It’s never too early to start looking forward!
Check below for our list of 20 outstanding players for the 2022-23 college basketball season. Please note that someone cannot be considered a “hacked player” if they were a double-digit scorer in the previous year.
Not in any particular order:
Jordan Hawkins, Ocon: Dan Hurley has big plans for this 6-5 year old, who averaged 5.8 points last season as a freshman. Don’t be shocked if Hawkins averages 10 points better as a sophomore – he’s that good.
Brandon Newman, Bordeaux: 6-5 Newman reached double digits only five times last season as a sophomore after hitting double digits 12 times two years earlier as a freshman. However, his usage should increase significantly this season following Jaden Ivey’s departure. Newman still has the chops to be a capable player in the Big Ten.
Jaylene Clark, University of California: Clarke averaged 11.4 points and 5.6 rebounds last season in nine games last season where he scored 20 minutes or more. With Johnny Guzhang and Jules Bernard not in the UCSD program, the door is open for Clark 6-5 to establish himself as a productive rookie at Westwood.
Chris Murray, Iowa: Keegan Murray’s brother, Chris Murray is in a prime position to be the Hawkeyes’ next elite player. The striker averaged 6-8 points and 4.3 rebounds last season, averaging 15.8 points and 6.6 rebounds in games he scored 20 minutes or more. Buy stocks now.
Trey Alexander, Creighton: The Bluejays may have the five most complete players in the sport this season and Alexander is a key component. The 6-4 goalkeeper could play multiple positions and really shine during last year’s NCAA Championship, averaging 16 points, seven assists, and 3.5 rebounds in two games. Alexander will be an All Big East caliber player in 2022-23.
Jacob Tobin, Kentucky: There’s no cap this season for 6-9 Tobin, who looks set to blast next to Oscar Chiboy. A minor piece of the puzzle a year ago, Toppin averaged just 6.2 points and 3.2 rebounds – those numbers could double in 2022-23.
Jaden Akins, Michigan State: East Lansing’s well-placed moles are upbeat about Akins’ potential despite a recent pre-season injury. The 6-4 winger averaged 3.4 points and 2.4 rebounds last season as a freshman, but is in line to replace Max Christie in the Spartans’ starting lineup.
Kobe Bofkin, Michigan: Hunter Dickinson is the only double-digit scorer to return from last season for Michigan, who desperately needs to establish a scoring presence on the ocean. Puffin could be that guy. The left 6-4 was a strong offensive player before college and the Wolverines need him to display that form again. Bufkin only averaged three points a year ago as a freshman, but will have the opportunity to make a big step as a sophomore.
Coleman Hawkins, Illinois: Kofi Cockburn is no longer in Champaign and that means Hawkins production is ready to soar. The big 6-10 guy made 5.9 points and 4.3 rebounds last season as a sophomore. Doubling those rates as juniors is within Hawkins’ reach.
Bill Larson, Arizona: Tommy Lloyd has always been thinking hard about 6-5 Larsson. With Benedict Mathurin and Dallen Terry laying off the Arizona show, Larson’s role should increase dramatically this season after he averaged 8.3 points in three NCAA games last spring.
KJ Simpson, Colorado: Simpson played 6-2 high-quality basketball throughout last season for Colorado, averaging 9.6 points in the Buffaloes’ last nine games. He will be the focal point of this program moving forward in Pac-12.
Jeremy Roach, Duke: Roach is the only Blue Devils player who was part of last season’s run to the Final Four. This makes it an invaluable piece to pair with the best recruiting class in the country. The goalkeeper averaged 6-1 11.8 points in five NCAA games this past spring and should be an All-ACC-caliber player in 2022-23.
Buff Johnson, North Carolina: America caught a glimpse of what Johnson was capable of in the national title game last season, as he scored 11 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes against Kansas. The 6-8 striker is bursting with potential and should allow Hubert Davis to extend the bench. Johnson has the talent to be a third major piece in the North Carolina front yard alongside Armando Bacot and Pete Nance at Northwestern.
Reese Beckman, Virginia: Beekman made a solid leap in production (8.2 points, 5.2 assists, 3.9 rebounds) as a sophomore, but this is the year he should take his place as one of the top keepers in the ACC. If Beckman appears, the Cavaliers should push for a solid seed in the 2023 NCAA Championship after last year’s appearance at the Posteason NIT.
Zakai Ziegler, Tennessee: Kennedy Chandler got the majority of the attention last season at Tennessee, but Ziegler was quietly enjoying a great freshman season. With Chandler now in the NBA, Ziggler is ready to thrive. The point guard averaged 5-9 points and 3.5 assists this past spring in two NCAA games. He’s on his way to becoming one of the top storied generals in the SEC as a sophomore.
Nolan Hickman, Gonzaga: Andrew Nimbard’s departure on point guard left a huge gaping hole in Gonzaga’s backcourt. Hickman is ready to take advantage. The 6-2 general should have a big role in Operation Bulldogs next season as he looks to command one of the strongest offenses in the sport.
Tamar Bates, Indiana: Bates, a natural goalscorer, showed flashes of his ability to put the ball in the basket last season, but he hasn’t been able to keep up. With Indiana in a position to be the top team in the Big Ten at 2022-23, this 6-5 left-back could have a major role in Bloomington.
Galen Warley, Florida: Players always make their biggest leap when they become sophomores. This is a good thing for Warley and a bad thing for the rest of the ACC. The 6-6 point guard—one of the former Top 30 players—is poised to make big strides for Florida State in his sophomore year in college basketball. Warley averaged 3.7 points and 2.5 assists as a freshman.
Chuckie Hepburn, Wisconsin: Hepburn’s consistency last season in point guard was a major reason Wisconsin was able to win a share of the Big Ten regular season title and earn three NCAA rankings. Since Jonny Davis is no longer on the Badgers show, expect Hepburn to be more assertive in attack as he aims to keep Wisconsin among the elite teams of the Big Ten.
Eddie Lampkin, University of California: How capable is Lampkin? Ask Arizona. The 6-11 center scored 20 points and 14 rebounds against the Wildcats in the NCAA Championship and truly showed all his potential. Can he perform like this on a consistent basis? Probably not, but flirting with an average double is on hand for Lampkin, who averaged 6.8 points and 6.2 rebounds last season as a sophomore.