Frontcourt talent is far from being dead in NCAA Basketball and many programs are projecting to lean on these players to win games in 2020-21.
The recent stylistic changes we have observed in the professional ranks have indeed trickled down to the collegiate and prep game as well. However, bigs and frontcourt players have become far from obsolete in the aftermath. In fact, many powerhouse NCAA Basketball programs have made only small tweaks to their playing styles and still emphasize an ‘older’ brand of basketball.
Frontcourt greats like Charles Barkley, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Patrick Ewing exemplified the craft, skill, and dominance of what it meant to be a strong frontcourt player.
However, current and recent collegiate stars like Luka Garza, Obi Toppin, and Zion Williamson have continued to evolve the skill sets of frontcourt players in recent years to adjust towards the modern adaptation of basketball. The ‘old’ and ‘traditional’ skill sets are now redefined and players are more capable of impacting the game at the highest levels.
Centers, power forwards, and ‘less athletic’ wings are stepping out to become perimeter sharpshooters, ball-handlers that can facilitate the offense, and rangy defenders. Current NBA stars, like Nikola Jokic, have been instrumental in ensuring changes happening in today’s game are not exclusive to backcourt players and encompass all individuals on the floor.
College coaches have continued to find the best mix of philosophy and talent amongst frontcourt positions to reach the highest rungs of college basketball.
In a follow up to my look into college basketball’s top-25 backcourts heading into the 2020-21 season, I take a look at which 25 frontcourt groups will be the most problematic this year.
30. SMU Tigers
29. Creighton Bulldogs
28. Seton Hall Pirates
27. Cincinnati Bearcats
26. Minnesota Golden Gophers