Last year, the NCAA basketball season was going exceptionally well. It was a competitive and exciting year, and the tournament was looking as if it would be a great one. Then, the unexpected happened. On March 12th, the NCAA basketball season was canceled, including the tournament known as “March Madness,” leaving the country in shock. There was disappointment countrywide as fans could not watch the best tournament in sports and the electric stars that participate. This was due to the global pandemic, COVID-19. This year, the season was planned to start and finish with covid19 rules being applied. The season began to be highly anticipated, and so far, it has not disappointed. As we are just about a month in, the season has already been memorable and eventful due to some of college basketball’s best stars. Let’s take a look at the top 5 players so far.
Illinois has been off to a great start in the 2020 NCAAB season. Sitting at 6-3, they have already beaten some top teams, including a 15 point victory over #10 ranked Duke, a win over rival Penn State, and despite losing, a very close 3 point game against #2 ranked Baylor. Well, this is all partially because of the talent and leadership from Ayo Dosunmu.
Ayo is currently a junior and plays guard for Illinois. He is no question one of the country’s best guards, and anyone watching him would spot the talent right away. Ayo is having arguably the best season of his collegiate career. He is currently averaging 23 ppg, 7.8 rebounds per game, and 5 assists per game. Ayo has many significant parts to his game. He is excellent defensively and is a great passer and finisher. One of Ayo’s best parts of his game is his ability to take over a game singlehandedly. Throughout his career, Ayo would have the opportunity to lead a team to a victory and take control of the game. This occurred last night against Penn State. Tied at 43 at the half, Ayo completely took over in the second half. He exploded for 21 points and finished with 30 in the game. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Ayo is a top 5 player in the country this season.
As a senior in high school, Jalen Suggs was a star athlete. He was one of the best and most popular two-sport athletes in the country as he played basketball and football. Suggs received d-1 offers from top schools in both sports and had to pick a sport to continue his athletic career. After a lengthy decision-making process, Suggs chose to go with basketball. Well, this seems as it has been the better decision. Suggs is now a freshman at Gonzaga and is having an elite season.
Averaging 16 ppg, it’s surprising to see how much of a leader a freshman can be. Suggs is currently leading #1 ranked Gonzaga win to win and never showing quit in a game. Suggs most impressive game this year was against Iowa. Being when Iowa was ranked #3, Gonzaga and Iowa were set to meet a highly anticipated game. Iowa seemed to be no match for Suggs and the Zags. Gonzaga defeated Iowa 99-88 behind a star performance from Suggs. Suggs dropped 27 on the night and showed his ability to perform on the big stage. Suggs campaign for Freshman of the year has been on full display this year, and it will only get better.
Before the 2019 NCAAB season was canceled, Baylor showed many reasons why they may have had a chance to win the tournament. They were ranked top 5 almost the entire year due to some of their top players like Jared Butler. After the disappointment that the season would not finish, Butler decided to return to Baylor and compete for a National Championship once again. This decision has proved to be a wise one. Baylor is currently one of the country’s best teams, being ranked at #2 overall and is led by Butler.
Butler has been a competitor all season. He is averaging about 15 ppg, 3 rebounds per game, and 6 assists per game. While Butler’s stats may not prove amazing, he can score in every way. He can take it to the rim, shoot 3’s, or create space for a jumper with his elite ball-handling skills. Butler is also great on the defensive side of the ball. He is quick against the movement and is very strong against the drive. If Baylor keeps their strong season going, they may make it deep in the tournament, following behind Butler.
Last year, one of the most exciting high school players was ready to commit. With offers all around the table from different schools, Cade Cunningham chose Oklahoma State University. This decision would make Cade the best player on the team and the main guy for the Cowboys. Cade has been electric this season. Currently averaging 19 points per game, Cade has proved to be extremely dominant on the court.
Standing at a whopping 6’8, Cade plays guard and can play any position. Cade is the most versatile player on the court every game, no matter who he is playing. He makes unbelievable plays on both sides of the ball, making an elite block, a dagger 3, or a posterizing dunk. Any play you need, Cade can do it. He can take over a game with ease and is the wow factor every NBA scout looks for. Every year in “March Madness”, there are teams with one fantastic player who leads them deep into the tournament. This year, look for Cade and the Cowboys to make a run if they can get into the tournament.
Finally, the #1 player in the country, Luka Garza. Luka Garza is a senior at the University of Iowa. He stands at 6’11 and plays center. Luka is by far the most dominant player in the country, and it shows. He is currently averaging over 28 ppg and 9 rebounds per game. That’s right—28 points per game. Luka has had an incredible career with Iowa, seeming to only get better year after year.
Luka is utterly dominant on both sides of the ball. On the defensive side, it is not easy to score over someone who stands at 6’11 and weighs 265 pounds. He stands tall in front of the rim and defends his hoop. Even though he is an incredible piece on defense, it doesn’t compare to his offensive ability. Luka will box any defender out, posterize anyone, and post up on anyone who looks laughable. To go along with his big man skills, Luka’s field goal percentage is 67%. There is no stopping the 6’11 center from Iowa, and he is no question the best player in the country.