth (N.C.) High’s KJ Henry, the No. 8 player in the country, have set their announcements for Dec. 20.

Parsons initially committed to Penn State in February 2016, but he backed out of that pledge in April of this year. Now the Nittany Lions are favored to bring him back in the fold, with Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State rounding out his top six. Henry put out a list of five in July comprising Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Clemson, and while as it stands the Tigers are considered the leaders in Henry’s recruitment, he indicated this week that if his father, Keith—who coaches running backs at Charlotte—were to be hired by one of his finalists, it could affect his decision.

Should Henry choose Clemson, he’d give defensive coordinator Brent Venables a second five-star DE in the 2018 class, along with IMG (Fla.) Academy’s Xavier Thomas. That duo could help the Tigers sustain their dominance on the defensive side of the trenches once studs like Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence, Christian Wilkins and Austin Bryant leave campus. Penn State already has assembled the second highest-rated class in the Big Ten, behind only Ohio State, and Parsons would become its most esteemed piece. He’s also more highly regarded than any recruit in the Buckeyes’ haul.

Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican&#39;s Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state&#39;s African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones&#39; 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a &quot;great time&quot;. The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying &quot;it&#39;s not over&quot;. Here&#39;s how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday&#39;s front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday&#39;s cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
'Screw you... and the horse you rode in on' - How America's front pages reported Roy Moore's loss
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican's Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state's African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones' 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a "great time". The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying "it's not over". Here's how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday's front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday's cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican&#39;s Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state&#39;s African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones&#39; 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a &quot;great time&quot;. The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying &quot;it&#39;s not over&quot;. Here&#39;s how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday&#39;s front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday&#39;s cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
'Screw you... and the horse you rode in on' - How America's front pages reported Roy Moore's loss
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican's Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state's African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones' 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a "great time". The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying "it's not over". Here's how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday's front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday's cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican&#39;s Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state&#39;s African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones&#39; 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a &quot;great time&quot;. The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying &quot;it&#39;s not over&quot;. Here&#39;s how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday&#39;s front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday&#39;s cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
'Screw you... and the horse you rode in on' - How America's front pages reported Roy Moore's loss
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican's Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state's African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones' 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a "great time". The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying "it's not over". Here's how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday's front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday's cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican&#39;s Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state&#39;s African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones&#39; 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a &quot;great time&quot;. The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying &quot;it&#39;s not over&quot;. Here&#39;s how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday&#39;s front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday&#39;s cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
'Screw you... and the horse you rode in on' - How America's front pages reported Roy Moore's loss
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican's Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state's African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones' 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a "great time". The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying "it's not over". Here's how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday's front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday's cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican&#39;s Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state&#39;s African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones&#39; 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a &quot;great time&quot;. The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying &quot;it&#39;s not over&quot;. Here&#39;s how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday&#39;s front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday&#39;s cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
'Screw you... and the horse you rode in on' - How America's front pages reported Roy Moore's loss
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican's Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state's African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones' 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a "great time". The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying "it's not over". Here's how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday's front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday's cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican&#39;s Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state&#39;s African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones&#39; 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a &quot;great time&quot;. The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying &quot;it&#39;s not over&quot;. Here&#39;s how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday&#39;s front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday&#39;s cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
'Screw you... and the horse you rode in on' - How America's front pages reported Roy Moore's loss
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican's Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state's African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones' 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a "great time". The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying "it's not over". Here's how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday's front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday's cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican&#39;s Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state&#39;s African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones&#39; 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a &quot;great time&quot;. The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying &quot;it&#39;s not over&quot;. Here&#39;s how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday&#39;s front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday&#39;s cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
'Screw you... and the horse you rode in on' - How America's front pages reported Roy Moore's loss
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican's Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state's African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones' 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a "great time". The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying "it's not over". Here's how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday's front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday's cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican&#39;s Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state&#39;s African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones&#39; 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a &quot;great time&quot;. The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying &quot;it&#39;s not over&quot;. Here&#39;s how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday&#39;s front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday&#39;s cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
'Screw you... and the horse you rode in on' - How America's front pages reported Roy Moore's loss
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican's Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state's African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones' 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a "great time". The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying "it's not over". Here's how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday's front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday's cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican&#39;s Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state&#39;s African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones&#39; 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a &quot;great time&quot;. The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying &quot;it&#39;s not over&quot;. Here&#39;s how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday&#39;s front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday&#39;s cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
'Screw you... and the horse you rode in on' - How America's front pages reported Roy Moore's loss
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican's Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state's African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones' 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a "great time". The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying "it's not over". Here's how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday's front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday's cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican&#39;s Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state&#39;s African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones&#39; 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a &quot;great time&quot;. The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying &quot;it&#39;s not over&quot;. Here&#39;s how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday&#39;s front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday&#39;s cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
'Screw you... and the horse you rode in on' - How America's front pages reported Roy Moore's loss
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican's Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state's African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones' 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a "great time". The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying "it's not over". Here's how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday's front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday's cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican&#39;s Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state&#39;s African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones&#39; 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a &quot;great time&quot;. The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying &quot;it&#39;s not over&quot;. Here&#39;s how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday&#39;s front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday&#39;s cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
'Screw you... and the horse you rode in on' - How America's front pages reported Roy Moore's loss
Doug Jones has become the first Democrat to win in a US Senate seat in the deep red state of Alabama in 25 years after beating Republican candidate Roy Moore, who has faced multiple accusations of sexual assault. Mr Moore had been the favourite in the staunchly Republican state until a number of women came forward to claim that the judge had assaulted them when they were teenagers. Mr Moore has denied all the allegations, but his bitter fought campaign caused deep divisions within the Republican party. The special election result has sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and is a personal blow for President Donald Trump, who backed Mr Moore, as it narrows the Republican's Senate majority to 51-49. The result also brings attention to the state's African American vote which is credited with securing Mr Jones' 49.9 per cent victory. Mr Moore has faced backlash from the state and national newspapers, with many ridiculing his decision to arrive at a polling station on horseback. A controversial figure, Mr Moore has previously said homosexual activity should be illegal and praised an era of US history that included slavery as a "great time". The firebrand conservative politician has so far refused to concede the election, saying "it's not over". Here's how the newspapers reported an extraordinary day in American politics: New York Daily News Bama bucks the perv! https://t.co/9ZaMFXw7aA An early look at Wednesday's front... pic.twitter.com/HkiiBl4v0V— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 13, 2017 New York Post Wednesday's cover: Democrat Doug Jones defeats Trump-backed Roy Moore for US Senate seat https://t.co/ydfIAOptLfpic.twitter.com/Pf8wevtpOU— New York Post (@nypost) December 13, 2017 The Washington Post The New York Times Wall Street Journal The Birmingham News, Alabama The Anniston Star, Alabama The Decatur Daily, Alabama The Selma times Journal, Alabama The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama The Opelika-Auburn News, Alabama The Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
<p>On Tuesday, Alabama voters are participating in a U.S. senate special election to replace former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Alabama football head coach Nick Saban has already received at least one vote after a Republican voter proudly told MSNBC that he wrote in the coach on his ballot.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m a life-long Republican, and this is the first time in my entire life that I haven’t voted for the Republican candidate,&quot; Alabama voter Greg Dobbins said. &quot;I have wrote in Nick Saban instead.&quot;</p><p><em>Watch the voter reveal his vote below:</em></p><p>Dobbins may not be alone. A liberal super PAC called American Bridge 21st Century released a video instructing voters on how to write in a candidate not named Roy Moore. The video shows Nick Saban as a suggestion.</p><p>Another video was <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLFf-n3I2UI" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:released" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">released</a> with Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn as an option.</p><p>Moore, the Republican candidate, is accused of sexual assault, as well as the pursuit of sexual relationships with teenage girls when he was in his 30s. He is opposed by Democrat Doug Jones.</p><p>Saban has not addressed the commercial and is currently preparing the Crimson Tide for their College Football Playoff game against Clemson.</p>
It Appears People In Alabama Are Voting For Nick Saban in U.S. Senate Special Election

On Tuesday, Alabama voters are participating in a U.S. senate special election to replace former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Alabama football head coach Nick Saban has already received at least one vote after a Republican voter proudly told MSNBC that he wrote in the coach on his ballot.

"I'm a life-long Republican, and this is the first time in my entire life that I haven’t voted for the Republican candidate," Alabama voter Greg Dobbins said. "I have wrote in Nick Saban instead."

Watch the voter reveal his vote below:

Dobbins may not be alone. A liberal super PAC called American Bridge 21st Century released a video instructing voters on how to write in a candidate not named Roy Moore. The video shows Nick Saban as a suggestion.

Another video was released with Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn as an option.

Moore, the Republican candidate, is accused of sexual assault, as well as the pursuit of sexual relationships with teenage girls when he was in his 30s. He is opposed by Democrat Doug Jones.

Saban has not addressed the commercial and is currently preparing the Crimson Tide for their College Football Playoff game against Clemson.

<p>The first edition of this column ran one day shy of three months ago, and it <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/09/13/2018-nfl-draft-baker-mayfield-oklahoma-lamar-jackson-louisville-heisman-scouting-reports-first-round" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:centered on two guys who showed Heisman promise" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">centered on two guys who showed Heisman promise</a> over the first two weeks of the season.</p><p>We were right on that one. Both Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson were in New York for the Heisman ceremony on Saturday night. But compare the impact each has made in the time since, and there’s no contest.</p><p>This fall, Mayfield helped himself as much as any draft-eligible player. His 13-game run included 4,340 passing yards, 310 rushing yards, a 71.05 completion rate, 41 touchdown passes, five touchdown runs, just five picks, a third straight Big 12 title and a birth in the playoffs. Along the way, he proved to be an improved passer from the pocket, as well as the competitor we always knew he was.</p><p>Jackson was plenty good, too. But despite another year of gaudy numbers (3,489 yards, 25 touchdowns passing; 1,443 yards, 17 TDs rushing), his team was just 8-4, knocking him from the spotlight nationally. More important to NFL types, Jackson still left them wanting for instincts and anticipation as a passer.</p><p>The bottom line? Back in September, the NFL saw both these guys as second-day types. <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/12/05/2018-draft-baker-mayfield-first-round-russell-wilson-johnny-manziel" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Mayfield has taken the next steps." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Mayfield has taken the next steps.</a> Jackson, spectacular as he can be, hasn’t.</p><p>We’re transitioning this week, from the regular-season Draft Column into the bowl season Draft Column, and so we can call this our bridge edition. And to do it (in keeping with the boss’s customs), we’ll kick it off with 10 Things I Think I Think from another wild fall of college football. And we’ll start with those two quarterbacks.</p><p><b>1.</b> At this point, it would be a surprise if <b>Baker Mayfield</b> doesn’t go somewhere in the first round. Mayfield isn’t for everyone. But he’s accurate, he’s mobile, and he wins. The <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/02/25/baker-mayfield-arrested-oklahoma-public-intoxication-resisting-arrest" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:off-field incident of last summer" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">off-field incident of last summer</a> and his <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/11/18/baker-mayfield-curses-grabs-crotch-oklahoma-kansas-video" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:on-field antics" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">on-field antics</a> are there, yes, but offset by how his teammates and coaches feel about him, and his football character (i.e. how seriously he takes his craft). Like I said last week, I think a lot of teams will have second-round grades on him, and someone jumps on him in the first.</p><p>?<b>2.</b> Conversely, it would be a surprise if <b>Lamar Jackson</b> <i>does</i> go in the first round. The evaluators I’ve spoken with have questions about his instincts and anticipation in the passing game, and his ability to process within the context of a pro offense, and still believe he’s more thrower than passer. That doesn’t mean he can’t develop. It does means that he was seen as raw as a quarterback going into 2016, and the feeling on that remains the same.</p><p><b>3.</b> For as closely as we all scrutinized USC’s <b>Sam Darnold</b>, UCLA’s <b>Josh Rosen</b>, and Wyoming’s <b>Josh Allen</b>, not much has changed on those three as far as scouts are concerned. Darnold still has the funky mechanics, the flair for the dramatic, the rep as a winner and the pristine character. Rosen is still the pageant winner—he looks like he was born to throw a football—with the questions about his personality and character. And Allen is the raw mountain of ability without much polish.</p><p>?<b>4.</b> I think <b>Josh Rosen</b> and <b>Josh Allen</b> are definitely declaring, and I think very few people know what <b>Sam Darnold</b> will do. My understanding is Darnold shut down all talk of that before the season started, and his reluctance to jump through some hoops players do (like vetting agents) in deciding on whether to declare or not is what led people to believe that he’ll be back in 2018. What you hear is he’s a smart kid, from a good family, who will take everything into account before making a final call. Could he use the extra year? Yes. But if he’s projected to go first or second, that’ll be tough to pass on.</p><p><b>5.</b> Last year’s running backs class has a chance to be remembered for a long, long time: Alvin Kamara, Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon, Dalvin Cook, Jamaal Williams, Kareem Hunt . . . on and on. This year’s group might be close to as good. Not quite to the level of 2017, but good enough to start to look at this being a new golden era at the position, particular when you figure Todd Gurley (2015) and Ezekiel Elliott (2016) in. Penn State’s <b>Saquon Barkley</b> is fantastic, but it’s not just him. LSU’s <b>Derrius Guice</b>, Alabama’s <b>Damien Harris</b> and <b>Bo Scarbrough</b>, Georgia’s <b>Nick Chubb</b> and <b>Sony Michel</b>, Stanford’s <b>Bryce Love</b>, Auburn’s <b>Kerryon Johnson</b>, USC’s <b>Ronald Jones</b>, Miami’s <b>Mark Walton</b> and Notre Dame’s <b>Josh Adams</b> are among those who make this a deep, quality class.</p><p><b>6.</b> <b>Saquon Barkley</b>’s star faded late in the year, to the point where he finished with just four 100-yard rushing games on the season and wasn’t even invited to New York. But don’t get it twisted—this is still the do-everything, 21st-century prototype that <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/09/26/saquon-barkley-penn-state-2018-nfl-draft" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:we said he was back in September" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">we said he was back in September</a>. I ran it by one AFC exec on Monday night who said, “to the people that matter, nothing’s changed.” Barkley, like Ezekiel Elliott and Joe Mixon before him, fits what NFL teams are looking for in 2017, the 230-pound hammer who can play on all three downs.</p><p>?<b>7.</b> Some guys help themselves by staying in school, and Mayfield wasn’t the only one in 2017. The best example? N.C. State senior pass rusher <b>Bradley Chubb</b>, who I believe some teams will regard as the best prospect at any position in this year’s class. I got a one-word answer when I asked one veteran evaluator what he liked about the 6&#39; 5&quot;, 272-pound Chubb coming out of this year: “Everything.” And another defensive linemen who helped him stock by staying for senior year was Michigan’s <b>Maurice Hurst</b>. His height (he’s expected to measure out at 6&#39; 1&quot; or so) may keep him out of the first round, but he can play.</p><p><b>8.</b> NFL teams looking for offensive line help in 2018 are going to be much happier with what they find than those who needed them last year. While those guys are still harder to evaluate and develop than they used to be, it wouldn’t be shocking if three offensive linemen—Notre Dame guard <b>Quenton Nelson</b>, Notre Dame tackle <b>Mike McGlinchey</b> and Texas tackle <b>Connor Williams</b> (health permitting)—all went in the first 10-15 picks, and there are others who can play beyond those three.</p><p><b>9.</b> SMU’s <b>Courtland Sutton</b> is going to be one of this year’s most interesting prospects, with a good shot to go ahead of more well-known names at wide receiver, like <b>Calvin Ridley</b> (Alabama) and <b>James Washington</b> (Oklahoma State). Sutton is expected to come in at 6&#39; 4&quot; and 230 pounds, and those who live-scouted him came back sounding like they just spotted Big Foot. If he tests well—and it’s expected he will—there’s a chance he lands inside the Top 10 picks as the first receiver taken.</p><p><b>10.</b> I can’t wait to dig a little more into <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/11/14/josh-allen-wyoming-2018-nfl-draft-top-small-school-prospects" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the small school prospects" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the small school prospects</a>. Perhaps the most interesting one is Texas-San Antonio pass rusher <b>Marcus Davenport</b>, a converted receiver who <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/11/14/josh-allen-wyoming-2018-nfl-draft-top-small-school-prospects" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:we covered a little earlier in the year" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">we covered a little earlier in the year</a>. Another intriguing one to watch is South Dakota State tight end <b>Dallas Goedert</b>, who can play in-line and flex out, and does a little bit of everything. And if you want to go <i>really</i> deep, we’ll probably be talking more about West Georgia tackle <b>Desmond Harrison</b> come March and April. Harrison, a Senior Bowl invitee, is 6&#39; 6&quot;, 290 pounds and could run sub-5.0 in the 40.</p><p><b>11.</b> And here’s a bonus, before we get out of here for this week (we’ll reinstitute some of the old elements next week): This year’s class, outside of the quarterbacks, lacks sizzle at the top. There’s no super-elite prospect at another position, like a Jadeveon Clowney or Myles Garrett (or like a number of the 2019 defensive line prospects could be), but there is balance and depth.</p><p>That’s all for now. It’s still early yet. Five months to go.</p> <p><b><em>• Question or comment? </em></b><em>Email us at </em><span><em>talkback@themmqb.com</em></span><em>.</em></p>
What College Football’s Regular Season Taught Us About the 2018 NFL Draft

The first edition of this column ran one day shy of three months ago, and it centered on two guys who showed Heisman promise over the first two weeks of the season.

We were right on that one. Both Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson were in New York for the Heisman ceremony on Saturday night. But compare the impact each has made in the time since, and there’s no contest.

This fall, Mayfield helped himself as much as any draft-eligible player. His 13-game run included 4,340 passing yards, 310 rushing yards, a 71.05 completion rate, 41 touchdown passes, five touchdown runs, just five picks, a third straight Big 12 title and a birth in the playoffs. Along the way, he proved to be an improved passer from the pocket, as well as the competitor we always knew he was.

Jackson was plenty good, too. But despite another year of gaudy numbers (3,489 yards, 25 touchdowns passing; 1,443 yards, 17 TDs rushing), his team was just 8-4, knocking him from the spotlight nationally. More important to NFL types, Jackson still left them wanting for instincts and anticipation as a passer.

The bottom line? Back in September, the NFL saw both these guys as second-day types. Mayfield has taken the next steps. Jackson, spectacular as he can be, hasn’t.

We’re transitioning this week, from the regular-season Draft Column into the bowl season Draft Column, and so we can call this our bridge edition. And to do it (in keeping with the boss’s customs), we’ll kick it off with 10 Things I Think I Think from another wild fall of college football. And we’ll start with those two quarterbacks.

1. At this point, it would be a surprise if Baker Mayfield doesn’t go somewhere in the first round. Mayfield isn’t for everyone. But he’s accurate, he’s mobile, and he wins. The off-field incident of last summer and his on-field antics are there, yes, but offset by how his teammates and coaches feel about him, and his football character (i.e. how seriously he takes his craft). Like I said last week, I think a lot of teams will have second-round grades on him, and someone jumps on him in the first.

?2. Conversely, it would be a surprise if Lamar Jackson does go in the first round. The evaluators I’ve spoken with have questions about his instincts and anticipation in the passing game, and his ability to process within the context of a pro offense, and still believe he’s more thrower than passer. That doesn’t mean he can’t develop. It does means that he was seen as raw as a quarterback going into 2016, and the feeling on that remains the same.

3. For as closely as we all scrutinized USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, and Wyoming’s Josh Allen, not much has changed on those three as far as scouts are concerned. Darnold still has the funky mechanics, the flair for the dramatic, the rep as a winner and the pristine character. Rosen is still the pageant winner—he looks like he was born to throw a football—with the questions about his personality and character. And Allen is the raw mountain of ability without much polish.

?4. I think Josh Rosen and Josh Allen are definitely declaring, and I think very few people know what Sam Darnold will do. My understanding is Darnold shut down all talk of that before the season started, and his reluctance to jump through some hoops players do (like vetting agents) in deciding on whether to declare or not is what led people to believe that he’ll be back in 2018. What you hear is he’s a smart kid, from a good family, who will take everything into account before making a final call. Could he use the extra year? Yes. But if he’s projected to go first or second, that’ll be tough to pass on.

5. Last year’s running backs class has a chance to be remembered for a long, long time: Alvin Kamara, Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon, Dalvin Cook, Jamaal Williams, Kareem Hunt . . . on and on. This year’s group might be close to as good. Not quite to the level of 2017, but good enough to start to look at this being a new golden era at the position, particular when you figure Todd Gurley (2015) and Ezekiel Elliott (2016) in. Penn State’s Saquon Barkley is fantastic, but it’s not just him. LSU’s Derrius Guice, Alabama’s Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough, Georgia’s Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, Stanford’s Bryce Love, Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson, USC’s Ronald Jones, Miami’s Mark Walton and Notre Dame’s Josh Adams are among those who make this a deep, quality class.

6. Saquon Barkley’s star faded late in the year, to the point where he finished with just four 100-yard rushing games on the season and wasn’t even invited to New York. But don’t get it twisted—this is still the do-everything, 21st-century prototype that we said he was back in September. I ran it by one AFC exec on Monday night who said, “to the people that matter, nothing’s changed.” Barkley, like Ezekiel Elliott and Joe Mixon before him, fits what NFL teams are looking for in 2017, the 230-pound hammer who can play on all three downs.

?7. Some guys help themselves by staying in school, and Mayfield wasn’t the only one in 2017. The best example? N.C. State senior pass rusher Bradley Chubb, who I believe some teams will regard as the best prospect at any position in this year’s class. I got a one-word answer when I asked one veteran evaluator what he liked about the 6' 5", 272-pound Chubb coming out of this year: “Everything.” And another defensive linemen who helped him stock by staying for senior year was Michigan’s Maurice Hurst. His height (he’s expected to measure out at 6' 1" or so) may keep him out of the first round, but he can play.

8. NFL teams looking for offensive line help in 2018 are going to be much happier with what they find than those who needed them last year. While those guys are still harder to evaluate and develop than they used to be, it wouldn’t be shocking if three offensive linemen—Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey and Texas tackle Connor Williams (health permitting)—all went in the first 10-15 picks, and there are others who can play beyond those three.

9. SMU’s Courtland Sutton is going to be one of this year’s most interesting prospects, with a good shot to go ahead of more well-known names at wide receiver, like Calvin Ridley (Alabama) and James Washington (Oklahoma State). Sutton is expected to come in at 6' 4" and 230 pounds, and those who live-scouted him came back sounding like they just spotted Big Foot. If he tests well—and it’s expected he will—there’s a chance he lands inside the Top 10 picks as the first receiver taken.

10. I can’t wait to dig a little more into the small school prospects. Perhaps the most interesting one is Texas-San Antonio pass rusher Marcus Davenport, a converted receiver who we covered a little earlier in the year. Another intriguing one to watch is South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert, who can play in-line and flex out, and does a little bit of everything. And if you want to go really deep, we’ll probably be talking more about West Georgia tackle Desmond Harrison come March and April. Harrison, a Senior Bowl invitee, is 6' 6", 290 pounds and could run sub-5.0 in the 40.

11. And here’s a bonus, before we get out of here for this week (we’ll reinstitute some of the old elements next week): This year’s class, outside of the quarterbacks, lacks sizzle at the top. There’s no super-elite prospect at another position, like a Jadeveon Clowney or Myles Garrett (or like a number of the 2019 defensive line prospects could be), but there is balance and depth.

That’s all for now. It’s still early yet. Five months to go.

• Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

<p>Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and Stanford running back Bryce Love lead the Associated Press All–America Team, which was released Monday.</p><p>Mayfield threw for 4,340 passing yards and 41 touchdowns, adding another five scores on the ground.</p><p>He led the nation in passing efficiency, completion percentage, passing yards per completion and points responsible for, capping off his season winning the Heisman Trophy and leading the Sooners to the College Football Playoff.</p><p>Love, the Heisman runner-up, was second in the nation in rushing with 1,973 yards and averaged 8.3 yards per carry.</p><p>Here is the rest of the 2017 First Team AP All–America Team, along with the second and third teams. </p><h3>Offense</h3><p>Quarterback – Baker Mayfield, senior, Oklahoma<br>Running backs – Bryce Love, junior Stanford; Rashaad Penny, senior, San Diego State<br>Receivers ?–- James Washington, Oklahoma State, Anthony Miller, senior, Memphis<br>Tight end — Mark Andrews, junior, Oklahoma<br>Tackles — Orlando Brown, junior, Oklahoma; Mike McGlinchey, senior, Notre Dame<br>Guards — Quenton Nelson, senior, Notre Dame; Braden Smith, senior, Auburn<br>Center – Center — Billy Price, senior, Ohio State<br>All-purpose player — Saquon Barkley, junior, Penn State<br>Placekicker — Matt Gay, junior, Utah</p><h3>Defense</h3><p>Ends — Bradley Chubb, senior, North Carolina State; Clelin Ferrell, sophomore, Clemson<br>Tackles — Hercules Mata&#39;afa, junior, Washington State; Maurice Hurst, senior, Michigan<br>Linebackers — Roquan Smith, junior, Georgia; Josey Jewell, senior, Iowa; T.J. Edwards, junior, Wisconsin<br>Cornerbacks — Josh Jackson, junior, Iowa; Denzel Ward, junior, Ohio State<br>Safeties — Minkah Fitzpatrick, junior, Alabama; DeShon Elliott, junior, Texas<br>Punter — Michael Dickson, junior, Texas</p><h3>Second team</h3><p>Quarterback — Lamar Jackson, junior, Louisville<br>Running backs — Jonathan Taylor, freshman, Wisconsin; Kerryon Johnson, junior, Auburn<br>Tackles — Mitch Hyatt, junior, Clemson; Isaiah Wynn, senior, Georgia<br>Guards — Cody O&#39;Connell, senior, Washington State; Will Hernandez, senior, UTEP<br>Center — Bradley Bozeman, senior, Alabama<br>Tight end — Troy Fumagalli, senior, Wisconsin<br>Receivers — David Sills V, junior, West Virginia; Michael Gallup, senior, Colorado State<br>All-purpose player — Dante Pettis, senior, Washington<br>Kicker — Daniel Carlson, senior, Auburn</p><p>Ends — Sutton Smith, sophomore, Northern Illinois; Nick Bosa, sophomore, Ohio State<br>Tackles — Ed Oliver, sophomore, Houston; Christian Wilkins, junior, Clemson<br>Linebackers — Malik Jefferson, junior, Texas; Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, senior, Oklahoma; Dorian O&#39;Daniel, senior, Clemson<br>Cornerbacks — Jalen Davis, senior, Utah State; Carlton Davis, junior, Auburn<br>Safeties — Derwin James, junior, Florida State; Justin Reid, junior, Stanford<br>Punter — Johnny Townsend, senior, Florida</p><h3>Third Team</h3><p>Quarterback — Mason Rudolph, senior, Oklahoma State<br>Running backs — Ronald Jones II, junior, Southern California; Devin Singletary, sophomore, Florida Atlantic<br>Tackles — David Edwards, sophomore, Wisconsin; Jonah Williams, sophomore, Alabama<br>Guards — Beau Benzschawel, junior, Wisconsin; Tyrone Crowder, senior, Clemson<br>Center — Frank Ragnow, senior, Arkansas<br>Tight end — Jaylen Samuels, senior, North Carolina State<br>Receivers — Steve Ishmael, senior, Syracuse; A.J. Brown, sophomore, Mississippi<br>All-purpose player — D.J. Reed, junior, Kansas State<br>Kicker — Eddy Piniero, junior, Florida</p><p>Ends — Austin Bryant, junior, Clemson; Mat Boesen, senior, TCU<br>Tackles — Vita Vea, junior, Washington; Harrison Phillips, senior, Stanford<br>Linebackers — Micah Kiser, senior, Virginia; Tremaine Edmunds, junior, Virginia Tech; Devin Bush, sophomore, Michigan<br>Cornerbacks — Andraez Williams, redshirt freshman, LSU; Jack Jones, sophomore, Southern California<br>Safeties — Armani Watts, senior, Texas A&#38;M; Quin Blanding, senior, Virginia<br>Punter — Mitch Wisnowsky, junior, Utah</p>
Baker Mayfield, Bryce Love Lead AP All-America Team

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and Stanford running back Bryce Love lead the Associated Press All–America Team, which was released Monday.

Mayfield threw for 4,340 passing yards and 41 touchdowns, adding another five scores on the ground.

He led the nation in passing efficiency, completion percentage, passing yards per completion and points responsible for, capping off his season winning the Heisman Trophy and leading the Sooners to the College Football Playoff.

Love, the Heisman runner-up, was second in the nation in rushing with 1,973 yards and averaged 8.3 yards per carry.

Here is the rest of the 2017 First Team AP All–America Team, along with the second and third teams.

Offense

Quarterback – Baker Mayfield, senior, Oklahoma
Running backs – Bryce Love, junior Stanford; Rashaad Penny, senior, San Diego State
Receivers ?–- James Washington, Oklahoma State, Anthony Miller, senior, Memphis
Tight end — Mark Andrews, junior, Oklahoma
Tackles — Orlando Brown, junior, Oklahoma; Mike McGlinchey, senior, Notre Dame
Guards — Quenton Nelson, senior, Notre Dame; Braden Smith, senior, Auburn
Center – Center — Billy Price, senior, Ohio State
All-purpose player — Saquon Barkley, junior, Penn State
Placekicker — Matt Gay, junior, Utah

Defense

Ends — Bradley Chubb, senior, North Carolina State; Clelin Ferrell, sophomore, Clemson
Tackles — Hercules Mata'afa, junior, Washington State; Maurice Hurst, senior, Michigan
Linebackers — Roquan Smith, junior, Georgia; Josey Jewell, senior, Iowa; T.J. Edwards, junior, Wisconsin
Cornerbacks — Josh Jackson, junior, Iowa; Denzel Ward, junior, Ohio State
Safeties — Minkah Fitzpatrick, junior, Alabama; DeShon Elliott, junior, Texas
Punter — Michael Dickson, junior, Texas

Second team

Quarterback — Lamar Jackson, junior, Louisville
Running backs — Jonathan Taylor, freshman, Wisconsin; Kerryon Johnson, junior, Auburn
Tackles — Mitch Hyatt, junior, Clemson; Isaiah Wynn, senior, Georgia
Guards — Cody O'Connell, senior, Washington State; Will Hernandez, senior, UTEP
Center — Bradley Bozeman, senior, Alabama
Tight end — Troy Fumagalli, senior, Wisconsin
Receivers — David Sills V, junior, West Virginia; Michael Gallup, senior, Colorado State
All-purpose player — Dante Pettis, senior, Washington
Kicker — Daniel Carlson, senior, Auburn

Ends — Sutton Smith, sophomore, Northern Illinois; Nick Bosa, sophomore, Ohio State
Tackles — Ed Oliver, sophomore, Houston; Christian Wilkins, junior, Clemson
Linebackers — Malik Jefferson, junior, Texas; Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, senior, Oklahoma; Dorian O'Daniel, senior, Clemson
Cornerbacks — Jalen Davis, senior, Utah State; Carlton Davis, junior, Auburn
Safeties — Derwin James, junior, Florida State; Justin Reid, junior, Stanford
Punter — Johnny Townsend, senior, Florida

Third Team

Quarterback — Mason Rudolph, senior, Oklahoma State
Running backs — Ronald Jones II, junior, Southern California; Devin Singletary, sophomore, Florida Atlantic
Tackles — David Edwards, sophomore, Wisconsin; Jonah Williams, sophomore, Alabama
Guards — Beau Benzschawel, junior, Wisconsin; Tyrone Crowder, senior, Clemson
Center — Frank Ragnow, senior, Arkansas
Tight end — Jaylen Samuels, senior, North Carolina State
Receivers — Steve Ishmael, senior, Syracuse; A.J. Brown, sophomore, Mississippi
All-purpose player — D.J. Reed, junior, Kansas State
Kicker — Eddy Piniero, junior, Florida

Ends — Austin Bryant, junior, Clemson; Mat Boesen, senior, TCU
Tackles — Vita Vea, junior, Washington; Harrison Phillips, senior, Stanford
Linebackers — Micah Kiser, senior, Virginia; Tremaine Edmunds, junior, Virginia Tech; Devin Bush, sophomore, Michigan
Cornerbacks — Andraez Williams, redshirt freshman, LSU; Jack Jones, sophomore, Southern California
Safeties — Armani Watts, senior, Texas A&M; Quin Blanding, senior, Virginia
Punter — Mitch Wisnowsky, junior, Utah

<p>With about a month of college games in the bag and plenty of data to pore over, it’s a good time to re-assess the 2018 NBA draft&#39;s top 60 prospects as conference play approaches.</p><p>While our <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/nba-mock-draft-2018" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Mock Draft" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Mock Draft</a> aims to project what the draft might look like on a given day of the season and factors in team needs, the Big Board serves as our own point of reference for the available player pool. These rankings are based on our own evaluations and conversations with NBA scouts, and establishes how we&#39;d rate prospects in a vacuum (a scenario, of course, that will never actually happen). </p><p>Gifted Arizona center DeAndre Ayton remains atop our draft board, with Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley a close second and third, respectively. High-scoring Oklahoma guard Trae Young moves into first-round territory, as does intriguing draft-eligible high schooler Anfernee Simons. The big picture remains extremely fluid. Here’s how we see it.</p><p><em>(Note: Rankings and stats last updated Dec. 11).</em></p><h3>1. DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 7&#39;0&quot; | Weight: 260 pounds | Age: 19 | Last Ranking: 1 </strong></p><p>Elite physical tools, soft touch around the basket and a promising jump shot make Ayton a tantalizing prospect. He has most of the traits you want in a modern center plus the athletic ability to face up and play in space. The college game comes easily to him, and Ayton checks essentially every offensive box for his position. There are fair questions about his defensive comprehension and shot-blocking woes, but with his nimble feet and sheer size and strength, he has the tools to be an above-average presence around the rim. He’s a manchild with crazy-high upside and a potential franchise cornerstone.</p><h3>2. Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;8&quot; | Weight: 220 | Age: 18 | Last: 3</strong></p><p>At 18, Doncic has become perhaps the top player in the Euroleague and a potential No. 1 pick. He’s comfortable as a lead ball-handler and has become deadly from three-point range. He makes his teammates better and reads the floor beyond his years. While he will face an adjustment to the speed of NBA defenses, there’s not really much to nitpick here, and his strong performances for Slovenia against high-caliber competition round out an impressive résumé. Doncic appears a safe bet to continue on the fast track and contribute at a high level as an NBA playmaker.</p><h3>3. Marvin Bagley III, F/C, Duke | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 235 | Age: 18 | Last: 2</strong></p><p>Known for his aggression on the glass and competitiveness, Bagley manufactures easy baskets and possesses uncommonly fluid athleticism for a guy his size. He should become a versatile defensive piece on the perimeter, but has struggled to guard on the interior thus far. His growth as a scorer in the halfcourt will ultimately make or break him, and his jump shot is a work in progress, but his makeup and base strengths give his value a solid floor. His quick adjustment from reclassifying out of high school to dominating college competition is truly impressive. With his ball-handling and ability to face up, he has considerable room to grow.</p><h3>4. Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 7&#39;0&quot; | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 5</strong></p><p>With off-the-charts length and impressive mobility, Bamba is potentially a dominant interior defender. His 7’9” wingspan deserves a sentence of its own. He has a slender frame and continues to round out his offensive skill set, but has shown ability as a jump shooter and is a constant threat to catch lobs. He’s further off from contributing than some of this draft’s other elite prospects, but his best-case scenario is right there with them. Bamba has an opportunity to evolve into a defensive-minded antidote for the young, perimeter-oriented bigs beginning to take over the NBA.</p><h3>5. Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;10&quot; | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last: 4</strong></p><p>Porter is a smooth, polished scorer who thrives on the perimeter and should be able to play either forward spot. Shooting is at a premium, and Porter’s ball-handling and perimeter skills give him a chance to contribute immediately. He can be a ball-stopper, and rounding out his game with playmaking and defense are the next steps, but he’s a pretty ideal frontcourt prospect in the pace-and-space era. Following back surgery, concerns over his long-term health and mobility are warranted. Barring major red flags, he won’t fall far.</p><h3>6. Jaren Jackson Jr., F/C, Michigan State | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 240 | Age: 18 | Last: 6 </strong></p><p>Jackson boasts NBA bloodlines and an intriguing blend of scoring touch, shot-blocking and three-point shooting potential. On top of that, he’s also producing on the court and competing hard as one of the youngest players in college basketball. His jump shot mechanics are unorthodox, which may limit how much of that specific success translates. As his body fills out, Jackson should become a better finisher around the rim. He has made major all-around strides over the last year or so and is worthy of consideration high in the draft.</p><h3>7. Robert Williams III, F/C, Texas A&#38;M | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 240 | Age: 20 | Last: 7</strong></p><p>A strong, athletic big with some inside-out scoring ability and a nose for the ball, Williams is a talented rim-runner who catches lobs and does a good job on the offensive glass. Williams is also a good passer with better feel than he’s been given credit for. It’s imperative he finds ways to better involve himself in games as a scorer, but he’s currently cast into a secondary role on a very good team. As a result, his offensive impact can be highly inconsistent. There aren’t many college bigs who play above the rim as easily as Williams can, and he has considerable potential as a Clint Capela-style five-man.</p><h3>8. Collin Sexton, G, Alabama | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;2&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 18 | Last: 10</strong></p><p>Sexton is an aggressive, shoot-first guard whose handle and burst allow him to consistently penetrate defenses and draw fouls. He’s shown some improvement as a three-point shooter and has the ability to be a good defender when locked in. Sexton isn’t a pure point and can improve as a decision maker with the ball, but he has a good chance to become an effective change-of-pace scorer at minimum. He can occasionally struggle to finish around bigs, but his blend of shot-creation and toughness is rare. If he continues to draw fouls at a high rate in the NBA, the outlook should be sunny.</p><h3>9. Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 12</strong></p><p>On an inconsistent, younger-than-usual Kentucky roster, Knox has emerged as John Calipari’s top prospect. He’s developed into a capable three-point shooter and has enviable physical tools, with the size and reach to guard either forward spot and rebound effectively. Knox could stand to be more aggressive attacking the basket, and still has games where he disappears for long stretches. But his body and versatility project well, and he’s still quite far from the player he could eventually become.</p><h3>10. Mikal Bridges, F, Villanova | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;7&quot; | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: 23</strong></p><p>Bridges has emerged as a lottery-caliber prospect, with an improved offensive game now accompanying the impressive measurables that make him an impact defender. He moves well on the perimeter, can defend four positions, blocks shots and consistently generates steals with his 7’0” wingspan. Bridges’ improved aggressiveness on offense has answered the questons about his motor, and he has the kind of versatility that plays particularly well in a fast-paced game. Continuing to thrive in his increased scoring role will be key.</p><h3>11. Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;7&quot; | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 8</strong></p><p>Bridges competes hard on both ends of the floor, and his oft-spectacular athletic ability suggests he can be an impactful defender and transition threat. But scouts are questioning how much he’s improved since his freshman year, with an inconsistent jump shot and limited ability to create off the dribble. His energy and ability to run the floor should still play in a NBA that favors smaller, faster forwards, but it’s reasonable to wonder about some of his limitations.</p><h3>12. Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;4&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 18 | Last: 11</strong></p><p>Walker checks a lot of boxes for an off-guard. He&#39;s able to slash to the basket and score from deep with great length and a nice frame for his position. He has long-term 3-and-D potential as he refines his skills, and learns to play off the ball. Tearing his meniscus over the summer was a setback that might help justify his slow start. He’s still a ways from being pro-ready, and has to prove he can put up the numbers to match his considerable talent.</p><h3>13. Bruce Brown Jr., G, Miami | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;5&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 21 | Last: 13</strong></p><p>Gifted with size, strength and a relentless approach to the game, Brown continues to transition into playing the point full time and should put up big numbers for Miami. He can defend multiple positions on the perimeter and generate turnovers. On offense, he shoots the ball well but needs more polish as a playmaker and as a scorer off the bounce. His intangibles and versatility make him well-suited for an NBA backcourt.</p><h3>14. Trevon Duval, PG, Duke | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;3&quot; | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Last: 14</strong></p><p>Duval has shown improvement in every area of his gam save for his biggest weakness: his jumper. He has great size and length, can be an elite on-ball defender, makes plays in transition and has begun to slow the game down from a mental standpoint. But he’s essentially a non-factor shooting from the outside at this stage, with a lack of consistency and touch. Duval is talented enough to warrant lottery consideration but could be held back by those struggles.</p><h3>15. Mitchell Robinson, C, Chalmette High School (Louisiana)</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 230 | Age: 19 | Last: 15</strong></p><p>Although Robinson will have had a year off from competitive basketball and enter the draft with no experience past high school, teams still have significant interest in his long frame, athleticism and shot-blocking ability. He’s a serious project with questionable feel for the game and likely won’t benefit from walking away from Western Kentucky. Conversely, there will be less time to pick him apart in workout settings. Robinson remains an intriguing name to file away.</p><h3>16. Dzanan Musa, G/F, KK Cedevita</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 185 | Age: 18 | Last: 16</strong></p><p>Musa is an aggressive scoring wing who shoots well from the outside and can attack effectively off the dribble. He’s an improving playmaker and has stood out for Bosnia with an advanced feel, but he’s very ball-dominant at this stage and may not be athletic enough for that role in the NBA. His body leaves something to be desired, as he’s somewhat thin. He lacks ideal length and has a bit of a hunched posture due to the shape of his back. He’s not much of a defender, either. Still, his ability to put the ball in the basket sets him apart.</p><h3>17. Wendell Carter Jr., F/C, Duke | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;10&quot; | Weight: 260 | Age: 18 | Last: 9</strong></p><p>Carter has a polished offensive game for a freshman, with the ability to score with his back to the basket as well as face up and hit a jump shot. He’s an intelligent player and passer with the size and strength to battle inside and corral rebounds. Although he’s not a bad athlete, he’s not especially explosive and can struggle when defenses collapse on him around the basket and alter his shot. As such, there are concerns about how he’ll adjust to facing elite length. There’s a chance his effectiveness is limited by the pace of the NBA game.</p><h3>18. Troy Brown, G/F, Oregon | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;7&quot; | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 19</strong></p><p>Most of Brown’s appeal is tied to his long-term potential as an oversized ball-handler and versatile defensive piece. He’s at his best in the open floor and uses his length to attack the basket, see over defenders and make plays for teammates. He’s not a great shooter, but Brown also rebounds well and finds ways to impact the game without scoring. He has the upside to rise into the lottery with continued improvement.</p><h3>19. Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;2&quot; | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last: 55</strong></p><p>A gifted perimeter scorer and passer, Young burst out of the gate as one college basketball’s top point guards. His play has elevated a middling Oklahoma roster, and his string of huge performances has become impossible to ignore. He’s not especially big, quick or strong, but has a smooth handle and can create his own shot using his change of pace. It’s unclear if he’ll be able to stay on the floor defensively or be quite as effective creating separation against athletic defenses. Young’s impressive ability to shoot from deep and open things up for teammates have put him firmly on the radar.</p><h3>20. Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;5&quot; | Weight: 200 | Age: 19 | Last: 17</strong></p><p>Diallo is a divisive prospect, but nobody can argue with the freakish bounce and length that makes him worthy of first-round looks. He can run and jump with anyone and has enough of a handle to turn the corner and attack the basket, but his jumper needs work and he’s far from a finished product. Beyond easy transition points and his ability to get to the line, there’s not a ton else to Diallo’s game yet. He’s still so athletic that signs of substantive progress could land him in the lottery.</p><h3>21. Chimezie Metu, F/C, USC | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 225 | Age: 20 | Last: 20</strong></p><p>A springy big who blocks shots and has shown some touch, Metu has made noticeable strides year-to-year and continues to expand his game. He can make the game look easy at times, and has improved as a finisher who can throw it down in tight spaces. His game-to-game activity can waver, as can his on-court awareness. If he’s able to step out and make threes regularly, his ceiling increases considerably. Demonstrable consistency will take him a long way.</p><h3>22. Justin Jackson, F, Maryland | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;7&quot; | Weight: 225 | Age: 20 | Last: 21</strong></p><p>Jackson’s long, well-developed frame makes him a very intriguing two-way forward and potential glue guy. His foot speed and 7’3” wingspan allow him to guard several positions, and he’s a useful rebounder and secondary ball-handler. That said, Jackson lacks a demonstrable offensive calling card right now unless he can somehow sustain last season’s impressive shooting clip. His scoring may come along slowly, but his well-rounded skill set is still worth an investment.</p><h3>23. Shake Milton, G, SMU | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;6&quot; | Weight: 205 | Age: 21 | Last: 22</strong></p><p>Milton’s size, shooting and ability to play on and off the ball make him an intriguing prospect. He’s proven he can score from the outside and is the type of player who could pair well with a variety of backcourt partners. Milton will be the go-to guy for SMU this season and must continue to take care of the ball, play more aggressively and show he can defend at a competent level. He’s begun to turn his potential into production.</p><h3>24. Grayson Allen, SG, Duke | Senior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;4&quot; | Weight: 205 | Age: 22 | Last: 24</strong></p><p>Allen is among the top distance shooters in the draft, able to get his jumper off both in tight spaces off the dribble and on the catch. He has a well-developed sense of how to get open and get to his spots, and makes difficult body-control plays look easy. Allen is a strong athlete who can attack a closeout and keep defenders from playing him too closely. Allen may not be an impactful NBA defender, but he’s certainly not a stiff. He’s tough, competes hard and looks tailored for an NBA role.</p><h3>25. Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 7&#39;0&quot; | Weight: 250 | Age: 19 | Last: 27</strong></p><p>McCoy is all tools at this stage, but he’s physically impressive and has surprised with the quality of his production. He can get up and down the floor and goes after the ball well off the glass. His timing and feel are still coming along, but he naturally alters shots and has shown some ability to shoot from the mid-range. Like many teenage bigs, his motor comes and goes, but McCoy has been effective almost in spite of it at times. He’s mobile and talented enough as a legitimate center to warrant first-round consideration.</p><h3>26. Killian Tillie, F/C, Gonzaga | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;10&quot; | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last: 18</strong></p><p>Hyper-efficient around the basket with a natural touch and quick burst off the floor, Tillie has quietly emerged as an intriguing prospect. The Frenchman has shown demonstrable polish and has flashed a nice-looking jump shot. He boxes out well and establishes good position inside, although he needs to add muscle in order to compete at the next level.. He moves well laterally and has some impact defensively, though how he’ll fare on both ends against NBA length remains to be seen.</p><h3>27. Anfernee Simons, G, IMG Academy | HS Senior</h3><p><b>Height: 6&#39;3&quot; | Weight: 180 | Age: 18 | Last: N/A</b></p><p>Currently in midst of a postgrad season at IMG, Simons will be draft-eligible and is considering entering the pool and skipping college. He’s a springy, quick-twitch athlete who is more of a combo guard at this stage of his development. He’s at his best attacking the basket downhill and elevating to finish, and has enviable defensive range that projects well. As he continues to develop as a shooter, he’ll have a chance to be a first-round draftee should he choose to go pro. As a high schooler, Simons obviously needs time, but the former Louisville commit possesses considerable upside and has the NBA intrigued.</p><h3>28. Rawle Alkins, SG, Arizona | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;4&quot; | Weight: 220 | Age: 20 | Last: 28</strong></p><p>Alkins missed the first chunk of Arizona’s season with a foot fracture, and his energy on both ends of the floor provides a major boost. He has a strong frame, NBA-caliber bounce and has demonstrated willingness to play a role for the benefit of the team. He’s evolved into a reliable defensive player and will have an opportunity to show more on the other end of the floor. He’s undersized at the two, but his ability to get to the rim, make plays and space the floor bode well.</p><h3>29. Tyus Battle, SG, Syracuse | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;6&quot; | Weight: 205 | Age: 20 | Last: 32</strong></p><p>Battle has nice size and skill and has taken a step forward as a versatile scorer. He’s agile and tough, but still has to prove he can create off the dribble and improve as a finisher. It’s unclear yet whether his defensive contributions will catch up to his physical prowess. Scouts will want to see him tap into his versatility and show increased efficiency on the wing.</p><h3>30. Devonte’ Graham, PG, Kansas | Senior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;2&quot; | Weight: 185 | Age: 22 | Last: 33</strong></p><p>As the leader of a less-loaded-than-usual Kansas team, Graham’s toughness, scoring and playmaking aren’t going unnoticed. He has a good stroke from three, and also impacts the game as a hard-working on-ball defender. He can struggle getting into the second level of defenses and isn’t elite at any one thing. But as a ball-handler who can potentially contribute quickly, given how well he’s played, the first round is within reach.</p><h3>31. Nick Richards, C, Kentucky | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 240 | Age: 20 | Last: 26</strong></p><p>Although extremely raw and prone to foul trouble, Richards’s size, rebounding, mobility and shot-blocking potential hold intrigue. He’s well-built, highly agile and can play above the rim. But his feel is lacking, and he’s very old for his class as a 20-year-old freshman. If he becomes a reliable rim-runner and shot blocker, Richards should be able to make an impact, but there are serious questions about his overall floor awareness.</p><h3>32. Khyri Thomas, G, Creighton | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;3&quot; | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: N/A</strong></p><p>One of college basketball’s breakout players, Thomas’s two-way ability has turned heads. He’s a consistent high-volume outside threat, can play on or off the ball and has defended extremely well, making him an excellent role player candidate at the NBA level. If he can improve creating off the dribble, it’s gravy. His growth this season is truly impressive.</p><h3>33. De’Anthony Melton, G, USC | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;4&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last: 31</strong></p><p>It certainly doesn’t help Melton’s case that he remains out due to the FBI’s college basketball investigation, but he’s a quality prospect just the same. He showed plenty of defensive toughness and offensive skill as a freshman, and remains on the NBA radar as an energy player and defensive presence. If he gets his jumper in order he could be in for a leap, but it&#39;s tricky to peg without him having played a game this season.</p><h3>34. Jaylen Hands, PG, UCLA | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;3&quot; | Weight: 175 | Age: 18 | Last: 25</strong></p><p>In a weaker draft pool that’s especially thin when it comes to point guard talent, Hands’s highlight-reel explosiveness and end-to-end speed will make him an interesting upside pick if he comes out. He’s still learning how to run a team, but can get to the rim, push in transition and has a workable jumper and nice handle. He does things that are hard to teach. Hands lacks ideal size and strength for the NBA and would benefit from two seasons of college, but has a lot to offer down the line.</p><h3>35. Rui Hachimura, F, Gonzaga | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;8&quot; | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 34</strong></p><p>Hachimura has come off the bench to start the year for Gonzaga and needs more opportunities to show his stuff, but he has a chance at the first round if he can string together some good performances. He’s got nice length and strength and has some touch as a shooter. He showed plenty of game playing for Japan over the summer and could evolve into a valuable two-way combo forward in time.</p><h3>36. John Petty, SG, Alabama | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;5&quot; | Weight: 195 | Age: 18 | Last: 35</strong></p><p>The headlines have belonged to Collin Sexton, but Petty has been impressive playing off of his talented teammate. He’s a gifted perimeter shooter off the catch who can sustain hot streaks and hoist his shot quickly. It may be tricky to assess his well-roundedness given how much of Alabama’s points run through Sexton, but Petty can fill up a box score and has appeal in a 3-and-D role. </p><h3>37. Austin Wiley, C, Auburn | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 250 | Age: 18 | Last: 37</strong></p><p>Wiley continues to sit out due to the FBI corruption investigation, but possesses NBA ability and great size, length and strength. He’s young for his class and is in a pretty good place developmentally, working hard on the glass and showing the makings of a decent jumper. He’ll battle in the post and do the dirty work, but isn’t an elite athlete. He can improve as a finisher and has a history of knee injuries that limit his mobility.</p><h3>38. Rodions Kurucs, G/F, FC Barcelona</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last: 29</strong></p><p>Though Kurucs&#39;s stock has trended down somewhat after pulling out of last year’s draft and failing to earn minutes with Barcelona’s top team, his mix of size, athleticism and smarts offer appeal on the wing. He will need to improve his production beyond simply showing flashes. The Latvian still has some nice traits and looks like a potentially useful role player.</p><h3>39. Jarred Vanderbilt, F, Kentucky | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 39</strong></p><p>Vanderbilt has yet to make his debut as he recovers from a foot injury, and it sounds like there’s a chance he could miss most or all of the season. He has a history of leg injuries and a thinnish lower body, but he’s a good athlete who can handle the ball a little bit and can make an impact on the glass and as a versatile defender with length. He can also make plays for teammates, particularly in the open floor. The health issues are a concern.</p><h3>40. Arnoldas Kulboka, F, Orlandina Basket</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 205 | Age: 19 | Last: 40</strong></p><p>A productive, athletic wing with shooting potential, Kulboka has nice size at the three and has put up impressive numbers coming up in Germany. He has definite upside as a scorer. A native of Lithuania, he needs to add weight, improve defensively and add a little seasoning. He’s a potential draft-and-stash player if he comes out.</p><h3>41. Andrew Jones, G, Texas | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;4&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last: 38</strong></p><p>Jones is an impressive athlete and transition scorer still learning his craft. He may not evolve into a true point guard, but he has nice quickness and a burst that helps him on both ends. His halfcourt creation skills leave something to be desired and his jumper is a question mark, but Jones is a nice developmental piece with upside. He could still benefit from another year of school.</p><h3>42. Alize Johnson, F, Missouri State | Senior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: 42</strong></p><p>After breaking out over the summer at Adidas Nations, Johnson emerged as a unique prospect with guard skills and a high rebounding motor packaged into a combo forward’s body. He can handle the ball and push in transition and has some promise as a shooter, profiling as the sort of positionless-type big that’s in high demand right now. Thanks to his versatility, Johnson will get serious NBA looks as one of the top mid-major prospects around.</p><h3>43. Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;1&quot; | Weight: 185 | Age: 21 | Last: 46</strong></p><p>The youngest of the three Holiday brothers has proven a tough competitor in his own right. He’s undersized but scrappy, can hit an open three, get to the basket and fight on defense. Holiday will need to sustain a good amount of last season’s shooting numbers, which were abetted by playing alongside Lonzo Ball. But as the de facto veteran leader of a young, talented roster, Holiday continues to leave a nice impression.</p><h3>44. Isaac Bonga, G/F, Fraport Skyliners</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 205 | Age: 18 | Last: 44</strong></p><p>An oversized ball-handler and talented passer, Bonga could be one of the youngest players in this class and has nice upside given his skill set. His jump shot is the biggest knock on him, but he has nice instincts and vision, particularly at his size. The German prospect needs a lot of time, but could become a two-way playmaker. Bonga’s offense in particular will require a ton of work, but what he might be in two or three years is enticing.</p><h3>45. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;5&quot; | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Last: 43</strong></p><p>Alexander-Walker is far off from logging actual NBA minutes, but his potential has him on draft radars. He has a nice stroke, the size to guard both guard spots and a generally good sense of the floor playing on and off the ball for Virginia Tech. He’d greatly benefit from a second year of college and needs to work on his body, as he struggles turning the corner against athletic defenders. He’ll be in for a season of ups and downs in the ACC, but has a nice long-term outlook.</p><h3>46. Chandler Hutchison, G/F, Boise State | Senior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;7&quot; | Weight: 200 | Age: 21 | Last: 48</strong></p><p>A popular sleeper and one of the top players in the Mountain West, Hutchison has 3-and-D potential and an unflashy, effective game. He’s a good off-ball cutter who can get himself open, and shot the ball well last season. He has the size to guard either wing position and contributes on the glass, too. If Hutchison can sustain his outside shooting clip with added volume, he may climb.</p><h3>47. Brandon Randolph, SG, Arizona | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;6&quot; | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last: N/A</strong></p><p>With his ability to put up points in bunches, Randolph has emerged as a useful complementary scorer for the Wildcats. He’s quick, smooth and is comfortable attacking the basket and spotting up off the dribble. He’s carved out a spot in the Arizona rotation and continues to improve at a high rate. He has the length and tools to become a capable defender and is a player worth tracking.</p><h3>48. Landry Shamet, PG, Wichita State | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;4&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 20 | Last: 41</strong></p><p>Shamet made it back for the start of the season, but he&#39;s now suffered serious injuries in both of his feet. That aside, he’s a gifted scorer who can hit difficult shots and began to come into his own down the stretch last season. He has nice size for a lead guard, changes speeds well and can move and defend passably. He could be in line for another big leap that could put him in the draft conversation.</p><h3>49. Bonzie Colson, PF, Notre Dame | Senior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;5&quot; | Weight: 220 | Age: 21 | Last: 47</strong></p><p>A truly unorthodox prospect, Colson has great length and a deep bag of offensive moves while standing just 6’5”. He’s been remarkably effective for Notre Dame anyway, and will tempt teams with his history of production and the hope that he can make it all work as a factor in smaller lineups. He can get to the foul line and has been extremely efficient to date. Whether or not he succeeds in the NBA, his situation will make for an interesting case study.</p><h3>50. P.J. Washington, F, Kentucky | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;7&quot; | Weight: 230 | Age: 19 | Last: N/A</strong></p><p>Despite a lack of ideal height, Washington&#39;s 7&#39;3&quot; wingspan gives him a unique physical profile and enables him to defend fours, fives and some threes on the perimeter. He’s a powerful leaper and intelligent player who has begun to make an adjustment to the college game. He may work best as a small-ball center at the next level and needs to prove he can be a shot-blocking presence. Washington’s baseline offensive skill level and shooting potential are also promising.</p><h3>51. Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;3&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 21 | Last: 46</strong></p><p>Brunson is a heady playmaker who has had success throughout his career and looks tailored for a role as an NBA ball-handler. He doesn’t have great size or strength, but plays and works extremely hard and is often underrated as a scorer. He’s the leader of perhaps the top team in the country. Brunson relies on being crafty, understands how to run a team and has a chance to be drafted, whether this season or the next.</p><h3>52. Bryant Crawford, PG, Wake Forest | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;3&quot; | Weight: 200 | Age: 20 | Last: 45</strong></p><p>A lesser-known prospect who has quietly developed over the last couple seasons, Crawford’s size and strength on the ball and willingness to defend has piqued NBA interest. He changes speeds well and can create in the halfcourt. Crawford isn’t a knockdown shooter and needs to prove he can be consistent. He will be asked to elevate a mediocre roster this season and could struggle with efficiency. But his experience, length and two-way contributions help set him apart.</p><h3>53. Allonzo Trier, SG, Arizona | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;5&quot; | Weight: 205 | Age: 21 | Last: 53</strong></p><p>Trier is a dynamic college scorer who has improved his efficiency from the field, but questions linger over his shot selection and ability to fit into an NBA rotation. He lacks ideal length for a shooting guard and can be a ball-stopper. He’s an offensive-minded talent and consistent shooter from deep, but will be asked to play a supporting role at the next level. Trier may be able to succeed if he commits to defense, works on his body and proves there’s more to his game.</p><h3>54. Kris Wilkes, SF, UCLA | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;8&quot; | Weight: 195 | Age: 19 | Last: 30</strong></p><p>Though Wilkes has slowed down after an impressive start to the season, his smooth shooting mechanics, twitchy athleticism and 6’11” wingspan make him a natural fit for a 3-and-D role given time. He can attack a closeout and looks comfortable scoring in transition. Wilkes still has a lot of work to do on his handle and needs to show he can be a consistent threat from deep and impact the game beyond scoring. His game is reminiscent of Tim Hardaway Jr., and his strengths profile nicely down the line.</p><h3>55. Jacob Evans, G/F, Cincinnati | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;6&quot; | Weight: 210 | Age: 20 | Last: 52</strong></p><p>Evans is a tough, defensive-minded guard with shot-making ability who has come on strong as an NBA prospect. He has the chops to be a valuable 3-and-D piece and guard multiple positions. He’s physically impressive, but struggles to create off the dribble and may be better cast as a small forward at the next level. He needs to prove his outside shot is for real. </p><h3>56. Vince Edwards, F, Purdue | Senior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;8&quot; | Weight: 225 | Age: 21 | Last: 50</strong></p><p>Edwards has the athleticism and length to guard several positions passably, and has a nice level of versatility to his game. He could be an ideal fit in smaller lineups with his ability to move the ball, space the floor and get involved on the glass. If you envision him as a glue guy and he shows real improvement as a defender, where he is prone to lapses, he’s not a bad roll of the dice.</p><h3>57. Moritz Wagner, F/C, Michigan | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 230 | Age: 20 | Last: 51</strong></p><p>An inside-out scorer with the size to play center, Wagner has offensive talent and can be a tough matchup. He lacks the defensive chops to protect the basket and has holes in his all-around game. He’s begun to rebound the ball better this season, which is a start. Legitimate stretch bigs are tricky to find, and Wagner has the talent to space the floor if he can round out his weaknesses.</p><h2>58. Anas Mahmoud, C, Louisville | Senior</h2><p><strong>Height: 7&#39;0&quot; | Weight: 215 | Age: 22 | Last: 59</strong></p><p>Though old for his class and possessing a slender build, Mahmoud has the size, mobility and length to protect the rim and continues to improve. He’s a strong shot-blocker and showed improvement in his overall feel last year. He’s not much of a scorer and may be limited into a defensive specialist-type role. Any offensive development will help his case.</p><h3>59. Bennie Boatwright, F, USC | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 230 | Age: 21 | Last: 54</strong></p><p>As a floor-spacer with size, Boatwright has been on the radar for a while. He’s a deadeye shooter with his feet set and has shown the ability to score off the bounce as well, although he’s not a great athlete or a presence defensively. He’s not especially efficient putting the ball in the basket any other way, but a strong year shooting the ball could put him in the second round.</p><h3>60. Ethan Happ, PF, Wisconsin | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 235 | Age: 21 | Last: 49</strong></p><p>Happ has done nothing but produce at Wisconsin and excels as a finisher and rebounder. He operates mostly in the paint, where he’s always active despite a lack of ideal size at the five. He’s not a flashy player, but he’s a good rebounder, ball-handler and passer and plays bigger than his size. It hurts that he’s not much of a shooter (and poor from the free throw line) but his track record is impressive.</p>
2018 NBA Draft Big Board 2.0: Breakout Stars Rise up the Rankings

With about a month of college games in the bag and plenty of data to pore over, it’s a good time to re-assess the 2018 NBA draft's top 60 prospects as conference play approaches.

While our Mock Draft aims to project what the draft might look like on a given day of the season and factors in team needs, the Big Board serves as our own point of reference for the available player pool. These rankings are based on our own evaluations and conversations with NBA scouts, and establishes how we'd rate prospects in a vacuum (a scenario, of course, that will never actually happen).

Gifted Arizona center DeAndre Ayton remains atop our draft board, with Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley a close second and third, respectively. High-scoring Oklahoma guard Trae Young moves into first-round territory, as does intriguing draft-eligible high schooler Anfernee Simons. The big picture remains extremely fluid. Here’s how we see it.

(Note: Rankings and stats last updated Dec. 11).

1. DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona | Freshman

Height: 7'0" | Weight: 260 pounds | Age: 19 | Last Ranking: 1

Elite physical tools, soft touch around the basket and a promising jump shot make Ayton a tantalizing prospect. He has most of the traits you want in a modern center plus the athletic ability to face up and play in space. The college game comes easily to him, and Ayton checks essentially every offensive box for his position. There are fair questions about his defensive comprehension and shot-blocking woes, but with his nimble feet and sheer size and strength, he has the tools to be an above-average presence around the rim. He’s a manchild with crazy-high upside and a potential franchise cornerstone.

2. Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid

Height: 6'8" | Weight: 220 | Age: 18 | Last: 3

At 18, Doncic has become perhaps the top player in the Euroleague and a potential No. 1 pick. He’s comfortable as a lead ball-handler and has become deadly from three-point range. He makes his teammates better and reads the floor beyond his years. While he will face an adjustment to the speed of NBA defenses, there’s not really much to nitpick here, and his strong performances for Slovenia against high-caliber competition round out an impressive résumé. Doncic appears a safe bet to continue on the fast track and contribute at a high level as an NBA playmaker.

3. Marvin Bagley III, F/C, Duke | Freshman

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 235 | Age: 18 | Last: 2

Known for his aggression on the glass and competitiveness, Bagley manufactures easy baskets and possesses uncommonly fluid athleticism for a guy his size. He should become a versatile defensive piece on the perimeter, but has struggled to guard on the interior thus far. His growth as a scorer in the halfcourt will ultimately make or break him, and his jump shot is a work in progress, but his makeup and base strengths give his value a solid floor. His quick adjustment from reclassifying out of high school to dominating college competition is truly impressive. With his ball-handling and ability to face up, he has considerable room to grow.

4. Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas | Freshman

Height: 7'0" | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 5

With off-the-charts length and impressive mobility, Bamba is potentially a dominant interior defender. His 7’9” wingspan deserves a sentence of its own. He has a slender frame and continues to round out his offensive skill set, but has shown ability as a jump shooter and is a constant threat to catch lobs. He’s further off from contributing than some of this draft’s other elite prospects, but his best-case scenario is right there with them. Bamba has an opportunity to evolve into a defensive-minded antidote for the young, perimeter-oriented bigs beginning to take over the NBA.

5. Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri | Freshman

Height: 6'10" | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last: 4

Porter is a smooth, polished scorer who thrives on the perimeter and should be able to play either forward spot. Shooting is at a premium, and Porter’s ball-handling and perimeter skills give him a chance to contribute immediately. He can be a ball-stopper, and rounding out his game with playmaking and defense are the next steps, but he’s a pretty ideal frontcourt prospect in the pace-and-space era. Following back surgery, concerns over his long-term health and mobility are warranted. Barring major red flags, he won’t fall far.

6. Jaren Jackson Jr., F/C, Michigan State | Freshman

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 240 | Age: 18 | Last: 6

Jackson boasts NBA bloodlines and an intriguing blend of scoring touch, shot-blocking and three-point shooting potential. On top of that, he’s also producing on the court and competing hard as one of the youngest players in college basketball. His jump shot mechanics are unorthodox, which may limit how much of that specific success translates. As his body fills out, Jackson should become a better finisher around the rim. He has made major all-around strides over the last year or so and is worthy of consideration high in the draft.

7. Robert Williams III, F/C, Texas A&M | Sophomore

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 240 | Age: 20 | Last: 7

A strong, athletic big with some inside-out scoring ability and a nose for the ball, Williams is a talented rim-runner who catches lobs and does a good job on the offensive glass. Williams is also a good passer with better feel than he’s been given credit for. It’s imperative he finds ways to better involve himself in games as a scorer, but he’s currently cast into a secondary role on a very good team. As a result, his offensive impact can be highly inconsistent. There aren’t many college bigs who play above the rim as easily as Williams can, and he has considerable potential as a Clint Capela-style five-man.

8. Collin Sexton, G, Alabama | Freshman

Height: 6'2" | Weight: 190 | Age: 18 | Last: 10

Sexton is an aggressive, shoot-first guard whose handle and burst allow him to consistently penetrate defenses and draw fouls. He’s shown some improvement as a three-point shooter and has the ability to be a good defender when locked in. Sexton isn’t a pure point and can improve as a decision maker with the ball, but he has a good chance to become an effective change-of-pace scorer at minimum. He can occasionally struggle to finish around bigs, but his blend of shot-creation and toughness is rare. If he continues to draw fouls at a high rate in the NBA, the outlook should be sunny.

9. Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky | Freshman

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 12

On an inconsistent, younger-than-usual Kentucky roster, Knox has emerged as John Calipari’s top prospect. He’s developed into a capable three-point shooter and has enviable physical tools, with the size and reach to guard either forward spot and rebound effectively. Knox could stand to be more aggressive attacking the basket, and still has games where he disappears for long stretches. But his body and versatility project well, and he’s still quite far from the player he could eventually become.

10. Mikal Bridges, F, Villanova | Junior

Height: 6'7" | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: 23

Bridges has emerged as a lottery-caliber prospect, with an improved offensive game now accompanying the impressive measurables that make him an impact defender. He moves well on the perimeter, can defend four positions, blocks shots and consistently generates steals with his 7’0” wingspan. Bridges’ improved aggressiveness on offense has answered the questons about his motor, and he has the kind of versatility that plays particularly well in a fast-paced game. Continuing to thrive in his increased scoring role will be key.

11. Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State | Sophomore

Height: 6'7" | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 8

Bridges competes hard on both ends of the floor, and his oft-spectacular athletic ability suggests he can be an impactful defender and transition threat. But scouts are questioning how much he’s improved since his freshman year, with an inconsistent jump shot and limited ability to create off the dribble. His energy and ability to run the floor should still play in a NBA that favors smaller, faster forwards, but it’s reasonable to wonder about some of his limitations.

12. Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami | Freshman

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 190 | Age: 18 | Last: 11

Walker checks a lot of boxes for an off-guard. He's able to slash to the basket and score from deep with great length and a nice frame for his position. He has long-term 3-and-D potential as he refines his skills, and learns to play off the ball. Tearing his meniscus over the summer was a setback that might help justify his slow start. He’s still a ways from being pro-ready, and has to prove he can put up the numbers to match his considerable talent.

13. Bruce Brown Jr., G, Miami | Sophomore

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 190 | Age: 21 | Last: 13

Gifted with size, strength and a relentless approach to the game, Brown continues to transition into playing the point full time and should put up big numbers for Miami. He can defend multiple positions on the perimeter and generate turnovers. On offense, he shoots the ball well but needs more polish as a playmaker and as a scorer off the bounce. His intangibles and versatility make him well-suited for an NBA backcourt.

14. Trevon Duval, PG, Duke | Freshman

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Last: 14

Duval has shown improvement in every area of his gam save for his biggest weakness: his jumper. He has great size and length, can be an elite on-ball defender, makes plays in transition and has begun to slow the game down from a mental standpoint. But he’s essentially a non-factor shooting from the outside at this stage, with a lack of consistency and touch. Duval is talented enough to warrant lottery consideration but could be held back by those struggles.

15. Mitchell Robinson, C, Chalmette High School (Louisiana)

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 230 | Age: 19 | Last: 15

Although Robinson will have had a year off from competitive basketball and enter the draft with no experience past high school, teams still have significant interest in his long frame, athleticism and shot-blocking ability. He’s a serious project with questionable feel for the game and likely won’t benefit from walking away from Western Kentucky. Conversely, there will be less time to pick him apart in workout settings. Robinson remains an intriguing name to file away.

16. Dzanan Musa, G/F, KK Cedevita

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 185 | Age: 18 | Last: 16

Musa is an aggressive scoring wing who shoots well from the outside and can attack effectively off the dribble. He’s an improving playmaker and has stood out for Bosnia with an advanced feel, but he’s very ball-dominant at this stage and may not be athletic enough for that role in the NBA. His body leaves something to be desired, as he’s somewhat thin. He lacks ideal length and has a bit of a hunched posture due to the shape of his back. He’s not much of a defender, either. Still, his ability to put the ball in the basket sets him apart.

17. Wendell Carter Jr., F/C, Duke | Freshman

Height: 6'10" | Weight: 260 | Age: 18 | Last: 9

Carter has a polished offensive game for a freshman, with the ability to score with his back to the basket as well as face up and hit a jump shot. He’s an intelligent player and passer with the size and strength to battle inside and corral rebounds. Although he’s not a bad athlete, he’s not especially explosive and can struggle when defenses collapse on him around the basket and alter his shot. As such, there are concerns about how he’ll adjust to facing elite length. There’s a chance his effectiveness is limited by the pace of the NBA game.

18. Troy Brown, G/F, Oregon | Freshman

Height: 6'7" | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 19

Most of Brown’s appeal is tied to his long-term potential as an oversized ball-handler and versatile defensive piece. He’s at his best in the open floor and uses his length to attack the basket, see over defenders and make plays for teammates. He’s not a great shooter, but Brown also rebounds well and finds ways to impact the game without scoring. He has the upside to rise into the lottery with continued improvement.

19. Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma | Freshman

Height: 6'2" | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last: 55

A gifted perimeter scorer and passer, Young burst out of the gate as one college basketball’s top point guards. His play has elevated a middling Oklahoma roster, and his string of huge performances has become impossible to ignore. He’s not especially big, quick or strong, but has a smooth handle and can create his own shot using his change of pace. It’s unclear if he’ll be able to stay on the floor defensively or be quite as effective creating separation against athletic defenses. Young’s impressive ability to shoot from deep and open things up for teammates have put him firmly on the radar.

20. Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky | Freshman

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 200 | Age: 19 | Last: 17

Diallo is a divisive prospect, but nobody can argue with the freakish bounce and length that makes him worthy of first-round looks. He can run and jump with anyone and has enough of a handle to turn the corner and attack the basket, but his jumper needs work and he’s far from a finished product. Beyond easy transition points and his ability to get to the line, there’s not a ton else to Diallo’s game yet. He’s still so athletic that signs of substantive progress could land him in the lottery.

21. Chimezie Metu, F/C, USC | Junior

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 225 | Age: 20 | Last: 20

A springy big who blocks shots and has shown some touch, Metu has made noticeable strides year-to-year and continues to expand his game. He can make the game look easy at times, and has improved as a finisher who can throw it down in tight spaces. His game-to-game activity can waver, as can his on-court awareness. If he’s able to step out and make threes regularly, his ceiling increases considerably. Demonstrable consistency will take him a long way.

22. Justin Jackson, F, Maryland | Sophomore

Height: 6'7" | Weight: 225 | Age: 20 | Last: 21

Jackson’s long, well-developed frame makes him a very intriguing two-way forward and potential glue guy. His foot speed and 7’3” wingspan allow him to guard several positions, and he’s a useful rebounder and secondary ball-handler. That said, Jackson lacks a demonstrable offensive calling card right now unless he can somehow sustain last season’s impressive shooting clip. His scoring may come along slowly, but his well-rounded skill set is still worth an investment.

23. Shake Milton, G, SMU | Junior

Height: 6'6" | Weight: 205 | Age: 21 | Last: 22

Milton’s size, shooting and ability to play on and off the ball make him an intriguing prospect. He’s proven he can score from the outside and is the type of player who could pair well with a variety of backcourt partners. Milton will be the go-to guy for SMU this season and must continue to take care of the ball, play more aggressively and show he can defend at a competent level. He’s begun to turn his potential into production.

24. Grayson Allen, SG, Duke | Senior

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 205 | Age: 22 | Last: 24

Allen is among the top distance shooters in the draft, able to get his jumper off both in tight spaces off the dribble and on the catch. He has a well-developed sense of how to get open and get to his spots, and makes difficult body-control plays look easy. Allen is a strong athlete who can attack a closeout and keep defenders from playing him too closely. Allen may not be an impactful NBA defender, but he’s certainly not a stiff. He’s tough, competes hard and looks tailored for an NBA role.

25. Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV | Freshman

Height: 7'0" | Weight: 250 | Age: 19 | Last: 27

McCoy is all tools at this stage, but he’s physically impressive and has surprised with the quality of his production. He can get up and down the floor and goes after the ball well off the glass. His timing and feel are still coming along, but he naturally alters shots and has shown some ability to shoot from the mid-range. Like many teenage bigs, his motor comes and goes, but McCoy has been effective almost in spite of it at times. He’s mobile and talented enough as a legitimate center to warrant first-round consideration.

26. Killian Tillie, F/C, Gonzaga | Sophomore

Height: 6'10" | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last: 18

Hyper-efficient around the basket with a natural touch and quick burst off the floor, Tillie has quietly emerged as an intriguing prospect. The Frenchman has shown demonstrable polish and has flashed a nice-looking jump shot. He boxes out well and establishes good position inside, although he needs to add muscle in order to compete at the next level.. He moves well laterally and has some impact defensively, though how he’ll fare on both ends against NBA length remains to be seen.

27. Anfernee Simons, G, IMG Academy | HS Senior

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 180 | Age: 18 | Last: N/A

Currently in midst of a postgrad season at IMG, Simons will be draft-eligible and is considering entering the pool and skipping college. He’s a springy, quick-twitch athlete who is more of a combo guard at this stage of his development. He’s at his best attacking the basket downhill and elevating to finish, and has enviable defensive range that projects well. As he continues to develop as a shooter, he’ll have a chance to be a first-round draftee should he choose to go pro. As a high schooler, Simons obviously needs time, but the former Louisville commit possesses considerable upside and has the NBA intrigued.

28. Rawle Alkins, SG, Arizona | Sophomore

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 220 | Age: 20 | Last: 28

Alkins missed the first chunk of Arizona’s season with a foot fracture, and his energy on both ends of the floor provides a major boost. He has a strong frame, NBA-caliber bounce and has demonstrated willingness to play a role for the benefit of the team. He’s evolved into a reliable defensive player and will have an opportunity to show more on the other end of the floor. He’s undersized at the two, but his ability to get to the rim, make plays and space the floor bode well.

29. Tyus Battle, SG, Syracuse | Sophomore

Height: 6'6" | Weight: 205 | Age: 20 | Last: 32

Battle has nice size and skill and has taken a step forward as a versatile scorer. He’s agile and tough, but still has to prove he can create off the dribble and improve as a finisher. It’s unclear yet whether his defensive contributions will catch up to his physical prowess. Scouts will want to see him tap into his versatility and show increased efficiency on the wing.

30. Devonte’ Graham, PG, Kansas | Senior

Height: 6'2" | Weight: 185 | Age: 22 | Last: 33

As the leader of a less-loaded-than-usual Kansas team, Graham’s toughness, scoring and playmaking aren’t going unnoticed. He has a good stroke from three, and also impacts the game as a hard-working on-ball defender. He can struggle getting into the second level of defenses and isn’t elite at any one thing. But as a ball-handler who can potentially contribute quickly, given how well he’s played, the first round is within reach.

31. Nick Richards, C, Kentucky | Freshman

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 240 | Age: 20 | Last: 26

Although extremely raw and prone to foul trouble, Richards’s size, rebounding, mobility and shot-blocking potential hold intrigue. He’s well-built, highly agile and can play above the rim. But his feel is lacking, and he’s very old for his class as a 20-year-old freshman. If he becomes a reliable rim-runner and shot blocker, Richards should be able to make an impact, but there are serious questions about his overall floor awareness.

32. Khyri Thomas, G, Creighton | Junior

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: N/A

One of college basketball’s breakout players, Thomas’s two-way ability has turned heads. He’s a consistent high-volume outside threat, can play on or off the ball and has defended extremely well, making him an excellent role player candidate at the NBA level. If he can improve creating off the dribble, it’s gravy. His growth this season is truly impressive.

33. De’Anthony Melton, G, USC | Sophomore

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last: 31

It certainly doesn’t help Melton’s case that he remains out due to the FBI’s college basketball investigation, but he’s a quality prospect just the same. He showed plenty of defensive toughness and offensive skill as a freshman, and remains on the NBA radar as an energy player and defensive presence. If he gets his jumper in order he could be in for a leap, but it's tricky to peg without him having played a game this season.

34. Jaylen Hands, PG, UCLA | Freshman

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 175 | Age: 18 | Last: 25

In a weaker draft pool that’s especially thin when it comes to point guard talent, Hands’s highlight-reel explosiveness and end-to-end speed will make him an interesting upside pick if he comes out. He’s still learning how to run a team, but can get to the rim, push in transition and has a workable jumper and nice handle. He does things that are hard to teach. Hands lacks ideal size and strength for the NBA and would benefit from two seasons of college, but has a lot to offer down the line.

35. Rui Hachimura, F, Gonzaga | Sophomore

Height: 6'8" | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 34

Hachimura has come off the bench to start the year for Gonzaga and needs more opportunities to show his stuff, but he has a chance at the first round if he can string together some good performances. He’s got nice length and strength and has some touch as a shooter. He showed plenty of game playing for Japan over the summer and could evolve into a valuable two-way combo forward in time.

36. John Petty, SG, Alabama | Freshman

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 195 | Age: 18 | Last: 35

The headlines have belonged to Collin Sexton, but Petty has been impressive playing off of his talented teammate. He’s a gifted perimeter shooter off the catch who can sustain hot streaks and hoist his shot quickly. It may be tricky to assess his well-roundedness given how much of Alabama’s points run through Sexton, but Petty can fill up a box score and has appeal in a 3-and-D role.

37. Austin Wiley, C, Auburn | Sophomore

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 250 | Age: 18 | Last: 37

Wiley continues to sit out due to the FBI corruption investigation, but possesses NBA ability and great size, length and strength. He’s young for his class and is in a pretty good place developmentally, working hard on the glass and showing the makings of a decent jumper. He’ll battle in the post and do the dirty work, but isn’t an elite athlete. He can improve as a finisher and has a history of knee injuries that limit his mobility.

38. Rodions Kurucs, G/F, FC Barcelona

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last: 29

Though Kurucs's stock has trended down somewhat after pulling out of last year’s draft and failing to earn minutes with Barcelona’s top team, his mix of size, athleticism and smarts offer appeal on the wing. He will need to improve his production beyond simply showing flashes. The Latvian still has some nice traits and looks like a potentially useful role player.

39. Jarred Vanderbilt, F, Kentucky | Freshman

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 39

Vanderbilt has yet to make his debut as he recovers from a foot injury, and it sounds like there’s a chance he could miss most or all of the season. He has a history of leg injuries and a thinnish lower body, but he’s a good athlete who can handle the ball a little bit and can make an impact on the glass and as a versatile defender with length. He can also make plays for teammates, particularly in the open floor. The health issues are a concern.

40. Arnoldas Kulboka, F, Orlandina Basket

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 205 | Age: 19 | Last: 40

A productive, athletic wing with shooting potential, Kulboka has nice size at the three and has put up impressive numbers coming up in Germany. He has definite upside as a scorer. A native of Lithuania, he needs to add weight, improve defensively and add a little seasoning. He’s a potential draft-and-stash player if he comes out.

41. Andrew Jones, G, Texas | Sophomore

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last: 38

Jones is an impressive athlete and transition scorer still learning his craft. He may not evolve into a true point guard, but he has nice quickness and a burst that helps him on both ends. His halfcourt creation skills leave something to be desired and his jumper is a question mark, but Jones is a nice developmental piece with upside. He could still benefit from another year of school.

42. Alize Johnson, F, Missouri State | Senior

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: 42

After breaking out over the summer at Adidas Nations, Johnson emerged as a unique prospect with guard skills and a high rebounding motor packaged into a combo forward’s body. He can handle the ball and push in transition and has some promise as a shooter, profiling as the sort of positionless-type big that’s in high demand right now. Thanks to his versatility, Johnson will get serious NBA looks as one of the top mid-major prospects around.

43. Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA | Junior

Height: 6'1" | Weight: 185 | Age: 21 | Last: 46

The youngest of the three Holiday brothers has proven a tough competitor in his own right. He’s undersized but scrappy, can hit an open three, get to the basket and fight on defense. Holiday will need to sustain a good amount of last season’s shooting numbers, which were abetted by playing alongside Lonzo Ball. But as the de facto veteran leader of a young, talented roster, Holiday continues to leave a nice impression.

44. Isaac Bonga, G/F, Fraport Skyliners

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 205 | Age: 18 | Last: 44

An oversized ball-handler and talented passer, Bonga could be one of the youngest players in this class and has nice upside given his skill set. His jump shot is the biggest knock on him, but he has nice instincts and vision, particularly at his size. The German prospect needs a lot of time, but could become a two-way playmaker. Bonga’s offense in particular will require a ton of work, but what he might be in two or three years is enticing.

45. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech | Freshman

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Last: 43

Alexander-Walker is far off from logging actual NBA minutes, but his potential has him on draft radars. He has a nice stroke, the size to guard both guard spots and a generally good sense of the floor playing on and off the ball for Virginia Tech. He’d greatly benefit from a second year of college and needs to work on his body, as he struggles turning the corner against athletic defenders. He’ll be in for a season of ups and downs in the ACC, but has a nice long-term outlook.

46. Chandler Hutchison, G/F, Boise State | Senior

Height: 6'7" | Weight: 200 | Age: 21 | Last: 48

A popular sleeper and one of the top players in the Mountain West, Hutchison has 3-and-D potential and an unflashy, effective game. He’s a good off-ball cutter who can get himself open, and shot the ball well last season. He has the size to guard either wing position and contributes on the glass, too. If Hutchison can sustain his outside shooting clip with added volume, he may climb.

47. Brandon Randolph, SG, Arizona | Freshman

Height: 6'6" | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last: N/A

With his ability to put up points in bunches, Randolph has emerged as a useful complementary scorer for the Wildcats. He’s quick, smooth and is comfortable attacking the basket and spotting up off the dribble. He’s carved out a spot in the Arizona rotation and continues to improve at a high rate. He has the length and tools to become a capable defender and is a player worth tracking.

48. Landry Shamet, PG, Wichita State | Sophomore

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 190 | Age: 20 | Last: 41

Shamet made it back for the start of the season, but he's now suffered serious injuries in both of his feet. That aside, he’s a gifted scorer who can hit difficult shots and began to come into his own down the stretch last season. He has nice size for a lead guard, changes speeds well and can move and defend passably. He could be in line for another big leap that could put him in the draft conversation.

49. Bonzie Colson, PF, Notre Dame | Senior

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 220 | Age: 21 | Last: 47

A truly unorthodox prospect, Colson has great length and a deep bag of offensive moves while standing just 6’5”. He’s been remarkably effective for Notre Dame anyway, and will tempt teams with his history of production and the hope that he can make it all work as a factor in smaller lineups. He can get to the foul line and has been extremely efficient to date. Whether or not he succeeds in the NBA, his situation will make for an interesting case study.

50. P.J. Washington, F, Kentucky | Freshman

Height: 6'7" | Weight: 230 | Age: 19 | Last: N/A

Despite a lack of ideal height, Washington's 7'3" wingspan gives him a unique physical profile and enables him to defend fours, fives and some threes on the perimeter. He’s a powerful leaper and intelligent player who has begun to make an adjustment to the college game. He may work best as a small-ball center at the next level and needs to prove he can be a shot-blocking presence. Washington’s baseline offensive skill level and shooting potential are also promising.

51. Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova | Junior

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 190 | Age: 21 | Last: 46

Brunson is a heady playmaker who has had success throughout his career and looks tailored for a role as an NBA ball-handler. He doesn’t have great size or strength, but plays and works extremely hard and is often underrated as a scorer. He’s the leader of perhaps the top team in the country. Brunson relies on being crafty, understands how to run a team and has a chance to be drafted, whether this season or the next.

52. Bryant Crawford, PG, Wake Forest | Junior

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 200 | Age: 20 | Last: 45

A lesser-known prospect who has quietly developed over the last couple seasons, Crawford’s size and strength on the ball and willingness to defend has piqued NBA interest. He changes speeds well and can create in the halfcourt. Crawford isn’t a knockdown shooter and needs to prove he can be consistent. He will be asked to elevate a mediocre roster this season and could struggle with efficiency. But his experience, length and two-way contributions help set him apart.

53. Allonzo Trier, SG, Arizona | Junior

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 205 | Age: 21 | Last: 53

Trier is a dynamic college scorer who has improved his efficiency from the field, but questions linger over his shot selection and ability to fit into an NBA rotation. He lacks ideal length for a shooting guard and can be a ball-stopper. He’s an offensive-minded talent and consistent shooter from deep, but will be asked to play a supporting role at the next level. Trier may be able to succeed if he commits to defense, works on his body and proves there’s more to his game.

54. Kris Wilkes, SF, UCLA | Freshman

Height: 6'8" | Weight: 195 | Age: 19 | Last: 30

Though Wilkes has slowed down after an impressive start to the season, his smooth shooting mechanics, twitchy athleticism and 6’11” wingspan make him a natural fit for a 3-and-D role given time. He can attack a closeout and looks comfortable scoring in transition. Wilkes still has a lot of work to do on his handle and needs to show he can be a consistent threat from deep and impact the game beyond scoring. His game is reminiscent of Tim Hardaway Jr., and his strengths profile nicely down the line.

55. Jacob Evans, G/F, Cincinnati | Junior

Height: 6'6" | Weight: 210 | Age: 20 | Last: 52

Evans is a tough, defensive-minded guard with shot-making ability who has come on strong as an NBA prospect. He has the chops to be a valuable 3-and-D piece and guard multiple positions. He’s physically impressive, but struggles to create off the dribble and may be better cast as a small forward at the next level. He needs to prove his outside shot is for real.

56. Vince Edwards, F, Purdue | Senior

Height: 6'8" | Weight: 225 | Age: 21 | Last: 50

Edwards has the athleticism and length to guard several positions passably, and has a nice level of versatility to his game. He could be an ideal fit in smaller lineups with his ability to move the ball, space the floor and get involved on the glass. If you envision him as a glue guy and he shows real improvement as a defender, where he is prone to lapses, he’s not a bad roll of the dice.

57. Moritz Wagner, F/C, Michigan | Junior

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 230 | Age: 20 | Last: 51

An inside-out scorer with the size to play center, Wagner has offensive talent and can be a tough matchup. He lacks the defensive chops to protect the basket and has holes in his all-around game. He’s begun to rebound the ball better this season, which is a start. Legitimate stretch bigs are tricky to find, and Wagner has the talent to space the floor if he can round out his weaknesses.

58. Anas Mahmoud, C, Louisville | Senior

Height: 7'0" | Weight: 215 | Age: 22 | Last: 59

Though old for his class and possessing a slender build, Mahmoud has the size, mobility and length to protect the rim and continues to improve. He’s a strong shot-blocker and showed improvement in his overall feel last year. He’s not much of a scorer and may be limited into a defensive specialist-type role. Any offensive development will help his case.

59. Bennie Boatwright, F, USC | Junior

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 230 | Age: 21 | Last: 54

As a floor-spacer with size, Boatwright has been on the radar for a while. He’s a deadeye shooter with his feet set and has shown the ability to score off the bounce as well, although he’s not a great athlete or a presence defensively. He’s not especially efficient putting the ball in the basket any other way, but a strong year shooting the ball could put him in the second round.

60. Ethan Happ, PF, Wisconsin | Junior

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 235 | Age: 21 | Last: 49

Happ has done nothing but produce at Wisconsin and excels as a finisher and rebounder. He operates mostly in the paint, where he’s always active despite a lack of ideal size at the five. He’s not a flashy player, but he’s a good rebounder, ball-handler and passer and plays bigger than his size. It hurts that he’s not much of a shooter (and poor from the free throw line) but his track record is impressive.

<p>With about a month of college games in the bag and plenty of data to pore over, it’s a good time to re-assess the 2018 NBA draft&#39;s top 60 prospects as conference play approaches.</p><p>While our <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/nba-mock-draft-2018" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Mock Draft" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Mock Draft</a> aims to project what the draft might look like on a given day of the season and factors in team needs, the Big Board serves as our own point of reference for the available player pool. These rankings are based on our own evaluations and conversations with NBA scouts, and establishes how we&#39;d rate prospects in a vacuum (a scenario, of course, that will never actually happen). </p><p>Gifted Arizona center DeAndre Ayton remains atop our draft board, with Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley a close second and third, respectively. High-scoring Oklahoma guard Trae Young moves into first-round territory, as does intriguing draft-eligible high schooler Anfernee Simons. The big picture remains extremely fluid. Here’s how we see it.</p><p><em>(Note: Rankings and stats last updated Dec. 11).</em></p><h3>1. DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 7&#39;0&quot; | Weight: 260 pounds | Age: 19 | Last Ranking: 1 </strong></p><p>Elite physical tools, soft touch around the basket and a promising jump shot make Ayton a tantalizing prospect. He has most of the traits you want in a modern center plus the athletic ability to face up and play in space. The college game comes easily to him, and Ayton checks essentially every offensive box for his position. There are fair questions about his defensive comprehension and shot-blocking woes, but with his nimble feet and sheer size and strength, he has the tools to be an above-average presence around the rim. He’s a manchild with crazy-high upside and a potential franchise cornerstone.</p><h3>2. Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;8&quot; | Weight: 220 | Age: 18 | Last: 3</strong></p><p>At 18, Doncic has become perhaps the top player in the Euroleague and a potential No. 1 pick. He’s comfortable as a lead ball-handler and has become deadly from three-point range. He makes his teammates better and reads the floor beyond his years. While he will face an adjustment to the speed of NBA defenses, there’s not really much to nitpick here, and his strong performances for Slovenia against high-caliber competition round out an impressive résumé. Doncic appears a safe bet to continue on the fast track and contribute at a high level as an NBA playmaker.</p><h3>3. Marvin Bagley III, F/C, Duke | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 235 | Age: 18 | Last: 2</strong></p><p>Known for his aggression on the glass and competitiveness, Bagley manufactures easy baskets and possesses uncommonly fluid athleticism for a guy his size. He should become a versatile defensive piece on the perimeter, but has struggled to guard on the interior thus far. His growth as a scorer in the halfcourt will ultimately make or break him, and his jump shot is a work in progress, but his makeup and base strengths give his value a solid floor. His quick adjustment from reclassifying out of high school to dominating college competition is truly impressive. With his ball-handling and ability to face up, he has considerable room to grow.</p><h3>4. Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 7&#39;0&quot; | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 5</strong></p><p>With off-the-charts length and impressive mobility, Bamba is potentially a dominant interior defender. His 7’9” wingspan deserves a sentence of its own. He has a slender frame and continues to round out his offensive skill set, but has shown ability as a jump shooter and is a constant threat to catch lobs. He’s further off from contributing than some of this draft’s other elite prospects, but his best-case scenario is right there with them. Bamba has an opportunity to evolve into a defensive-minded antidote for the young, perimeter-oriented bigs beginning to take over the NBA.</p><h3>5. Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;10&quot; | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last: 4</strong></p><p>Porter is a smooth, polished scorer who thrives on the perimeter and should be able to play either forward spot. Shooting is at a premium, and Porter’s ball-handling and perimeter skills give him a chance to contribute immediately. He can be a ball-stopper, and rounding out his game with playmaking and defense are the next steps, but he’s a pretty ideal frontcourt prospect in the pace-and-space era. Following back surgery, concerns over his long-term health and mobility are warranted. Barring major red flags, he won’t fall far.</p><h3>6. Jaren Jackson Jr., F/C, Michigan State | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 240 | Age: 18 | Last: 6 </strong></p><p>Jackson boasts NBA bloodlines and an intriguing blend of scoring touch, shot-blocking and three-point shooting potential. On top of that, he’s also producing on the court and competing hard as one of the youngest players in college basketball. His jump shot mechanics are unorthodox, which may limit how much of that specific success translates. As his body fills out, Jackson should become a better finisher around the rim. He has made major all-around strides over the last year or so and is worthy of consideration high in the draft.</p><h3>7. Robert Williams III, F/C, Texas A&#38;M | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 240 | Age: 20 | Last: 7</strong></p><p>A strong, athletic big with some inside-out scoring ability and a nose for the ball, Williams is a talented rim-runner who catches lobs and does a good job on the offensive glass. Williams is also a good passer with better feel than he’s been given credit for. It’s imperative he finds ways to better involve himself in games as a scorer, but he’s currently cast into a secondary role on a very good team. As a result, his offensive impact can be highly inconsistent. There aren’t many college bigs who play above the rim as easily as Williams can, and he has considerable potential as a Clint Capela-style five-man.</p><h3>8. Collin Sexton, G, Alabama | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;2&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 18 | Last: 10</strong></p><p>Sexton is an aggressive, shoot-first guard whose handle and burst allow him to consistently penetrate defenses and draw fouls. He’s shown some improvement as a three-point shooter and has the ability to be a good defender when locked in. Sexton isn’t a pure point and can improve as a decision maker with the ball, but he has a good chance to become an effective change-of-pace scorer at minimum. He can occasionally struggle to finish around bigs, but his blend of shot-creation and toughness is rare. If he continues to draw fouls at a high rate in the NBA, the outlook should be sunny.</p><h3>9. Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 12</strong></p><p>On an inconsistent, younger-than-usual Kentucky roster, Knox has emerged as John Calipari’s top prospect. He’s developed into a capable three-point shooter and has enviable physical tools, with the size and reach to guard either forward spot and rebound effectively. Knox could stand to be more aggressive attacking the basket, and still has games where he disappears for long stretches. But his body and versatility project well, and he’s still quite far from the player he could eventually become.</p><h3>10. Mikal Bridges, F, Villanova | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;7&quot; | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: 23</strong></p><p>Bridges has emerged as a lottery-caliber prospect, with an improved offensive game now accompanying the impressive measurables that make him an impact defender. He moves well on the perimeter, can defend four positions, blocks shots and consistently generates steals with his 7’0” wingspan. Bridges’ improved aggressiveness on offense has answered the questons about his motor, and he has the kind of versatility that plays particularly well in a fast-paced game. Continuing to thrive in his increased scoring role will be key.</p><h3>11. Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;7&quot; | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 8</strong></p><p>Bridges competes hard on both ends of the floor, and his oft-spectacular athletic ability suggests he can be an impactful defender and transition threat. But scouts are questioning how much he’s improved since his freshman year, with an inconsistent jump shot and limited ability to create off the dribble. His energy and ability to run the floor should still play in a NBA that favors smaller, faster forwards, but it’s reasonable to wonder about some of his limitations.</p><h3>12. Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;4&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 18 | Last: 11</strong></p><p>Walker checks a lot of boxes for an off-guard. He&#39;s able to slash to the basket and score from deep with great length and a nice frame for his position. He has long-term 3-and-D potential as he refines his skills, and learns to play off the ball. Tearing his meniscus over the summer was a setback that might help justify his slow start. He’s still a ways from being pro-ready, and has to prove he can put up the numbers to match his considerable talent.</p><h3>13. Bruce Brown Jr., G, Miami | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;5&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 21 | Last: 13</strong></p><p>Gifted with size, strength and a relentless approach to the game, Brown continues to transition into playing the point full time and should put up big numbers for Miami. He can defend multiple positions on the perimeter and generate turnovers. On offense, he shoots the ball well but needs more polish as a playmaker and as a scorer off the bounce. His intangibles and versatility make him well-suited for an NBA backcourt.</p><h3>14. Trevon Duval, PG, Duke | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;3&quot; | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Last: 14</strong></p><p>Duval has shown improvement in every area of his gam save for his biggest weakness: his jumper. He has great size and length, can be an elite on-ball defender, makes plays in transition and has begun to slow the game down from a mental standpoint. But he’s essentially a non-factor shooting from the outside at this stage, with a lack of consistency and touch. Duval is talented enough to warrant lottery consideration but could be held back by those struggles.</p><h3>15. Mitchell Robinson, C, Chalmette High School (Louisiana)</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 230 | Age: 19 | Last: 15</strong></p><p>Although Robinson will have had a year off from competitive basketball and enter the draft with no experience past high school, teams still have significant interest in his long frame, athleticism and shot-blocking ability. He’s a serious project with questionable feel for the game and likely won’t benefit from walking away from Western Kentucky. Conversely, there will be less time to pick him apart in workout settings. Robinson remains an intriguing name to file away.</p><h3>16. Dzanan Musa, G/F, KK Cedevita</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 185 | Age: 18 | Last: 16</strong></p><p>Musa is an aggressive scoring wing who shoots well from the outside and can attack effectively off the dribble. He’s an improving playmaker and has stood out for Bosnia with an advanced feel, but he’s very ball-dominant at this stage and may not be athletic enough for that role in the NBA. His body leaves something to be desired, as he’s somewhat thin. He lacks ideal length and has a bit of a hunched posture due to the shape of his back. He’s not much of a defender, either. Still, his ability to put the ball in the basket sets him apart.</p><h3>17. Wendell Carter Jr., F/C, Duke | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;10&quot; | Weight: 260 | Age: 18 | Last: 9</strong></p><p>Carter has a polished offensive game for a freshman, with the ability to score with his back to the basket as well as face up and hit a jump shot. He’s an intelligent player and passer with the size and strength to battle inside and corral rebounds. Although he’s not a bad athlete, he’s not especially explosive and can struggle when defenses collapse on him around the basket and alter his shot. As such, there are concerns about how he’ll adjust to facing elite length. There’s a chance his effectiveness is limited by the pace of the NBA game.</p><h3>18. Troy Brown, G/F, Oregon | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;7&quot; | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 19</strong></p><p>Most of Brown’s appeal is tied to his long-term potential as an oversized ball-handler and versatile defensive piece. He’s at his best in the open floor and uses his length to attack the basket, see over defenders and make plays for teammates. He’s not a great shooter, but Brown also rebounds well and finds ways to impact the game without scoring. He has the upside to rise into the lottery with continued improvement.</p><h3>19. Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;2&quot; | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last: 55</strong></p><p>A gifted perimeter scorer and passer, Young burst out of the gate as one college basketball’s top point guards. His play has elevated a middling Oklahoma roster, and his string of huge performances has become impossible to ignore. He’s not especially big, quick or strong, but has a smooth handle and can create his own shot using his change of pace. It’s unclear if he’ll be able to stay on the floor defensively or be quite as effective creating separation against athletic defenses. Young’s impressive ability to shoot from deep and open things up for teammates have put him firmly on the radar.</p><h3>20. Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;5&quot; | Weight: 200 | Age: 19 | Last: 17</strong></p><p>Diallo is a divisive prospect, but nobody can argue with the freakish bounce and length that makes him worthy of first-round looks. He can run and jump with anyone and has enough of a handle to turn the corner and attack the basket, but his jumper needs work and he’s far from a finished product. Beyond easy transition points and his ability to get to the line, there’s not a ton else to Diallo’s game yet. He’s still so athletic that signs of substantive progress could land him in the lottery.</p><h3>21. Chimezie Metu, F/C, USC | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 225 | Age: 20 | Last: 20</strong></p><p>A springy big who blocks shots and has shown some touch, Metu has made noticeable strides year-to-year and continues to expand his game. He can make the game look easy at times, and has improved as a finisher who can throw it down in tight spaces. His game-to-game activity can waver, as can his on-court awareness. If he’s able to step out and make threes regularly, his ceiling increases considerably. Demonstrable consistency will take him a long way.</p><h3>22. Justin Jackson, F, Maryland | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;7&quot; | Weight: 225 | Age: 20 | Last: 21</strong></p><p>Jackson’s long, well-developed frame makes him a very intriguing two-way forward and potential glue guy. His foot speed and 7’3” wingspan allow him to guard several positions, and he’s a useful rebounder and secondary ball-handler. That said, Jackson lacks a demonstrable offensive calling card right now unless he can somehow sustain last season’s impressive shooting clip. His scoring may come along slowly, but his well-rounded skill set is still worth an investment.</p><h3>23. Shake Milton, G, SMU | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;6&quot; | Weight: 205 | Age: 21 | Last: 22</strong></p><p>Milton’s size, shooting and ability to play on and off the ball make him an intriguing prospect. He’s proven he can score from the outside and is the type of player who could pair well with a variety of backcourt partners. Milton will be the go-to guy for SMU this season and must continue to take care of the ball, play more aggressively and show he can defend at a competent level. He’s begun to turn his potential into production.</p><h3>24. Grayson Allen, SG, Duke | Senior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;4&quot; | Weight: 205 | Age: 22 | Last: 24</strong></p><p>Allen is among the top distance shooters in the draft, able to get his jumper off both in tight spaces off the dribble and on the catch. He has a well-developed sense of how to get open and get to his spots, and makes difficult body-control plays look easy. Allen is a strong athlete who can attack a closeout and keep defenders from playing him too closely. Allen may not be an impactful NBA defender, but he’s certainly not a stiff. He’s tough, competes hard and looks tailored for an NBA role.</p><h3>25. Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 7&#39;0&quot; | Weight: 250 | Age: 19 | Last: 27</strong></p><p>McCoy is all tools at this stage, but he’s physically impressive and has surprised with the quality of his production. He can get up and down the floor and goes after the ball well off the glass. His timing and feel are still coming along, but he naturally alters shots and has shown some ability to shoot from the mid-range. Like many teenage bigs, his motor comes and goes, but McCoy has been effective almost in spite of it at times. He’s mobile and talented enough as a legitimate center to warrant first-round consideration.</p><h3>26. Killian Tillie, F/C, Gonzaga | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;10&quot; | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last: 18</strong></p><p>Hyper-efficient around the basket with a natural touch and quick burst off the floor, Tillie has quietly emerged as an intriguing prospect. The Frenchman has shown demonstrable polish and has flashed a nice-looking jump shot. He boxes out well and establishes good position inside, although he needs to add muscle in order to compete at the next level.. He moves well laterally and has some impact defensively, though how he’ll fare on both ends against NBA length remains to be seen.</p><h3>27. Anfernee Simons, G, IMG Academy | HS Senior</h3><p><b>Height: 6&#39;3&quot; | Weight: 180 | Age: 18 | Last: N/A</b></p><p>Currently in midst of a postgrad season at IMG, Simons will be draft-eligible and is considering entering the pool and skipping college. He’s a springy, quick-twitch athlete who is more of a combo guard at this stage of his development. He’s at his best attacking the basket downhill and elevating to finish, and has enviable defensive range that projects well. As he continues to develop as a shooter, he’ll have a chance to be a first-round draftee should he choose to go pro. As a high schooler, Simons obviously needs time, but the former Louisville commit possesses considerable upside and has the NBA intrigued.</p><h3>28. Rawle Alkins, SG, Arizona | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;4&quot; | Weight: 220 | Age: 20 | Last: 28</strong></p><p>Alkins missed the first chunk of Arizona’s season with a foot fracture, and his energy on both ends of the floor provides a major boost. He has a strong frame, NBA-caliber bounce and has demonstrated willingness to play a role for the benefit of the team. He’s evolved into a reliable defensive player and will have an opportunity to show more on the other end of the floor. He’s undersized at the two, but his ability to get to the rim, make plays and space the floor bode well.</p><h3>29. Tyus Battle, SG, Syracuse | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;6&quot; | Weight: 205 | Age: 20 | Last: 32</strong></p><p>Battle has nice size and skill and has taken a step forward as a versatile scorer. He’s agile and tough, but still has to prove he can create off the dribble and improve as a finisher. It’s unclear yet whether his defensive contributions will catch up to his physical prowess. Scouts will want to see him tap into his versatility and show increased efficiency on the wing.</p><h3>30. Devonte’ Graham, PG, Kansas | Senior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;2&quot; | Weight: 185 | Age: 22 | Last: 33</strong></p><p>As the leader of a less-loaded-than-usual Kansas team, Graham’s toughness, scoring and playmaking aren’t going unnoticed. He has a good stroke from three, and also impacts the game as a hard-working on-ball defender. He can struggle getting into the second level of defenses and isn’t elite at any one thing. But as a ball-handler who can potentially contribute quickly, given how well he’s played, the first round is within reach.</p><h3>31. Nick Richards, C, Kentucky | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 240 | Age: 20 | Last: 26</strong></p><p>Although extremely raw and prone to foul trouble, Richards’s size, rebounding, mobility and shot-blocking potential hold intrigue. He’s well-built, highly agile and can play above the rim. But his feel is lacking, and he’s very old for his class as a 20-year-old freshman. If he becomes a reliable rim-runner and shot blocker, Richards should be able to make an impact, but there are serious questions about his overall floor awareness.</p><h3>32. Khyri Thomas, G, Creighton | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;3&quot; | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: N/A</strong></p><p>One of college basketball’s breakout players, Thomas’s two-way ability has turned heads. He’s a consistent high-volume outside threat, can play on or off the ball and has defended extremely well, making him an excellent role player candidate at the NBA level. If he can improve creating off the dribble, it’s gravy. His growth this season is truly impressive.</p><h3>33. De’Anthony Melton, G, USC | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;4&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last: 31</strong></p><p>It certainly doesn’t help Melton’s case that he remains out due to the FBI’s college basketball investigation, but he’s a quality prospect just the same. He showed plenty of defensive toughness and offensive skill as a freshman, and remains on the NBA radar as an energy player and defensive presence. If he gets his jumper in order he could be in for a leap, but it&#39;s tricky to peg without him having played a game this season.</p><h3>34. Jaylen Hands, PG, UCLA | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;3&quot; | Weight: 175 | Age: 18 | Last: 25</strong></p><p>In a weaker draft pool that’s especially thin when it comes to point guard talent, Hands’s highlight-reel explosiveness and end-to-end speed will make him an interesting upside pick if he comes out. He’s still learning how to run a team, but can get to the rim, push in transition and has a workable jumper and nice handle. He does things that are hard to teach. Hands lacks ideal size and strength for the NBA and would benefit from two seasons of college, but has a lot to offer down the line.</p><h3>35. Rui Hachimura, F, Gonzaga | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;8&quot; | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 34</strong></p><p>Hachimura has come off the bench to start the year for Gonzaga and needs more opportunities to show his stuff, but he has a chance at the first round if he can string together some good performances. He’s got nice length and strength and has some touch as a shooter. He showed plenty of game playing for Japan over the summer and could evolve into a valuable two-way combo forward in time.</p><h3>36. John Petty, SG, Alabama | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;5&quot; | Weight: 195 | Age: 18 | Last: 35</strong></p><p>The headlines have belonged to Collin Sexton, but Petty has been impressive playing off of his talented teammate. He’s a gifted perimeter shooter off the catch who can sustain hot streaks and hoist his shot quickly. It may be tricky to assess his well-roundedness given how much of Alabama’s points run through Sexton, but Petty can fill up a box score and has appeal in a 3-and-D role. </p><h3>37. Austin Wiley, C, Auburn | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 250 | Age: 18 | Last: 37</strong></p><p>Wiley continues to sit out due to the FBI corruption investigation, but possesses NBA ability and great size, length and strength. He’s young for his class and is in a pretty good place developmentally, working hard on the glass and showing the makings of a decent jumper. He’ll battle in the post and do the dirty work, but isn’t an elite athlete. He can improve as a finisher and has a history of knee injuries that limit his mobility.</p><h3>38. Rodions Kurucs, G/F, FC Barcelona</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last: 29</strong></p><p>Though Kurucs&#39;s stock has trended down somewhat after pulling out of last year’s draft and failing to earn minutes with Barcelona’s top team, his mix of size, athleticism and smarts offer appeal on the wing. He will need to improve his production beyond simply showing flashes. The Latvian still has some nice traits and looks like a potentially useful role player.</p><h3>39. Jarred Vanderbilt, F, Kentucky | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 39</strong></p><p>Vanderbilt has yet to make his debut as he recovers from a foot injury, and it sounds like there’s a chance he could miss most or all of the season. He has a history of leg injuries and a thinnish lower body, but he’s a good athlete who can handle the ball a little bit and can make an impact on the glass and as a versatile defender with length. He can also make plays for teammates, particularly in the open floor. The health issues are a concern.</p><h3>40. Arnoldas Kulboka, F, Orlandina Basket</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 205 | Age: 19 | Last: 40</strong></p><p>A productive, athletic wing with shooting potential, Kulboka has nice size at the three and has put up impressive numbers coming up in Germany. He has definite upside as a scorer. A native of Lithuania, he needs to add weight, improve defensively and add a little seasoning. He’s a potential draft-and-stash player if he comes out.</p><h3>41. Andrew Jones, G, Texas | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;4&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last: 38</strong></p><p>Jones is an impressive athlete and transition scorer still learning his craft. He may not evolve into a true point guard, but he has nice quickness and a burst that helps him on both ends. His halfcourt creation skills leave something to be desired and his jumper is a question mark, but Jones is a nice developmental piece with upside. He could still benefit from another year of school.</p><h3>42. Alize Johnson, F, Missouri State | Senior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: 42</strong></p><p>After breaking out over the summer at Adidas Nations, Johnson emerged as a unique prospect with guard skills and a high rebounding motor packaged into a combo forward’s body. He can handle the ball and push in transition and has some promise as a shooter, profiling as the sort of positionless-type big that’s in high demand right now. Thanks to his versatility, Johnson will get serious NBA looks as one of the top mid-major prospects around.</p><h3>43. Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;1&quot; | Weight: 185 | Age: 21 | Last: 46</strong></p><p>The youngest of the three Holiday brothers has proven a tough competitor in his own right. He’s undersized but scrappy, can hit an open three, get to the basket and fight on defense. Holiday will need to sustain a good amount of last season’s shooting numbers, which were abetted by playing alongside Lonzo Ball. But as the de facto veteran leader of a young, talented roster, Holiday continues to leave a nice impression.</p><h3>44. Isaac Bonga, G/F, Fraport Skyliners</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 205 | Age: 18 | Last: 44</strong></p><p>An oversized ball-handler and talented passer, Bonga could be one of the youngest players in this class and has nice upside given his skill set. His jump shot is the biggest knock on him, but he has nice instincts and vision, particularly at his size. The German prospect needs a lot of time, but could become a two-way playmaker. Bonga’s offense in particular will require a ton of work, but what he might be in two or three years is enticing.</p><h3>45. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;5&quot; | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Last: 43</strong></p><p>Alexander-Walker is far off from logging actual NBA minutes, but his potential has him on draft radars. He has a nice stroke, the size to guard both guard spots and a generally good sense of the floor playing on and off the ball for Virginia Tech. He’d greatly benefit from a second year of college and needs to work on his body, as he struggles turning the corner against athletic defenders. He’ll be in for a season of ups and downs in the ACC, but has a nice long-term outlook.</p><h3>46. Chandler Hutchison, G/F, Boise State | Senior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;7&quot; | Weight: 200 | Age: 21 | Last: 48</strong></p><p>A popular sleeper and one of the top players in the Mountain West, Hutchison has 3-and-D potential and an unflashy, effective game. He’s a good off-ball cutter who can get himself open, and shot the ball well last season. He has the size to guard either wing position and contributes on the glass, too. If Hutchison can sustain his outside shooting clip with added volume, he may climb.</p><h3>47. Brandon Randolph, SG, Arizona | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;6&quot; | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last: N/A</strong></p><p>With his ability to put up points in bunches, Randolph has emerged as a useful complementary scorer for the Wildcats. He’s quick, smooth and is comfortable attacking the basket and spotting up off the dribble. He’s carved out a spot in the Arizona rotation and continues to improve at a high rate. He has the length and tools to become a capable defender and is a player worth tracking.</p><h3>48. Landry Shamet, PG, Wichita State | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;4&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 20 | Last: 41</strong></p><p>Shamet made it back for the start of the season, but he&#39;s now suffered serious injuries in both of his feet. That aside, he’s a gifted scorer who can hit difficult shots and began to come into his own down the stretch last season. He has nice size for a lead guard, changes speeds well and can move and defend passably. He could be in line for another big leap that could put him in the draft conversation.</p><h3>49. Bonzie Colson, PF, Notre Dame | Senior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;5&quot; | Weight: 220 | Age: 21 | Last: 47</strong></p><p>A truly unorthodox prospect, Colson has great length and a deep bag of offensive moves while standing just 6’5”. He’s been remarkably effective for Notre Dame anyway, and will tempt teams with his history of production and the hope that he can make it all work as a factor in smaller lineups. He can get to the foul line and has been extremely efficient to date. Whether or not he succeeds in the NBA, his situation will make for an interesting case study.</p><h3>50. P.J. Washington, F, Kentucky | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;7&quot; | Weight: 230 | Age: 19 | Last: N/A</strong></p><p>Despite a lack of ideal height, Washington&#39;s 7&#39;3&quot; wingspan gives him a unique physical profile and enables him to defend fours, fives and some threes on the perimeter. He’s a powerful leaper and intelligent player who has begun to make an adjustment to the college game. He may work best as a small-ball center at the next level and needs to prove he can be a shot-blocking presence. Washington’s baseline offensive skill level and shooting potential are also promising.</p><h3>51. Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;3&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 21 | Last: 46</strong></p><p>Brunson is a heady playmaker who has had success throughout his career and looks tailored for a role as an NBA ball-handler. He doesn’t have great size or strength, but plays and works extremely hard and is often underrated as a scorer. He’s the leader of perhaps the top team in the country. Brunson relies on being crafty, understands how to run a team and has a chance to be drafted, whether this season or the next.</p><h3>52. Bryant Crawford, PG, Wake Forest | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;3&quot; | Weight: 200 | Age: 20 | Last: 45</strong></p><p>A lesser-known prospect who has quietly developed over the last couple seasons, Crawford’s size and strength on the ball and willingness to defend has piqued NBA interest. He changes speeds well and can create in the halfcourt. Crawford isn’t a knockdown shooter and needs to prove he can be consistent. He will be asked to elevate a mediocre roster this season and could struggle with efficiency. But his experience, length and two-way contributions help set him apart.</p><h3>53. Allonzo Trier, SG, Arizona | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;5&quot; | Weight: 205 | Age: 21 | Last: 53</strong></p><p>Trier is a dynamic college scorer who has improved his efficiency from the field, but questions linger over his shot selection and ability to fit into an NBA rotation. He lacks ideal length for a shooting guard and can be a ball-stopper. He’s an offensive-minded talent and consistent shooter from deep, but will be asked to play a supporting role at the next level. Trier may be able to succeed if he commits to defense, works on his body and proves there’s more to his game.</p><h3>54. Kris Wilkes, SF, UCLA | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;8&quot; | Weight: 195 | Age: 19 | Last: 30</strong></p><p>Though Wilkes has slowed down after an impressive start to the season, his smooth shooting mechanics, twitchy athleticism and 6’11” wingspan make him a natural fit for a 3-and-D role given time. He can attack a closeout and looks comfortable scoring in transition. Wilkes still has a lot of work to do on his handle and needs to show he can be a consistent threat from deep and impact the game beyond scoring. His game is reminiscent of Tim Hardaway Jr., and his strengths profile nicely down the line.</p><h3>55. Jacob Evans, G/F, Cincinnati | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;6&quot; | Weight: 210 | Age: 20 | Last: 52</strong></p><p>Evans is a tough, defensive-minded guard with shot-making ability who has come on strong as an NBA prospect. He has the chops to be a valuable 3-and-D piece and guard multiple positions. He’s physically impressive, but struggles to create off the dribble and may be better cast as a small forward at the next level. He needs to prove his outside shot is for real. </p><h3>56. Vince Edwards, F, Purdue | Senior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;8&quot; | Weight: 225 | Age: 21 | Last: 50</strong></p><p>Edwards has the athleticism and length to guard several positions passably, and has a nice level of versatility to his game. He could be an ideal fit in smaller lineups with his ability to move the ball, space the floor and get involved on the glass. If you envision him as a glue guy and he shows real improvement as a defender, where he is prone to lapses, he’s not a bad roll of the dice.</p><h3>57. Moritz Wagner, F/C, Michigan | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 230 | Age: 20 | Last: 51</strong></p><p>An inside-out scorer with the size to play center, Wagner has offensive talent and can be a tough matchup. He lacks the defensive chops to protect the basket and has holes in his all-around game. He’s begun to rebound the ball better this season, which is a start. Legitimate stretch bigs are tricky to find, and Wagner has the talent to space the floor if he can round out his weaknesses.</p><h2>58. Anas Mahmoud, C, Louisville | Senior</h2><p><strong>Height: 7&#39;0&quot; | Weight: 215 | Age: 22 | Last: 59</strong></p><p>Though old for his class and possessing a slender build, Mahmoud has the size, mobility and length to protect the rim and continues to improve. He’s a strong shot-blocker and showed improvement in his overall feel last year. He’s not much of a scorer and may be limited into a defensive specialist-type role. Any offensive development will help his case.</p><h3>59. Bennie Boatwright, F, USC | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 230 | Age: 21 | Last: 54</strong></p><p>As a floor-spacer with size, Boatwright has been on the radar for a while. He’s a deadeye shooter with his feet set and has shown the ability to score off the bounce as well, although he’s not a great athlete or a presence defensively. He’s not especially efficient putting the ball in the basket any other way, but a strong year shooting the ball could put him in the second round.</p><h3>60. Ethan Happ, PF, Wisconsin | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 235 | Age: 21 | Last: 49</strong></p><p>Happ has done nothing but produce at Wisconsin and excels as a finisher and rebounder. He operates mostly in the paint, where he’s always active despite a lack of ideal size at the five. He’s not a flashy player, but he’s a good rebounder, ball-handler and passer and plays bigger than his size. It hurts that he’s not much of a shooter (and poor from the free throw line) but his track record is impressive.</p>
2018 NBA Draft Big Board 2.0: Breakout Stars Rise up the Rankings

With about a month of college games in the bag and plenty of data to pore over, it’s a good time to re-assess the 2018 NBA draft's top 60 prospects as conference play approaches.

While our Mock Draft aims to project what the draft might look like on a given day of the season and factors in team needs, the Big Board serves as our own point of reference for the available player pool. These rankings are based on our own evaluations and conversations with NBA scouts, and establishes how we'd rate prospects in a vacuum (a scenario, of course, that will never actually happen).

Gifted Arizona center DeAndre Ayton remains atop our draft board, with Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley a close second and third, respectively. High-scoring Oklahoma guard Trae Young moves into first-round territory, as does intriguing draft-eligible high schooler Anfernee Simons. The big picture remains extremely fluid. Here’s how we see it.

(Note: Rankings and stats last updated Dec. 11).

1. DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona | Freshman

Height: 7'0" | Weight: 260 pounds | Age: 19 | Last Ranking: 1

Elite physical tools, soft touch around the basket and a promising jump shot make Ayton a tantalizing prospect. He has most of the traits you want in a modern center plus the athletic ability to face up and play in space. The college game comes easily to him, and Ayton checks essentially every offensive box for his position. There are fair questions about his defensive comprehension and shot-blocking woes, but with his nimble feet and sheer size and strength, he has the tools to be an above-average presence around the rim. He’s a manchild with crazy-high upside and a potential franchise cornerstone.

2. Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid

Height: 6'8" | Weight: 220 | Age: 18 | Last: 3

At 18, Doncic has become perhaps the top player in the Euroleague and a potential No. 1 pick. He’s comfortable as a lead ball-handler and has become deadly from three-point range. He makes his teammates better and reads the floor beyond his years. While he will face an adjustment to the speed of NBA defenses, there’s not really much to nitpick here, and his strong performances for Slovenia against high-caliber competition round out an impressive résumé. Doncic appears a safe bet to continue on the fast track and contribute at a high level as an NBA playmaker.

3. Marvin Bagley III, F/C, Duke | Freshman

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 235 | Age: 18 | Last: 2

Known for his aggression on the glass and competitiveness, Bagley manufactures easy baskets and possesses uncommonly fluid athleticism for a guy his size. He should become a versatile defensive piece on the perimeter, but has struggled to guard on the interior thus far. His growth as a scorer in the halfcourt will ultimately make or break him, and his jump shot is a work in progress, but his makeup and base strengths give his value a solid floor. His quick adjustment from reclassifying out of high school to dominating college competition is truly impressive. With his ball-handling and ability to face up, he has considerable room to grow.

4. Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas | Freshman

Height: 7'0" | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 5

With off-the-charts length and impressive mobility, Bamba is potentially a dominant interior defender. His 7’9” wingspan deserves a sentence of its own. He has a slender frame and continues to round out his offensive skill set, but has shown ability as a jump shooter and is a constant threat to catch lobs. He’s further off from contributing than some of this draft’s other elite prospects, but his best-case scenario is right there with them. Bamba has an opportunity to evolve into a defensive-minded antidote for the young, perimeter-oriented bigs beginning to take over the NBA.

5. Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri | Freshman

Height: 6'10" | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last: 4

Porter is a smooth, polished scorer who thrives on the perimeter and should be able to play either forward spot. Shooting is at a premium, and Porter’s ball-handling and perimeter skills give him a chance to contribute immediately. He can be a ball-stopper, and rounding out his game with playmaking and defense are the next steps, but he’s a pretty ideal frontcourt prospect in the pace-and-space era. Following back surgery, concerns over his long-term health and mobility are warranted. Barring major red flags, he won’t fall far.

6. Jaren Jackson Jr., F/C, Michigan State | Freshman

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 240 | Age: 18 | Last: 6

Jackson boasts NBA bloodlines and an intriguing blend of scoring touch, shot-blocking and three-point shooting potential. On top of that, he’s also producing on the court and competing hard as one of the youngest players in college basketball. His jump shot mechanics are unorthodox, which may limit how much of that specific success translates. As his body fills out, Jackson should become a better finisher around the rim. He has made major all-around strides over the last year or so and is worthy of consideration high in the draft.

7. Robert Williams III, F/C, Texas A&M | Sophomore

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 240 | Age: 20 | Last: 7

A strong, athletic big with some inside-out scoring ability and a nose for the ball, Williams is a talented rim-runner who catches lobs and does a good job on the offensive glass. Williams is also a good passer with better feel than he’s been given credit for. It’s imperative he finds ways to better involve himself in games as a scorer, but he’s currently cast into a secondary role on a very good team. As a result, his offensive impact can be highly inconsistent. There aren’t many college bigs who play above the rim as easily as Williams can, and he has considerable potential as a Clint Capela-style five-man.

8. Collin Sexton, G, Alabama | Freshman

Height: 6'2" | Weight: 190 | Age: 18 | Last: 10

Sexton is an aggressive, shoot-first guard whose handle and burst allow him to consistently penetrate defenses and draw fouls. He’s shown some improvement as a three-point shooter and has the ability to be a good defender when locked in. Sexton isn’t a pure point and can improve as a decision maker with the ball, but he has a good chance to become an effective change-of-pace scorer at minimum. He can occasionally struggle to finish around bigs, but his blend of shot-creation and toughness is rare. If he continues to draw fouls at a high rate in the NBA, the outlook should be sunny.

9. Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky | Freshman

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 12

On an inconsistent, younger-than-usual Kentucky roster, Knox has emerged as John Calipari’s top prospect. He’s developed into a capable three-point shooter and has enviable physical tools, with the size and reach to guard either forward spot and rebound effectively. Knox could stand to be more aggressive attacking the basket, and still has games where he disappears for long stretches. But his body and versatility project well, and he’s still quite far from the player he could eventually become.

10. Mikal Bridges, F, Villanova | Junior

Height: 6'7" | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: 23

Bridges has emerged as a lottery-caliber prospect, with an improved offensive game now accompanying the impressive measurables that make him an impact defender. He moves well on the perimeter, can defend four positions, blocks shots and consistently generates steals with his 7’0” wingspan. Bridges’ improved aggressiveness on offense has answered the questons about his motor, and he has the kind of versatility that plays particularly well in a fast-paced game. Continuing to thrive in his increased scoring role will be key.

11. Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State | Sophomore

Height: 6'7" | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 8

Bridges competes hard on both ends of the floor, and his oft-spectacular athletic ability suggests he can be an impactful defender and transition threat. But scouts are questioning how much he’s improved since his freshman year, with an inconsistent jump shot and limited ability to create off the dribble. His energy and ability to run the floor should still play in a NBA that favors smaller, faster forwards, but it’s reasonable to wonder about some of his limitations.

12. Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami | Freshman

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 190 | Age: 18 | Last: 11

Walker checks a lot of boxes for an off-guard. He's able to slash to the basket and score from deep with great length and a nice frame for his position. He has long-term 3-and-D potential as he refines his skills, and learns to play off the ball. Tearing his meniscus over the summer was a setback that might help justify his slow start. He’s still a ways from being pro-ready, and has to prove he can put up the numbers to match his considerable talent.

13. Bruce Brown Jr., G, Miami | Sophomore

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 190 | Age: 21 | Last: 13

Gifted with size, strength and a relentless approach to the game, Brown continues to transition into playing the point full time and should put up big numbers for Miami. He can defend multiple positions on the perimeter and generate turnovers. On offense, he shoots the ball well but needs more polish as a playmaker and as a scorer off the bounce. His intangibles and versatility make him well-suited for an NBA backcourt.

14. Trevon Duval, PG, Duke | Freshman

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Last: 14

Duval has shown improvement in every area of his gam save for his biggest weakness: his jumper. He has great size and length, can be an elite on-ball defender, makes plays in transition and has begun to slow the game down from a mental standpoint. But he’s essentially a non-factor shooting from the outside at this stage, with a lack of consistency and touch. Duval is talented enough to warrant lottery consideration but could be held back by those struggles.

15. Mitchell Robinson, C, Chalmette High School (Louisiana)

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 230 | Age: 19 | Last: 15

Although Robinson will have had a year off from competitive basketball and enter the draft with no experience past high school, teams still have significant interest in his long frame, athleticism and shot-blocking ability. He’s a serious project with questionable feel for the game and likely won’t benefit from walking away from Western Kentucky. Conversely, there will be less time to pick him apart in workout settings. Robinson remains an intriguing name to file away.

16. Dzanan Musa, G/F, KK Cedevita

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 185 | Age: 18 | Last: 16

Musa is an aggressive scoring wing who shoots well from the outside and can attack effectively off the dribble. He’s an improving playmaker and has stood out for Bosnia with an advanced feel, but he’s very ball-dominant at this stage and may not be athletic enough for that role in the NBA. His body leaves something to be desired, as he’s somewhat thin. He lacks ideal length and has a bit of a hunched posture due to the shape of his back. He’s not much of a defender, either. Still, his ability to put the ball in the basket sets him apart.

17. Wendell Carter Jr., F/C, Duke | Freshman

Height: 6'10" | Weight: 260 | Age: 18 | Last: 9

Carter has a polished offensive game for a freshman, with the ability to score with his back to the basket as well as face up and hit a jump shot. He’s an intelligent player and passer with the size and strength to battle inside and corral rebounds. Although he’s not a bad athlete, he’s not especially explosive and can struggle when defenses collapse on him around the basket and alter his shot. As such, there are concerns about how he’ll adjust to facing elite length. There’s a chance his effectiveness is limited by the pace of the NBA game.

18. Troy Brown, G/F, Oregon | Freshman

Height: 6'7" | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 19

Most of Brown’s appeal is tied to his long-term potential as an oversized ball-handler and versatile defensive piece. He’s at his best in the open floor and uses his length to attack the basket, see over defenders and make plays for teammates. He’s not a great shooter, but Brown also rebounds well and finds ways to impact the game without scoring. He has the upside to rise into the lottery with continued improvement.

19. Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma | Freshman

Height: 6'2" | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last: 55

A gifted perimeter scorer and passer, Young burst out of the gate as one college basketball’s top point guards. His play has elevated a middling Oklahoma roster, and his string of huge performances has become impossible to ignore. He’s not especially big, quick or strong, but has a smooth handle and can create his own shot using his change of pace. It’s unclear if he’ll be able to stay on the floor defensively or be quite as effective creating separation against athletic defenses. Young’s impressive ability to shoot from deep and open things up for teammates have put him firmly on the radar.

20. Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky | Freshman

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 200 | Age: 19 | Last: 17

Diallo is a divisive prospect, but nobody can argue with the freakish bounce and length that makes him worthy of first-round looks. He can run and jump with anyone and has enough of a handle to turn the corner and attack the basket, but his jumper needs work and he’s far from a finished product. Beyond easy transition points and his ability to get to the line, there’s not a ton else to Diallo’s game yet. He’s still so athletic that signs of substantive progress could land him in the lottery.

21. Chimezie Metu, F/C, USC | Junior

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 225 | Age: 20 | Last: 20

A springy big who blocks shots and has shown some touch, Metu has made noticeable strides year-to-year and continues to expand his game. He can make the game look easy at times, and has improved as a finisher who can throw it down in tight spaces. His game-to-game activity can waver, as can his on-court awareness. If he’s able to step out and make threes regularly, his ceiling increases considerably. Demonstrable consistency will take him a long way.

22. Justin Jackson, F, Maryland | Sophomore

Height: 6'7" | Weight: 225 | Age: 20 | Last: 21

Jackson’s long, well-developed frame makes him a very intriguing two-way forward and potential glue guy. His foot speed and 7’3” wingspan allow him to guard several positions, and he’s a useful rebounder and secondary ball-handler. That said, Jackson lacks a demonstrable offensive calling card right now unless he can somehow sustain last season’s impressive shooting clip. His scoring may come along slowly, but his well-rounded skill set is still worth an investment.

23. Shake Milton, G, SMU | Junior

Height: 6'6" | Weight: 205 | Age: 21 | Last: 22

Milton’s size, shooting and ability to play on and off the ball make him an intriguing prospect. He’s proven he can score from the outside and is the type of player who could pair well with a variety of backcourt partners. Milton will be the go-to guy for SMU this season and must continue to take care of the ball, play more aggressively and show he can defend at a competent level. He’s begun to turn his potential into production.

24. Grayson Allen, SG, Duke | Senior

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 205 | Age: 22 | Last: 24

Allen is among the top distance shooters in the draft, able to get his jumper off both in tight spaces off the dribble and on the catch. He has a well-developed sense of how to get open and get to his spots, and makes difficult body-control plays look easy. Allen is a strong athlete who can attack a closeout and keep defenders from playing him too closely. Allen may not be an impactful NBA defender, but he’s certainly not a stiff. He’s tough, competes hard and looks tailored for an NBA role.

25. Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV | Freshman

Height: 7'0" | Weight: 250 | Age: 19 | Last: 27

McCoy is all tools at this stage, but he’s physically impressive and has surprised with the quality of his production. He can get up and down the floor and goes after the ball well off the glass. His timing and feel are still coming along, but he naturally alters shots and has shown some ability to shoot from the mid-range. Like many teenage bigs, his motor comes and goes, but McCoy has been effective almost in spite of it at times. He’s mobile and talented enough as a legitimate center to warrant first-round consideration.

26. Killian Tillie, F/C, Gonzaga | Sophomore

Height: 6'10" | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last: 18

Hyper-efficient around the basket with a natural touch and quick burst off the floor, Tillie has quietly emerged as an intriguing prospect. The Frenchman has shown demonstrable polish and has flashed a nice-looking jump shot. He boxes out well and establishes good position inside, although he needs to add muscle in order to compete at the next level.. He moves well laterally and has some impact defensively, though how he’ll fare on both ends against NBA length remains to be seen.

27. Anfernee Simons, G, IMG Academy | HS Senior

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 180 | Age: 18 | Last: N/A

Currently in midst of a postgrad season at IMG, Simons will be draft-eligible and is considering entering the pool and skipping college. He’s a springy, quick-twitch athlete who is more of a combo guard at this stage of his development. He’s at his best attacking the basket downhill and elevating to finish, and has enviable defensive range that projects well. As he continues to develop as a shooter, he’ll have a chance to be a first-round draftee should he choose to go pro. As a high schooler, Simons obviously needs time, but the former Louisville commit possesses considerable upside and has the NBA intrigued.

28. Rawle Alkins, SG, Arizona | Sophomore

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 220 | Age: 20 | Last: 28

Alkins missed the first chunk of Arizona’s season with a foot fracture, and his energy on both ends of the floor provides a major boost. He has a strong frame, NBA-caliber bounce and has demonstrated willingness to play a role for the benefit of the team. He’s evolved into a reliable defensive player and will have an opportunity to show more on the other end of the floor. He’s undersized at the two, but his ability to get to the rim, make plays and space the floor bode well.

29. Tyus Battle, SG, Syracuse | Sophomore

Height: 6'6" | Weight: 205 | Age: 20 | Last: 32

Battle has nice size and skill and has taken a step forward as a versatile scorer. He’s agile and tough, but still has to prove he can create off the dribble and improve as a finisher. It’s unclear yet whether his defensive contributions will catch up to his physical prowess. Scouts will want to see him tap into his versatility and show increased efficiency on the wing.

30. Devonte’ Graham, PG, Kansas | Senior

Height: 6'2" | Weight: 185 | Age: 22 | Last: 33

As the leader of a less-loaded-than-usual Kansas team, Graham’s toughness, scoring and playmaking aren’t going unnoticed. He has a good stroke from three, and also impacts the game as a hard-working on-ball defender. He can struggle getting into the second level of defenses and isn’t elite at any one thing. But as a ball-handler who can potentially contribute quickly, given how well he’s played, the first round is within reach.

31. Nick Richards, C, Kentucky | Freshman

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 240 | Age: 20 | Last: 26

Although extremely raw and prone to foul trouble, Richards’s size, rebounding, mobility and shot-blocking potential hold intrigue. He’s well-built, highly agile and can play above the rim. But his feel is lacking, and he’s very old for his class as a 20-year-old freshman. If he becomes a reliable rim-runner and shot blocker, Richards should be able to make an impact, but there are serious questions about his overall floor awareness.

32. Khyri Thomas, G, Creighton | Junior

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: N/A

One of college basketball’s breakout players, Thomas’s two-way ability has turned heads. He’s a consistent high-volume outside threat, can play on or off the ball and has defended extremely well, making him an excellent role player candidate at the NBA level. If he can improve creating off the dribble, it’s gravy. His growth this season is truly impressive.

33. De’Anthony Melton, G, USC | Sophomore

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last: 31

It certainly doesn’t help Melton’s case that he remains out due to the FBI’s college basketball investigation, but he’s a quality prospect just the same. He showed plenty of defensive toughness and offensive skill as a freshman, and remains on the NBA radar as an energy player and defensive presence. If he gets his jumper in order he could be in for a leap, but it's tricky to peg without him having played a game this season.

34. Jaylen Hands, PG, UCLA | Freshman

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 175 | Age: 18 | Last: 25

In a weaker draft pool that’s especially thin when it comes to point guard talent, Hands’s highlight-reel explosiveness and end-to-end speed will make him an interesting upside pick if he comes out. He’s still learning how to run a team, but can get to the rim, push in transition and has a workable jumper and nice handle. He does things that are hard to teach. Hands lacks ideal size and strength for the NBA and would benefit from two seasons of college, but has a lot to offer down the line.

35. Rui Hachimura, F, Gonzaga | Sophomore

Height: 6'8" | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 34

Hachimura has come off the bench to start the year for Gonzaga and needs more opportunities to show his stuff, but he has a chance at the first round if he can string together some good performances. He’s got nice length and strength and has some touch as a shooter. He showed plenty of game playing for Japan over the summer and could evolve into a valuable two-way combo forward in time.

36. John Petty, SG, Alabama | Freshman

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 195 | Age: 18 | Last: 35

The headlines have belonged to Collin Sexton, but Petty has been impressive playing off of his talented teammate. He’s a gifted perimeter shooter off the catch who can sustain hot streaks and hoist his shot quickly. It may be tricky to assess his well-roundedness given how much of Alabama’s points run through Sexton, but Petty can fill up a box score and has appeal in a 3-and-D role.

37. Austin Wiley, C, Auburn | Sophomore

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 250 | Age: 18 | Last: 37

Wiley continues to sit out due to the FBI corruption investigation, but possesses NBA ability and great size, length and strength. He’s young for his class and is in a pretty good place developmentally, working hard on the glass and showing the makings of a decent jumper. He’ll battle in the post and do the dirty work, but isn’t an elite athlete. He can improve as a finisher and has a history of knee injuries that limit his mobility.

38. Rodions Kurucs, G/F, FC Barcelona

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last: 29

Though Kurucs's stock has trended down somewhat after pulling out of last year’s draft and failing to earn minutes with Barcelona’s top team, his mix of size, athleticism and smarts offer appeal on the wing. He will need to improve his production beyond simply showing flashes. The Latvian still has some nice traits and looks like a potentially useful role player.

39. Jarred Vanderbilt, F, Kentucky | Freshman

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 39

Vanderbilt has yet to make his debut as he recovers from a foot injury, and it sounds like there’s a chance he could miss most or all of the season. He has a history of leg injuries and a thinnish lower body, but he’s a good athlete who can handle the ball a little bit and can make an impact on the glass and as a versatile defender with length. He can also make plays for teammates, particularly in the open floor. The health issues are a concern.

40. Arnoldas Kulboka, F, Orlandina Basket

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 205 | Age: 19 | Last: 40

A productive, athletic wing with shooting potential, Kulboka has nice size at the three and has put up impressive numbers coming up in Germany. He has definite upside as a scorer. A native of Lithuania, he needs to add weight, improve defensively and add a little seasoning. He’s a potential draft-and-stash player if he comes out.

41. Andrew Jones, G, Texas | Sophomore

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last: 38

Jones is an impressive athlete and transition scorer still learning his craft. He may not evolve into a true point guard, but he has nice quickness and a burst that helps him on both ends. His halfcourt creation skills leave something to be desired and his jumper is a question mark, but Jones is a nice developmental piece with upside. He could still benefit from another year of school.

42. Alize Johnson, F, Missouri State | Senior

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: 42

After breaking out over the summer at Adidas Nations, Johnson emerged as a unique prospect with guard skills and a high rebounding motor packaged into a combo forward’s body. He can handle the ball and push in transition and has some promise as a shooter, profiling as the sort of positionless-type big that’s in high demand right now. Thanks to his versatility, Johnson will get serious NBA looks as one of the top mid-major prospects around.

43. Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA | Junior

Height: 6'1" | Weight: 185 | Age: 21 | Last: 46

The youngest of the three Holiday brothers has proven a tough competitor in his own right. He’s undersized but scrappy, can hit an open three, get to the basket and fight on defense. Holiday will need to sustain a good amount of last season’s shooting numbers, which were abetted by playing alongside Lonzo Ball. But as the de facto veteran leader of a young, talented roster, Holiday continues to leave a nice impression.

44. Isaac Bonga, G/F, Fraport Skyliners

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 205 | Age: 18 | Last: 44

An oversized ball-handler and talented passer, Bonga could be one of the youngest players in this class and has nice upside given his skill set. His jump shot is the biggest knock on him, but he has nice instincts and vision, particularly at his size. The German prospect needs a lot of time, but could become a two-way playmaker. Bonga’s offense in particular will require a ton of work, but what he might be in two or three years is enticing.

45. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech | Freshman

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Last: 43

Alexander-Walker is far off from logging actual NBA minutes, but his potential has him on draft radars. He has a nice stroke, the size to guard both guard spots and a generally good sense of the floor playing on and off the ball for Virginia Tech. He’d greatly benefit from a second year of college and needs to work on his body, as he struggles turning the corner against athletic defenders. He’ll be in for a season of ups and downs in the ACC, but has a nice long-term outlook.

46. Chandler Hutchison, G/F, Boise State | Senior

Height: 6'7" | Weight: 200 | Age: 21 | Last: 48

A popular sleeper and one of the top players in the Mountain West, Hutchison has 3-and-D potential and an unflashy, effective game. He’s a good off-ball cutter who can get himself open, and shot the ball well last season. He has the size to guard either wing position and contributes on the glass, too. If Hutchison can sustain his outside shooting clip with added volume, he may climb.

47. Brandon Randolph, SG, Arizona | Freshman

Height: 6'6" | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last: N/A

With his ability to put up points in bunches, Randolph has emerged as a useful complementary scorer for the Wildcats. He’s quick, smooth and is comfortable attacking the basket and spotting up off the dribble. He’s carved out a spot in the Arizona rotation and continues to improve at a high rate. He has the length and tools to become a capable defender and is a player worth tracking.

48. Landry Shamet, PG, Wichita State | Sophomore

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 190 | Age: 20 | Last: 41

Shamet made it back for the start of the season, but he's now suffered serious injuries in both of his feet. That aside, he’s a gifted scorer who can hit difficult shots and began to come into his own down the stretch last season. He has nice size for a lead guard, changes speeds well and can move and defend passably. He could be in line for another big leap that could put him in the draft conversation.

49. Bonzie Colson, PF, Notre Dame | Senior

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 220 | Age: 21 | Last: 47

A truly unorthodox prospect, Colson has great length and a deep bag of offensive moves while standing just 6’5”. He’s been remarkably effective for Notre Dame anyway, and will tempt teams with his history of production and the hope that he can make it all work as a factor in smaller lineups. He can get to the foul line and has been extremely efficient to date. Whether or not he succeeds in the NBA, his situation will make for an interesting case study.

50. P.J. Washington, F, Kentucky | Freshman

Height: 6'7" | Weight: 230 | Age: 19 | Last: N/A

Despite a lack of ideal height, Washington's 7'3" wingspan gives him a unique physical profile and enables him to defend fours, fives and some threes on the perimeter. He’s a powerful leaper and intelligent player who has begun to make an adjustment to the college game. He may work best as a small-ball center at the next level and needs to prove he can be a shot-blocking presence. Washington’s baseline offensive skill level and shooting potential are also promising.

51. Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova | Junior

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 190 | Age: 21 | Last: 46

Brunson is a heady playmaker who has had success throughout his career and looks tailored for a role as an NBA ball-handler. He doesn’t have great size or strength, but plays and works extremely hard and is often underrated as a scorer. He’s the leader of perhaps the top team in the country. Brunson relies on being crafty, understands how to run a team and has a chance to be drafted, whether this season or the next.

52. Bryant Crawford, PG, Wake Forest | Junior

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 200 | Age: 20 | Last: 45

A lesser-known prospect who has quietly developed over the last couple seasons, Crawford’s size and strength on the ball and willingness to defend has piqued NBA interest. He changes speeds well and can create in the halfcourt. Crawford isn’t a knockdown shooter and needs to prove he can be consistent. He will be asked to elevate a mediocre roster this season and could struggle with efficiency. But his experience, length and two-way contributions help set him apart.

53. Allonzo Trier, SG, Arizona | Junior

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 205 | Age: 21 | Last: 53

Trier is a dynamic college scorer who has improved his efficiency from the field, but questions linger over his shot selection and ability to fit into an NBA rotation. He lacks ideal length for a shooting guard and can be a ball-stopper. He’s an offensive-minded talent and consistent shooter from deep, but will be asked to play a supporting role at the next level. Trier may be able to succeed if he commits to defense, works on his body and proves there’s more to his game.

54. Kris Wilkes, SF, UCLA | Freshman

Height: 6'8" | Weight: 195 | Age: 19 | Last: 30

Though Wilkes has slowed down after an impressive start to the season, his smooth shooting mechanics, twitchy athleticism and 6’11” wingspan make him a natural fit for a 3-and-D role given time. He can attack a closeout and looks comfortable scoring in transition. Wilkes still has a lot of work to do on his handle and needs to show he can be a consistent threat from deep and impact the game beyond scoring. His game is reminiscent of Tim Hardaway Jr., and his strengths profile nicely down the line.

55. Jacob Evans, G/F, Cincinnati | Junior

Height: 6'6" | Weight: 210 | Age: 20 | Last: 52

Evans is a tough, defensive-minded guard with shot-making ability who has come on strong as an NBA prospect. He has the chops to be a valuable 3-and-D piece and guard multiple positions. He’s physically impressive, but struggles to create off the dribble and may be better cast as a small forward at the next level. He needs to prove his outside shot is for real.

56. Vince Edwards, F, Purdue | Senior

Height: 6'8" | Weight: 225 | Age: 21 | Last: 50

Edwards has the athleticism and length to guard several positions passably, and has a nice level of versatility to his game. He could be an ideal fit in smaller lineups with his ability to move the ball, space the floor and get involved on the glass. If you envision him as a glue guy and he shows real improvement as a defender, where he is prone to lapses, he’s not a bad roll of the dice.

57. Moritz Wagner, F/C, Michigan | Junior

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 230 | Age: 20 | Last: 51

An inside-out scorer with the size to play center, Wagner has offensive talent and can be a tough matchup. He lacks the defensive chops to protect the basket and has holes in his all-around game. He’s begun to rebound the ball better this season, which is a start. Legitimate stretch bigs are tricky to find, and Wagner has the talent to space the floor if he can round out his weaknesses.

58. Anas Mahmoud, C, Louisville | Senior

Height: 7'0" | Weight: 215 | Age: 22 | Last: 59

Though old for his class and possessing a slender build, Mahmoud has the size, mobility and length to protect the rim and continues to improve. He’s a strong shot-blocker and showed improvement in his overall feel last year. He’s not much of a scorer and may be limited into a defensive specialist-type role. Any offensive development will help his case.

59. Bennie Boatwright, F, USC | Junior

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 230 | Age: 21 | Last: 54

As a floor-spacer with size, Boatwright has been on the radar for a while. He’s a deadeye shooter with his feet set and has shown the ability to score off the bounce as well, although he’s not a great athlete or a presence defensively. He’s not especially efficient putting the ball in the basket any other way, but a strong year shooting the ball could put him in the second round.

60. Ethan Happ, PF, Wisconsin | Junior

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 235 | Age: 21 | Last: 49

Happ has done nothing but produce at Wisconsin and excels as a finisher and rebounder. He operates mostly in the paint, where he’s always active despite a lack of ideal size at the five. He’s not a flashy player, but he’s a good rebounder, ball-handler and passer and plays bigger than his size. It hurts that he’s not much of a shooter (and poor from the free throw line) but his track record is impressive.

<p>With about a month of college games in the bag and plenty of data to pore over, it’s a good time to re-assess the 2018 NBA draft&#39;s top 60 prospects as conference play approaches.</p><p>While our <a href="https://www.si.com/nba/nba-mock-draft-2018" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Mock Draft" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Mock Draft</a> aims to project what the draft might look like on a given day of the season and factors in team needs, the Big Board serves as our own point of reference for the available player pool. These rankings are based on our own evaluations and conversations with NBA scouts, and establishes how we&#39;d rate prospects in a vacuum (a scenario, of course, that will never actually happen). </p><p>Gifted Arizona center DeAndre Ayton remains atop our draft board, with Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley a close second and third, respectively. High-scoring Oklahoma guard Trae Young moves into first-round territory, as does intriguing draft-eligible high schooler Anfernee Simons. The big picture remains extremely fluid. Here’s how we see it.</p><p><em>(Note: Rankings and stats last updated Dec. 11).</em></p><h3>1. DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 7&#39;0&quot; | Weight: 260 pounds | Age: 19 | Last Ranking: 1 </strong></p><p>Elite physical tools, soft touch around the basket and a promising jump shot make Ayton a tantalizing prospect. He has most of the traits you want in a modern center plus the athletic ability to face up and play in space. The college game comes easily to him, and Ayton checks essentially every offensive box for his position. There are fair questions about his defensive comprehension and shot-blocking woes, but with his nimble feet and sheer size and strength, he has the tools to be an above-average presence around the rim. He’s a manchild with crazy-high upside and a potential franchise cornerstone.</p><h3>2. Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;8&quot; | Weight: 220 | Age: 18 | Last: 3</strong></p><p>At 18, Doncic has become perhaps the top player in the Euroleague and a potential No. 1 pick. He’s comfortable as a lead ball-handler and has become deadly from three-point range. He makes his teammates better and reads the floor beyond his years. While he will face an adjustment to the speed of NBA defenses, there’s not really much to nitpick here, and his strong performances for Slovenia against high-caliber competition round out an impressive résumé. Doncic appears a safe bet to continue on the fast track and contribute at a high level as an NBA playmaker.</p><h3>3. Marvin Bagley III, F/C, Duke | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 235 | Age: 18 | Last: 2</strong></p><p>Known for his aggression on the glass and competitiveness, Bagley manufactures easy baskets and possesses uncommonly fluid athleticism for a guy his size. He should become a versatile defensive piece on the perimeter, but has struggled to guard on the interior thus far. His growth as a scorer in the halfcourt will ultimately make or break him, and his jump shot is a work in progress, but his makeup and base strengths give his value a solid floor. His quick adjustment from reclassifying out of high school to dominating college competition is truly impressive. With his ball-handling and ability to face up, he has considerable room to grow.</p><h3>4. Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 7&#39;0&quot; | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 5</strong></p><p>With off-the-charts length and impressive mobility, Bamba is potentially a dominant interior defender. His 7’9” wingspan deserves a sentence of its own. He has a slender frame and continues to round out his offensive skill set, but has shown ability as a jump shooter and is a constant threat to catch lobs. He’s further off from contributing than some of this draft’s other elite prospects, but his best-case scenario is right there with them. Bamba has an opportunity to evolve into a defensive-minded antidote for the young, perimeter-oriented bigs beginning to take over the NBA.</p><h3>5. Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;10&quot; | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last: 4</strong></p><p>Porter is a smooth, polished scorer who thrives on the perimeter and should be able to play either forward spot. Shooting is at a premium, and Porter’s ball-handling and perimeter skills give him a chance to contribute immediately. He can be a ball-stopper, and rounding out his game with playmaking and defense are the next steps, but he’s a pretty ideal frontcourt prospect in the pace-and-space era. Following back surgery, concerns over his long-term health and mobility are warranted. Barring major red flags, he won’t fall far.</p><h3>6. Jaren Jackson Jr., F/C, Michigan State | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 240 | Age: 18 | Last: 6 </strong></p><p>Jackson boasts NBA bloodlines and an intriguing blend of scoring touch, shot-blocking and three-point shooting potential. On top of that, he’s also producing on the court and competing hard as one of the youngest players in college basketball. His jump shot mechanics are unorthodox, which may limit how much of that specific success translates. As his body fills out, Jackson should become a better finisher around the rim. He has made major all-around strides over the last year or so and is worthy of consideration high in the draft.</p><h3>7. Robert Williams III, F/C, Texas A&#38;M | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 240 | Age: 20 | Last: 7</strong></p><p>A strong, athletic big with some inside-out scoring ability and a nose for the ball, Williams is a talented rim-runner who catches lobs and does a good job on the offensive glass. Williams is also a good passer with better feel than he’s been given credit for. It’s imperative he finds ways to better involve himself in games as a scorer, but he’s currently cast into a secondary role on a very good team. As a result, his offensive impact can be highly inconsistent. There aren’t many college bigs who play above the rim as easily as Williams can, and he has considerable potential as a Clint Capela-style five-man.</p><h3>8. Collin Sexton, G, Alabama | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;2&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 18 | Last: 10</strong></p><p>Sexton is an aggressive, shoot-first guard whose handle and burst allow him to consistently penetrate defenses and draw fouls. He’s shown some improvement as a three-point shooter and has the ability to be a good defender when locked in. Sexton isn’t a pure point and can improve as a decision maker with the ball, but he has a good chance to become an effective change-of-pace scorer at minimum. He can occasionally struggle to finish around bigs, but his blend of shot-creation and toughness is rare. If he continues to draw fouls at a high rate in the NBA, the outlook should be sunny.</p><h3>9. Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 12</strong></p><p>On an inconsistent, younger-than-usual Kentucky roster, Knox has emerged as John Calipari’s top prospect. He’s developed into a capable three-point shooter and has enviable physical tools, with the size and reach to guard either forward spot and rebound effectively. Knox could stand to be more aggressive attacking the basket, and still has games where he disappears for long stretches. But his body and versatility project well, and he’s still quite far from the player he could eventually become.</p><h3>10. Mikal Bridges, F, Villanova | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;7&quot; | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: 23</strong></p><p>Bridges has emerged as a lottery-caliber prospect, with an improved offensive game now accompanying the impressive measurables that make him an impact defender. He moves well on the perimeter, can defend four positions, blocks shots and consistently generates steals with his 7’0” wingspan. Bridges’ improved aggressiveness on offense has answered the questons about his motor, and he has the kind of versatility that plays particularly well in a fast-paced game. Continuing to thrive in his increased scoring role will be key.</p><h3>11. Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;7&quot; | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 8</strong></p><p>Bridges competes hard on both ends of the floor, and his oft-spectacular athletic ability suggests he can be an impactful defender and transition threat. But scouts are questioning how much he’s improved since his freshman year, with an inconsistent jump shot and limited ability to create off the dribble. His energy and ability to run the floor should still play in a NBA that favors smaller, faster forwards, but it’s reasonable to wonder about some of his limitations.</p><h3>12. Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;4&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 18 | Last: 11</strong></p><p>Walker checks a lot of boxes for an off-guard. He&#39;s able to slash to the basket and score from deep with great length and a nice frame for his position. He has long-term 3-and-D potential as he refines his skills, and learns to play off the ball. Tearing his meniscus over the summer was a setback that might help justify his slow start. He’s still a ways from being pro-ready, and has to prove he can put up the numbers to match his considerable talent.</p><h3>13. Bruce Brown Jr., G, Miami | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;5&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 21 | Last: 13</strong></p><p>Gifted with size, strength and a relentless approach to the game, Brown continues to transition into playing the point full time and should put up big numbers for Miami. He can defend multiple positions on the perimeter and generate turnovers. On offense, he shoots the ball well but needs more polish as a playmaker and as a scorer off the bounce. His intangibles and versatility make him well-suited for an NBA backcourt.</p><h3>14. Trevon Duval, PG, Duke | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;3&quot; | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Last: 14</strong></p><p>Duval has shown improvement in every area of his gam save for his biggest weakness: his jumper. He has great size and length, can be an elite on-ball defender, makes plays in transition and has begun to slow the game down from a mental standpoint. But he’s essentially a non-factor shooting from the outside at this stage, with a lack of consistency and touch. Duval is talented enough to warrant lottery consideration but could be held back by those struggles.</p><h3>15. Mitchell Robinson, C, Chalmette High School (Louisiana)</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 230 | Age: 19 | Last: 15</strong></p><p>Although Robinson will have had a year off from competitive basketball and enter the draft with no experience past high school, teams still have significant interest in his long frame, athleticism and shot-blocking ability. He’s a serious project with questionable feel for the game and likely won’t benefit from walking away from Western Kentucky. Conversely, there will be less time to pick him apart in workout settings. Robinson remains an intriguing name to file away.</p><h3>16. Dzanan Musa, G/F, KK Cedevita</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 185 | Age: 18 | Last: 16</strong></p><p>Musa is an aggressive scoring wing who shoots well from the outside and can attack effectively off the dribble. He’s an improving playmaker and has stood out for Bosnia with an advanced feel, but he’s very ball-dominant at this stage and may not be athletic enough for that role in the NBA. His body leaves something to be desired, as he’s somewhat thin. He lacks ideal length and has a bit of a hunched posture due to the shape of his back. He’s not much of a defender, either. Still, his ability to put the ball in the basket sets him apart.</p><h3>17. Wendell Carter Jr., F/C, Duke | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;10&quot; | Weight: 260 | Age: 18 | Last: 9</strong></p><p>Carter has a polished offensive game for a freshman, with the ability to score with his back to the basket as well as face up and hit a jump shot. He’s an intelligent player and passer with the size and strength to battle inside and corral rebounds. Although he’s not a bad athlete, he’s not especially explosive and can struggle when defenses collapse on him around the basket and alter his shot. As such, there are concerns about how he’ll adjust to facing elite length. There’s a chance his effectiveness is limited by the pace of the NBA game.</p><h3>18. Troy Brown, G/F, Oregon | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;7&quot; | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 19</strong></p><p>Most of Brown’s appeal is tied to his long-term potential as an oversized ball-handler and versatile defensive piece. He’s at his best in the open floor and uses his length to attack the basket, see over defenders and make plays for teammates. He’s not a great shooter, but Brown also rebounds well and finds ways to impact the game without scoring. He has the upside to rise into the lottery with continued improvement.</p><h3>19. Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;2&quot; | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last: 55</strong></p><p>A gifted perimeter scorer and passer, Young burst out of the gate as one college basketball’s top point guards. His play has elevated a middling Oklahoma roster, and his string of huge performances has become impossible to ignore. He’s not especially big, quick or strong, but has a smooth handle and can create his own shot using his change of pace. It’s unclear if he’ll be able to stay on the floor defensively or be quite as effective creating separation against athletic defenses. Young’s impressive ability to shoot from deep and open things up for teammates have put him firmly on the radar.</p><h3>20. Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;5&quot; | Weight: 200 | Age: 19 | Last: 17</strong></p><p>Diallo is a divisive prospect, but nobody can argue with the freakish bounce and length that makes him worthy of first-round looks. He can run and jump with anyone and has enough of a handle to turn the corner and attack the basket, but his jumper needs work and he’s far from a finished product. Beyond easy transition points and his ability to get to the line, there’s not a ton else to Diallo’s game yet. He’s still so athletic that signs of substantive progress could land him in the lottery.</p><h3>21. Chimezie Metu, F/C, USC | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 225 | Age: 20 | Last: 20</strong></p><p>A springy big who blocks shots and has shown some touch, Metu has made noticeable strides year-to-year and continues to expand his game. He can make the game look easy at times, and has improved as a finisher who can throw it down in tight spaces. His game-to-game activity can waver, as can his on-court awareness. If he’s able to step out and make threes regularly, his ceiling increases considerably. Demonstrable consistency will take him a long way.</p><h3>22. Justin Jackson, F, Maryland | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;7&quot; | Weight: 225 | Age: 20 | Last: 21</strong></p><p>Jackson’s long, well-developed frame makes him a very intriguing two-way forward and potential glue guy. His foot speed and 7’3” wingspan allow him to guard several positions, and he’s a useful rebounder and secondary ball-handler. That said, Jackson lacks a demonstrable offensive calling card right now unless he can somehow sustain last season’s impressive shooting clip. His scoring may come along slowly, but his well-rounded skill set is still worth an investment.</p><h3>23. Shake Milton, G, SMU | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;6&quot; | Weight: 205 | Age: 21 | Last: 22</strong></p><p>Milton’s size, shooting and ability to play on and off the ball make him an intriguing prospect. He’s proven he can score from the outside and is the type of player who could pair well with a variety of backcourt partners. Milton will be the go-to guy for SMU this season and must continue to take care of the ball, play more aggressively and show he can defend at a competent level. He’s begun to turn his potential into production.</p><h3>24. Grayson Allen, SG, Duke | Senior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;4&quot; | Weight: 205 | Age: 22 | Last: 24</strong></p><p>Allen is among the top distance shooters in the draft, able to get his jumper off both in tight spaces off the dribble and on the catch. He has a well-developed sense of how to get open and get to his spots, and makes difficult body-control plays look easy. Allen is a strong athlete who can attack a closeout and keep defenders from playing him too closely. Allen may not be an impactful NBA defender, but he’s certainly not a stiff. He’s tough, competes hard and looks tailored for an NBA role.</p><h3>25. Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 7&#39;0&quot; | Weight: 250 | Age: 19 | Last: 27</strong></p><p>McCoy is all tools at this stage, but he’s physically impressive and has surprised with the quality of his production. He can get up and down the floor and goes after the ball well off the glass. His timing and feel are still coming along, but he naturally alters shots and has shown some ability to shoot from the mid-range. Like many teenage bigs, his motor comes and goes, but McCoy has been effective almost in spite of it at times. He’s mobile and talented enough as a legitimate center to warrant first-round consideration.</p><h3>26. Killian Tillie, F/C, Gonzaga | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;10&quot; | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last: 18</strong></p><p>Hyper-efficient around the basket with a natural touch and quick burst off the floor, Tillie has quietly emerged as an intriguing prospect. The Frenchman has shown demonstrable polish and has flashed a nice-looking jump shot. He boxes out well and establishes good position inside, although he needs to add muscle in order to compete at the next level.. He moves well laterally and has some impact defensively, though how he’ll fare on both ends against NBA length remains to be seen.</p><h3>27. Anfernee Simons, G, IMG Academy | HS Senior</h3><p><b>Height: 6&#39;3&quot; | Weight: 180 | Age: 18 | Last: N/A</b></p><p>Currently in midst of a postgrad season at IMG, Simons will be draft-eligible and is considering entering the pool and skipping college. He’s a springy, quick-twitch athlete who is more of a combo guard at this stage of his development. He’s at his best attacking the basket downhill and elevating to finish, and has enviable defensive range that projects well. As he continues to develop as a shooter, he’ll have a chance to be a first-round draftee should he choose to go pro. As a high schooler, Simons obviously needs time, but the former Louisville commit possesses considerable upside and has the NBA intrigued.</p><h3>28. Rawle Alkins, SG, Arizona | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;4&quot; | Weight: 220 | Age: 20 | Last: 28</strong></p><p>Alkins missed the first chunk of Arizona’s season with a foot fracture, and his energy on both ends of the floor provides a major boost. He has a strong frame, NBA-caliber bounce and has demonstrated willingness to play a role for the benefit of the team. He’s evolved into a reliable defensive player and will have an opportunity to show more on the other end of the floor. He’s undersized at the two, but his ability to get to the rim, make plays and space the floor bode well.</p><h3>29. Tyus Battle, SG, Syracuse | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;6&quot; | Weight: 205 | Age: 20 | Last: 32</strong></p><p>Battle has nice size and skill and has taken a step forward as a versatile scorer. He’s agile and tough, but still has to prove he can create off the dribble and improve as a finisher. It’s unclear yet whether his defensive contributions will catch up to his physical prowess. Scouts will want to see him tap into his versatility and show increased efficiency on the wing.</p><h3>30. Devonte’ Graham, PG, Kansas | Senior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;2&quot; | Weight: 185 | Age: 22 | Last: 33</strong></p><p>As the leader of a less-loaded-than-usual Kansas team, Graham’s toughness, scoring and playmaking aren’t going unnoticed. He has a good stroke from three, and also impacts the game as a hard-working on-ball defender. He can struggle getting into the second level of defenses and isn’t elite at any one thing. But as a ball-handler who can potentially contribute quickly, given how well he’s played, the first round is within reach.</p><h3>31. Nick Richards, C, Kentucky | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 240 | Age: 20 | Last: 26</strong></p><p>Although extremely raw and prone to foul trouble, Richards’s size, rebounding, mobility and shot-blocking potential hold intrigue. He’s well-built, highly agile and can play above the rim. But his feel is lacking, and he’s very old for his class as a 20-year-old freshman. If he becomes a reliable rim-runner and shot blocker, Richards should be able to make an impact, but there are serious questions about his overall floor awareness.</p><h3>32. Khyri Thomas, G, Creighton | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;3&quot; | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: N/A</strong></p><p>One of college basketball’s breakout players, Thomas’s two-way ability has turned heads. He’s a consistent high-volume outside threat, can play on or off the ball and has defended extremely well, making him an excellent role player candidate at the NBA level. If he can improve creating off the dribble, it’s gravy. His growth this season is truly impressive.</p><h3>33. De’Anthony Melton, G, USC | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;4&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last: 31</strong></p><p>It certainly doesn’t help Melton’s case that he remains out due to the FBI’s college basketball investigation, but he’s a quality prospect just the same. He showed plenty of defensive toughness and offensive skill as a freshman, and remains on the NBA radar as an energy player and defensive presence. If he gets his jumper in order he could be in for a leap, but it&#39;s tricky to peg without him having played a game this season.</p><h3>34. Jaylen Hands, PG, UCLA | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;3&quot; | Weight: 175 | Age: 18 | Last: 25</strong></p><p>In a weaker draft pool that’s especially thin when it comes to point guard talent, Hands’s highlight-reel explosiveness and end-to-end speed will make him an interesting upside pick if he comes out. He’s still learning how to run a team, but can get to the rim, push in transition and has a workable jumper and nice handle. He does things that are hard to teach. Hands lacks ideal size and strength for the NBA and would benefit from two seasons of college, but has a lot to offer down the line.</p><h3>35. Rui Hachimura, F, Gonzaga | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;8&quot; | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 34</strong></p><p>Hachimura has come off the bench to start the year for Gonzaga and needs more opportunities to show his stuff, but he has a chance at the first round if he can string together some good performances. He’s got nice length and strength and has some touch as a shooter. He showed plenty of game playing for Japan over the summer and could evolve into a valuable two-way combo forward in time.</p><h3>36. John Petty, SG, Alabama | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;5&quot; | Weight: 195 | Age: 18 | Last: 35</strong></p><p>The headlines have belonged to Collin Sexton, but Petty has been impressive playing off of his talented teammate. He’s a gifted perimeter shooter off the catch who can sustain hot streaks and hoist his shot quickly. It may be tricky to assess his well-roundedness given how much of Alabama’s points run through Sexton, but Petty can fill up a box score and has appeal in a 3-and-D role. </p><h3>37. Austin Wiley, C, Auburn | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 250 | Age: 18 | Last: 37</strong></p><p>Wiley continues to sit out due to the FBI corruption investigation, but possesses NBA ability and great size, length and strength. He’s young for his class and is in a pretty good place developmentally, working hard on the glass and showing the makings of a decent jumper. He’ll battle in the post and do the dirty work, but isn’t an elite athlete. He can improve as a finisher and has a history of knee injuries that limit his mobility.</p><h3>38. Rodions Kurucs, G/F, FC Barcelona</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last: 29</strong></p><p>Though Kurucs&#39;s stock has trended down somewhat after pulling out of last year’s draft and failing to earn minutes with Barcelona’s top team, his mix of size, athleticism and smarts offer appeal on the wing. He will need to improve his production beyond simply showing flashes. The Latvian still has some nice traits and looks like a potentially useful role player.</p><h3>39. Jarred Vanderbilt, F, Kentucky | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 39</strong></p><p>Vanderbilt has yet to make his debut as he recovers from a foot injury, and it sounds like there’s a chance he could miss most or all of the season. He has a history of leg injuries and a thinnish lower body, but he’s a good athlete who can handle the ball a little bit and can make an impact on the glass and as a versatile defender with length. He can also make plays for teammates, particularly in the open floor. The health issues are a concern.</p><h3>40. Arnoldas Kulboka, F, Orlandina Basket</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 205 | Age: 19 | Last: 40</strong></p><p>A productive, athletic wing with shooting potential, Kulboka has nice size at the three and has put up impressive numbers coming up in Germany. He has definite upside as a scorer. A native of Lithuania, he needs to add weight, improve defensively and add a little seasoning. He’s a potential draft-and-stash player if he comes out.</p><h3>41. Andrew Jones, G, Texas | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;4&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last: 38</strong></p><p>Jones is an impressive athlete and transition scorer still learning his craft. He may not evolve into a true point guard, but he has nice quickness and a burst that helps him on both ends. His halfcourt creation skills leave something to be desired and his jumper is a question mark, but Jones is a nice developmental piece with upside. He could still benefit from another year of school.</p><h3>42. Alize Johnson, F, Missouri State | Senior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: 42</strong></p><p>After breaking out over the summer at Adidas Nations, Johnson emerged as a unique prospect with guard skills and a high rebounding motor packaged into a combo forward’s body. He can handle the ball and push in transition and has some promise as a shooter, profiling as the sort of positionless-type big that’s in high demand right now. Thanks to his versatility, Johnson will get serious NBA looks as one of the top mid-major prospects around.</p><h3>43. Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;1&quot; | Weight: 185 | Age: 21 | Last: 46</strong></p><p>The youngest of the three Holiday brothers has proven a tough competitor in his own right. He’s undersized but scrappy, can hit an open three, get to the basket and fight on defense. Holiday will need to sustain a good amount of last season’s shooting numbers, which were abetted by playing alongside Lonzo Ball. But as the de facto veteran leader of a young, talented roster, Holiday continues to leave a nice impression.</p><h3>44. Isaac Bonga, G/F, Fraport Skyliners</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 205 | Age: 18 | Last: 44</strong></p><p>An oversized ball-handler and talented passer, Bonga could be one of the youngest players in this class and has nice upside given his skill set. His jump shot is the biggest knock on him, but he has nice instincts and vision, particularly at his size. The German prospect needs a lot of time, but could become a two-way playmaker. Bonga’s offense in particular will require a ton of work, but what he might be in two or three years is enticing.</p><h3>45. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;5&quot; | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Last: 43</strong></p><p>Alexander-Walker is far off from logging actual NBA minutes, but his potential has him on draft radars. He has a nice stroke, the size to guard both guard spots and a generally good sense of the floor playing on and off the ball for Virginia Tech. He’d greatly benefit from a second year of college and needs to work on his body, as he struggles turning the corner against athletic defenders. He’ll be in for a season of ups and downs in the ACC, but has a nice long-term outlook.</p><h3>46. Chandler Hutchison, G/F, Boise State | Senior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;7&quot; | Weight: 200 | Age: 21 | Last: 48</strong></p><p>A popular sleeper and one of the top players in the Mountain West, Hutchison has 3-and-D potential and an unflashy, effective game. He’s a good off-ball cutter who can get himself open, and shot the ball well last season. He has the size to guard either wing position and contributes on the glass, too. If Hutchison can sustain his outside shooting clip with added volume, he may climb.</p><h3>47. Brandon Randolph, SG, Arizona | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;6&quot; | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last: N/A</strong></p><p>With his ability to put up points in bunches, Randolph has emerged as a useful complementary scorer for the Wildcats. He’s quick, smooth and is comfortable attacking the basket and spotting up off the dribble. He’s carved out a spot in the Arizona rotation and continues to improve at a high rate. He has the length and tools to become a capable defender and is a player worth tracking.</p><h3>48. Landry Shamet, PG, Wichita State | Sophomore</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;4&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 20 | Last: 41</strong></p><p>Shamet made it back for the start of the season, but he&#39;s now suffered serious injuries in both of his feet. That aside, he’s a gifted scorer who can hit difficult shots and began to come into his own down the stretch last season. He has nice size for a lead guard, changes speeds well and can move and defend passably. He could be in line for another big leap that could put him in the draft conversation.</p><h3>49. Bonzie Colson, PF, Notre Dame | Senior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;5&quot; | Weight: 220 | Age: 21 | Last: 47</strong></p><p>A truly unorthodox prospect, Colson has great length and a deep bag of offensive moves while standing just 6’5”. He’s been remarkably effective for Notre Dame anyway, and will tempt teams with his history of production and the hope that he can make it all work as a factor in smaller lineups. He can get to the foul line and has been extremely efficient to date. Whether or not he succeeds in the NBA, his situation will make for an interesting case study.</p><h3>50. P.J. Washington, F, Kentucky | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;7&quot; | Weight: 230 | Age: 19 | Last: N/A</strong></p><p>Despite a lack of ideal height, Washington&#39;s 7&#39;3&quot; wingspan gives him a unique physical profile and enables him to defend fours, fives and some threes on the perimeter. He’s a powerful leaper and intelligent player who has begun to make an adjustment to the college game. He may work best as a small-ball center at the next level and needs to prove he can be a shot-blocking presence. Washington’s baseline offensive skill level and shooting potential are also promising.</p><h3>51. Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;3&quot; | Weight: 190 | Age: 21 | Last: 46</strong></p><p>Brunson is a heady playmaker who has had success throughout his career and looks tailored for a role as an NBA ball-handler. He doesn’t have great size or strength, but plays and works extremely hard and is often underrated as a scorer. He’s the leader of perhaps the top team in the country. Brunson relies on being crafty, understands how to run a team and has a chance to be drafted, whether this season or the next.</p><h3>52. Bryant Crawford, PG, Wake Forest | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;3&quot; | Weight: 200 | Age: 20 | Last: 45</strong></p><p>A lesser-known prospect who has quietly developed over the last couple seasons, Crawford’s size and strength on the ball and willingness to defend has piqued NBA interest. He changes speeds well and can create in the halfcourt. Crawford isn’t a knockdown shooter and needs to prove he can be consistent. He will be asked to elevate a mediocre roster this season and could struggle with efficiency. But his experience, length and two-way contributions help set him apart.</p><h3>53. Allonzo Trier, SG, Arizona | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;5&quot; | Weight: 205 | Age: 21 | Last: 53</strong></p><p>Trier is a dynamic college scorer who has improved his efficiency from the field, but questions linger over his shot selection and ability to fit into an NBA rotation. He lacks ideal length for a shooting guard and can be a ball-stopper. He’s an offensive-minded talent and consistent shooter from deep, but will be asked to play a supporting role at the next level. Trier may be able to succeed if he commits to defense, works on his body and proves there’s more to his game.</p><h3>54. Kris Wilkes, SF, UCLA | Freshman</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;8&quot; | Weight: 195 | Age: 19 | Last: 30</strong></p><p>Though Wilkes has slowed down after an impressive start to the season, his smooth shooting mechanics, twitchy athleticism and 6’11” wingspan make him a natural fit for a 3-and-D role given time. He can attack a closeout and looks comfortable scoring in transition. Wilkes still has a lot of work to do on his handle and needs to show he can be a consistent threat from deep and impact the game beyond scoring. His game is reminiscent of Tim Hardaway Jr., and his strengths profile nicely down the line.</p><h3>55. Jacob Evans, G/F, Cincinnati | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;6&quot; | Weight: 210 | Age: 20 | Last: 52</strong></p><p>Evans is a tough, defensive-minded guard with shot-making ability who has come on strong as an NBA prospect. He has the chops to be a valuable 3-and-D piece and guard multiple positions. He’s physically impressive, but struggles to create off the dribble and may be better cast as a small forward at the next level. He needs to prove his outside shot is for real. </p><h3>56. Vince Edwards, F, Purdue | Senior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;8&quot; | Weight: 225 | Age: 21 | Last: 50</strong></p><p>Edwards has the athleticism and length to guard several positions passably, and has a nice level of versatility to his game. He could be an ideal fit in smaller lineups with his ability to move the ball, space the floor and get involved on the glass. If you envision him as a glue guy and he shows real improvement as a defender, where he is prone to lapses, he’s not a bad roll of the dice.</p><h3>57. Moritz Wagner, F/C, Michigan | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;11&quot; | Weight: 230 | Age: 20 | Last: 51</strong></p><p>An inside-out scorer with the size to play center, Wagner has offensive talent and can be a tough matchup. He lacks the defensive chops to protect the basket and has holes in his all-around game. He’s begun to rebound the ball better this season, which is a start. Legitimate stretch bigs are tricky to find, and Wagner has the talent to space the floor if he can round out his weaknesses.</p><h2>58. Anas Mahmoud, C, Louisville | Senior</h2><p><strong>Height: 7&#39;0&quot; | Weight: 215 | Age: 22 | Last: 59</strong></p><p>Though old for his class and possessing a slender build, Mahmoud has the size, mobility and length to protect the rim and continues to improve. He’s a strong shot-blocker and showed improvement in his overall feel last year. He’s not much of a scorer and may be limited into a defensive specialist-type role. Any offensive development will help his case.</p><h3>59. Bennie Boatwright, F, USC | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 230 | Age: 21 | Last: 54</strong></p><p>As a floor-spacer with size, Boatwright has been on the radar for a while. He’s a deadeye shooter with his feet set and has shown the ability to score off the bounce as well, although he’s not a great athlete or a presence defensively. He’s not especially efficient putting the ball in the basket any other way, but a strong year shooting the ball could put him in the second round.</p><h3>60. Ethan Happ, PF, Wisconsin | Junior</h3><p><strong>Height: 6&#39;9&quot; | Weight: 235 | Age: 21 | Last: 49</strong></p><p>Happ has done nothing but produce at Wisconsin and excels as a finisher and rebounder. He operates mostly in the paint, where he’s always active despite a lack of ideal size at the five. He’s not a flashy player, but he’s a good rebounder, ball-handler and passer and plays bigger than his size. It hurts that he’s not much of a shooter (and poor from the free throw line) but his track record is impressive.</p>
2018 NBA Draft Big Board 2.0: Breakout Stars Rise up the Rankings

With about a month of college games in the bag and plenty of data to pore over, it’s a good time to re-assess the 2018 NBA draft's top 60 prospects as conference play approaches.

While our Mock Draft aims to project what the draft might look like on a given day of the season and factors in team needs, the Big Board serves as our own point of reference for the available player pool. These rankings are based on our own evaluations and conversations with NBA scouts, and establishes how we'd rate prospects in a vacuum (a scenario, of course, that will never actually happen).

Gifted Arizona center DeAndre Ayton remains atop our draft board, with Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley a close second and third, respectively. High-scoring Oklahoma guard Trae Young moves into first-round territory, as does intriguing draft-eligible high schooler Anfernee Simons. The big picture remains extremely fluid. Here’s how we see it.

(Note: Rankings and stats last updated Dec. 11).

1. DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona | Freshman

Height: 7'0" | Weight: 260 pounds | Age: 19 | Last Ranking: 1

Elite physical tools, soft touch around the basket and a promising jump shot make Ayton a tantalizing prospect. He has most of the traits you want in a modern center plus the athletic ability to face up and play in space. The college game comes easily to him, and Ayton checks essentially every offensive box for his position. There are fair questions about his defensive comprehension and shot-blocking woes, but with his nimble feet and sheer size and strength, he has the tools to be an above-average presence around the rim. He’s a manchild with crazy-high upside and a potential franchise cornerstone.

2. Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid

Height: 6'8" | Weight: 220 | Age: 18 | Last: 3

At 18, Doncic has become perhaps the top player in the Euroleague and a potential No. 1 pick. He’s comfortable as a lead ball-handler and has become deadly from three-point range. He makes his teammates better and reads the floor beyond his years. While he will face an adjustment to the speed of NBA defenses, there’s not really much to nitpick here, and his strong performances for Slovenia against high-caliber competition round out an impressive résumé. Doncic appears a safe bet to continue on the fast track and contribute at a high level as an NBA playmaker.

3. Marvin Bagley III, F/C, Duke | Freshman

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 235 | Age: 18 | Last: 2

Known for his aggression on the glass and competitiveness, Bagley manufactures easy baskets and possesses uncommonly fluid athleticism for a guy his size. He should become a versatile defensive piece on the perimeter, but has struggled to guard on the interior thus far. His growth as a scorer in the halfcourt will ultimately make or break him, and his jump shot is a work in progress, but his makeup and base strengths give his value a solid floor. His quick adjustment from reclassifying out of high school to dominating college competition is truly impressive. With his ball-handling and ability to face up, he has considerable room to grow.

4. Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas | Freshman

Height: 7'0" | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 5

With off-the-charts length and impressive mobility, Bamba is potentially a dominant interior defender. His 7’9” wingspan deserves a sentence of its own. He has a slender frame and continues to round out his offensive skill set, but has shown ability as a jump shooter and is a constant threat to catch lobs. He’s further off from contributing than some of this draft’s other elite prospects, but his best-case scenario is right there with them. Bamba has an opportunity to evolve into a defensive-minded antidote for the young, perimeter-oriented bigs beginning to take over the NBA.

5. Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri | Freshman

Height: 6'10" | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last: 4

Porter is a smooth, polished scorer who thrives on the perimeter and should be able to play either forward spot. Shooting is at a premium, and Porter’s ball-handling and perimeter skills give him a chance to contribute immediately. He can be a ball-stopper, and rounding out his game with playmaking and defense are the next steps, but he’s a pretty ideal frontcourt prospect in the pace-and-space era. Following back surgery, concerns over his long-term health and mobility are warranted. Barring major red flags, he won’t fall far.

6. Jaren Jackson Jr., F/C, Michigan State | Freshman

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 240 | Age: 18 | Last: 6

Jackson boasts NBA bloodlines and an intriguing blend of scoring touch, shot-blocking and three-point shooting potential. On top of that, he’s also producing on the court and competing hard as one of the youngest players in college basketball. His jump shot mechanics are unorthodox, which may limit how much of that specific success translates. As his body fills out, Jackson should become a better finisher around the rim. He has made major all-around strides over the last year or so and is worthy of consideration high in the draft.

7. Robert Williams III, F/C, Texas A&M | Sophomore

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 240 | Age: 20 | Last: 7

A strong, athletic big with some inside-out scoring ability and a nose for the ball, Williams is a talented rim-runner who catches lobs and does a good job on the offensive glass. Williams is also a good passer with better feel than he’s been given credit for. It’s imperative he finds ways to better involve himself in games as a scorer, but he’s currently cast into a secondary role on a very good team. As a result, his offensive impact can be highly inconsistent. There aren’t many college bigs who play above the rim as easily as Williams can, and he has considerable potential as a Clint Capela-style five-man.

8. Collin Sexton, G, Alabama | Freshman

Height: 6'2" | Weight: 190 | Age: 18 | Last: 10

Sexton is an aggressive, shoot-first guard whose handle and burst allow him to consistently penetrate defenses and draw fouls. He’s shown some improvement as a three-point shooter and has the ability to be a good defender when locked in. Sexton isn’t a pure point and can improve as a decision maker with the ball, but he has a good chance to become an effective change-of-pace scorer at minimum. He can occasionally struggle to finish around bigs, but his blend of shot-creation and toughness is rare. If he continues to draw fouls at a high rate in the NBA, the outlook should be sunny.

9. Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky | Freshman

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 12

On an inconsistent, younger-than-usual Kentucky roster, Knox has emerged as John Calipari’s top prospect. He’s developed into a capable three-point shooter and has enviable physical tools, with the size and reach to guard either forward spot and rebound effectively. Knox could stand to be more aggressive attacking the basket, and still has games where he disappears for long stretches. But his body and versatility project well, and he’s still quite far from the player he could eventually become.

10. Mikal Bridges, F, Villanova | Junior

Height: 6'7" | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: 23

Bridges has emerged as a lottery-caliber prospect, with an improved offensive game now accompanying the impressive measurables that make him an impact defender. He moves well on the perimeter, can defend four positions, blocks shots and consistently generates steals with his 7’0” wingspan. Bridges’ improved aggressiveness on offense has answered the questons about his motor, and he has the kind of versatility that plays particularly well in a fast-paced game. Continuing to thrive in his increased scoring role will be key.

11. Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State | Sophomore

Height: 6'7" | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 8

Bridges competes hard on both ends of the floor, and his oft-spectacular athletic ability suggests he can be an impactful defender and transition threat. But scouts are questioning how much he’s improved since his freshman year, with an inconsistent jump shot and limited ability to create off the dribble. His energy and ability to run the floor should still play in a NBA that favors smaller, faster forwards, but it’s reasonable to wonder about some of his limitations.

12. Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami | Freshman

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 190 | Age: 18 | Last: 11

Walker checks a lot of boxes for an off-guard. He's able to slash to the basket and score from deep with great length and a nice frame for his position. He has long-term 3-and-D potential as he refines his skills, and learns to play off the ball. Tearing his meniscus over the summer was a setback that might help justify his slow start. He’s still a ways from being pro-ready, and has to prove he can put up the numbers to match his considerable talent.

13. Bruce Brown Jr., G, Miami | Sophomore

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 190 | Age: 21 | Last: 13

Gifted with size, strength and a relentless approach to the game, Brown continues to transition into playing the point full time and should put up big numbers for Miami. He can defend multiple positions on the perimeter and generate turnovers. On offense, he shoots the ball well but needs more polish as a playmaker and as a scorer off the bounce. His intangibles and versatility make him well-suited for an NBA backcourt.

14. Trevon Duval, PG, Duke | Freshman

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Last: 14

Duval has shown improvement in every area of his gam save for his biggest weakness: his jumper. He has great size and length, can be an elite on-ball defender, makes plays in transition and has begun to slow the game down from a mental standpoint. But he’s essentially a non-factor shooting from the outside at this stage, with a lack of consistency and touch. Duval is talented enough to warrant lottery consideration but could be held back by those struggles.

15. Mitchell Robinson, C, Chalmette High School (Louisiana)

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 230 | Age: 19 | Last: 15

Although Robinson will have had a year off from competitive basketball and enter the draft with no experience past high school, teams still have significant interest in his long frame, athleticism and shot-blocking ability. He’s a serious project with questionable feel for the game and likely won’t benefit from walking away from Western Kentucky. Conversely, there will be less time to pick him apart in workout settings. Robinson remains an intriguing name to file away.

16. Dzanan Musa, G/F, KK Cedevita

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 185 | Age: 18 | Last: 16

Musa is an aggressive scoring wing who shoots well from the outside and can attack effectively off the dribble. He’s an improving playmaker and has stood out for Bosnia with an advanced feel, but he’s very ball-dominant at this stage and may not be athletic enough for that role in the NBA. His body leaves something to be desired, as he’s somewhat thin. He lacks ideal length and has a bit of a hunched posture due to the shape of his back. He’s not much of a defender, either. Still, his ability to put the ball in the basket sets him apart.

17. Wendell Carter Jr., F/C, Duke | Freshman

Height: 6'10" | Weight: 260 | Age: 18 | Last: 9

Carter has a polished offensive game for a freshman, with the ability to score with his back to the basket as well as face up and hit a jump shot. He’s an intelligent player and passer with the size and strength to battle inside and corral rebounds. Although he’s not a bad athlete, he’s not especially explosive and can struggle when defenses collapse on him around the basket and alter his shot. As such, there are concerns about how he’ll adjust to facing elite length. There’s a chance his effectiveness is limited by the pace of the NBA game.

18. Troy Brown, G/F, Oregon | Freshman

Height: 6'7" | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 19

Most of Brown’s appeal is tied to his long-term potential as an oversized ball-handler and versatile defensive piece. He’s at his best in the open floor and uses his length to attack the basket, see over defenders and make plays for teammates. He’s not a great shooter, but Brown also rebounds well and finds ways to impact the game without scoring. He has the upside to rise into the lottery with continued improvement.

19. Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma | Freshman

Height: 6'2" | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last: 55

A gifted perimeter scorer and passer, Young burst out of the gate as one college basketball’s top point guards. His play has elevated a middling Oklahoma roster, and his string of huge performances has become impossible to ignore. He’s not especially big, quick or strong, but has a smooth handle and can create his own shot using his change of pace. It’s unclear if he’ll be able to stay on the floor defensively or be quite as effective creating separation against athletic defenses. Young’s impressive ability to shoot from deep and open things up for teammates have put him firmly on the radar.

20. Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky | Freshman

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 200 | Age: 19 | Last: 17

Diallo is a divisive prospect, but nobody can argue with the freakish bounce and length that makes him worthy of first-round looks. He can run and jump with anyone and has enough of a handle to turn the corner and attack the basket, but his jumper needs work and he’s far from a finished product. Beyond easy transition points and his ability to get to the line, there’s not a ton else to Diallo’s game yet. He’s still so athletic that signs of substantive progress could land him in the lottery.

21. Chimezie Metu, F/C, USC | Junior

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 225 | Age: 20 | Last: 20

A springy big who blocks shots and has shown some touch, Metu has made noticeable strides year-to-year and continues to expand his game. He can make the game look easy at times, and has improved as a finisher who can throw it down in tight spaces. His game-to-game activity can waver, as can his on-court awareness. If he’s able to step out and make threes regularly, his ceiling increases considerably. Demonstrable consistency will take him a long way.

22. Justin Jackson, F, Maryland | Sophomore

Height: 6'7" | Weight: 225 | Age: 20 | Last: 21

Jackson’s long, well-developed frame makes him a very intriguing two-way forward and potential glue guy. His foot speed and 7’3” wingspan allow him to guard several positions, and he’s a useful rebounder and secondary ball-handler. That said, Jackson lacks a demonstrable offensive calling card right now unless he can somehow sustain last season’s impressive shooting clip. His scoring may come along slowly, but his well-rounded skill set is still worth an investment.

23. Shake Milton, G, SMU | Junior

Height: 6'6" | Weight: 205 | Age: 21 | Last: 22

Milton’s size, shooting and ability to play on and off the ball make him an intriguing prospect. He’s proven he can score from the outside and is the type of player who could pair well with a variety of backcourt partners. Milton will be the go-to guy for SMU this season and must continue to take care of the ball, play more aggressively and show he can defend at a competent level. He’s begun to turn his potential into production.

24. Grayson Allen, SG, Duke | Senior

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 205 | Age: 22 | Last: 24

Allen is among the top distance shooters in the draft, able to get his jumper off both in tight spaces off the dribble and on the catch. He has a well-developed sense of how to get open and get to his spots, and makes difficult body-control plays look easy. Allen is a strong athlete who can attack a closeout and keep defenders from playing him too closely. Allen may not be an impactful NBA defender, but he’s certainly not a stiff. He’s tough, competes hard and looks tailored for an NBA role.

25. Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV | Freshman

Height: 7'0" | Weight: 250 | Age: 19 | Last: 27

McCoy is all tools at this stage, but he’s physically impressive and has surprised with the quality of his production. He can get up and down the floor and goes after the ball well off the glass. His timing and feel are still coming along, but he naturally alters shots and has shown some ability to shoot from the mid-range. Like many teenage bigs, his motor comes and goes, but McCoy has been effective almost in spite of it at times. He’s mobile and talented enough as a legitimate center to warrant first-round consideration.

26. Killian Tillie, F/C, Gonzaga | Sophomore

Height: 6'10" | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last: 18

Hyper-efficient around the basket with a natural touch and quick burst off the floor, Tillie has quietly emerged as an intriguing prospect. The Frenchman has shown demonstrable polish and has flashed a nice-looking jump shot. He boxes out well and establishes good position inside, although he needs to add muscle in order to compete at the next level.. He moves well laterally and has some impact defensively, though how he’ll fare on both ends against NBA length remains to be seen.

27. Anfernee Simons, G, IMG Academy | HS Senior

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 180 | Age: 18 | Last: N/A

Currently in midst of a postgrad season at IMG, Simons will be draft-eligible and is considering entering the pool and skipping college. He’s a springy, quick-twitch athlete who is more of a combo guard at this stage of his development. He’s at his best attacking the basket downhill and elevating to finish, and has enviable defensive range that projects well. As he continues to develop as a shooter, he’ll have a chance to be a first-round draftee should he choose to go pro. As a high schooler, Simons obviously needs time, but the former Louisville commit possesses considerable upside and has the NBA intrigued.

28. Rawle Alkins, SG, Arizona | Sophomore

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 220 | Age: 20 | Last: 28

Alkins missed the first chunk of Arizona’s season with a foot fracture, and his energy on both ends of the floor provides a major boost. He has a strong frame, NBA-caliber bounce and has demonstrated willingness to play a role for the benefit of the team. He’s evolved into a reliable defensive player and will have an opportunity to show more on the other end of the floor. He’s undersized at the two, but his ability to get to the rim, make plays and space the floor bode well.

29. Tyus Battle, SG, Syracuse | Sophomore

Height: 6'6" | Weight: 205 | Age: 20 | Last: 32

Battle has nice size and skill and has taken a step forward as a versatile scorer. He’s agile and tough, but still has to prove he can create off the dribble and improve as a finisher. It’s unclear yet whether his defensive contributions will catch up to his physical prowess. Scouts will want to see him tap into his versatility and show increased efficiency on the wing.

30. Devonte’ Graham, PG, Kansas | Senior

Height: 6'2" | Weight: 185 | Age: 22 | Last: 33

As the leader of a less-loaded-than-usual Kansas team, Graham’s toughness, scoring and playmaking aren’t going unnoticed. He has a good stroke from three, and also impacts the game as a hard-working on-ball defender. He can struggle getting into the second level of defenses and isn’t elite at any one thing. But as a ball-handler who can potentially contribute quickly, given how well he’s played, the first round is within reach.

31. Nick Richards, C, Kentucky | Freshman

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 240 | Age: 20 | Last: 26

Although extremely raw and prone to foul trouble, Richards’s size, rebounding, mobility and shot-blocking potential hold intrigue. He’s well-built, highly agile and can play above the rim. But his feel is lacking, and he’s very old for his class as a 20-year-old freshman. If he becomes a reliable rim-runner and shot blocker, Richards should be able to make an impact, but there are serious questions about his overall floor awareness.

32. Khyri Thomas, G, Creighton | Junior

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: N/A

One of college basketball’s breakout players, Thomas’s two-way ability has turned heads. He’s a consistent high-volume outside threat, can play on or off the ball and has defended extremely well, making him an excellent role player candidate at the NBA level. If he can improve creating off the dribble, it’s gravy. His growth this season is truly impressive.

33. De’Anthony Melton, G, USC | Sophomore

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last: 31

It certainly doesn’t help Melton’s case that he remains out due to the FBI’s college basketball investigation, but he’s a quality prospect just the same. He showed plenty of defensive toughness and offensive skill as a freshman, and remains on the NBA radar as an energy player and defensive presence. If he gets his jumper in order he could be in for a leap, but it's tricky to peg without him having played a game this season.

34. Jaylen Hands, PG, UCLA | Freshman

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 175 | Age: 18 | Last: 25

In a weaker draft pool that’s especially thin when it comes to point guard talent, Hands’s highlight-reel explosiveness and end-to-end speed will make him an interesting upside pick if he comes out. He’s still learning how to run a team, but can get to the rim, push in transition and has a workable jumper and nice handle. He does things that are hard to teach. Hands lacks ideal size and strength for the NBA and would benefit from two seasons of college, but has a lot to offer down the line.

35. Rui Hachimura, F, Gonzaga | Sophomore

Height: 6'8" | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last: 34

Hachimura has come off the bench to start the year for Gonzaga and needs more opportunities to show his stuff, but he has a chance at the first round if he can string together some good performances. He’s got nice length and strength and has some touch as a shooter. He showed plenty of game playing for Japan over the summer and could evolve into a valuable two-way combo forward in time.

36. John Petty, SG, Alabama | Freshman

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 195 | Age: 18 | Last: 35

The headlines have belonged to Collin Sexton, but Petty has been impressive playing off of his talented teammate. He’s a gifted perimeter shooter off the catch who can sustain hot streaks and hoist his shot quickly. It may be tricky to assess his well-roundedness given how much of Alabama’s points run through Sexton, but Petty can fill up a box score and has appeal in a 3-and-D role.

37. Austin Wiley, C, Auburn | Sophomore

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 250 | Age: 18 | Last: 37

Wiley continues to sit out due to the FBI corruption investigation, but possesses NBA ability and great size, length and strength. He’s young for his class and is in a pretty good place developmentally, working hard on the glass and showing the makings of a decent jumper. He’ll battle in the post and do the dirty work, but isn’t an elite athlete. He can improve as a finisher and has a history of knee injuries that limit his mobility.

38. Rodions Kurucs, G/F, FC Barcelona

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last: 29

Though Kurucs's stock has trended down somewhat after pulling out of last year’s draft and failing to earn minutes with Barcelona’s top team, his mix of size, athleticism and smarts offer appeal on the wing. He will need to improve his production beyond simply showing flashes. The Latvian still has some nice traits and looks like a potentially useful role player.

39. Jarred Vanderbilt, F, Kentucky | Freshman

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 39

Vanderbilt has yet to make his debut as he recovers from a foot injury, and it sounds like there’s a chance he could miss most or all of the season. He has a history of leg injuries and a thinnish lower body, but he’s a good athlete who can handle the ball a little bit and can make an impact on the glass and as a versatile defender with length. He can also make plays for teammates, particularly in the open floor. The health issues are a concern.

40. Arnoldas Kulboka, F, Orlandina Basket

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 205 | Age: 19 | Last: 40

A productive, athletic wing with shooting potential, Kulboka has nice size at the three and has put up impressive numbers coming up in Germany. He has definite upside as a scorer. A native of Lithuania, he needs to add weight, improve defensively and add a little seasoning. He’s a potential draft-and-stash player if he comes out.

41. Andrew Jones, G, Texas | Sophomore

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last: 38

Jones is an impressive athlete and transition scorer still learning his craft. He may not evolve into a true point guard, but he has nice quickness and a burst that helps him on both ends. His halfcourt creation skills leave something to be desired and his jumper is a question mark, but Jones is a nice developmental piece with upside. He could still benefit from another year of school.

42. Alize Johnson, F, Missouri State | Senior

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Last: 42

After breaking out over the summer at Adidas Nations, Johnson emerged as a unique prospect with guard skills and a high rebounding motor packaged into a combo forward’s body. He can handle the ball and push in transition and has some promise as a shooter, profiling as the sort of positionless-type big that’s in high demand right now. Thanks to his versatility, Johnson will get serious NBA looks as one of the top mid-major prospects around.

43. Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA | Junior

Height: 6'1" | Weight: 185 | Age: 21 | Last: 46

The youngest of the three Holiday brothers has proven a tough competitor in his own right. He’s undersized but scrappy, can hit an open three, get to the basket and fight on defense. Holiday will need to sustain a good amount of last season’s shooting numbers, which were abetted by playing alongside Lonzo Ball. But as the de facto veteran leader of a young, talented roster, Holiday continues to leave a nice impression.

44. Isaac Bonga, G/F, Fraport Skyliners

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 205 | Age: 18 | Last: 44

An oversized ball-handler and talented passer, Bonga could be one of the youngest players in this class and has nice upside given his skill set. His jump shot is the biggest knock on him, but he has nice instincts and vision, particularly at his size. The German prospect needs a lot of time, but could become a two-way playmaker. Bonga’s offense in particular will require a ton of work, but what he might be in two or three years is enticing.

45. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech | Freshman

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Last: 43

Alexander-Walker is far off from logging actual NBA minutes, but his potential has him on draft radars. He has a nice stroke, the size to guard both guard spots and a generally good sense of the floor playing on and off the ball for Virginia Tech. He’d greatly benefit from a second year of college and needs to work on his body, as he struggles turning the corner against athletic defenders. He’ll be in for a season of ups and downs in the ACC, but has a nice long-term outlook.

46. Chandler Hutchison, G/F, Boise State | Senior

Height: 6'7" | Weight: 200 | Age: 21 | Last: 48

A popular sleeper and one of the top players in the Mountain West, Hutchison has 3-and-D potential and an unflashy, effective game. He’s a good off-ball cutter who can get himself open, and shot the ball well last season. He has the size to guard either wing position and contributes on the glass, too. If Hutchison can sustain his outside shooting clip with added volume, he may climb.

47. Brandon Randolph, SG, Arizona | Freshman

Height: 6'6" | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last: N/A

With his ability to put up points in bunches, Randolph has emerged as a useful complementary scorer for the Wildcats. He’s quick, smooth and is comfortable attacking the basket and spotting up off the dribble. He’s carved out a spot in the Arizona rotation and continues to improve at a high rate. He has the length and tools to become a capable defender and is a player worth tracking.

48. Landry Shamet, PG, Wichita State | Sophomore

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 190 | Age: 20 | Last: 41

Shamet made it back for the start of the season, but he's now suffered serious injuries in both of his feet. That aside, he’s a gifted scorer who can hit difficult shots and began to come into his own down the stretch last season. He has nice size for a lead guard, changes speeds well and can move and defend passably. He could be in line for another big leap that could put him in the draft conversation.

49. Bonzie Colson, PF, Notre Dame | Senior

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 220 | Age: 21 | Last: 47

A truly unorthodox prospect, Colson has great length and a deep bag of offensive moves while standing just 6’5”. He’s been remarkably effective for Notre Dame anyway, and will tempt teams with his history of production and the hope that he can make it all work as a factor in smaller lineups. He can get to the foul line and has been extremely efficient to date. Whether or not he succeeds in the NBA, his situation will make for an interesting case study.

50. P.J. Washington, F, Kentucky | Freshman

Height: 6'7" | Weight: 230 | Age: 19 | Last: N/A

Despite a lack of ideal height, Washington's 7'3" wingspan gives him a unique physical profile and enables him to defend fours, fives and some threes on the perimeter. He’s a powerful leaper and intelligent player who has begun to make an adjustment to the college game. He may work best as a small-ball center at the next level and needs to prove he can be a shot-blocking presence. Washington’s baseline offensive skill level and shooting potential are also promising.

51. Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova | Junior

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 190 | Age: 21 | Last: 46

Brunson is a heady playmaker who has had success throughout his career and looks tailored for a role as an NBA ball-handler. He doesn’t have great size or strength, but plays and works extremely hard and is often underrated as a scorer. He’s the leader of perhaps the top team in the country. Brunson relies on being crafty, understands how to run a team and has a chance to be drafted, whether this season or the next.

52. Bryant Crawford, PG, Wake Forest | Junior

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 200 | Age: 20 | Last: 45

A lesser-known prospect who has quietly developed over the last couple seasons, Crawford’s size and strength on the ball and willingness to defend has piqued NBA interest. He changes speeds well and can create in the halfcourt. Crawford isn’t a knockdown shooter and needs to prove he can be consistent. He will be asked to elevate a mediocre roster this season and could struggle with efficiency. But his experience, length and two-way contributions help set him apart.

53. Allonzo Trier, SG, Arizona | Junior

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 205 | Age: 21 | Last: 53

Trier is a dynamic college scorer who has improved his efficiency from the field, but questions linger over his shot selection and ability to fit into an NBA rotation. He lacks ideal length for a shooting guard and can be a ball-stopper. He’s an offensive-minded talent and consistent shooter from deep, but will be asked to play a supporting role at the next level. Trier may be able to succeed if he commits to defense, works on his body and proves there’s more to his game.

54. Kris Wilkes, SF, UCLA | Freshman

Height: 6'8" | Weight: 195 | Age: 19 | Last: 30

Though Wilkes has slowed down after an impressive start to the season, his smooth shooting mechanics, twitchy athleticism and 6’11” wingspan make him a natural fit for a 3-and-D role given time. He can attack a closeout and looks comfortable scoring in transition. Wilkes still has a lot of work to do on his handle and needs to show he can be a consistent threat from deep and impact the game beyond scoring. His game is reminiscent of Tim Hardaway Jr., and his strengths profile nicely down the line.

55. Jacob Evans, G/F, Cincinnati | Junior

Height: 6'6" | Weight: 210 | Age: 20 | Last: 52

Evans is a tough, defensive-minded guard with shot-making ability who has come on strong as an NBA prospect. He has the chops to be a valuable 3-and-D piece and guard multiple positions. He’s physically impressive, but struggles to create off the dribble and may be better cast as a small forward at the next level. He needs to prove his outside shot is for real.

56. Vince Edwards, F, Purdue | Senior

Height: 6'8" | Weight: 225 | Age: 21 | Last: 50

Edwards has the athleticism and length to guard several positions passably, and has a nice level of versatility to his game. He could be an ideal fit in smaller lineups with his ability to move the ball, space the floor and get involved on the glass. If you envision him as a glue guy and he shows real improvement as a defender, where he is prone to lapses, he’s not a bad roll of the dice.

57. Moritz Wagner, F/C, Michigan | Junior

Height: 6'11" | Weight: 230 | Age: 20 | Last: 51

An inside-out scorer with the size to play center, Wagner has offensive talent and can be a tough matchup. He lacks the defensive chops to protect the basket and has holes in his all-around game. He’s begun to rebound the ball better this season, which is a start. Legitimate stretch bigs are tricky to find, and Wagner has the talent to space the floor if he can round out his weaknesses.

58. Anas Mahmoud, C, Louisville | Senior

Height: 7'0" | Weight: 215 | Age: 22 | Last: 59

Though old for his class and possessing a slender build, Mahmoud has the size, mobility and length to protect the rim and continues to improve. He’s a strong shot-blocker and showed improvement in his overall feel last year. He’s not much of a scorer and may be limited into a defensive specialist-type role. Any offensive development will help his case.

59. Bennie Boatwright, F, USC | Junior

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 230 | Age: 21 | Last: 54

As a floor-spacer with size, Boatwright has been on the radar for a while. He’s a deadeye shooter with his feet set and has shown the ability to score off the bounce as well, although he’s not a great athlete or a presence defensively. He’s not especially efficient putting the ball in the basket any other way, but a strong year shooting the ball could put him in the second round.

60. Ethan Happ, PF, Wisconsin | Junior

Height: 6'9" | Weight: 235 | Age: 21 | Last: 49

Happ has done nothing but produce at Wisconsin and excels as a finisher and rebounder. He operates mostly in the paint, where he’s always active despite a lack of ideal size at the five. He’s not a flashy player, but he’s a good rebounder, ball-handler and passer and plays bigger than his size. It hurts that he’s not much of a shooter (and poor from the free throw line) but his track record is impressive.

<p>NEW YORK — About three hours before he’d be named this college football season’s most outstanding player, Baker Mayfield acted like he didn’t know what was coming. Dressed in a royal blue suit with a crimson tie and seated to the left of Stanford running back Bryce Love and Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson—the two other finalists for the honor—during a news conference inside a spacious sixth-floor ballroom at the Marriott Marquis hotel here, Mayfield was asked about his anticipation heading into the Heisman Trophy ceremony on Saturday night. He responded with what sounded like a pre-recorded sequence of platitudes.</p><p>“I’m really happy to be here,” Mayfield said. “It’s an honor to be here. It’s an honor to be around these guys, be around past winners.” A few minutes later, at a question-and-answer session with reporters, Mayfield rejected an opportunity to acknowledge the obvious. “You can’t listen to it,” he said when queried on the media coverage anointing him the overwhelming Heisman frontrunner, before pivoting to a comparison with his preferred team-wide approach to the weekly College Football Playoff rankings. “You can’t listen to the outside noise,” Mayfield added.</p><p>The noise was deafening, though. Mayfield is the 83rd winner of the Heisman, and as much as he tried in the hours before the announcement to maintain the pretense that the outcome of the race was in doubt—including by revealing that he’d waited until Saturday to put together his acceptance speech—pretty much everyone knew he’d finish on top long before it became official. “This is unbelievable for me,” Mayfield said after taking the stage at the PlayStation Theater to greet past victors, reel off a list of shoutouts and clutch the bronze trophy.</p><p>This was one of the most anticlimactic Heisman chases in recent memory. Mayfield had been viewed as the favorite since early in the final month of the regular season, after he lit up Oklahoma State’s defense in a 10-point win at Oklahoma State on Nov. 4. From there, Mayfield guided Oklahoma to four consecutive wins, a Big 12 championship and a berth in the playoff as the No. 2 seed. (The Sooners will take on No. 3 seed Georgia in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day.) His edge over the rest of the field was so convincing that by the time the voting closed, the biggest knock on Mayfield’s candidacy was his sideline comportment during a blowout victory over a conference doormat.</p><p>The most notable aspect of Mayfield’s run to claim college sports’s most prestigious individual honor was his passing precision. Blend a gifted thrower at the top of his game, an uptempo scheme geared to make the most of his ability to rifle balls in tight windows, a head coach (Lincoln Riley) who’d spent the two previous years sharpening that thrower’s skill set, a deep cast of skill-position playmakers and this is what you get: Mayfield completing a nation-high 71% of his passes, placing second in the country with 41 touchdown passes, breaking his own single-season record for passer rating (203.8) and setting a single-season high for passing yards per attempt (11.8).</p><p>Mayfield, who walked on at Texas Tech and played eight games for the Red Raiders as a freshman in 2013 before transferring to Oklahoma and walking on again, is the first walk-on to win the Heisman. He’s also the first senior (fifth-year) since Ohio State quarterback Troy Brown in 2006. Mayfield garnered 732 first-place votes, the fifth-most ever, and he received the third-highest percent of total possible points, with 2,398 (86%). The four players who’ve drawn more first-place votes are USC’s O.J. Simpson (855, 1968), Smith (801, 2006), Oregon’s Marcus Mariota (788, 2014) and Florida State’s Charlie Ward (740, 1993), and the two players who’ve registered higher points percentages are Smith (91.63%) and Mariota (90.92%).</p><p>The second-place finisher this season, Stanford’s Love, amassed 75 first-place votes and 1,300 points, while the third-place finisher, Louisville’s Jackson, totaled 47 first-place votes and 793 points. Love’s runner-up placement must have evoked a familiar feeling in Cardinal fans. Stanford now has produced six second-place finishes in the Heisman voting, more than any other program.</p><p>Like Stanford, Oklahoma had five runners-up before Saturday. Unlike Stanford, it also had five winners. Mayfield joins these Sooners: quarterback Sam Bradford (2008), quarterback Jason White (2003), running back Billy Sims (1978), running back Steve Owens (1969) and running back Billy Vessels (1952). Mayfield’s victory also jibes with the Heisman’s recent positional history: He’s the second straight quarterback to take home the award, and the 15th signal-caller since 2000. (The only two non-QBs this century were Alabama running backs, Derrick Henry in 2015 and Mark Ingram in 2009.)</p><p>This is not a career achievement award for Mayfield, although there is some surface-level evidence to back up that notion. As pointed out by Heisman historian Chris Huston in an interview, Mayfield is one of only seven players to finish in the top five of the voting three times, climbing from fourth in 2015 to third in 2016 to first in 2017. He began his college career before the advent of the playoff, and he’s since led Oklahoma to it twice, in non-successive years. There’s a persistence to Mayfield’s star power that’s uncommon at a time in which the number of NFL draft early entrants has spiked.</p><p>The eighth-year-senior vibe Mayfield gives off does not owe exclusively to his ability to throw a football with remarkable accuracy over the course of several seasons. He’s become college football’s main magnet for controversy. There was the offseason arrest over an incident in Fayetteville, Ark., in which released footage showed police tackling a drunken Mayfield into a wall, the midfield flag <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/09/09/baker-mayfield-oklahoma-flag-ohio-state-win" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:wave-and-spear into the Ohio State logo" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">wave-and-spear into the Ohio State logo</a> after a 31–16 win over the Buckeyes in September, the Big 12 walk-on transfer eligibility rule reversal and, of course, <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/11/18/baker-mayfield-curses-grabs-crotch-oklahoma-kansas-video" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the triple F--- you! and crotch grab" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the triple F--- you! and crotch grab</a> during a game at Kansas last month.</p><p>• <strong><a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/photo/2017/12/07/all-america-teams-baker-mayfield-bryce-love" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Baker Mayfield leads SI&#39;s 2017 All-America Teams" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Baker Mayfield leads SI&#39;s 2017 All-America Teams</a></strong></p><p>None of it obscured a peerless on-field track record that includes 14,320 passing yards, 129 passing touchdowns, three All-Big 12 First Team nominations, two conference offensive player of the year awards and culminated with a resplendent 2017 season. Mayfield’s challenge as a Heisman contender entering this fall was straightforward but immense. With his top receiver, Dede Westbrook, off to the NFL, Mayfield needed to be better than the player who shattered the record for passing efficiency and checked in behind only Louisville’s Jackson and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson on the ballot a year ago.</p><p>That said, the Heisman electorate’s familiarity with Mayfield probably helped him more than it hurt him in the end. “There’s a large body of evidence for certain players who have had good seasons over the course of their career,” Huston says of voters. “And so, whereas the player who comes out of nowhere and has a big year—there might be a little bit of thinking that, ‘Is this a one-time thing? Is this a fluke?’ Having those multiple years definitely establishes the person as a quality player. And so, they don’t really have to deal with that apprehension if someone comes out of nowhere.”</p><p>The first big sign that Mayfield would end up back in New York in 2017 came during Oklahoma’s 15-point victory over Ohio State in September. A year after being whipped, 45–24, in Norman by the Buckeyes, the Sooners went into the Horseshoe and notched one of the best nonconference Ws of the season. Mayfield buried the Buckeyes with 386 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions on 27-of-25 passing while upstaging then-Heisman candidate J.T. Barrett, who finished 19-of-35 with 183 yards and a pick. Oklahoma may not have needed the Ohio State win to make the playoff, but at the time it resonated as a towering triumph.</p><p>The reputationally defense-averse Big 12 didn’t have many more answers for Mayfield than Ohio State did. Against conference competition, he topped all Big 12 quarterbacks by connecting on 69.3% of his throws; his yards per attempt mark, 11.5, was more than two YPA higher than the Big 12 quarterback who placed second in that category (Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph); he tossed a league-high 31 touchdowns against only five interceptions despite ranking sixth among Big 12 signal-callers in attempts per game; and he powered the Sooners to a league-high 44.1 points per contest.</p><p>Not even TCU, the Big 12’s only top-15 Football Bowl Subdivision defense, according to Football Outsiders S&#38;P+ ratings, stood much of a chance trying to bottle up Mayfield. Three weeks after carving up the Horned Frogs’ D’ to the tune of 333 passing yards and three touchdowns at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 11, he tore it asunder on a neutral field, hitting on 15 of his 23 throws for 243 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions in a 41–17 Big 12 championship game victory at AT&#38;T Stadium to seal Oklahoma’s second berth into the final four in three years.</p><p>Mayfield didn’t deliver quite as many signature moments as many recent winners, but one tilt seemed to turn the race in his favor. In a Bedlam matchup billed as the Big 12’s game of the year, Mayfield unloaded on in-state rival Oklahoma State in a scoreboard-shaking thrill ride, passing for a school-record 598 yards and five touchdowns and rushing for one score to push Oklahoma past the Cowboys, 62–52, in Stillwater. Mayfield probably didn’t recognize it in the moment, but during that game he offered a <a href="https://twitter.com/OU_Football/status/927331903732150277" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:photo-worthy" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">photo-worthy</a> Heisman pose while clutching the ball with his right arm and extending his left for a stiff arm.</p><p>The only significant on-field blemish on Mayfield’s Heisman CV was a seven-point home loss to Iowa State in early October that had faded into the rearview once it came time for voters to submit their ballots. The defeat aged well, too, with the Cyclones rounding into a more formidable outfit than they seemed at the time. The Kansas-game outburst undoubtedly rubbed a lot of media members the wrong way, but realistically, given the lead Mayfield had already opened up by that point, it was never going to cost him enough votes to jeopardize his position at the front of the pack.</p><p>When Mayfield surged toward the end of the season, no one from the rest of the Heisman field mounted a serious challenge. USC’s Sam Darnold fizzed out early. Penn State’s Saquon Barkley put on his superman cape in a win at Iowa in late September, only to be leapfrogged later on by other backs. Love didn’t receive the attention he likely would have with fewer late-night kick offs. Arizona’s Khalil Tate couldn’t sustain his torrid October pace. Jackson’s repeat bid fell way short. Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson was low on preseason hype and couldn’t make up for it with a second-half push.</p><p>That is an incomplete list of candidacies that just didn’t have enough juice to create any uncertainty in the lead-up to the unveil on Saturday, but Mayfield did sound relieved to put the formality behind him. “It’s a dream right now,” Mayfield said. “And I’m just trying to enjoy it.” This was a predictable coronation of a player who’d clearly separated himself from every other contender, who’d not only distinguished himself as this season’s premier performer but one of the greatest ever at his position, regardless of how his college career ends. The absence of serious competitors for the award should not diminish what Mayfield did to earn it. Mayfield did not back into a Heisman win. He was so good that no one else managed to keep up.</p>
Baker Mayfield's Decisive Heisman Win a Testament to His Superb Senior Season

NEW YORK — About three hours before he’d be named this college football season’s most outstanding player, Baker Mayfield acted like he didn’t know what was coming. Dressed in a royal blue suit with a crimson tie and seated to the left of Stanford running back Bryce Love and Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson—the two other finalists for the honor—during a news conference inside a spacious sixth-floor ballroom at the Marriott Marquis hotel here, Mayfield was asked about his anticipation heading into the Heisman Trophy ceremony on Saturday night. He responded with what sounded like a pre-recorded sequence of platitudes.

“I’m really happy to be here,” Mayfield said. “It’s an honor to be here. It’s an honor to be around these guys, be around past winners.” A few minutes later, at a question-and-answer session with reporters, Mayfield rejected an opportunity to acknowledge the obvious. “You can’t listen to it,” he said when queried on the media coverage anointing him the overwhelming Heisman frontrunner, before pivoting to a comparison with his preferred team-wide approach to the weekly College Football Playoff rankings. “You can’t listen to the outside noise,” Mayfield added.

The noise was deafening, though. Mayfield is the 83rd winner of the Heisman, and as much as he tried in the hours before the announcement to maintain the pretense that the outcome of the race was in doubt—including by revealing that he’d waited until Saturday to put together his acceptance speech—pretty much everyone knew he’d finish on top long before it became official. “This is unbelievable for me,” Mayfield said after taking the stage at the PlayStation Theater to greet past victors, reel off a list of shoutouts and clutch the bronze trophy.

This was one of the most anticlimactic Heisman chases in recent memory. Mayfield had been viewed as the favorite since early in the final month of the regular season, after he lit up Oklahoma State’s defense in a 10-point win at Oklahoma State on Nov. 4. From there, Mayfield guided Oklahoma to four consecutive wins, a Big 12 championship and a berth in the playoff as the No. 2 seed. (The Sooners will take on No. 3 seed Georgia in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day.) His edge over the rest of the field was so convincing that by the time the voting closed, the biggest knock on Mayfield’s candidacy was his sideline comportment during a blowout victory over a conference doormat.

The most notable aspect of Mayfield’s run to claim college sports’s most prestigious individual honor was his passing precision. Blend a gifted thrower at the top of his game, an uptempo scheme geared to make the most of his ability to rifle balls in tight windows, a head coach (Lincoln Riley) who’d spent the two previous years sharpening that thrower’s skill set, a deep cast of skill-position playmakers and this is what you get: Mayfield completing a nation-high 71% of his passes, placing second in the country with 41 touchdown passes, breaking his own single-season record for passer rating (203.8) and setting a single-season high for passing yards per attempt (11.8).

Mayfield, who walked on at Texas Tech and played eight games for the Red Raiders as a freshman in 2013 before transferring to Oklahoma and walking on again, is the first walk-on to win the Heisman. He’s also the first senior (fifth-year) since Ohio State quarterback Troy Brown in 2006. Mayfield garnered 732 first-place votes, the fifth-most ever, and he received the third-highest percent of total possible points, with 2,398 (86%). The four players who’ve drawn more first-place votes are USC’s O.J. Simpson (855, 1968), Smith (801, 2006), Oregon’s Marcus Mariota (788, 2014) and Florida State’s Charlie Ward (740, 1993), and the two players who’ve registered higher points percentages are Smith (91.63%) and Mariota (90.92%).

The second-place finisher this season, Stanford’s Love, amassed 75 first-place votes and 1,300 points, while the third-place finisher, Louisville’s Jackson, totaled 47 first-place votes and 793 points. Love’s runner-up placement must have evoked a familiar feeling in Cardinal fans. Stanford now has produced six second-place finishes in the Heisman voting, more than any other program.

Like Stanford, Oklahoma had five runners-up before Saturday. Unlike Stanford, it also had five winners. Mayfield joins these Sooners: quarterback Sam Bradford (2008), quarterback Jason White (2003), running back Billy Sims (1978), running back Steve Owens (1969) and running back Billy Vessels (1952). Mayfield’s victory also jibes with the Heisman’s recent positional history: He’s the second straight quarterback to take home the award, and the 15th signal-caller since 2000. (The only two non-QBs this century were Alabama running backs, Derrick Henry in 2015 and Mark Ingram in 2009.)

This is not a career achievement award for Mayfield, although there is some surface-level evidence to back up that notion. As pointed out by Heisman historian Chris Huston in an interview, Mayfield is one of only seven players to finish in the top five of the voting three times, climbing from fourth in 2015 to third in 2016 to first in 2017. He began his college career before the advent of the playoff, and he’s since led Oklahoma to it twice, in non-successive years. There’s a persistence to Mayfield’s star power that’s uncommon at a time in which the number of NFL draft early entrants has spiked.

The eighth-year-senior vibe Mayfield gives off does not owe exclusively to his ability to throw a football with remarkable accuracy over the course of several seasons. He’s become college football’s main magnet for controversy. There was the offseason arrest over an incident in Fayetteville, Ark., in which released footage showed police tackling a drunken Mayfield into a wall, the midfield flag wave-and-spear into the Ohio State logo after a 31–16 win over the Buckeyes in September, the Big 12 walk-on transfer eligibility rule reversal and, of course, the triple F--- you! and crotch grab during a game at Kansas last month.

Baker Mayfield leads SI's 2017 All-America Teams

None of it obscured a peerless on-field track record that includes 14,320 passing yards, 129 passing touchdowns, three All-Big 12 First Team nominations, two conference offensive player of the year awards and culminated with a resplendent 2017 season. Mayfield’s challenge as a Heisman contender entering this fall was straightforward but immense. With his top receiver, Dede Westbrook, off to the NFL, Mayfield needed to be better than the player who shattered the record for passing efficiency and checked in behind only Louisville’s Jackson and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson on the ballot a year ago.

That said, the Heisman electorate’s familiarity with Mayfield probably helped him more than it hurt him in the end. “There’s a large body of evidence for certain players who have had good seasons over the course of their career,” Huston says of voters. “And so, whereas the player who comes out of nowhere and has a big year—there might be a little bit of thinking that, ‘Is this a one-time thing? Is this a fluke?’ Having those multiple years definitely establishes the person as a quality player. And so, they don’t really have to deal with that apprehension if someone comes out of nowhere.”

The first big sign that Mayfield would end up back in New York in 2017 came during Oklahoma’s 15-point victory over Ohio State in September. A year after being whipped, 45–24, in Norman by the Buckeyes, the Sooners went into the Horseshoe and notched one of the best nonconference Ws of the season. Mayfield buried the Buckeyes with 386 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions on 27-of-25 passing while upstaging then-Heisman candidate J.T. Barrett, who finished 19-of-35 with 183 yards and a pick. Oklahoma may not have needed the Ohio State win to make the playoff, but at the time it resonated as a towering triumph.

The reputationally defense-averse Big 12 didn’t have many more answers for Mayfield than Ohio State did. Against conference competition, he topped all Big 12 quarterbacks by connecting on 69.3% of his throws; his yards per attempt mark, 11.5, was more than two YPA higher than the Big 12 quarterback who placed second in that category (Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph); he tossed a league-high 31 touchdowns against only five interceptions despite ranking sixth among Big 12 signal-callers in attempts per game; and he powered the Sooners to a league-high 44.1 points per contest.

Not even TCU, the Big 12’s only top-15 Football Bowl Subdivision defense, according to Football Outsiders S&P+ ratings, stood much of a chance trying to bottle up Mayfield. Three weeks after carving up the Horned Frogs’ D’ to the tune of 333 passing yards and three touchdowns at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 11, he tore it asunder on a neutral field, hitting on 15 of his 23 throws for 243 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions in a 41–17 Big 12 championship game victory at AT&T Stadium to seal Oklahoma’s second berth into the final four in three years.

Mayfield didn’t deliver quite as many signature moments as many recent winners, but one tilt seemed to turn the race in his favor. In a Bedlam matchup billed as the Big 12’s game of the year, Mayfield unloaded on in-state rival Oklahoma State in a scoreboard-shaking thrill ride, passing for a school-record 598 yards and five touchdowns and rushing for one score to push Oklahoma past the Cowboys, 62–52, in Stillwater. Mayfield probably didn’t recognize it in the moment, but during that game he offered a photo-worthy Heisman pose while clutching the ball with his right arm and extending his left for a stiff arm.

The only significant on-field blemish on Mayfield’s Heisman CV was a seven-point home loss to Iowa State in early October that had faded into the rearview once it came time for voters to submit their ballots. The defeat aged well, too, with the Cyclones rounding into a more formidable outfit than they seemed at the time. The Kansas-game outburst undoubtedly rubbed a lot of media members the wrong way, but realistically, given the lead Mayfield had already opened up by that point, it was never going to cost him enough votes to jeopardize his position at the front of the pack.

When Mayfield surged toward the end of the season, no one from the rest of the Heisman field mounted a serious challenge. USC’s Sam Darnold fizzed out early. Penn State’s Saquon Barkley put on his superman cape in a win at Iowa in late September, only to be leapfrogged later on by other backs. Love didn’t receive the attention he likely would have with fewer late-night kick offs. Arizona’s Khalil Tate couldn’t sustain his torrid October pace. Jackson’s repeat bid fell way short. Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson was low on preseason hype and couldn’t make up for it with a second-half push.

That is an incomplete list of candidacies that just didn’t have enough juice to create any uncertainty in the lead-up to the unveil on Saturday, but Mayfield did sound relieved to put the formality behind him. “It’s a dream right now,” Mayfield said. “And I’m just trying to enjoy it.” This was a predictable coronation of a player who’d clearly separated himself from every other contender, who’d not only distinguished himself as this season’s premier performer but one of the greatest ever at his position, regardless of how his college career ends. The absence of serious competitors for the award should not diminish what Mayfield did to earn it. Mayfield did not back into a Heisman win. He was so good that no one else managed to keep up.

<p>The Heisman Trophy is given out to the most outstanding player in college football.</p><p>First awarded in 1935, the Heisman has become one of the most coveted trophies in all of sports.</p><p><em>Below is a list of every winner:</em></p><p>1935 – Jay Berwanger, running back, Chicago<br>1936 – Larry Kelley, end, Yale<br>1937 – Clint Frank, quarterback, Yale<br>1938 – Davey O&#39;Brien, quarterback, TCU<br>1939 – Nile Kinnick, running back, Iowa<br>1940 – Tom Harmon, running back, Michigan<br>1941 – Bruce Smith, running back, Minnesota<br>1942 – Frank Sinkwich, running back, Georgia<br>1943 – Angelo Bertelli, quarterback, Notre Dame<br>1944 – Les Horvath, quarterback, Ohio State<br>1945 – Doc Blanchard, fullback, Army<br>1946 – Glenn Davis, running back, Army<br>1947 – John Lujack, quarterback, Notre Dame<br>1948 – Doak Walker, running back, Southern Methodist<br>1949 – Leon Hart, end, Notre Dame<br>1950 – Vic Janowicz, running back, Ohio State<br>1951 – Dick Kazmaier, running back, Princeton<br>1952 – Billy Vessels, running back, Oklahoma<br>1953 – John Lattner, running back, Notre Dame<br>1954 – Alan Ameche, fullback, Wisconsin<br>1955 – Howard Cassady, running back, Ohio State<br>1956 – Paul Hornung, quarterback, Notre Dame<br>1957 – John David Crow, running back, Texas A&#38;M<br>1958 – Pete Dawkins, running back, Army<br>1959 – Billy Cannon, running back, Louisiana State<br>1960 – Joe Bellino, running back, Navy<br>1961 – Ernie Davis, running back, Syracuse<br>1962 – Terry Baker, quarterback, Oregon State<br>1963 – Roger Staubach, quarterback, Navy<br>1964 – John Huarte, quarterback, Notre Dame<br>1965 – Mike Garrett, running back, USC<br>1966 – Steve Spurrier, quarterback, Florida<br>1967 – Gary Beban, quarterback, UCLA<br>1968 – O.J. Simpson, running back, USC<br>1969 – Steve Owens, fullback, Oklahoma<br>1970 – Jim Plunkett, quarterback, Stanford<br>1971 – Pat Sullivan, quarterback, Auburn<br>1972 – Johnny Rodgers, running back, Nebraska<br>1973 – John Cappelletti, running back, Penn State<br>1974 – Archie Griffin, running back, Ohio State<br>1975 – Archie Griffin, running back, Ohio State<br>1976 – Tony Dorsett, running back, Pittsburgh<br>1977 – Earl Campbell, running back, Texas<br>1978 – Billy Sims, running back, Oklahoma<br>1979 – Charles White, running back, USC<br>1980 – George Rogers, running back, South Carolina<br>1981 – Marcus Allen, running back, USC<br>1982 – Herschel Walker, running back, Georgia<br>1983 – Mike Rozier, running back, Nebraska<br>1984 – Doug Flutie, quarterback, Boston College<br>1985 – Bo Jackson, running back, Auburn<br>1986 – Vinny Testaverde, quarterback, Miami (Fla.)<br>1987 – Tim Brown, wide receiver, Notre Dame<br>1988 – Barry Sanders, running back, Oklahoma State<br>1989 – Andre Ware, quarterback, Houston<br>1990 – Ty Detmer, quarterback, Brigham Young<br>1991 – Desmond Howard, wide receiver, Michigan<br>1992 – Gino Torretta, quarterback, Miami (Fla.)<br>1993 – Charlie Ward, quarterback, Florida State<br>1994 – Rashaan Salaam, running back, Colorado<br>1995 – Eddie George, running back, Ohio State<br>1996 – Danny Wuerffel, quarterback, Florida<br>1997 – Charles Woodson, cornerback, Michigan<br>1998 – Ricky Williams, running back, Texas<br>1999 – Ron Dayne, running back, Wisconsin<br>2000 – Chris Weinke, quarterback, Florida State<br>2001 – Eric Crouch, quarterback, Nebraska<br>2002 – Carson Palmer, quarterback, USC<br>2003 – Jason White, quarterback, Oklahoma<br>2004 – Matt Leinart, quarterback, USC<br>2005 – Reggie Bush, running back, USC<br>2006 – Troy Smith, quarterback, Ohio State<br>2007 – Tim Tebow, quarterback, Florida<br>2008 – Sam Bradford, quarterback, Oklahoma<br>2009 – Mark Ingram, running back, Alabama<br>2010 – Cameron Newton, quarterback, Auburn<br>2011 – Robert Griffin, quarterback, Baylor<br>2012 – Johnny Manziel, quarterback, Texas A&#38;M<br>2013 – Jameis Winston, quarterback, Florida State<br>2014 – Marcus Mariota, quarterback, Oregon<br>2015 – Derrick Henry, running back, Alabama<br>2016 – Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Louisville</p>
List of All Heisman Trophy Winners

The Heisman Trophy is given out to the most outstanding player in college football.

First awarded in 1935, the Heisman has become one of the most coveted trophies in all of sports.

Below is a list of every winner:

1935 – Jay Berwanger, running back, Chicago
1936 – Larry Kelley, end, Yale
1937 – Clint Frank, quarterback, Yale
1938 – Davey O'Brien, quarterback, TCU
1939 – Nile Kinnick, running back, Iowa
1940 – Tom Harmon, running back, Michigan
1941 – Bruce Smith, running back, Minnesota
1942 – Frank Sinkwich, running back, Georgia
1943 – Angelo Bertelli, quarterback, Notre Dame
1944 – Les Horvath, quarterback, Ohio State
1945 – Doc Blanchard, fullback, Army
1946 – Glenn Davis, running back, Army
1947 – John Lujack, quarterback, Notre Dame
1948 – Doak Walker, running back, Southern Methodist
1949 – Leon Hart, end, Notre Dame
1950 – Vic Janowicz, running back, Ohio State
1951 – Dick Kazmaier, running back, Princeton
1952 – Billy Vessels, running back, Oklahoma
1953 – John Lattner, running back, Notre Dame
1954 – Alan Ameche, fullback, Wisconsin
1955 – Howard Cassady, running back, Ohio State
1956 – Paul Hornung, quarterback, Notre Dame
1957 – John David Crow, running back, Texas A&M
1958 – Pete Dawkins, running back, Army
1959 – Billy Cannon, running back, Louisiana State
1960 – Joe Bellino, running back, Navy
1961 – Ernie Davis, running back, Syracuse
1962 – Terry Baker, quarterback, Oregon State
1963 – Roger Staubach, quarterback, Navy
1964 – John Huarte, quarterback, Notre Dame
1965 – Mike Garrett, running back, USC
1966 – Steve Spurrier, quarterback, Florida
1967 – Gary Beban, quarterback, UCLA
1968 – O.J. Simpson, running back, USC
1969 – Steve Owens, fullback, Oklahoma
1970 – Jim Plunkett, quarterback, Stanford
1971 – Pat Sullivan, quarterback, Auburn
1972 – Johnny Rodgers, running back, Nebraska
1973 – John Cappelletti, running back, Penn State
1974 – Archie Griffin, running back, Ohio State
1975 – Archie Griffin, running back, Ohio State
1976 – Tony Dorsett, running back, Pittsburgh
1977 – Earl Campbell, running back, Texas
1978 – Billy Sims, running back, Oklahoma
1979 – Charles White, running back, USC
1980 – George Rogers, running back, South Carolina
1981 – Marcus Allen, running back, USC
1982 – Herschel Walker, running back, Georgia
1983 – Mike Rozier, running back, Nebraska
1984 – Doug Flutie, quarterback, Boston College
1985 – Bo Jackson, running back, Auburn
1986 – Vinny Testaverde, quarterback, Miami (Fla.)
1987 – Tim Brown, wide receiver, Notre Dame
1988 – Barry Sanders, running back, Oklahoma State
1989 – Andre Ware, quarterback, Houston
1990 – Ty Detmer, quarterback, Brigham Young
1991 – Desmond Howard, wide receiver, Michigan
1992 – Gino Torretta, quarterback, Miami (Fla.)
1993 – Charlie Ward, quarterback, Florida State
1994 – Rashaan Salaam, running back, Colorado
1995 – Eddie George, running back, Ohio State
1996 – Danny Wuerffel, quarterback, Florida
1997 – Charles Woodson, cornerback, Michigan
1998 – Ricky Williams, running back, Texas
1999 – Ron Dayne, running back, Wisconsin
2000 – Chris Weinke, quarterback, Florida State
2001 – Eric Crouch, quarterback, Nebraska
2002 – Carson Palmer, quarterback, USC
2003 – Jason White, quarterback, Oklahoma
2004 – Matt Leinart, quarterback, USC
2005 – Reggie Bush, running back, USC
2006 – Troy Smith, quarterback, Ohio State
2007 – Tim Tebow, quarterback, Florida
2008 – Sam Bradford, quarterback, Oklahoma
2009 – Mark Ingram, running back, Alabama
2010 – Cameron Newton, quarterback, Auburn
2011 – Robert Griffin, quarterback, Baylor
2012 – Johnny Manziel, quarterback, Texas A&M
2013 – Jameis Winston, quarterback, Florida State
2014 – Marcus Mariota, quarterback, Oregon
2015 – Derrick Henry, running back, Alabama
2016 – Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Louisville

<p>No. 2 Oklahoma is 8–0 straight up over its last eight games and 5–1 against the spread over their last six. The Sooners will try to extend their winning streak and advance to the national championship with a win in the Rose Bowl over No. 3 Georgia.</p><p>Oklahoma <a href="http://www.oddsshark.com/ncaaf/georgia-oklahoma-odds-january-1-2018-932472" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:is a 1.5-point underdog in Pasadena" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">is a 1.5-point underdog in Pasadena</a> at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Georgia bounced back from a road loss to Auburn with a 3–0 record against the spread in a three-win run to end the regular season, outscoring its opponents 108–27 over that stretch, capped off by a 28–7 win over Auburn in the SEC championship game. This should be an exciting matchup between one of the nation&#39;s best quarterbacks in Baker Mayfield and one of the nation&#39;s best defenses.</p><p>No. 4 Alabama will try to avenge its loss in the national title game last year when it heads to the Sugar Bowl <a href="http://www.oddsshark.com/ncaaf/odds" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:as 2.5-point favorites against No. 1 Clemson" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">as 2.5-point favorites against No. 1 Clemson</a>. The Tigers were the underdog in each of the last two playoff games between these two teams and covered the spread in both of them. The Tigers are 3–1 straight up and 4–0 against the spread in their last four games played on a Monday.</p><p>Both of these semifinal matchups will be played on New Year&#39;s Day. Earlier in the day, No. 12 UCF will face No. 7 Auburn (-9.5) in the Peach Bowl, and No. 14 Notre Dame will take on No. 17 LSU (-3) in the Citrus Bowl. Notre Dame was one of the hottest teams in the country, riding a 6–0 run against the spread the month of November, but the Fighting Irish are just 2–2 over their last four games and 0–4 against the spread, per the <a href="http://www.oddsshark.com/ncaaf/database" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:OddsShark College Football Database" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">OddsShark College Football Database</a>.</p><p>On Dec. 29, No. 5 Ohio State (-6.5) squares off with No. 8 USC in the Cotton Bowl. Since the start of the 2015 season, USC is just 1–7 straight up and against the spread in its last eight games as a betting underdog. Saturday, Dec. 30 will include a Fiesta Bowl matchup between No. 9 Penn State (-3) and No. 11 Washington, and the Orange Bowl featuring No. 6 Wisconsin (-6.5) and No. 10 Miami.</p><p><em>For more info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the new OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on </em><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/oddsshark-sports-betting-podcast/id1262011131?mt=2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:iTunes" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>iTunes</em></a><em>, or check it out at </em><em><a href="http://oddsshark.libsyn.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:OddsShark.libsyn.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">OddsShark.libsyn.com</a>.</em></p>
2017 College Football Bowl Odds: Early Lines for the Biggest Games

No. 2 Oklahoma is 8–0 straight up over its last eight games and 5–1 against the spread over their last six. The Sooners will try to extend their winning streak and advance to the national championship with a win in the Rose Bowl over No. 3 Georgia.

Oklahoma is a 1.5-point underdog in Pasadena at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Georgia bounced back from a road loss to Auburn with a 3–0 record against the spread in a three-win run to end the regular season, outscoring its opponents 108–27 over that stretch, capped off by a 28–7 win over Auburn in the SEC championship game. This should be an exciting matchup between one of the nation's best quarterbacks in Baker Mayfield and one of the nation's best defenses.

No. 4 Alabama will try to avenge its loss in the national title game last year when it heads to the Sugar Bowl as 2.5-point favorites against No. 1 Clemson. The Tigers were the underdog in each of the last two playoff games between these two teams and covered the spread in both of them. The Tigers are 3–1 straight up and 4–0 against the spread in their last four games played on a Monday.

Both of these semifinal matchups will be played on New Year's Day. Earlier in the day, No. 12 UCF will face No. 7 Auburn (-9.5) in the Peach Bowl, and No. 14 Notre Dame will take on No. 17 LSU (-3) in the Citrus Bowl. Notre Dame was one of the hottest teams in the country, riding a 6–0 run against the spread the month of November, but the Fighting Irish are just 2–2 over their last four games and 0–4 against the spread, per the OddsShark College Football Database.

On Dec. 29, No. 5 Ohio State (-6.5) squares off with No. 8 USC in the Cotton Bowl. Since the start of the 2015 season, USC is just 1–7 straight up and against the spread in its last eight games as a betting underdog. Saturday, Dec. 30 will include a Fiesta Bowl matchup between No. 9 Penn State (-3) and No. 11 Washington, and the Orange Bowl featuring No. 6 Wisconsin (-6.5) and No. 10 Miami.

For more info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the new OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2017, file photo, Alabama head coach Nick Saban walks the field before the Iron Bowl NCAA college football game against Auburn, in Auburn, Ala. Write-in votes could help decide Alabama’s Senate race between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. Saban often gets write-in votes in state elections. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2017, file photo, Alabama head coach Nick Saban walks the field before the Iron Bowl NCAA college football game against Auburn, in Auburn, Ala. Write-in votes could help decide Alabama’s Senate race between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. Saban often gets write-in votes in state elections. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2017, file photo, Alabama head coach Nick Saban walks the field before the Iron Bowl NCAA college football game against Auburn, in Auburn, Ala. Write-in votes could help decide Alabama’s Senate race between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. Saban often gets write-in votes in state elections. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)
<p>NEW YORK — The best non-conference tournaments took place during Feast Week. The PK80, Battle 4 Atlantis and other events pitted national championship contenders on neutral courts and offered fans in food-coma recovery mode an early look at some of the top players in the country. The Jimmy V Classic is not staged in a tropical locale and coaches didn’t go <a href="https://twitter.com/rmginn/status/933183528023576576?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&#38;ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fthebiglead.com%2F2017%2F11%2F21%2Fmike-brey-outfit-twitter-shorts-maui%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:full-on Mike Brey" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">full-on Mike Brey</a> with their sideline attire, but it nonetheless did convene four big-name programs in an iconic venue for an entertaining night of basketball. In a doubleheader on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, Villanova beat Gonzaga 88–72 before Syracuse toppled Connecticut 72–63. <em>Sports Illustrated</em> was on hand to observe those four teams and assess their outlooks for the rest of the season. This is the third version of a weekly column analyzing four college hoops topics bound by some underlying narrative thread. If there’s something you’d like to see in this space, <a href="https://twitter.com/bychrisjohnson" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:don’t hesitate to reach out to me." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">don’t hesitate to reach out to me.</a></p><h3>Connecticut</h3><p><em>Record: 6–3</em><br><em>Best win: Oregon</em></p><p>By April, four years will have passed since UConn cut down the nets at AT&#38;T Stadium after beating Kentucky in the national championship game. Since then, the Huskies have recorded only one NCAA tournament victory, and last season they both failed to qualify for the Big Dance and, with a 16–17 record, finished below .500 for the first time since 1986–87, Jim Calhoun’s first year as coach. UConn looks better than it did in early in 2016–17, when it opened with back-to-back home losses to Wagner and Northeastern, but a tourney bid feels like a long shot.</p><p>The Huskies’ most important nonconference event this season, the PK80, started off in promising fashion, with an eight-point win over Oregon in which UConn limited the Ducks to only 0.86 points per possession. Then things got ugly. In two subsequent games in Portland, against Michigan State and Arkansas, the Huskies were outscored 179–124, including a 102–67 beatdown at the hands of a Razorbacks team media members voted sixth in the SEC in the preseason. (Even the Oregon victory has lost some luster, with the Ducks also falling recently to Oklahoma and Boise State.)</p><p>UConn followed that up by being taken to overtime at home by low-majors Columbia and Monmouth. The Huskies will need to clean things up on both ends of the court to get themselves within shouting distance of an at-large bid, but one obvious issue is their inability to consistently score the ball at an efficient clip. The Huskies have sank only 47.3% of their two-point shots and 31% from beyond the arc, and they currently rank 260th in Division I in points scored per 100 possessions.</p><p>Tuesday night’s Old Big East tilt with Syracuse didn’t put to rest UConn’s shooting concerns. It turned the ball over on a fourth of its trips down the floor and managed only 0.93 PPP against the Orange’s zone, and it couldn’t keep them off the offensive glass: Syracuse snared 42.4% of its missed shots.</p><p>UConn will have an opportunity in late January to bolster its CV against another one of the teams that played here on Tuesday night, Villanova. The Huskies also have upcoming trips to Arizona and Auburn, plus ample chances to prove themselves in the American Athletic Conference. The addition of Wichita State will help in that regard. But a handful of other teams in the league are more compelling bets to challenge the Shockers and Cincinnati for real estate near the top of the standings, regardless of how much time redshirt freshman guard Alterique Gilbert misses with a shoulder injury. (He hasn’t appeared in UConn’s last three games.)</p><p>The Huskies’ talented perimeter corps is cause for optimism, especially sophomore Christian Vital’s early scoring uptick, as is the return of 6&#39;8&quot; redshirt junior forward Terry Larrier after he missed almost all of last season with a torn ACL. But getting buckets this season against the Shockers and the Bearcats, likely the two best wins available in the AAC, is going to be a chore for high-powered offenses with high-percentage interior finishers and perimeter snipers. UConn’s falls well short of that.</p><h3>Gonzaga</h3><p><em>Record: 7–2</em><br><em>Best win: Texas</em></p><p>Few elite teams were expected to suffer a larger fall from last season to this one than Gonzaga. After winning 37 games and coming up six points short against North Carolina in the program’s first national championship game, the Zags lost three of their top five scorers, including one who was named the West Coast Conference’s Player of the Year (point guard Nigel Williams-Goss) and another (center Zach Collins) who was picked in the lottery of the NBA draft last July.</p><p>Gonzaga opened the season at No. 18 in the AP Top 25 Poll, and coaches picked Saint Mary’s to win the WCC in the preseason. That may turn out to be the right choice, but the Zags look better equipped to withstand their personnel churn than it appeared before the season began. Prior to Tuesday, head coach Mark Few’s bunch had picked up wins over Ohio State, Texas and Creighton, and it gave SEC challenger Florida everything it could handle before falling by six points in double overtime.</p><p>Tuesday night’s matchup with Villanova was a step up, and Gonzaga wasn’t ready to make it. “When you schedule like this and play games like this,” Few said afterward. “I mean, you, for lack of a better term, expose your—you’re putting your team out there.” Few’s right. The loss was revealing in that it indicated the Zags probably don’t belong in the same tier as a legitimate title contender like Villanova, but they’re also unlikely to face a team this good at any point the rest of this season.</p><p>One double-digit defeat to an outfit that’s tracking toward a No. 1 seed on a not-that-neutral neutral court shouldn’t obscure how well Gonzaga has reloaded. Few has stocked his roster with talented youngsters to complement junior Josh Perkins and seniors Johnathan Williams and Silas Melson. Sophomore Killian Tillie, a 6&#39;10&quot; forward from Paris, has increased his scoring on a per-40-minute basis, thanks in large part to improved two-point shooting accuracy, and he’s playing about twice as much as he did last season. Tillie’s also an agile, switchable defender who can offer some rim protection. He posted a career-high 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting against Creighton last Friday. “When he’s out there, usually we flow better,” Few said of Tillie. “And good things happen.”</p><p>Freshmen Corey Kispert and Zach Norvell and sophomore Rui Hachimura are three other underclassmen who’ve solidified the Zags’ rotation during a challenging non-conference schedule. (Although Kispert, a four-star recruit from Seattle, is dealing with an ankle injury that caused him to sit out Tuesday night against the Wildcats, as well as the matchup with the Bluejays.) All told, with Gonzaga playing four freshmen or sophomores at least 18 minutes per game, it ranks 250th in Division I in Ken Pomeroy’s Experience metric.</p><p>The Zags are hitting a remarkably high percentage of their shots from inside the arc, ranking 12th nationally in 2PFG%, and Tuesday night’s 6-of-22 showing from behind it was an outlier from their otherwise high-level deep marksmanship. And Gonzaga’s defense should improve as opponents cool off from downtown. (They’ve made 39.5% of their threes against Gonzaga, with Villanova, alone, going 10-of-21 from distance.) The Zags have thrown into doubt Saint Mary’s status as the WCC frontrunner. This team almost certainly won’t make it back to the title game, but that wasn’t a realistic expectation before the season.</p><h3>Syracuse</h3><p><em>Record: 7–1</em><br><em>Best win: Maryland</em></p><p>When word dropped this summer that Taurean Thompson had withdrawn from Syracuse and was enrolling at Seton Hall, it felt like another damaging defection for a roster that couldn’t afford it, having already lost three starters from a team that failed to qualify for the NCAAs last season. After the news broke, longtime Orange reporter Mike Waters penned an article asking the question, “Is Taurean Thompson the most impactful transfer ever for Syracuse basketball?”</p><p>If he is, that hasn’t been apparent so far. Tuesday’s win moved the Orange to 7–1, and their only loss came last Saturday against Final Four threat Kansas. (Yes, the Jayhawks still deserve that description even after losing to Washington on Wednesday.) Syracuse’s non-league slate is thin on quality opponents, though it did beat Maryland at home in late November. In any case, the Orange should open ACC play in decent position to get in the conversation for an at-large bid. That didn’t seem likely before the season, when <em>Sports Illustrated</em> projected them as the league’s No. 9 team.</p><p>In his lone season at Syracuse, Thompson was an effective offensive rebounder and shot-blocker, but the combined efforts of freshmen Oshae Brissett, Bourama Sidibe and Marek Dolezaj, sophomore Matthew Moyer and junior Paschal Chukwu have enabled the Orange to hold up really well in both of those areas without Thompson. They’ve grabbed 42.4% of their misses to date, good for second in the country, and they’re swatting 21.6% of teams’ two-point attempts, which ranks first.</p><p>Top-level rim defense and second-chance creation will go a long way for Syracuse in the ACC, but it’s difficult to put too much faith in a team with such a shaky backcourt. The recent announcement that South Florida graduate transfer Geno Thorpe had departed the program for personal reasons leaves Syracuse with only three scholarship guards: junior Frank Howard, sophomore Tyus Battle and freshman Howard Washington, who has yet to play more than 10 minutes in a game this season.</p><p>Simply playing Washington more often would help—although he’s logged only nine minutes combined in two games since Thorpe left, including just one on Tuesday against the Huskies—and Battle, Brissett and Moyer can be moved up or down the lineup to accommodate whoever else is on the floor. Syracuse can use the five upcoming games against mostly manageable competition to sort out its perimeter rotation before beginning its conference slate with a home matchup against Virginia Tech on New Year’s Eve.</p><h3>Villanova</h3><p><em>Record: 9–0</em><br><em>Best win: Gonzaga</em></p><p>The book on the Big East is the same as it’s been since the conference morphed into its Catholic Seven plus Butler, Creighton, Xavier iteration. The Wildcats have since won four consecutive regular-season league championships and they were picked to do that again in 2017–18 in a preseason poll even though they lost three senior starters (Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins and Darryl Reynolds), including one who drew deserved National Player of the Year buzz and went on to become a first-round draft pick (Hart), during the offseason.</p><p>The preseason optimism on Villanova was warranted. Through nine games, point guard Jalen Brunson is scoring at a far more efficient clip than he did as a freshman and sophomore, and he’s also managed to slash his turnover rate while upping his assists on a per-40-minute basis. Brunson almost definitely won’t keep making 51.7% of his three-point shots, but while he’s not getting the same mock draft love as PGs like Alabama’s Collin Sexton, Duke’s Trevon Duval or Oklahoma’s Trae Young, it would be hard to come up with another college floor general you’d rather have running your offense right now.</p><p>Then there’s Mikal Bridges, who looks ready to play his way to a lottery selection on draft night this summer. The junior wing is shouldering a bigger offensive workload so far this season, but that hasn’t depressed his efficiency: His offensive rating is about nine points higher than it was last season, when it ranked 22nd in Division I, according to Kenpom.com. Bridges can be just as valuable on defense because of his activity as a shot-blocker/ball-stealer and ability to switch assignments.</p><p>On Tuesday, he went off for a game-high 28 points on 8-of-14 shooting, and with just over eight minutes remaining in the second half, he submitted a strong early nomination for dunk-and-swat sequence of the year. After rising for a one-handed slam over 6&#39;11&quot; Gonzaga redshirt freshman Jacob Larsen, Bridges scampered down the court to get in position to reject Bulldogs junior Josh Perkins’s layup attempt. “He’s playing with a lot more freedom, a lot more aggressiveness,” head coach Jay Wright said of Bridges afterward. Wright added, “He just knows it’s his turn, and he’s ready for it.”</p><p>The Wildcats don’t have a lot of size in their rotation, but with the exception of Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado, there aren’t many Big East big men capable of punishing them because of it. That said, Villanova will need Omari Spellman—who sat out last season as an academic redshirt—to supply reliable inside scoring. He’s connected on only 37.7% of his shots from two-point range and 41.4% at the rim this season, according to <a href="http://hoop-math.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:hoop-math.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">hoop-math.com</a>. (Spellman has hit 45.5% of his 22 three-point attempts so far.)</p><p>There are only two teams that look like credible challengers to Villanova in the Big East: Seton Hall and Xavier. Both squads notched a pair of big-time wins in succession over the last 10 days (the Pirates over Texas Tech and Louisville, the Musketeers over Baylor and Cincinnati), while the Wildcats, <a href="https://www.si.com/college-basketball/2017/11/30/arizona-purdue-seton-hall-st-marys-problems" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:through no fault of their own" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">through no fault of their own</a>, didn’t come away from the Battle 4 Atlantis last month with any signature victories. Villanova got one Tuesday that will glow in March, and it still holds pole position in the chase for the conference crown.</p>
Jimmy V Classic Lessons: Where All Four Teams Go From Here

NEW YORK — The best non-conference tournaments took place during Feast Week. The PK80, Battle 4 Atlantis and other events pitted national championship contenders on neutral courts and offered fans in food-coma recovery mode an early look at some of the top players in the country. The Jimmy V Classic is not staged in a tropical locale and coaches didn’t go full-on Mike Brey with their sideline attire, but it nonetheless did convene four big-name programs in an iconic venue for an entertaining night of basketball. In a doubleheader on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, Villanova beat Gonzaga 88–72 before Syracuse toppled Connecticut 72–63. Sports Illustrated was on hand to observe those four teams and assess their outlooks for the rest of the season. This is the third version of a weekly column analyzing four college hoops topics bound by some underlying narrative thread. If there’s something you’d like to see in this space, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Connecticut

Record: 6–3
Best win: Oregon

By April, four years will have passed since UConn cut down the nets at AT&T Stadium after beating Kentucky in the national championship game. Since then, the Huskies have recorded only one NCAA tournament victory, and last season they both failed to qualify for the Big Dance and, with a 16–17 record, finished below .500 for the first time since 1986–87, Jim Calhoun’s first year as coach. UConn looks better than it did in early in 2016–17, when it opened with back-to-back home losses to Wagner and Northeastern, but a tourney bid feels like a long shot.

The Huskies’ most important nonconference event this season, the PK80, started off in promising fashion, with an eight-point win over Oregon in which UConn limited the Ducks to only 0.86 points per possession. Then things got ugly. In two subsequent games in Portland, against Michigan State and Arkansas, the Huskies were outscored 179–124, including a 102–67 beatdown at the hands of a Razorbacks team media members voted sixth in the SEC in the preseason. (Even the Oregon victory has lost some luster, with the Ducks also falling recently to Oklahoma and Boise State.)

UConn followed that up by being taken to overtime at home by low-majors Columbia and Monmouth. The Huskies will need to clean things up on both ends of the court to get themselves within shouting distance of an at-large bid, but one obvious issue is their inability to consistently score the ball at an efficient clip. The Huskies have sank only 47.3% of their two-point shots and 31% from beyond the arc, and they currently rank 260th in Division I in points scored per 100 possessions.

Tuesday night’s Old Big East tilt with Syracuse didn’t put to rest UConn’s shooting concerns. It turned the ball over on a fourth of its trips down the floor and managed only 0.93 PPP against the Orange’s zone, and it couldn’t keep them off the offensive glass: Syracuse snared 42.4% of its missed shots.

UConn will have an opportunity in late January to bolster its CV against another one of the teams that played here on Tuesday night, Villanova. The Huskies also have upcoming trips to Arizona and Auburn, plus ample chances to prove themselves in the American Athletic Conference. The addition of Wichita State will help in that regard. But a handful of other teams in the league are more compelling bets to challenge the Shockers and Cincinnati for real estate near the top of the standings, regardless of how much time redshirt freshman guard Alterique Gilbert misses with a shoulder injury. (He hasn’t appeared in UConn’s last three games.)

The Huskies’ talented perimeter corps is cause for optimism, especially sophomore Christian Vital’s early scoring uptick, as is the return of 6'8" redshirt junior forward Terry Larrier after he missed almost all of last season with a torn ACL. But getting buckets this season against the Shockers and the Bearcats, likely the two best wins available in the AAC, is going to be a chore for high-powered offenses with high-percentage interior finishers and perimeter snipers. UConn’s falls well short of that.

Gonzaga

Record: 7–2
Best win: Texas

Few elite teams were expected to suffer a larger fall from last season to this one than Gonzaga. After winning 37 games and coming up six points short against North Carolina in the program’s first national championship game, the Zags lost three of their top five scorers, including one who was named the West Coast Conference’s Player of the Year (point guard Nigel Williams-Goss) and another (center Zach Collins) who was picked in the lottery of the NBA draft last July.

Gonzaga opened the season at No. 18 in the AP Top 25 Poll, and coaches picked Saint Mary’s to win the WCC in the preseason. That may turn out to be the right choice, but the Zags look better equipped to withstand their personnel churn than it appeared before the season began. Prior to Tuesday, head coach Mark Few’s bunch had picked up wins over Ohio State, Texas and Creighton, and it gave SEC challenger Florida everything it could handle before falling by six points in double overtime.

Tuesday night’s matchup with Villanova was a step up, and Gonzaga wasn’t ready to make it. “When you schedule like this and play games like this,” Few said afterward. “I mean, you, for lack of a better term, expose your—you’re putting your team out there.” Few’s right. The loss was revealing in that it indicated the Zags probably don’t belong in the same tier as a legitimate title contender like Villanova, but they’re also unlikely to face a team this good at any point the rest of this season.

One double-digit defeat to an outfit that’s tracking toward a No. 1 seed on a not-that-neutral neutral court shouldn’t obscure how well Gonzaga has reloaded. Few has stocked his roster with talented youngsters to complement junior Josh Perkins and seniors Johnathan Williams and Silas Melson. Sophomore Killian Tillie, a 6'10" forward from Paris, has increased his scoring on a per-40-minute basis, thanks in large part to improved two-point shooting accuracy, and he’s playing about twice as much as he did last season. Tillie’s also an agile, switchable defender who can offer some rim protection. He posted a career-high 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting against Creighton last Friday. “When he’s out there, usually we flow better,” Few said of Tillie. “And good things happen.”

Freshmen Corey Kispert and Zach Norvell and sophomore Rui Hachimura are three other underclassmen who’ve solidified the Zags’ rotation during a challenging non-conference schedule. (Although Kispert, a four-star recruit from Seattle, is dealing with an ankle injury that caused him to sit out Tuesday night against the Wildcats, as well as the matchup with the Bluejays.) All told, with Gonzaga playing four freshmen or sophomores at least 18 minutes per game, it ranks 250th in Division I in Ken Pomeroy’s Experience metric.

The Zags are hitting a remarkably high percentage of their shots from inside the arc, ranking 12th nationally in 2PFG%, and Tuesday night’s 6-of-22 showing from behind it was an outlier from their otherwise high-level deep marksmanship. And Gonzaga’s defense should improve as opponents cool off from downtown. (They’ve made 39.5% of their threes against Gonzaga, with Villanova, alone, going 10-of-21 from distance.) The Zags have thrown into doubt Saint Mary’s status as the WCC frontrunner. This team almost certainly won’t make it back to the title game, but that wasn’t a realistic expectation before the season.

Syracuse

Record: 7–1
Best win: Maryland

When word dropped this summer that Taurean Thompson had withdrawn from Syracuse and was enrolling at Seton Hall, it felt like another damaging defection for a roster that couldn’t afford it, having already lost three starters from a team that failed to qualify for the NCAAs last season. After the news broke, longtime Orange reporter Mike Waters penned an article asking the question, “Is Taurean Thompson the most impactful transfer ever for Syracuse basketball?”

If he is, that hasn’t been apparent so far. Tuesday’s win moved the Orange to 7–1, and their only loss came last Saturday against Final Four threat Kansas. (Yes, the Jayhawks still deserve that description even after losing to Washington on Wednesday.) Syracuse’s non-league slate is thin on quality opponents, though it did beat Maryland at home in late November. In any case, the Orange should open ACC play in decent position to get in the conversation for an at-large bid. That didn’t seem likely before the season, when Sports Illustrated projected them as the league’s No. 9 team.

In his lone season at Syracuse, Thompson was an effective offensive rebounder and shot-blocker, but the combined efforts of freshmen Oshae Brissett, Bourama Sidibe and Marek Dolezaj, sophomore Matthew Moyer and junior Paschal Chukwu have enabled the Orange to hold up really well in both of those areas without Thompson. They’ve grabbed 42.4% of their misses to date, good for second in the country, and they’re swatting 21.6% of teams’ two-point attempts, which ranks first.

Top-level rim defense and second-chance creation will go a long way for Syracuse in the ACC, but it’s difficult to put too much faith in a team with such a shaky backcourt. The recent announcement that South Florida graduate transfer Geno Thorpe had departed the program for personal reasons leaves Syracuse with only three scholarship guards: junior Frank Howard, sophomore Tyus Battle and freshman Howard Washington, who has yet to play more than 10 minutes in a game this season.

Simply playing Washington more often would help—although he’s logged only nine minutes combined in two games since Thorpe left, including just one on Tuesday against the Huskies—and Battle, Brissett and Moyer can be moved up or down the lineup to accommodate whoever else is on the floor. Syracuse can use the five upcoming games against mostly manageable competition to sort out its perimeter rotation before beginning its conference slate with a home matchup against Virginia Tech on New Year’s Eve.

Villanova

Record: 9–0
Best win: Gonzaga

The book on the Big East is the same as it’s been since the conference morphed into its Catholic Seven plus Butler, Creighton, Xavier iteration. The Wildcats have since won four consecutive regular-season league championships and they were picked to do that again in 2017–18 in a preseason poll even though they lost three senior starters (Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins and Darryl Reynolds), including one who drew deserved National Player of the Year buzz and went on to become a first-round draft pick (Hart), during the offseason.

The preseason optimism on Villanova was warranted. Through nine games, point guard Jalen Brunson is scoring at a far more efficient clip than he did as a freshman and sophomore, and he’s also managed to slash his turnover rate while upping his assists on a per-40-minute basis. Brunson almost definitely won’t keep making 51.7% of his three-point shots, but while he’s not getting the same mock draft love as PGs like Alabama’s Collin Sexton, Duke’s Trevon Duval or Oklahoma’s Trae Young, it would be hard to come up with another college floor general you’d rather have running your offense right now.

Then there’s Mikal Bridges, who looks ready to play his way to a lottery selection on draft night this summer. The junior wing is shouldering a bigger offensive workload so far this season, but that hasn’t depressed his efficiency: His offensive rating is about nine points higher than it was last season, when it ranked 22nd in Division I, according to Kenpom.com. Bridges can be just as valuable on defense because of his activity as a shot-blocker/ball-stealer and ability to switch assignments.

On Tuesday, he went off for a game-high 28 points on 8-of-14 shooting, and with just over eight minutes remaining in the second half, he submitted a strong early nomination for dunk-and-swat sequence of the year. After rising for a one-handed slam over 6'11" Gonzaga redshirt freshman Jacob Larsen, Bridges scampered down the court to get in position to reject Bulldogs junior Josh Perkins’s layup attempt. “He’s playing with a lot more freedom, a lot more aggressiveness,” head coach Jay Wright said of Bridges afterward. Wright added, “He just knows it’s his turn, and he’s ready for it.”

The Wildcats don’t have a lot of size in their rotation, but with the exception of Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado, there aren’t many Big East big men capable of punishing them because of it. That said, Villanova will need Omari Spellman—who sat out last season as an academic redshirt—to supply reliable inside scoring. He’s connected on only 37.7% of his shots from two-point range and 41.4% at the rim this season, according to hoop-math.com. (Spellman has hit 45.5% of his 22 three-point attempts so far.)

There are only two teams that look like credible challengers to Villanova in the Big East: Seton Hall and Xavier. Both squads notched a pair of big-time wins in succession over the last 10 days (the Pirates over Texas Tech and Louisville, the Musketeers over Baylor and Cincinnati), while the Wildcats, through no fault of their own, didn’t come away from the Battle 4 Atlantis last month with any signature victories. Villanova got one Tuesday that will glow in March, and it still holds pole position in the chase for the conference crown.

<p><a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/11/27/greg-schiano-tennessee-coach-protest-penn-state" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The ReVOLution" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The ReVOLution</a> rejected the idea of hiring a defensive coordinator from one of the nation’s best programs. Tennessee fans revolted last week—it only <em>feels</em> like a year ago—when now-former Tennessee athletic director John Currie tried to hire Ohio State’s Greg Schiano. The hire was nearly consummated, but the Volunteers ultimately backed off. On Thursday, Tennessee finally hired its coach. And the man the Vols hired was … the defensive coordinator from one of the nation’s best programs.</p><p>So why didn’t the hiring of Alabama’s Jeremy Pruitt also inspire a revolt? Two reasons. First, Tennessee fans know Pruitt is one of the best recruiters on Nick Saban’s staff, and the only way a head coach can succeed in today’s SEC is by being his program’s ace recruiter. If Pruitt can bring the kind of talent to Knoxville that he brought to Tuscaloosa, then Tennessee has a chance to compete for the titles those fans crave.</p><p>Second, those fans trust the man who made this hire to understand the job better because he held the job for 16 years. Former Vols coach Phillip Fulmer, who replaced Currie last week, put a national title trophy in the case at Tennessee and will get the benefit of the doubt because of it.</p><p>Fulmer also will get shredded if this doesn’t work. And hiring Pruitt is a risk. He has never been a head coach at any level, and it’s impossible to know how a person will handle CEO duties until he has to perform them. But unless a school is hiring Saban or Urban Meyer or Dabo Swinney, hiring a sitting head coach carries many of the same risks because each job is so different. And Fulmer made an excellent point last week in a press conference. He also hadn’t been a head coach when Tennessee put him in charge of the Vols’ program. (After a coup to unseat Johnny Majors that wasn’t dissimilar to the one that landed Fulmer in the AD chair last week.) A look at the teams in the College Football Playoff offers more positive feedback. Saban had been head coach at Toledo, Michigan State, LSU and with the Miami Dolphins before taking over Alabama, but he’s the outlier in the group. Swinney was Clemson’s receivers coach before he took over the program. Georgia’s Kirby Smart was Alabama’s defensive coordinator two years ago. Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley was the Sooners’ offensive coordinator at this time last year.</p><p>Tennessee has tried to Sabanize before with disastrous results. Derek Dooley, who worked with Saban at LSU, replaced Lane Kiffin after Kiffin left for USC in 2010 and proceeded to run Tennessee’s program into the ground before getting fired following the 2012 season. His final recruiting class, which included zero offensive linemen, is a case study in how not to stock a program. The recruiting piece is the biggest indicator that Pruitt’s hire could work. Take it from the Heisman Trophy winner that Pruitt (as Alabama’s defensive backs coach) landed just before he left Alabama to become Florida State’s defensive coordinator. </p><p>The reason it might not work is Pruitt hasn’t always been the easiest coach to work with. As Georgia’s defensive coordinator in 2014 and ’15, he clashed with more entrenched members of Mark Richt’s staff. Chemistry suffered. But Pruitt’s defenses were the best aspects of those teams, finishing 17th and 13th in yards per play allowed. Perhaps he was trying to push many of the changes that his former co-worker Smart eventually enacted when he took over for Richt. This could be a non-issue now that Pruitt will be free to staff his team with like-minded people. But it is something to watch as he enters an athletic department for which dysfunctional would be a kind description.</p><p>What makes this hire the most fascinating is that Pruitt is the first to come fully through Saban’s mega-staffing machine and emerge as a head coach. For college football fans between the ages of 30 and 40, the first exposure to Pruitt didn’t come on ESPN. It came on MTV. </p><p>In the mid-aughts, the Hoover (Ala.) High defensive coordinator was one of the stars of <em>Two-a-Days</em>, a show that probably came into being when some producer said “Why don’t we make another <em>Laguna Beach</em>, but this time set it in a wealthy southern suburb?” Pruitt didn’t know it at the time, but his life was about to change—and that change would have nothing to do with his air time on a reality show. He was about to start down a path that eventually would lead him to Knoxville as Tennessee’s new head coach.</p><p>When Nick Saban got hired at Alabama in 2007, he decided to stock the recruiting office with connected former high school coaches. These people couldn’t recruit off campus, but they could stay in touch with all their friends and get all sorts of information Alabama’s coaching staff considered valuable. One of the people Saban hired was Pruitt, who worked at a Birmingham-area power and was the son of Dale Pruitt, a longtime high school head coach in the state. The younger Pruitt, who had played at Alabama in the 1990s after transferring from Middle Tennessee State, knew everyone. He also was very close with some people Saban really liked. “I played at Alabama. My dad was an influential head coach in the state of Alabama, and I probably know a lot of the high school coaches in Alabama,” Pruitt said at the 2013 Broyles Award ceremony. “But the real the reason coach Saban gave me a job is because I had three [players] he wanted. A lot of folks say ‘How did you get picked out of all those guys?’ Josh Chapman, Kerry Murphy, Patrick Crump.”</p><p>The NCAA has since passed a rule that would keep a school from hiring a high school coach and then immediately signing his players, but that wasn’t an issue in 2007. Besides, not everyone would have taken the job Pruitt took. He was hired as the director of player development, a job that didn’t exist at most college programs. Pruitt would have been in demand for some of the best high school head-coaching jobs in the state, but he took relatively low pay for a job that included no on-field coaching.</p><p>It took three years, but he eventually parlayed that into a job coaching defensive backs at Alabama. “I was the defensive backs coach at Alabama,” Pruitt said in that Broyles Award speech. “And everybody in the country knows who the DB coach in Alabama is, and that’s Nick Saban.” But Pruitt excelled as the position coach that probably draws more scrutiny from his head coach than anyone else in America. But with Kirby Smart firmly entrenched at defensive coordinator, Pruitt would have to leave to move up. So he went to Florida State to replace Mark Stoops, who had left to become the head coach at Kentucky. The Seminoles won a national title that year, but Pruitt didn’t stick around. He was immediately off to Georgia.</p><p>As noted above, Pruitt’s time in Athens was fairly tumultuous, but the next step was fairly clear when Smart was named head coach at Georgia. Pruitt was the ideal candidate to replace him in Tuscaloosa. “There was no doubt who I was going to hire,” Saban told reporters. “Didn’t interview anybody. Didn’t talk to anybody. Just hired the guy.” Pruitt understood every cog in the machine Saban had built. The transition would be seamless. And it was. Statistically, Alabama’s defense was even better in Pruitt’s first year (four yards a play allowed) than it was in Smart’s final season (4.3 yards a play allowed). This season, the Crimson Tide lead the nation in that stat, holding steady at four yards a play.</p><p>Now we’ll learn how much Pruitt has been paying attention while working for Saban. Will he be as schematically flexible as his former boss? Another former Saban defensive coordinator, Will Muschamp, torpedoed his tenure at Florida by insisting on an offensive style the players he inherited weren’t built to run and by hiring a coordinator (Charlie Weis) who also didn’t feel the need to be flexible. Muschamp has admitted this was a huge mistake, and after underachieving at Florida he’s now overachieving at South Carolina thanks to a better understanding of how to build schemes around players. Smart hired Jim Chaney at Georgia, and the offensive results weren’t promising the first season. But after shuffling the offensive line, improving the receiving corps and learning what freshman quarterback Jake Fromm does best, the results this season were much better. Chaney called his best game as a Georgia employee against an excellent Auburn defense in last weekend’s SEC title game.</p><p>Who will Pruitt hire as his offensive coordinator? We’ll find out. Will it be a buddy, or will it be someone whose schemes drove him crazy as a defensive playcaller? That’s how Bob Stoops selected Mike Leach as his offensive coordinator when he went to Oklahoma, and though Leach only stayed a year, that choice laid the foundation for an offensive philosophy that helped the Sooners win a national title and multiple Big 12 titles. That choice will be the first major challenge for Pruitt as a head coach. There will be many more, and each will be heavily scrutinized by a fan base that opted not to exercise its veto power on Pruitt. But Pruitt should understand the demands of this job. After all, he just came from one of the few places where the head coaching job is more demanding.</p>
Hiring Jeremy Pruitt Is a Risk Tennessee Is Right to Be Willing to Take

The ReVOLution rejected the idea of hiring a defensive coordinator from one of the nation’s best programs. Tennessee fans revolted last week—it only feels like a year ago—when now-former Tennessee athletic director John Currie tried to hire Ohio State’s Greg Schiano. The hire was nearly consummated, but the Volunteers ultimately backed off. On Thursday, Tennessee finally hired its coach. And the man the Vols hired was … the defensive coordinator from one of the nation’s best programs.

So why didn’t the hiring of Alabama’s Jeremy Pruitt also inspire a revolt? Two reasons. First, Tennessee fans know Pruitt is one of the best recruiters on Nick Saban’s staff, and the only way a head coach can succeed in today’s SEC is by being his program’s ace recruiter. If Pruitt can bring the kind of talent to Knoxville that he brought to Tuscaloosa, then Tennessee has a chance to compete for the titles those fans crave.

Second, those fans trust the man who made this hire to understand the job better because he held the job for 16 years. Former Vols coach Phillip Fulmer, who replaced Currie last week, put a national title trophy in the case at Tennessee and will get the benefit of the doubt because of it.

Fulmer also will get shredded if this doesn’t work. And hiring Pruitt is a risk. He has never been a head coach at any level, and it’s impossible to know how a person will handle CEO duties until he has to perform them. But unless a school is hiring Saban or Urban Meyer or Dabo Swinney, hiring a sitting head coach carries many of the same risks because each job is so different. And Fulmer made an excellent point last week in a press conference. He also hadn’t been a head coach when Tennessee put him in charge of the Vols’ program. (After a coup to unseat Johnny Majors that wasn’t dissimilar to the one that landed Fulmer in the AD chair last week.) A look at the teams in the College Football Playoff offers more positive feedback. Saban had been head coach at Toledo, Michigan State, LSU and with the Miami Dolphins before taking over Alabama, but he’s the outlier in the group. Swinney was Clemson’s receivers coach before he took over the program. Georgia’s Kirby Smart was Alabama’s defensive coordinator two years ago. Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley was the Sooners’ offensive coordinator at this time last year.

Tennessee has tried to Sabanize before with disastrous results. Derek Dooley, who worked with Saban at LSU, replaced Lane Kiffin after Kiffin left for USC in 2010 and proceeded to run Tennessee’s program into the ground before getting fired following the 2012 season. His final recruiting class, which included zero offensive linemen, is a case study in how not to stock a program. The recruiting piece is the biggest indicator that Pruitt’s hire could work. Take it from the Heisman Trophy winner that Pruitt (as Alabama’s defensive backs coach) landed just before he left Alabama to become Florida State’s defensive coordinator.

The reason it might not work is Pruitt hasn’t always been the easiest coach to work with. As Georgia’s defensive coordinator in 2014 and ’15, he clashed with more entrenched members of Mark Richt’s staff. Chemistry suffered. But Pruitt’s defenses were the best aspects of those teams, finishing 17th and 13th in yards per play allowed. Perhaps he was trying to push many of the changes that his former co-worker Smart eventually enacted when he took over for Richt. This could be a non-issue now that Pruitt will be free to staff his team with like-minded people. But it is something to watch as he enters an athletic department for which dysfunctional would be a kind description.

What makes this hire the most fascinating is that Pruitt is the first to come fully through Saban’s mega-staffing machine and emerge as a head coach. For college football fans between the ages of 30 and 40, the first exposure to Pruitt didn’t come on ESPN. It came on MTV.

In the mid-aughts, the Hoover (Ala.) High defensive coordinator was one of the stars of Two-a-Days, a show that probably came into being when some producer said “Why don’t we make another Laguna Beach, but this time set it in a wealthy southern suburb?” Pruitt didn’t know it at the time, but his life was about to change—and that change would have nothing to do with his air time on a reality show. He was about to start down a path that eventually would lead him to Knoxville as Tennessee’s new head coach.

When Nick Saban got hired at Alabama in 2007, he decided to stock the recruiting office with connected former high school coaches. These people couldn’t recruit off campus, but they could stay in touch with all their friends and get all sorts of information Alabama’s coaching staff considered valuable. One of the people Saban hired was Pruitt, who worked at a Birmingham-area power and was the son of Dale Pruitt, a longtime high school head coach in the state. The younger Pruitt, who had played at Alabama in the 1990s after transferring from Middle Tennessee State, knew everyone. He also was very close with some people Saban really liked. “I played at Alabama. My dad was an influential head coach in the state of Alabama, and I probably know a lot of the high school coaches in Alabama,” Pruitt said at the 2013 Broyles Award ceremony. “But the real the reason coach Saban gave me a job is because I had three [players] he wanted. A lot of folks say ‘How did you get picked out of all those guys?’ Josh Chapman, Kerry Murphy, Patrick Crump.”

The NCAA has since passed a rule that would keep a school from hiring a high school coach and then immediately signing his players, but that wasn’t an issue in 2007. Besides, not everyone would have taken the job Pruitt took. He was hired as the director of player development, a job that didn’t exist at most college programs. Pruitt would have been in demand for some of the best high school head-coaching jobs in the state, but he took relatively low pay for a job that included no on-field coaching.

It took three years, but he eventually parlayed that into a job coaching defensive backs at Alabama. “I was the defensive backs coach at Alabama,” Pruitt said in that Broyles Award speech. “And everybody in the country knows who the DB coach in Alabama is, and that’s Nick Saban.” But Pruitt excelled as the position coach that probably draws more scrutiny from his head coach than anyone else in America. But with Kirby Smart firmly entrenched at defensive coordinator, Pruitt would have to leave to move up. So he went to Florida State to replace Mark Stoops, who had left to become the head coach at Kentucky. The Seminoles won a national title that year, but Pruitt didn’t stick around. He was immediately off to Georgia.

As noted above, Pruitt’s time in Athens was fairly tumultuous, but the next step was fairly clear when Smart was named head coach at Georgia. Pruitt was the ideal candidate to replace him in Tuscaloosa. “There was no doubt who I was going to hire,” Saban told reporters. “Didn’t interview anybody. Didn’t talk to anybody. Just hired the guy.” Pruitt understood every cog in the machine Saban had built. The transition would be seamless. And it was. Statistically, Alabama’s defense was even better in Pruitt’s first year (four yards a play allowed) than it was in Smart’s final season (4.3 yards a play allowed). This season, the Crimson Tide lead the nation in that stat, holding steady at four yards a play.

Now we’ll learn how much Pruitt has been paying attention while working for Saban. Will he be as schematically flexible as his former boss? Another former Saban defensive coordinator, Will Muschamp, torpedoed his tenure at Florida by insisting on an offensive style the players he inherited weren’t built to run and by hiring a coordinator (Charlie Weis) who also didn’t feel the need to be flexible. Muschamp has admitted this was a huge mistake, and after underachieving at Florida he’s now overachieving at South Carolina thanks to a better understanding of how to build schemes around players. Smart hired Jim Chaney at Georgia, and the offensive results weren’t promising the first season. But after shuffling the offensive line, improving the receiving corps and learning what freshman quarterback Jake Fromm does best, the results this season were much better. Chaney called his best game as a Georgia employee against an excellent Auburn defense in last weekend’s SEC title game.

Who will Pruitt hire as his offensive coordinator? We’ll find out. Will it be a buddy, or will it be someone whose schemes drove him crazy as a defensive playcaller? That’s how Bob Stoops selected Mike Leach as his offensive coordinator when he went to Oklahoma, and though Leach only stayed a year, that choice laid the foundation for an offensive philosophy that helped the Sooners win a national title and multiple Big 12 titles. That choice will be the first major challenge for Pruitt as a head coach. There will be many more, and each will be heavily scrutinized by a fan base that opted not to exercise its veto power on Pruitt. But Pruitt should understand the demands of this job. After all, he just came from one of the few places where the head coaching job is more demanding.

<p>We’re trying something different this week. Actually, it’s something familiar. Something tried and true. For this week—and hopefully for every #DearAndy column from this point forward—we’re ditching the video answers in favor of an all-print edition. If you like or dislike it, <a href="https://twitter.com/andy_staples" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:hit me up on Twitter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">hit me up on Twitter</a> and let me know.</p><p>On to your questions…</p><p><strong><a href="https://twitter.com/omgitsfeely/status/938164296864985088" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:From Tom:" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">From Tom:</a> Wasn’t Willie Taggart about to get fired halfway through the 2015 season? Are we sure he’s that great?</strong></p><p>He absolutely was about to get fired halfway through the 2015 season. But where you see that as a red flag, I see his solution to that issue as the reason he has a chance to succeed long-term at Florida State. Let’s travel back two years to a time when Justin Bieber wanted clarification regarding <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DK_0jXPuIr0" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:what precisely we meant" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">what precisely we meant</a>…</p><p>After taking over a moribund USF program and going 2–10 his first season and 4–8 in his second, Taggart realized he didn’t have the kind of linemen (big and athletic; basically, NFL prospects) he needed to run the West Coast offense that longtime mentor Jim Harbaugh runs. The system had worked at Western Kentucky, but the run-game-in-a-phone-booth-to-set-up-the-play-action-pass model doesn’t work when you get whipped up front. So before the 2015 season, Taggart tweaked the offense. He put his quarterback in the shotgun and moved his receivers out wider. Not wide like Ohio State—which is kind of wide—but nuclear wide, like Baylor at the time. This forced defenses to declare whether they were going to bring their safeties up in run support or leave them deep to deal with downfield shots.</p><p>The scheme had a great name (the Gulf Coast Offense), but for the first few games that year, it did not work very well. This wasn’t because it was a bad offense but because the Bulls hadn’t mastered it yet. The Bulls broke through against Syracuse in game five, averaging 7.8 yards a play in a 45–24 win. Including that game, USF won 17 of the final 21 games Taggart coached there.</p><p>This offensive shift did indeed save Taggart’s job, and it also suggests he’s the type of coach who can succeed at a premium program like Florida State. I’ve told the story before of Urban Meyer and his staff junking most of their offense and creating a rudimentary scheme their inherited players could run midway through their first season at Florida in 2005. I’ve written many times about <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2016/11/03/how-nick-saban-turned-alabama-sleeker-faster-juggernaut" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Nick Saban’s schematic flexibility" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Nick Saban’s schematic flexibility</a>. The best coaches are the ones who can adjust when what they do either stops working or seems headed for a dip because of changes in the game. Taggart has that gene. You can <a href="http://registerguard.com/rg/sports/36222454-81/taggart-struggles-with-truth.html.csp" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:criticize him all you want for the way he handled his exit from Oregon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">criticize him all you want for the way he handled his exit from Oregon</a>, but the change he made at USF is definitely a positive.</p><p>The question now is whether Taggart will drift back toward the more pure version of the offense he learned from the Harbaughs. He can now recruit NFL-bound offensive linemen. He’ll have the manpower to run whatever he wants. But now that he’s seen what the Gulf Coast Offense could do at USF and at Oregon, perhaps he’ll marry the best of both schemes and build around the athletes he can now recruit in Tallahassee.</p><p><strong><a href="https://twitter.com/talljay1994/status/938163078734204928" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:From Jason:" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">From Jason:</a> With all the coaching turnover, who in your opinion are the blue blood programs that can compete for national championships? Who can recruit at that level?</strong></p><p>Bud Elliott at SBNation does a great job every year of determining which programs—based on their recent recruiting—actually have a chance to win the national title in a given year. <a href="https://www.sbnation.com/a/cfb-preview-2017/blue-chip-ratio" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Here’s the Blue Chip Ratio column he wrote before the 2017 season." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Here’s the Blue Chip Ratio column he wrote before the 2017 season.</a> As you can see, three of the four playoff teams are among the 10 he identified. If Oklahoma were to win the national title, it would mark the first time the Blue Chip Ratio has been wrong. </p><p>But the Blue Chip Ratio only measures the programs that <em>are </em>recruiting well enough to win the national title. It doesn’t account for the programs that <em>should</em> be able to recruit that well. Here’s the list of the programs that should be able to recruit the kind of talent that wins national titles. Being left off the list doesn’t mean a program can’t build up to a great team capable of winning a title every few years. Nor does being on the list guarantee any kind of titles (as you’ll see based on recent seasons). This is just a list of the programs that have the natural recruiting base and the resources to recruit effectively every year. Whether they actually do it is up to their individual coaching staffs.</p><h3>ACC</h3><p>Clemson<br>Florida State<br>Miami</p><h3>Big Ten</h3><p>Michigan<br>Ohio State<br>Penn State</p><h3>Big 12</h3><p>Oklahoma<br>Texas</p><h3>Pac-12</h3><p>USC</p><h3>SEC</h3><p>Alabama<br>Auburn<br>Georgia<br>LSU<br>Florida<br>Texas A&#38;M</p><h3>Independent</h3><p>Notre Dame</p><p><strong><a href="https://twitter.com/bigwillsd/status/938187048044830720" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:From Will:" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">From Will:</a> Andy, who wins more games in the next four years: FSU or Texas A&#38;M?</strong></p><p>I’m assuming Nick Saban will continue to work for at least some of next four years, so that tilts the odds in favor of Taggart’s team over the team now led by former Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher. Making matters even tougher for Fisher, he has to play Clemson in each of his first two seasons. Florida State has to play the Tigers every year, of course, but the Seminoles’ game this past September against Alabama was a one-off affair. The equivalent to Texas A&#38;M’s challenge would be Florida State having to play Alabama each of the next two years.</p><p>Plus, Auburn looks poised to stay near the top of the SEC West, and LSU could be better than the 9–3 team it was this year if it can develop a quarterback. The ACC Atlantic is about to lose Lamar Jackson at Louisville and a ton of talent from NC State’s best team in years. The thing that could hamper Taggart in this race is if Dan Mullen rebuilds Florida quickly. That could produce a blockbuster game at the end of each year that might dent Taggart’s win total.</p><p>Now, if Saban retires at any point, feel free to ask this question again.</p><p><strong><a href="https://twitter.com/nolanolegal/status/938161116626276352" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:From Cait:" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">From Cait:</a> Andy, who lasts longer in their new job: Heupel, Mullen, or Taggart?</strong></p><p>Josh Heupel at UCF seems most likely to have the shortest tenure, simply because of where that job sits in the hierarchy. If he does well, he’ll get snapped up by a Power 5 program. If he performs poorly, UCF would move on quickly because its recruiting base allows it to bounce back from a bad hire quickly. There is very little middle ground with that job.</p><p>As for Mullen versus Taggart, both are going to have to win a lot to stay. Florida seems to chew up its coaches faster than Florida State, but that sample might be biased by the fact that Florida State replaced an all-time great coach (Bobby Bowden) with a guy who might someday be considered an all-time great coach (Fisher). Mullen and Taggart feel pretty even here, but I’m going to lean toward Taggart because the Seminoles just seem a little better at continuity.</p><p><strong><a href="https://twitter.com/belkbowl/status/938162324107644930" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:From @BelkBowl:" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">From @BelkBowl:</a> Why is the Belk Bowl the best bowl? <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/GWRWBriaWRAWsL?domain=twitter.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:#DearAndy" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">#DearAndy</a></strong></p><p>Because out of all the bowl sponsors, Belk is the only one that always fills my seersucker needs. I live in an extremely hot climate and have very large thighs. This creates the occasional flammable situation, and sometimes I find myself in desperate need of more seersucker pants at a reasonable price. Belk is always there for me.</p><p><strong><a href="https://twitter.com/bmtmike/status/938174892251537409" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:From Michael:" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">From Michael:</a> First trip to Nashville, where do I go for hot chicken? Any other must-have foods?</strong></p><p>Glad you asked, Michael. Here are my <a href="https://www.si.com/eats/video/2017/07/18/andy-staples-hot-chicken-power-rankings" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Hot Chicken Power Rankings" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Hot Chicken Power Rankings</a>. And here is my <a href="https://www.si.com/eats/2017/07/18/best-restaurants-bars-nashville-recommendations-food-drinks" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:guide to eating and drinking in Nashville" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">guide to eating and drinking in Nashville</a>.</p>
How Much of a Sure Thing Is Willie Taggart's Success at Florida State?

We’re trying something different this week. Actually, it’s something familiar. Something tried and true. For this week—and hopefully for every #DearAndy column from this point forward—we’re ditching the video answers in favor of an all-print edition. If you like or dislike it, hit me up on Twitter and let me know.

On to your questions…

From Tom: Wasn’t Willie Taggart about to get fired halfway through the 2015 season? Are we sure he’s that great?

He absolutely was about to get fired halfway through the 2015 season. But where you see that as a red flag, I see his solution to that issue as the reason he has a chance to succeed long-term at Florida State. Let’s travel back two years to a time when Justin Bieber wanted clarification regarding what precisely we meant

After taking over a moribund USF program and going 2–10 his first season and 4–8 in his second, Taggart realized he didn’t have the kind of linemen (big and athletic; basically, NFL prospects) he needed to run the West Coast offense that longtime mentor Jim Harbaugh runs. The system had worked at Western Kentucky, but the run-game-in-a-phone-booth-to-set-up-the-play-action-pass model doesn’t work when you get whipped up front. So before the 2015 season, Taggart tweaked the offense. He put his quarterback in the shotgun and moved his receivers out wider. Not wide like Ohio State—which is kind of wide—but nuclear wide, like Baylor at the time. This forced defenses to declare whether they were going to bring their safeties up in run support or leave them deep to deal with downfield shots.

The scheme had a great name (the Gulf Coast Offense), but for the first few games that year, it did not work very well. This wasn’t because it was a bad offense but because the Bulls hadn’t mastered it yet. The Bulls broke through against Syracuse in game five, averaging 7.8 yards a play in a 45–24 win. Including that game, USF won 17 of the final 21 games Taggart coached there.

This offensive shift did indeed save Taggart’s job, and it also suggests he’s the type of coach who can succeed at a premium program like Florida State. I’ve told the story before of Urban Meyer and his staff junking most of their offense and creating a rudimentary scheme their inherited players could run midway through their first season at Florida in 2005. I’ve written many times about Nick Saban’s schematic flexibility. The best coaches are the ones who can adjust when what they do either stops working or seems headed for a dip because of changes in the game. Taggart has that gene. You can criticize him all you want for the way he handled his exit from Oregon, but the change he made at USF is definitely a positive.

The question now is whether Taggart will drift back toward the more pure version of the offense he learned from the Harbaughs. He can now recruit NFL-bound offensive linemen. He’ll have the manpower to run whatever he wants. But now that he’s seen what the Gulf Coast Offense could do at USF and at Oregon, perhaps he’ll marry the best of both schemes and build around the athletes he can now recruit in Tallahassee.

From Jason: With all the coaching turnover, who in your opinion are the blue blood programs that can compete for national championships? Who can recruit at that level?

Bud Elliott at SBNation does a great job every year of determining which programs—based on their recent recruiting—actually have a chance to win the national title in a given year. Here’s the Blue Chip Ratio column he wrote before the 2017 season. As you can see, three of the four playoff teams are among the 10 he identified. If Oklahoma were to win the national title, it would mark the first time the Blue Chip Ratio has been wrong.

But the Blue Chip Ratio only measures the programs that are recruiting well enough to win the national title. It doesn’t account for the programs that should be able to recruit that well. Here’s the list of the programs that should be able to recruit the kind of talent that wins national titles. Being left off the list doesn’t mean a program can’t build up to a great team capable of winning a title every few years. Nor does being on the list guarantee any kind of titles (as you’ll see based on recent seasons). This is just a list of the programs that have the natural recruiting base and the resources to recruit effectively every year. Whether they actually do it is up to their individual coaching staffs.

ACC

Clemson
Florida State
Miami

Big Ten

Michigan
Ohio State
Penn State

Big 12

Oklahoma
Texas

Pac-12

USC

SEC

Alabama
Auburn
Georgia
LSU
Florida
Texas A&M

Independent

Notre Dame

From Will: Andy, who wins more games in the next four years: FSU or Texas A&M?

I’m assuming Nick Saban will continue to work for at least some of next four years, so that tilts the odds in favor of Taggart’s team over the team now led by former Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher. Making matters even tougher for Fisher, he has to play Clemson in each of his first two seasons. Florida State has to play the Tigers every year, of course, but the Seminoles’ game this past September against Alabama was a one-off affair. The equivalent to Texas A&M’s challenge would be Florida State having to play Alabama each of the next two years.

Plus, Auburn looks poised to stay near the top of the SEC West, and LSU could be better than the 9–3 team it was this year if it can develop a quarterback. The ACC Atlantic is about to lose Lamar Jackson at Louisville and a ton of talent from NC State’s best team in years. The thing that could hamper Taggart in this race is if Dan Mullen rebuilds Florida quickly. That could produce a blockbuster game at the end of each year that might dent Taggart’s win total.

Now, if Saban retires at any point, feel free to ask this question again.

From Cait: Andy, who lasts longer in their new job: Heupel, Mullen, or Taggart?

Josh Heupel at UCF seems most likely to have the shortest tenure, simply because of where that job sits in the hierarchy. If he does well, he’ll get snapped up by a Power 5 program. If he performs poorly, UCF would move on quickly because its recruiting base allows it to bounce back from a bad hire quickly. There is very little middle ground with that job.

As for Mullen versus Taggart, both are going to have to win a lot to stay. Florida seems to chew up its coaches faster than Florida State, but that sample might be biased by the fact that Florida State replaced an all-time great coach (Bobby Bowden) with a guy who might someday be considered an all-time great coach (Fisher). Mullen and Taggart feel pretty even here, but I’m going to lean toward Taggart because the Seminoles just seem a little better at continuity.

From @BelkBowl: Why is the Belk Bowl the best bowl? #DearAndy

Because out of all the bowl sponsors, Belk is the only one that always fills my seersucker needs. I live in an extremely hot climate and have very large thighs. This creates the occasional flammable situation, and sometimes I find myself in desperate need of more seersucker pants at a reasonable price. Belk is always there for me.

From Michael: First trip to Nashville, where do I go for hot chicken? Any other must-have foods?

Glad you asked, Michael. Here are my Hot Chicken Power Rankings. And here is my guide to eating and drinking in Nashville.

<p>The networks that own the rights to the bowl slate arrange everything so that if you wanted to, you could take in a significant chunk of all 40 games of the FBS postseason, a three-week-long binge to close out a satisfying season. But if we’re being realistic, things come up. Holiday traditions get in the way of the Holiday Bowl. The cheapest flights home happen to overlap with the first three quarters of the Boca Raton Bowl (this specific scenario hits particularly close to home). Sacrifices must be made, and accordingly, priorities must be set.</p><p>To help you make those tough choices, we’re counting down 2017’s 37 bowl games outside the College Football Playoff, from the least watchable matchups to the can’t-miss events. The criteria used to sift through the clutter, in no particular order: the potential for offensive fireworks, any intriguing contrast in schematic styles, the presence of a superstar player or future first-round draft pick, the prestige of the bowl game and/or venue itself, the TV time slot and the quality of the teams involved.</p><p>If you weren’t already planning to watch the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the national title game, these rankings aren’t for you, so for the sake of suspense at the top of the list we’ve left out the three games with national title implications. (But for the record, Georgia-Oklahoma just barely edges out Alabama-Clemson as the postseason’s most entertaining bowl due to the unique matchup and offensive contrast.)</p><h3>37. Independence Bowl: Southern Miss vs. Florida State</h3><p>After Jimbo Fisher’s messy exit, the Seminoles might be regretting the lengths they went to just to get to six wins and extend their record bowl streak to 36 years, rescheduling a game against Louisiana-Monroe that was cancelled by Hurricane Irma to avoid a 5–6 finish. Now they’ll travel to Shreveport for a matchup with a decidedly middle-tier Conference USA foe in the middle of a weekday afternoon two days after Christmas.</p><h3>36. Cure Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State</h3><p>These aren’t quite the same high-flying Hilltoppers we’ve seen in years past: Western Kentucky only topped 40 points twice all season, in part because senior quarterback Mike White was sacked a stunning 38 times. At least the Panthers will want to be in Orlando, making the program’s second bowl appearance ever.</p><h3>35. Pinstripe Bowl: Iowa vs. Boston College</h3><p>Boston College’s stretch-run offensive explosion (36 points per game in the second half of the regular season) still feels too good to be true, and a meeting with the Hawkeyes—traditionally a stylistic kindred spirit—inside a baseball stadium should remind the Eagles of the first-to-14-points thrillers from whence they came.</p><h3>34. Gasparilla Bowl: Temple vs. Florida International</h3><p>Another baseball stadium bowl venue, and this one (Tropicana Field) is barely accepted as a suitable place to play baseball. When Bad Boy Mowers famously signed on for the St. Petersburg Bowl’s flashy rebrand, it had to have been hoping for a little better luck than this. This game should at least shine some light on Butch Davis’s impressive one-year turnaround at FIU, which has been completely overshadowed by Lane Kiffin’s impressive one-year turnaround at FAU.</p><h3>33. Camellia Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. Arkansas State</h3><p>Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill bought $10,000 worth of tickets to incentivize students to make the trip to Montgomery—the Blue Raiders were sent to Hawaii and the Bahamas the last two postseasons, but their lackluster 6–6 finish kept them a little closer to home. Keep an eye on Red Wolves sack master Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, and make sure you watch the postgame press conference to see if head coach Blake Anderson sends any more digs Arkansas’s way.</p><h3>32. Frisco Bowl: Louisiana Tech vs. SMU</h3><p>This might be your last chance to see Courtland Sutton in an SMU uniform: The 6&#39;4&quot; junior receiver has the NFL’s attention after a few eye-popping campaigns within head coach Chad Morris’s breakneck-fast offense. But Morris couldn’t make it to this game before being hired by Arkansas.</p><h3>31. Arizona Bowl: New Mexico State vs. Utah State</h3><p>This year’s Just Happy to Be Here winner in a landslide is New Mexico State, which last went to a bowl in 1960. Emotions were high after the Aggies clinched their sixth win on Saturday, so expect an atypically charged atmosphere in Tucson.</p><h3>30. Sun Bowl: NC State vs. Arizona State</h3><p>The Sun Devils’ final game before the official start of <a href="https://www.si.com/college-football/2017/12/04/best-moments-herm-edwards-arizona-state-introductory-press-conference" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the Herm Edwards era" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the Herm Edwards era</a> comes against an NC State team that has beaten just three teams that finished with winning records this year. The Wolfpack faithful thought this season might end somewhere a little closer to the beach than El Paso, but they have several young receivers to be excited about. Sophomores Kelvin Harmon and Jakobi Meyers and do-everything weapon Jaylen Samuels could rip off some big plays against Arizona State’s suspect defense.</p><h3>29. Military Bowl: Virginia vs. Navy</h3><p>Given the recent heights Navy has reached, this counts as a down year, but the Midshipmen should pose an interesting challenge for the Cavaliers, whose only win in their final six games came over another triple-option team, Georgia Tech.</p><h3>28. Quick Lane Bowl: Duke vs. Northern Illinois</h3><p>Northern Illinois is 0–4 in bowl games under Rod Carey; Duke got its first postseason win in half a century two years ago at the Pinstripe Bowl. Nobody will be in their element. On a fast track at Ford Field, look out for Blue Devils leading receiver T.J. Rahming, whose one touchdown this season belies his quick-twitch athleticism.</p><h3>27. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Central Michigan v. Wyoming</h3><p>NFL draft darling Josh Allen hurt his throwing shoulder in mid-November but is expected to be good to go by the time Wyoming gets to Boise. If the Cowboys’ free-slinging quarterback can’t play, drop this matchup down 10 slots.</p><h3>26. Belk Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Texas A&#38;M</h3><p>The Aggies are playing out the string in between Kevin Sumlin and Jimbo Fisher, while Greg Dortch, the star of Wake Forest’s upstart passing attack with nine catches this year, was lost for the season with an abdominal injury. His absence won’t stop Demon Deacons QB John Wolford from chucking it around the yard in his final game, but there may not be enough on the line for this to devolve into a back-and-forth shootout.</p><h3>25. Music City Bowl: Kentucky vs. Northwestern</h3><p>One Wildcats team is a lot hotter than the other: Northwestern has won seven straight, while Kentucky has lost three of four. Both teams would prefer to do most of their work on the ground, which may limit the scoring potential but should wrap up with plenty of time for fans to switch gears before the No. 1 game on this list (stay tuned).</p><h3>24. Orange Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Miami</h3><p>It’s the Turnover Chain vs. the nation’s top defense by yards allowed per game, which could mean a long night for quarterbacks Malik Rosier and Alex Hornibrook. The losers of Saturday’s two primetime Power 5 conference championship games square off in Miami’s home stadium with considerably lower stakes than they had hoped for, taking the edge off the lowest New Year’s Six matchup on our rankings. You’ll be able to tell how much juice the Hurricanes’ breakout season has left by whether Miami fans are out-attended by the well-traveled Badger faithful.</p><h3>23. New Mexico Bowl: Marshall vs. Colorado State</h3><p>A game can only drop so far in these rankings if it features a receiver with a very real chance at going for 200-plus yards, and Colorado State senior Michael Gallup is just that kind of player—he did it twice in the regular season.</p><h3>22. Hawai’i Bowl: Fresno State vs. Houston</h3><p>Ed Oliver’s disruptive dominance in the middle of the line is the gift that keeps on giving for those who have stuck with Houston games even after Tom Herman jumped to Texas. After playing Washington and Alabama in back-to-back weeks in December, Jeff Tedford’s Fresno State team has earned itself a Christmas Eve in Hawaii.</p><h3>21. Cactus Bowl: Kansas State vs. UCLA</h3><p>This figures to be Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen’s final collegiate game before the NFL comes calling. Scouts will be watching Kansas State junior corner D.J. Reed closely, as well. There’s some sneaky shootout potential here, as the Wildcats spent half the season scoring at will and the other half searching for stability at quarterback. Will freshman Skylar Thompson’s tenure as the starter outlast Bill Snyder’s coaching career?</p><h3>20. Holiday Bowl: Washington State vs. Michigan State</h3><p>On paper, it seems like these two teams might present a refreshing contrast of styles and strengths, but Cougars QB Luke Falk was terrible in last year’s bowl game and the Spartans are unlikely to get the benefit of bad weather in San Diego, so neither team seems set up to play its best. Plus, after this matchup was announced, the Spartans and their fans promptly made it known they’d rather be in Tampa for the Outback Bowl.</p><h3>19. Bahamas Bowl: UAB vs. Ohio</h3><p>UAB deserves a trip to the Bahamas to cap its first season back after the miraculous resurrection of its football program, and although Ohio played its way out of a shot at the MAC title with a puzzling late-season loss to Akron, the Blazers get a quality opponent to measure themselves against.</p><h3>18. Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State vs. Oregon</h3><p>This was higher before Oregon head coach Willie Taggart bolted for Florida State, but it should still provide a decent glimpse at what the Ducks might look like next year with a healthy Justin Herbert at the helm of the offense. The Mountain West champs suffered two embarrassing losses to Power 5 opponents (one in triple-overtime, one by a wider margin than the Broncos had allowed at home in over a decade) and should have a little something extra to prove.</p><h3>17. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Utah vs. West Virginia</h3><p>The Utes may be 6–6, but they kept the Pac-12’s four best teams all within a possession. The Mountaineers may be 7–5, but they put a scare into almost everyone except Oklahoma. This game has the Boxing Day afternoon window all to itself, and there should be enough offensive fireworks here not to spoil it.</p><h3>16. Camping World Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Oklahoma State</h3><p>The Cowboys are one of the most fun teams in the country to watch when their offense is clicking, but that fun can burn out quickly if it becomes apparent the opponent has no chance of scoring with them. Virginia Tech’s last game was a 10–0 slog of a win over Virginia. This was a risky yet undeniably intriguing pairing.</p><h3>15. New Orleans Bowl: Troy vs. North Texas</h3><p>The first game of the FBS bowl slate pits the Sun Belt champs against the Conference USA runners-up in the Superdome. Will Troy’s Neal Brown or North Texas’s Seth Littrell get the call to coach a Power 5 program first? And will Trojans running back Jordan Chunn, who put up 190 yards on LSU’s defense, return to form once he crosses back over the Louisiana state line?</p><h3>14. Boca Raton Bowl: Akron vs. Florida Atlantic</h3><p>With a prime-time national audience to himself, Lane Kiffin is going to try to get everyone’s attention one way or another. The clearest path to that goal seems like it will be dropping 60 on the Zips, who can’t hang with FAU’s lethal offense. Owls running back Devin Singletary is 204 rushing yards away from 2,000 on the season, and Akron is 99th in the country in rushing yards allowed per game (197.2). Just keep an eye on it.</p><h3>13. Citrus Bowl: Notre Dame vs. LSU</h3><p>It’s a New Year’s Day bowl, sure, but one between two teams everybody seems to have pretty much figured out by this point. If Josh Adams and Derrius Guice don’t get going (or skip the game altogether) against two solid run defenses, this could turn into a slog.</p><h3>12. Alamo Bowl: Stanford vs. TCU</h3><p>The mysteries of bowl season: Why do the Pac-12’s two top games outside the New Year’s Six kick off at the same time (9 p.m. ET) on the same day (Dec. 28) on different channels (FS1 for the Holiday Bowl, ESPN for the Alamo)? If the conference is making you choose between two top teams, choose the Cardinal as Bryce Love tries to burn Gary Patterson’s defense.</p><h3>11. Armed Forces Bowl: San Diego State vs. Army</h3><p>With the No. 1 (Army) and No. 12 (SDSU) rushing offenses in the country on hand, this one might get wrapped up in under three hours. The stars of those ground games are both seniors trying to go out in style: Black Knights quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw (1,472 yards, 11 touchdowns) and Aztecs running back Rashaad Penny (2,027 rushing yards, 19 touchdowns) have toiled in relative obscurity for too long.</p><h3>10. Foster Farms Bowl: Arizona vs. Purdue</h3><p>Two of the season’s great underdog stories meet in Santa Clara, as electrifying quarterback Khalil Tate and Arizona take on coach Jeff Brohm’s turnaround-in-progress at Purdue. Tate is a house call waiting to happen every time he touches the ball, and the Boilermakers have no shortage of offensive tricks up their sleeve.</p><h3>9. TaxSlayer Bowl: Louisville vs. Mississippi State</h3><p>We were robbed of a dual-threat QB duel between Lamar Jackson and Nick Fitzgerald when Fitzgerald suffered a season-ending injury in the Egg Bowl, and then we were robbed of the Todd Grantham Bowl between the fiery defensive coordinator’s past and present employer when Grantham followed Dan Mullen to Florida. It’s a testament to Jackson’s entertainment value that this remains a top-10 game. Enjoy him at his peak while you still can.</p><h3>8. Fiesta Bowl: Washington vs. Penn State</h3><p>Saquon Barkley has committed to playing in this game before hopping to the draft, and NFL executives everywhere will be wincing at each hit he takes from Washington’s punishing defense. Under-the-radar matchup to watch: Penn State’s 21st-ranked punt coverage team (just 73 return yards allowed all year) against Dante Pettis, the all-time leader with nine career punt return TDs, including four this season.</p><h3>7. Birmingham Bowl: Texas Tech vs. South Florida</h3><p>Points ... points everywhere. This game might take five hours, and nobody will care. Head coaches Kliff Kingsbury and Charlie Strong are more than acquainted with each other from Strong’s time at Texas, as well.</p><h3>6. Dollar General Bowl: Appalachian State vs. Toledo</h3><p>Just as was the case in the New Orleans Bowl above, both head coaches are on the way up. Scott Satterfield ushered Appalachian State into FBS play, and Jason Candle’s Rockets just wrapped up a dominant MAC campaign. Make some time for two of the most underrated teams in the Group of Five.</p><h3>5. Texas Bowl: Texas vs. Missouri</h3><p>Missouri started out the season 1–5 and then won six straight, scoring a ton of points and unleashing the full potential of quarterback Drew Lock in the process. A handful of Texas defenders are already skipping this game to prepare for the NFL, so Longhorns QB Sam Ehlinger should be asked to cut it loose in response. The result should be consequence-free offensive football.</p><h3>4. Outback Bowl: Michigan vs. South Carolina</h3><p>It’s been five long years since The Hit. The game itself is worth watching to see whether Gamecocks QB Jake Bentley can find a way through the Wolverines’ stout defense after South Carolina fired offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, but we’re all just looking for excuses to watch The Hit again, and the telecast is sure to oblige.</p><h3>3. Peach Bowl: UCF vs. Auburn</h3><p>UCF coach Scott Frost’s decision to come back from his new job at Nebraska to coach the bowl game has raised the intrigue of this one considerably. As the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six rep, the Knights were destined to draw a top-10 team in a no-win situation, and that certainly applies to Auburn, which may still be emotionally deflated (if not still physically depleted) from its SEC title game loss. A win here would put UCF’s perfect season near the very top of college football’s pact two decades of underdog stories.</p><h3>2. Liberty Bowl: Iowa State vs. Memphis</h3><p>It seems like these teams were involved in a disproportionate number of the season’s most exciting games: Iowa State with its upset of Oklahoma and last-second losses to Oklahoma State and Iowa, Memphis with its shootout win over UCLA and double-overtime loss to UCF. Both programs also recently locked in their rising coaches with new deals, meaning no one will be caught looking towards 2018. And Iowa State’s Allen Lazard and Memphis’s Anthony Miller are two of the best receivers in the country, full stop.</p><h3>1. Cotton Bowl: USC vs. Ohio State</h3><p>Who will respond better to the committee’s controversial playoff snub? The Buckeyes would like nothing more than to finish ahead of Alabama in the final rankings, while USC just wrapped a whisper-quiet 11-win season without hardly any of the fanfare that normally hijacks Trojans runs. Sam Darnold and J.T. Barrett are set up to wage an imperfect yet enthralling quarterback duel, and both teams are loaded at the skill positions. Clear your Friday night now for Dec. 29—given the deep lineup over the next three weeks, rescheduling any plans last-minute won’t be easy.</p>
Bowl Entertainment Rankings: From Can't-Miss Matchups to Uninspiring Undercards

The networks that own the rights to the bowl slate arrange everything so that if you wanted to, you could take in a significant chunk of all 40 games of the FBS postseason, a three-week-long binge to close out a satisfying season. But if we’re being realistic, things come up. Holiday traditions get in the way of the Holiday Bowl. The cheapest flights home happen to overlap with the first three quarters of the Boca Raton Bowl (this specific scenario hits particularly close to home). Sacrifices must be made, and accordingly, priorities must be set.

To help you make those tough choices, we’re counting down 2017’s 37 bowl games outside the College Football Playoff, from the least watchable matchups to the can’t-miss events. The criteria used to sift through the clutter, in no particular order: the potential for offensive fireworks, any intriguing contrast in schematic styles, the presence of a superstar player or future first-round draft pick, the prestige of the bowl game and/or venue itself, the TV time slot and the quality of the teams involved.

If you weren’t already planning to watch the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the national title game, these rankings aren’t for you, so for the sake of suspense at the top of the list we’ve left out the three games with national title implications. (But for the record, Georgia-Oklahoma just barely edges out Alabama-Clemson as the postseason’s most entertaining bowl due to the unique matchup and offensive contrast.)

37. Independence Bowl: Southern Miss vs. Florida State

After Jimbo Fisher’s messy exit, the Seminoles might be regretting the lengths they went to just to get to six wins and extend their record bowl streak to 36 years, rescheduling a game against Louisiana-Monroe that was cancelled by Hurricane Irma to avoid a 5–6 finish. Now they’ll travel to Shreveport for a matchup with a decidedly middle-tier Conference USA foe in the middle of a weekday afternoon two days after Christmas.

36. Cure Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State

These aren’t quite the same high-flying Hilltoppers we’ve seen in years past: Western Kentucky only topped 40 points twice all season, in part because senior quarterback Mike White was sacked a stunning 38 times. At least the Panthers will want to be in Orlando, making the program’s second bowl appearance ever.

35. Pinstripe Bowl: Iowa vs. Boston College

Boston College’s stretch-run offensive explosion (36 points per game in the second half of the regular season) still feels too good to be true, and a meeting with the Hawkeyes—traditionally a stylistic kindred spirit—inside a baseball stadium should remind the Eagles of the first-to-14-points thrillers from whence they came.

34. Gasparilla Bowl: Temple vs. Florida International

Another baseball stadium bowl venue, and this one (Tropicana Field) is barely accepted as a suitable place to play baseball. When Bad Boy Mowers famously signed on for the St. Petersburg Bowl’s flashy rebrand, it had to have been hoping for a little better luck than this. This game should at least shine some light on Butch Davis’s impressive one-year turnaround at FIU, which has been completely overshadowed by Lane Kiffin’s impressive one-year turnaround at FAU.

33. Camellia Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. Arkansas State

Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill bought $10,000 worth of tickets to incentivize students to make the trip to Montgomery—the Blue Raiders were sent to Hawaii and the Bahamas the last two postseasons, but their lackluster 6–6 finish kept them a little closer to home. Keep an eye on Red Wolves sack master Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, and make sure you watch the postgame press conference to see if head coach Blake Anderson sends any more digs Arkansas’s way.

32. Frisco Bowl: Louisiana Tech vs. SMU

This might be your last chance to see Courtland Sutton in an SMU uniform: The 6'4" junior receiver has the NFL’s attention after a few eye-popping campaigns within head coach Chad Morris’s breakneck-fast offense. But Morris couldn’t make it to this game before being hired by Arkansas.

31. Arizona Bowl: New Mexico State vs. Utah State

This year’s Just Happy to Be Here winner in a landslide is New Mexico State, which last went to a bowl in 1960. Emotions were high after the Aggies clinched their sixth win on Saturday, so expect an atypically charged atmosphere in Tucson.

30. Sun Bowl: NC State vs. Arizona State

The Sun Devils’ final game before the official start of the Herm Edwards era comes against an NC State team that has beaten just three teams that finished with winning records this year. The Wolfpack faithful thought this season might end somewhere a little closer to the beach than El Paso, but they have several young receivers to be excited about. Sophomores Kelvin Harmon and Jakobi Meyers and do-everything weapon Jaylen Samuels could rip off some big plays against Arizona State’s suspect defense.

29. Military Bowl: Virginia vs. Navy

Given the recent heights Navy has reached, this counts as a down year, but the Midshipmen should pose an interesting challenge for the Cavaliers, whose only win in their final six games came over another triple-option team, Georgia Tech.

28. Quick Lane Bowl: Duke vs. Northern Illinois

Northern Illinois is 0–4 in bowl games under Rod Carey; Duke got its first postseason win in half a century two years ago at the Pinstripe Bowl. Nobody will be in their element. On a fast track at Ford Field, look out for Blue Devils leading receiver T.J. Rahming, whose one touchdown this season belies his quick-twitch athleticism.

27. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Central Michigan v. Wyoming

NFL draft darling Josh Allen hurt his throwing shoulder in mid-November but is expected to be good to go by the time Wyoming gets to Boise. If the Cowboys’ free-slinging quarterback can’t play, drop this matchup down 10 slots.

26. Belk Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M

The Aggies are playing out the string in between Kevin Sumlin and Jimbo Fisher, while Greg Dortch, the star of Wake Forest’s upstart passing attack with nine catches this year, was lost for the season with an abdominal injury. His absence won’t stop Demon Deacons QB John Wolford from chucking it around the yard in his final game, but there may not be enough on the line for this to devolve into a back-and-forth shootout.

25. Music City Bowl: Kentucky vs. Northwestern

One Wildcats team is a lot hotter than the other: Northwestern has won seven straight, while Kentucky has lost three of four. Both teams would prefer to do most of their work on the ground, which may limit the scoring potential but should wrap up with plenty of time for fans to switch gears before the No. 1 game on this list (stay tuned).

24. Orange Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Miami

It’s the Turnover Chain vs. the nation’s top defense by yards allowed per game, which could mean a long night for quarterbacks Malik Rosier and Alex Hornibrook. The losers of Saturday’s two primetime Power 5 conference championship games square off in Miami’s home stadium with considerably lower stakes than they had hoped for, taking the edge off the lowest New Year’s Six matchup on our rankings. You’ll be able to tell how much juice the Hurricanes’ breakout season has left by whether Miami fans are out-attended by the well-traveled Badger faithful.

23. New Mexico Bowl: Marshall vs. Colorado State

A game can only drop so far in these rankings if it features a receiver with a very real chance at going for 200-plus yards, and Colorado State senior Michael Gallup is just that kind of player—he did it twice in the regular season.

22. Hawai’i Bowl: Fresno State vs. Houston

Ed Oliver’s disruptive dominance in the middle of the line is the gift that keeps on giving for those who have stuck with Houston games even after Tom Herman jumped to Texas. After playing Washington and Alabama in back-to-back weeks in December, Jeff Tedford’s Fresno State team has earned itself a Christmas Eve in Hawaii.

21. Cactus Bowl: Kansas State vs. UCLA

This figures to be Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen’s final collegiate game before the NFL comes calling. Scouts will be watching Kansas State junior corner D.J. Reed closely, as well. There’s some sneaky shootout potential here, as the Wildcats spent half the season scoring at will and the other half searching for stability at quarterback. Will freshman Skylar Thompson’s tenure as the starter outlast Bill Snyder’s coaching career?

20. Holiday Bowl: Washington State vs. Michigan State

On paper, it seems like these two teams might present a refreshing contrast of styles and strengths, but Cougars QB Luke Falk was terrible in last year’s bowl game and the Spartans are unlikely to get the benefit of bad weather in San Diego, so neither team seems set up to play its best. Plus, after this matchup was announced, the Spartans and their fans promptly made it known they’d rather be in Tampa for the Outback Bowl.

19. Bahamas Bowl: UAB vs. Ohio

UAB deserves a trip to the Bahamas to cap its first season back after the miraculous resurrection of its football program, and although Ohio played its way out of a shot at the MAC title with a puzzling late-season loss to Akron, the Blazers get a quality opponent to measure themselves against.

18. Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State vs. Oregon

This was higher before Oregon head coach Willie Taggart bolted for Florida State, but it should still provide a decent glimpse at what the Ducks might look like next year with a healthy Justin Herbert at the helm of the offense. The Mountain West champs suffered two embarrassing losses to Power 5 opponents (one in triple-overtime, one by a wider margin than the Broncos had allowed at home in over a decade) and should have a little something extra to prove.

17. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Utah vs. West Virginia

The Utes may be 6–6, but they kept the Pac-12’s four best teams all within a possession. The Mountaineers may be 7–5, but they put a scare into almost everyone except Oklahoma. This game has the Boxing Day afternoon window all to itself, and there should be enough offensive fireworks here not to spoil it.

16. Camping World Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Oklahoma State

The Cowboys are one of the most fun teams in the country to watch when their offense is clicking, but that fun can burn out quickly if it becomes apparent the opponent has no chance of scoring with them. Virginia Tech’s last game was a 10–0 slog of a win over Virginia. This was a risky yet undeniably intriguing pairing.

15. New Orleans Bowl: Troy vs. North Texas

The first game of the FBS bowl slate pits the Sun Belt champs against the Conference USA runners-up in the Superdome. Will Troy’s Neal Brown or North Texas’s Seth Littrell get the call to coach a Power 5 program first? And will Trojans running back Jordan Chunn, who put up 190 yards on LSU’s defense, return to form once he crosses back over the Louisiana state line?

14. Boca Raton Bowl: Akron vs. Florida Atlantic

With a prime-time national audience to himself, Lane Kiffin is going to try to get everyone’s attention one way or another. The clearest path to that goal seems like it will be dropping 60 on the Zips, who can’t hang with FAU’s lethal offense. Owls running back Devin Singletary is 204 rushing yards away from 2,000 on the season, and Akron is 99th in the country in rushing yards allowed per game (197.2). Just keep an eye on it.

13. Citrus Bowl: Notre Dame vs. LSU

It’s a New Year’s Day bowl, sure, but one between two teams everybody seems to have pretty much figured out by this point. If Josh Adams and Derrius Guice don’t get going (or skip the game altogether) against two solid run defenses, this could turn into a slog.

12. Alamo Bowl: Stanford vs. TCU

The mysteries of bowl season: Why do the Pac-12’s two top games outside the New Year’s Six kick off at the same time (9 p.m. ET) on the same day (Dec. 28) on different channels (FS1 for the Holiday Bowl, ESPN for the Alamo)? If the conference is making you choose between two top teams, choose the Cardinal as Bryce Love tries to burn Gary Patterson’s defense.

11. Armed Forces Bowl: San Diego State vs. Army

With the No. 1 (Army) and No. 12 (SDSU) rushing offenses in the country on hand, this one might get wrapped up in under three hours. The stars of those ground games are both seniors trying to go out in style: Black Knights quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw (1,472 yards, 11 touchdowns) and Aztecs running back Rashaad Penny (2,027 rushing yards, 19 touchdowns) have toiled in relative obscurity for too long.

10. Foster Farms Bowl: Arizona vs. Purdue

Two of the season’s great underdog stories meet in Santa Clara, as electrifying quarterback Khalil Tate and Arizona take on coach Jeff Brohm’s turnaround-in-progress at Purdue. Tate is a house call waiting to happen every time he touches the ball, and the Boilermakers have no shortage of offensive tricks up their sleeve.

9. TaxSlayer Bowl: Louisville vs. Mississippi State

We were robbed of a dual-threat QB duel between Lamar Jackson and Nick Fitzgerald when Fitzgerald suffered a season-ending injury in the Egg Bowl, and then we were robbed of the Todd Grantham Bowl between the fiery defensive coordinator’s past and present employer when Grantham followed Dan Mullen to Florida. It’s a testament to Jackson’s entertainment value that this remains a top-10 game. Enjoy him at his peak while you still can.

8. Fiesta Bowl: Washington vs. Penn State

Saquon Barkley has committed to playing in this game before hopping to the draft, and NFL executives everywhere will be wincing at each hit he takes from Washington’s punishing defense. Under-the-radar matchup to watch: Penn State’s 21st-ranked punt coverage team (just 73 return yards allowed all year) against Dante Pettis, the all-time leader with nine career punt return TDs, including four this season.

7. Birmingham Bowl: Texas Tech vs. South Florida

Points ... points everywhere. This game might take five hours, and nobody will care. Head coaches Kliff Kingsbury and Charlie Strong are more than acquainted with each other from Strong’s time at Texas, as well.

6. Dollar General Bowl: Appalachian State vs. Toledo

Just as was the case in the New Orleans Bowl above, both head coaches are on the way up. Scott Satterfield ushered Appalachian State into FBS play, and Jason Candle’s Rockets just wrapped up a dominant MAC campaign. Make some time for two of the most underrated teams in the Group of Five.

5. Texas Bowl: Texas vs. Missouri

Missouri started out the season 1–5 and then won six straight, scoring a ton of points and unleashing the full potential of quarterback Drew Lock in the process. A handful of Texas defenders are already skipping this game to prepare for the NFL, so Longhorns QB Sam Ehlinger should be asked to cut it loose in response. The result should be consequence-free offensive football.

4. Outback Bowl: Michigan vs. South Carolina

It’s been five long years since The Hit. The game itself is worth watching to see whether Gamecocks QB Jake Bentley can find a way through the Wolverines’ stout defense after South Carolina fired offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, but we’re all just looking for excuses to watch The Hit again, and the telecast is sure to oblige.

3. Peach Bowl: UCF vs. Auburn

UCF coach Scott Frost’s decision to come back from his new job at Nebraska to coach the bowl game has raised the intrigue of this one considerably. As the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six rep, the Knights were destined to draw a top-10 team in a no-win situation, and that certainly applies to Auburn, which may still be emotionally deflated (if not still physically depleted) from its SEC title game loss. A win here would put UCF’s perfect season near the very top of college football’s pact two decades of underdog stories.

2. Liberty Bowl: Iowa State vs. Memphis

It seems like these teams were involved in a disproportionate number of the season’s most exciting games: Iowa State with its upset of Oklahoma and last-second losses to Oklahoma State and Iowa, Memphis with its shootout win over UCLA and double-overtime loss to UCF. Both programs also recently locked in their rising coaches with new deals, meaning no one will be caught looking towards 2018. And Iowa State’s Allen Lazard and Memphis’s Anthony Miller are two of the best receivers in the country, full stop.

1. Cotton Bowl: USC vs. Ohio State

Who will respond better to the committee’s controversial playoff snub? The Buckeyes would like nothing more than to finish ahead of Alabama in the final rankings, while USC just wrapped a whisper-quiet 11-win season without hardly any of the fanfare that normally hijacks Trojans runs. Sam Darnold and J.T. Barrett are set up to wage an imperfect yet enthralling quarterback duel, and both teams are loaded at the skill positions. Clear your Friday night now for Dec. 29—given the deep lineup over the next three weeks, rescheduling any plans last-minute won’t be easy.

Many people, when struggling to hear, will naturally cock their head to the right hand side, in a bid to improve the sound. But a new study has shown that the instinctual movement has a scientific basis. The right ear is indeed better equipped for not only listening but also making sense of noise. And it is to do with how the brain interprets sound. Listening is a complex task which requires not only sensitive hearing, but also the ability to turn the information into meaning. Once you add the distraction of background noise and the constant interruptions of modern life, that ability to comprehend becomes far more tricky. However sound entering the right ear is processed by the left side of the brain, which controls speech, language development, and portions of memory. So turning the right ear towards the speaker, or noise source, will allow more information to travel to the side of the brain where it can be more easily interpreted, according to audiology researchers at Auburn University in Alabama, US. Listening with the right ear stimulates the left side of the brain which processes language It is the first time the effect has been found to work in adults. &quot;Conventional research shows that right-ear advantage diminishes around age 13, but our results indicate this is related to the demand of the task,” said Dr Aurora Weaver, assistant professor at Auburn and member of the research team. For the new experiment, 41 participants aged between 19 and 28 were asked to wear a headset and recall a list of numbers played into either their right, or left ear piece. The researchers found that when the list of numbers was small - fewer than six digits - there was no difference in ear performance. However as the list grew, results were an average of eight per cent better when the numbers were played into to the right hand ear. The performance of some individuals improved as much as 41 per cent for the right ear. Scientists knew that children hear more easily through the right ear but it was thought that by adulthood, both ears had taken on equal load. The team are hoping the research will help improve hearing aids and deafness testing. The research could help scientists improve hearing aids Credit: Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo Researcher Danielle Sacchinelli added: “The more we know about listening in demanding environments, and listening effort in general, the better diagnostic tools, auditory management, including hearing aids, and auditory training will become.” Recent research also suggested that loss of hearing is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, because it puts a greater strain on the brain when interpreting sound. So the new study could also help scientists understand how deafness impacts neurodegenerative diseases. &quot;Cognitive skills, of course, are subject to decline with advanced aging, disease, or trauma,” added Dr Weaver. &quot;Therefore, we need to better understand the impact of cognitive demands on listening.&quot; The research was presented at the annual Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, which will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Say what? Turning right ear to sound helps you hear better, scientists find
Many people, when struggling to hear, will naturally cock their head to the right hand side, in a bid to improve the sound. But a new study has shown that the instinctual movement has a scientific basis. The right ear is indeed better equipped for not only listening but also making sense of noise. And it is to do with how the brain interprets sound. Listening is a complex task which requires not only sensitive hearing, but also the ability to turn the information into meaning. Once you add the distraction of background noise and the constant interruptions of modern life, that ability to comprehend becomes far more tricky. However sound entering the right ear is processed by the left side of the brain, which controls speech, language development, and portions of memory. So turning the right ear towards the speaker, or noise source, will allow more information to travel to the side of the brain where it can be more easily interpreted, according to audiology researchers at Auburn University in Alabama, US. Listening with the right ear stimulates the left side of the brain which processes language It is the first time the effect has been found to work in adults. "Conventional research shows that right-ear advantage diminishes around age 13, but our results indicate this is related to the demand of the task,” said Dr Aurora Weaver, assistant professor at Auburn and member of the research team. For the new experiment, 41 participants aged between 19 and 28 were asked to wear a headset and recall a list of numbers played into either their right, or left ear piece. The researchers found that when the list of numbers was small - fewer than six digits - there was no difference in ear performance. However as the list grew, results were an average of eight per cent better when the numbers were played into to the right hand ear. The performance of some individuals improved as much as 41 per cent for the right ear. Scientists knew that children hear more easily through the right ear but it was thought that by adulthood, both ears had taken on equal load. The team are hoping the research will help improve hearing aids and deafness testing. The research could help scientists improve hearing aids Credit: Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo Researcher Danielle Sacchinelli added: “The more we know about listening in demanding environments, and listening effort in general, the better diagnostic tools, auditory management, including hearing aids, and auditory training will become.” Recent research also suggested that loss of hearing is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, because it puts a greater strain on the brain when interpreting sound. So the new study could also help scientists understand how deafness impacts neurodegenerative diseases. "Cognitive skills, of course, are subject to decline with advanced aging, disease, or trauma,” added Dr Weaver. "Therefore, we need to better understand the impact of cognitive demands on listening." The research was presented at the annual Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, which will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Many people, when struggling to hear, will naturally cock their head to the right hand side, in a bid to improve the sound. But a new study has shown that the instinctual movement has a scientific basis. The right ear is indeed better equipped for not only listening but also making sense of noise. And it is to do with how the brain interprets sound. Listening is a complex task which requires not only sensitive hearing, but also the ability to turn the information into meaning. Once you add the distraction of background noise and the constant interruptions of modern life, that ability to comprehend becomes far more tricky. However sound entering the right ear is processed by the left side of the brain, which controls speech, language development, and portions of memory. So turning the right ear towards the speaker, or noise source, will allow more information to travel to the side of the brain where it can be more easily interpreted, according to audiology researchers at Auburn University in Alabama, US. Listening with the right ear stimulates the left side of the brain which processes language It is the first time the effect has been found to work in adults. &quot;Conventional research shows that right-ear advantage diminishes around age 13, but our results indicate this is related to the demand of the task,” said Dr Aurora Weaver, assistant professor at Auburn and member of the research team. For the new experiment, 41 participants aged between 19 and 28 were asked to wear a headset and recall a list of numbers played into either their right, or left ear piece. The researchers found that when the list of numbers was small - fewer than six digits - there was no difference in ear performance. However as the list grew, results were an average of eight per cent better when the numbers were played into to the right hand ear. The performance of some individuals improved as much as 41 per cent for the right ear. Scientists knew that children hear more easily through the right ear but it was thought that by adulthood, both ears had taken on equal load. The team are hoping the research will help improve hearing aids and deafness testing. The research could help scientists improve hearing aids Credit: Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo Researcher Danielle Sacchinelli added: “The more we know about listening in demanding environments, and listening effort in general, the better diagnostic tools, auditory management, including hearing aids, and auditory training will become.” Recent research also suggested that loss of hearing is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, because it puts a greater strain on the brain when interpreting sound. So the new study could also help scientists understand how deafness impacts neurodegenerative diseases. &quot;Cognitive skills, of course, are subject to decline with advanced aging, disease, or trauma,” added Dr Weaver. &quot;Therefore, we need to better understand the impact of cognitive demands on listening.&quot; The research was presented at the annual Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, which will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Say what? Turning right ear to sound helps you hear better, scientists find
Many people, when struggling to hear, will naturally cock their head to the right hand side, in a bid to improve the sound. But a new study has shown that the instinctual movement has a scientific basis. The right ear is indeed better equipped for not only listening but also making sense of noise. And it is to do with how the brain interprets sound. Listening is a complex task which requires not only sensitive hearing, but also the ability to turn the information into meaning. Once you add the distraction of background noise and the constant interruptions of modern life, that ability to comprehend becomes far more tricky. However sound entering the right ear is processed by the left side of the brain, which controls speech, language development, and portions of memory. So turning the right ear towards the speaker, or noise source, will allow more information to travel to the side of the brain where it can be more easily interpreted, according to audiology researchers at Auburn University in Alabama, US. Listening with the right ear stimulates the left side of the brain which processes language It is the first time the effect has been found to work in adults. "Conventional research shows that right-ear advantage diminishes around age 13, but our results indicate this is related to the demand of the task,” said Dr Aurora Weaver, assistant professor at Auburn and member of the research team. For the new experiment, 41 participants aged between 19 and 28 were asked to wear a headset and recall a list of numbers played into either their right, or left ear piece. The researchers found that when the list of numbers was small - fewer than six digits - there was no difference in ear performance. However as the list grew, results were an average of eight per cent better when the numbers were played into to the right hand ear. The performance of some individuals improved as much as 41 per cent for the right ear. Scientists knew that children hear more easily through the right ear but it was thought that by adulthood, both ears had taken on equal load. The team are hoping the research will help improve hearing aids and deafness testing. The research could help scientists improve hearing aids Credit: Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo Researcher Danielle Sacchinelli added: “The more we know about listening in demanding environments, and listening effort in general, the better diagnostic tools, auditory management, including hearing aids, and auditory training will become.” Recent research also suggested that loss of hearing is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, because it puts a greater strain on the brain when interpreting sound. So the new study could also help scientists understand how deafness impacts neurodegenerative diseases. "Cognitive skills, of course, are subject to decline with advanced aging, disease, or trauma,” added Dr Weaver. "Therefore, we need to better understand the impact of cognitive demands on listening." The research was presented at the annual Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, which will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Oklahoma has defeated Alabama, Tennessee and Auburn in last 5 seasons
Oklahoma looks for 5th straight win vs. SEC as it faces Georgia in Rose Bowl
Oklahoma has defeated Alabama, Tennessee and Auburn in last 5 seasons
Oklahoma has defeated Alabama, Tennessee and Auburn in last 5 seasons
Oklahoma looks for 5th straight win vs. SEC as it faces Georgia in Rose Bowl
Oklahoma has defeated Alabama, Tennessee and Auburn in last 5 seasons
Oklahoma has defeated Alabama, Tennessee and Auburn in last 5 seasons
Oklahoma looks for 5th straight win vs. SEC as it faces Georgia in Rose Bowl
Oklahoma has defeated Alabama, Tennessee and Auburn in last 5 seasons
Oklahoma has defeated Alabama, Tennessee and Auburn in last 5 seasons
Oklahoma looks for 5th straight win vs. SEC as it faces Georgia in Rose Bowl
Oklahoma has defeated Alabama, Tennessee and Auburn in last 5 seasons

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