Ranking the 10 best college basketball players in the men’s NCAA Tournament Final Four

INDIANAPOLIS — There’s no shortage of star power in the men’s Final Four.

Several players have broken out for career-best games in this NCAA Tournament and several are poised to hear their names called as NBA lottery picks in June’s draft.

Here’s a ranking of the best players still standing in Indianapolis, based on college basketball prowess, tournament performance and NBA potential.

Drew Timme, Gonzaga. An argument can be made that the 6-foot-10 center isn’t even the best player on his team, with a projected top-three NBA draft pick point guard (Jalen Suggs) and All-American sharp-shooter (Corey Kispert). But he’s been the ‘Zags’ most dominant offensive force in this tournament. Timme leads Gonzaga in scoring with 19 points a game to go along with 7.2 rebounds and 65% shooting. He’s averaged 25 points in the last three tourney wins.

Jared Butler, Baylor. The first-team All-American guard, Butler is the central part of the Bears’ nation-best backcourt and a core reason why this team leads the nation in three-point shooting. The 6-3 guard is averaging 16.5 points, 4.8 assists and 2 steals per game.

Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga. The 6-4 freshman guard, a projected NBA lottery pick, is coming into his own in this tournament. He’s averaging 14 points and 4.5 assists per game, and his near-triple double – 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists – helped the Bulldogs handily dispatch Southern California in the Elite Eight.

Johnny Juzang, UCLA. Juzang put the team on his back with 28 points in the Bruins’ Elite Eight upset of No. 1 seed Michigan. The 6-6 sophomore guard averages 15.5 points a game and is the go-to scorer for coach Mick Cronin when the game is on the line. He also had 27 points in a second-round upset of Brigham Young.

Corey Kispert, Gonzaga. The 6-7 senior marksman is the best three-point shooter in the country, averaging 18.9 points per game and shooting 45% from beyond the arc. NBA scouts have finally taken notice, projecting him as a top-10 draft pick. That’s because he can become a Kyle Korver-esque shooter right away in the pros.

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Quentin Grimes, Houston. The 6-5 Kansas transfer is making coach Bill Self scratch his head, since Grimes’ time in Lawrence never panned out but now he’s the centerpiece to a Final Four Cougars squad. Grimes averages 18 points a game, while shooting 41% from three. In Houston’s Elite Eight win over Oregon State, Grimes’ late three-pointers were daggers to seal the win.

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Houston Cougars guard Quentin Grimes (24) points after sinking a three-pointer against Syracuse during the Sweet Sixteen round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament on Saturday, March 27, 2021, at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.

Davion Mitchell, Baylor. The 6-2 junior guard is the backbone for the Bears, injecting energy with his hustle and key offensive plays. Mitchell can carve through defenses and shoot the three, keeping defenses honest to facilitate to his teammates. He’s averaging 14 points and 5.3 assists per game.

DeJon Jarreau, Houston. The best defender left in the NCAAs, the junior point guard does a little bit of everything to help the Cougars win, averaging 10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists. His ability to smother and frustrate the best guards is an invaluable asset.

Jaime Jáquez Jr., UCLA. The 6-6 sophomore guard is the team’s second-leading scorer with 12.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. His 27 points helped the Bruins escape Michigan State in the First Four. But it’s Jáquez’s hustle on defense and bulldozing style on offense that bolster this team most.

Joel Ayayi, Gonzaga. The 6-5 junior guard is an unsung hero for this dominant offensive ‘Zags team as a role player, averaging 11.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. He also shoots 57% from the floor.

Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Men’s NCAA Tournament Final Four: 10 best players on semifinalists


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