NCAA Warm-Up: Top Senior Bigs

The group is for all true inside players and combo big men.  This list varies greatly from the rim run finishers to the stretch ‘Draymond’ style inside-outside players.  It’s a diversely talented group and of course, is by far the most International players of the three groups of positions.  Colleges are hungry for big men and recruit them harder than any position globally.

This is also the group of players that usually has the latest in the season changes because once you get a chance to see them in a workout, at PIT or NBA Draft Combine or in Summer League, outside of their sometimes restrictive college system, the bigs can look very different.  But for now, this is the list of bigs to start paying attention to.

Once the seasons really gets going we will do a Top 25 ranking for all Seniors.  This is an exercise to get the pool of candidates out there. There are also short statistical notes for players.

Other NCAA Links
Top Senior Guards
Top Senior Wings
2018 NCAA Index

Bonzie Colson | 4.5 | Notre Dame

There are few players like Bonzie.  He’s under 6’5″ in shoes but he has a 7′ wingspan.  Bonzie is just simply an amazing college player.  There’s not much he can’t do offensively.  He’s an adept post player, he’s fantastic at cutting and putting up floaters and touch finishes, and he moves great in and out of PnR and PnP situations.  He’s a terrific rebounder, plays with great physicality, and is just a worker.  If the spot-up 3 is more prolific he has a chance to make the NBA.  And while he has Draymond like qualities offensively, it’s a bigger question of who does Bonzie defend as he can’t come close to matching Draymond there.  But Colson is also active on defender and creates turnovers.  He’s just a super mismatch and probably the most unique Senior.

Measured just 194cm but has an elite 1.09 wingspan to height ratio (212cm wingspan).

Had a historical season, statistically. One of just three players in high major D1 basketball since 2002 to average better than 17 points, 10 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal and 0.5 three pointers per game (the others were Michael Beasley and Kevin Durant, both as freshmen).

High volume/high efficiency season. 1.1 PPP. Nr.13 amongst players with more than 15 possessions per game.

Causes havoc with his ball screen versatility. Can roll or pop. Had 1.5 roll PPG & 1.2 pop PPG. One of just 16 NCAA D1 players with more than 1 roll possession and more than 0.5 pop possessions per game. 1.14 PPP in ball screen situations combined. Popped on 50% of his ball screen possessions.

30% of his half court FGA were jumpshots (3.6FGA/G, 40.3FG%, 49.6eFG%). Went 52 for 129 on jumpshots for the season. 29.5% of his jump shots were pull-up jumpers. Shot a very good 1.03 PPP on pull up jumpers. Went 26 for 60 (43.3%) for the season from three point range. Made 78.6% of his free throws.

They used him frequently in the post. 4.6 post possessions per game. Very efficient scoring numbers in the post. Nr.24 in PPP (1.02) of 210 players in NCAA D1 with 3 or more post finishes.

Productive on the offensive glass. Gets putbacks. Nr.70 in D1 in DRB/30 minutes (6.7). Nr.96 in Total REB/30 minutes (9.4).

John Egbunu | 5.0 | Florida

Egbunu is a wait and see player because he tore his ACL in his left knee in mid February and likely won’t be back in action till the Conference season starts.  Egbunu is physically intimidating.  He’s close to 7 feet, has a sculpted frame, and is an explosive athlete.  He’s a post and spin-dunk finisher.  He rebounds, runs the floor, and blocks shots.  Has the look of a modern rim running big man.  But his burst was a huge part of his game and we need to see how he recovers from the ACL tear.  But the potential is there and the NBA usually gives bodies like his a chance.

Played 22.3 minutes per game.

Rim protector. Averaged 2 blocks per 30 minutes.

They used him frequently in the post. 4.5 post possessions per game. Not efficient at all in the post as a scorer. Just 0.76 PPP on post finishes. Pure roll man on ball screens. Rolled on 100% of his ball screen possessions.

Went 3 for 5 on jumpshots for the season. Not a good foul shooter. Made just 56.7% of his free throws. 5.8 FTA/30 minutes.

Joseph Acuil | 5.0 | Baylor

Acuil is a super rim protector.  He’s long (7′ with 7’3″ wingspan) and athletic.  He’s explosive and quick.  Averaged 3.8 blocks per 40 minutes.  He’s still a bit skinny and really needs to add weight if he wants to be able to bang in the post and prevent other bigs from hammering him for good post position.  Offensively he’s mainly a rim roll finisher.  Simple scoring.  FT shooting needs to improve.  He did go 8/34 from 3 last season.  JUCO transfer, it was his first season at Baylor.  He’ll be 24 by the end of the season and needs to put up production now.

Rim protector. 12th best shot blocking season in the Big 12 since 2002. Averaged 2.5 blocks per game.

Not a shot creator. Just 1.8 individual post finishes per game; finished poorly in those (0.7 PPP).

Had 1.3 jumpshots per game, made 0.4 (29.8%) in average. Not a dependable shooter.

Angel Delgado | 5.0 | Seton Hall

A rebounding machine (led NCAA last season), Delgado is in great shape and uses his strong but fairly agile frame to hunt down rebounds. That’s what he does. Offensively he doesn’t have a go to scoring move besides just tipping the ball off the backboard until it goes in. Not really a stretch or post threat. He does his work thru power moves. Surprisingly good vision, can make cross-court kickout passes from the post. In college he can just muscle through opponents, in the pros he will need to read the game more and have more touch as a finisher.

Has relatively short arms. 210cm wingspan on 206cm height. 1.02 wingspan to height ratio.

Played extended minutes. Averaged 33 MPG. Unusual for a big man.

Monster on the glass. Nr.1 in D1 in putback PPG. Nr.14 in D1 in ORB/30 minutes (4.6). Nr.26 in D1 in DRB/30 minutes (7.3). Nr.7 in Total REB/30 minutes (11.9).

Not a rim protector. Blocked just 0.3 shots per 30 minutes.

They used him frequently in the post. 9.1 post possessions per game. Post passer. 32.6% pass rate out of the post. 14th highest turnover rate in D1 on post ups. Middling 0.83 PPP on post finishes.

Popped on 61.6% of his ball screen possessions. Went 21 for 50 on jumpshots for the season. Didn’t shoot the three ball at all. Not a good foul shooter. Made just 55.6% of his free throws. 5.4 FTA/30 minutes.

Didn’t get any extra points in transition. Transition possessions made for 4.2% (very low ratio) of his possessions.

Anas Mahmoud | 5.0 | Louisville

Possibly the most interesting senior for me because we’re not sure when the Egyptian center’s potential will equal his production. Mahmoud is just starting to nip at his unique abilities.  The incredibly long and lean center (7′, 215 lbs) is a tremendous shot blocker with great reaction speed.  He’s skilled enough to be an operator from the elbows offensively with his touch and playmaking ability. He moves well, a smooth player considering his size. But Mahmoud severely lacks body mass and his production is yet to be consistent. He’s highly susceptible to foul trouble. He just doesnt have close to the weight that an NBA or Euroleague center needs.  Louisville has a bunch of issues this season but regardless Mahmoud needs a consistent 25 mpg rotational spot and the production to match. Otherwise he’s more of a 2-way NBA contract development prospect that an instant ACB or Serie A contributor.

Played limited minutes (18.7 per game). Per-30 numbers: 9.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.4 blocks (5.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.1 blocks per game).

Rim protector, but foul prone. Averaged 4.2 fouls per 30 minutes.

Ben Lammers | 5.0 | Georgia Tech

Sign me up for more Lammers stock. The barely used underclassmen center exploded in his junior year under new coach Josh Pastner. With a depleted roster Lammers barely subbed out last season, helping turn around a Georgia Tech program that landed in the NIT and with Lammers as ACC DPOY.  Lammers can play in the post or at the elbow.  And he just outworks you.  For being such a load, Lammers is able to control his body and makes for a very tough cover.  Like Landale, he had one of the most improved seasons in the NCAA.

Played extended minutes. Averaged 35.4 MPG.

Rim protector. Averaged 3.4 blocks per game (2.9 blocks per 30 minutes). One of just three players in high major D1 basketball since 2002 to average better than 2 assists and 3 blocks per game (Marcus Douthit 2003-04 and Ekpe Udoh 2009-10 were the other two).

They used him frequently in the post. 6.6 post possessions per game. Not efficient at all in the post as a scorer. Just 0.74 PPP on post finishes.

Pure roll man on ball screens. Rolled on 89.7% of his ball screen possessions.

20% of his half court FGA were jumpshots (2.1FGA/G, 37.2FG%, 37.8eFG%). Went 29 for 78 on jumpshots for the season. Not a three point floor stretcher yet though. Operated from the mid range. 3 FTA/30 minutes. Made 73.7% of his free throws.

Didn’t get any extra points in transition. Transition possessions made for 3.5% (very low ratio) of his possessions.

Alize Johnson | 4.3 | Missouri State

One of the few mid-major bigs to make this list. Johnson is a bouncy, long, mobile 4 who can stretch the floor and score from the post.  Johnson plays with energy, in just a 210 lbs frame he averaged 10.7 rebounds per game. This is his first season in D1 after two JUCO seasons. Johnson is a modern 4, he can grab n go, rebounds/has some inside play, and can shoot it from 3. But he’s still light for NBA or even mid/high level Europe. He can jump over and around opponents in college but the bodies become much wider in the pros.

One of just two players in Missouri Valley history since 2002 to average a double double (the other: Egidijus Mockevicius in 2015-16).

Nr.15 in D1 in putback PPG. Generates a lot of extra/hustle points. Putback+transition PPG: 5.5. Leads this group of 11 centers in transition PPG (2.4). Transition finishes are 13.5% of his total finishes.

Nr.29 in D1 in DRB/30 minutes (7.3). Nr.25 in Total REB/30 minutes (10.6).

One of just 106 D1 players in 2016-17 with more than 1 three pointer (1.1) and more than 1 post possession (3.8) per game.

41% of his half court FGA were jumpshots (3.8FGA/G, 35.5FG%, 50eFG%). Went 44 for 124 on jumpshots for the season. 16.1% of his jump shots were pull-up jumpers. Floor stretcher. Made 1.2 of 3.1 (38.8%) three pointers per game. 4.8 FTA/30 minutes. Made 67.7% of his free throws.

Not a rim protector. Blocked just 0.2 shots per 30 minutes in 2016-17.

Isaac Haas | 5.0 | Purdue

Haas is absolutely massive at 7’2″ and 300 lbs. He’s a force offensively, hammering through on PnR finishes. Just a tough body to get in front of. Simple post player. Hits his FT’s. Averaged 12.6 points in 19.5 minutes per a game last season. But Haas is quite slow and has such a monster frame to lug around he’s never going to play much more than half the game. He gets tired and fouls. But Haas has also always been overshadowed by AJ Hammons and Caleb Swanigan. Now he will own the middle for Purdue and a chance for slightly more extended minutes and inside touches.

Played limited minutes. 19.5 MPG.

Big man they ran offense through. 10.4 post possessions per game. Not passing out of the post. Just 14.8% pass rate out of the post. 20th highest turnover rate in D1 on post ups. 0.96 PPP on post finishes overall though. Good efficiency.

Lives at the foul line. Nr.15 in the nation in FTA/30 minutes (7.6). Made 71.1% of his free throws, a good percentage for a center. Went 2 for 2 on jumpshots for the season. Didn’t shoot the three ball at all.

Didn’t get any extra points in transition. Transition possessions made for 3.1% (very low ratio) of his possessions.

Not used in PnR/PnP. Just 0.1 ball screen finishes per game.

Jock LAndale | 5.0 | Saint Mary’s

Landale likely had the biggest jump in production in the country last season, if there was a National Most Improved Award, he could have won it.  St Mary’s has a history of taking big, stocky inside players and turning them into PnR and high-low beasts.  And Landale took that role by storm.  Even though he’s bulky and strong he showed solid mobility and fluidity.  And not only is Landale an inside finisher but he’s an interesting mid-roll player who can fire bullet kick-outs passes and has touch inside the paint.  Landale is a post-up threat and offensive rebounder.  Likely has a 20-10 season as a Senior.  Keys for Landale is to continue to stay in good shape and be a better pro defender than St Mary’s big men in the past.

High volume/high efficiency season. 1.11 PPP. Nr.10 amongst players with more than 15 possessions per game.

Big man they ran offense through. 9.7 post possessions per game. 1.0 PPP on post finishes. Good efficiency. Post passer. 30.2% pass rate out of the post. 30th lowest turnover rate in D1 on post ups.

Regularly involved in ball screens. 3.8 roll man PPG. Pure roll man on ball screens. Rolled on 88.8% of his ball screen possessions. Went 6 for 24 on jumpshots for the season. 4.9 FTA/30 minutes. Made 72.2% of his free throws.

Didn’t get any extra points in transition. Transition possessions made for 4% (very low ratio) of his possessions.

Nr.58 in D1 in DRB/30 minutes (6.8). Nr.54 in Total REB/30 minutes (10).

Yante Maten | 4.5 | Georgia

The inside finisher was a beast for Georgia last season.  He works from the post or can play as a face-up threat in the mid-range.  Maten is super productive, he’s stronger and more physical than many of his counterparts and bullies them to points.  Georgia has sometimes used him as an old school power forward in Big-Big lineups but he looks more like a Euro 5.  He has some jump shooting ability (career 73% FT shooter) but he’s not a ball-handler or decision maker on the perimeter.  Maten is also a super offensive rebounder.  But he can often get into a bully ball mentality, just trying to overpower opponents and in the pro’s he will need a more efficient approach when defenders can match his physicality.

Big man they ran offense through. 7.5 post possessions per game. Super efficient scoring numbers in the post. Nr.3 in PPP (1.09) of 210 players in NCAA D1 with 3 or more post finishes.

Pure pick and pop player on ball screens. Popped on 89.1% of his ball screen possessions. Nr.19 in D1 in pick and pop PPG. 24% of his half court FGA were jumpshots. Went 21 for 43 (48.8%) for the season from three point range. 29 for 59 for his Georgia career from three point range. Low volume, high efficiency.

Lives at the foul line. Nr.20 in the nation in FTA/30 minutes (7.4). Made 71.6% of his free throws.

2nd in this center group in transition PPG (2.0).

Peyton Aldridge | 4.3 | Davidson

Spot-up shots, cuts, and post-ups. Simple, efficient game. 4-man but in Davidson’s ball movement offense, he even played some 5. Posts up a lot, can shoot off either should. Smart, reads the defense. Aldridge has the versatility to play between the 3-4-5 (Post up 3, Stretch 4, Skilled 5), so offensively he is able to fit into many team structures.  The question is who does he guard? He’s a candidate to be one of nation’s leading scorers.

9th best scoring season (20.6 PPG) in the A10 since 2002.1

Played extended minutes. Averaged 36.9 MPG.

High volume/high efficiency season. 1.12 PPP. Nr.8 amongst players with more than 15 possessions per game.

They used him frequently in the post. 6.4 post possessions per game. One of just 106 D1 players in 2016-17 with more than 1 three pointer (1.9) and more than 1 post possession (6.4) per game. 14th lowest turnover rate in D1 on post ups. 0.96 PPP on post finishes. Good efficiency.

43% of his half court FGA were jumpshots (5.8FGA/G, 39.8FG%, 56.5eFG%). Went 74 for 186 on jumpshots for the season. Nr.77 in D1 in catch and shoot possessions per game. Shot 40.9 percent from three point range on 5.3 attempts per game. 11.3% of his jump shots were pull-up jumpers. 3.7 FTA/30 minutes. Made 83.3% of his free throws.

Not used in PnR/PnP. 0.5 ball screen finishes per game.

Not much of a threat on the offensive glass. Just 1.1 putback PPG in 2016-17.

Quick Hits: Need Closer Look

Deontae Hawkins | 4.3 | Boston College

Senior graduate transfer from Illinois State so he can play right away. Has a real inside-outside game. Plays at the 4 and 5. 3pt shot looks fairly reliable. Has a mid-range game, can play in the mid-roll with different floaters, hooks, and push shots. And can post-up as a 4.

Johnathan Williams | 4.3 | Gonzaga

Williams played his first 2 seasons at Missouri before transferring to Gonzaga and helping lead them to the National Championship game.  Williams is an unconventional fit nowadays, he’s got the body of a 4 but plays like a face-up 5.  He’s got an array of runners, post moves, and in the lane ways to get up shots.  He’s a rugged 4 who is a mismatch in the stretch big generation.  But improving his outside shot will be big for his pro stock.

Thomas Welsh | 5.0 | UCLA

Welsh has started at UCLA the past 2 seasons and has been incredibly efficient.  There’s not much flash to his game, he’s simple.  He is a devastating mid-range shooter, he rebounds on both ends and is a solid back line defender.  Adding fluidity and more inside finishing will be key.

William Lee | 4.5 | UAB

Another unique big man who combines with fellow Senior big man Chris Cokley to form one of the top frontcourts in the NCAA.  Even though he’s bulked up since being on campus, Lee is still a skinny big man.  He plays a bit hunched over but is an animal defensively and one of the best shot blockers in college. His shooting stroke isn’t pretty but it’s become more effective.

Dusan Ristic | 5.0 | Arizona

The Serbian post-up big has had an up and down time at Arizona.  He finally solidified himself in the competitive Arizona rotation last season.  Ristic still has great post touch and moves on the block like few else in college.  But the ground bound big man is of a dying breed.

  1. Jack Gibbs, David Hawkins, Jack Gibbs, Marques Green, Andrew Nicholson, Jaylen Adams, Jameer Nelson, Jordan Crawford ahead of him.