Louisville forward Montrezl Harrell starts the season ranked as one of the 20 best players in college basketball.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – On Friday, we have college basketball – games that count toward RPI, not merely exhibitions. To celebrate that, I continue my countdown of the nation's Top 50 players with my picks from 20-11.
20. Andrew Harrison, Kentucky – This is the twin who plays point guard. This is the one who missed UK's two exhibition games with a sore knee. This is the one who many rate as a 2014 lottery pick. The word is that Harrison doesn't merely want to beat you, he wants to dominate you. That's precisely what John Calipari wants to hear.
Fast Fact: Andrew is one minute younger than his twin brother and teammate, Aaron.
19. Shabazz Napier, UConn – Napier stepped forward as one of the most dangerous three-point shooters in the game last season, converting nearly 40 percent of threes. He's a high-volume shooter, making nearly 2.5 per game. He delivered a strong showing at Chris Paul's point guard camp last summer and started for the Huskies' 2011 NCAA champs. He's not Kemba Walker, but Napier is the guy who can put the Huskies back in the NCAA tournament.
Fast Fact: Napier said he almost transferred after coach Jim Calhoun retired in 2012.
18. Montrezl Harrell, Louisville – What's not to like? He's big, he's strong, he's fast and he's relentless. Look for Harrell to at least double his scoring (5.7) and rebounding (3.6) averages from last season. Rick Pitino has never had a player quite like him and should enjoy discovering new ways to use him.
Fast Fact: Harrell was also a talented football player but gave up the sport after his sophomore year in high school in North Carolina.
17. Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke – Sulaimon averaged 11.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists as a freshman, and coach Mike Krzyzewski has challenged him to deliver even more this season for the Blue Devils. How? By getting in better condition and being more assertive. Word is that Sulaimon has listened and will be the next great Duke guard.
Fast Fact: Sulaimon is a first-generation American whose father was born in Nigeria and mother in Jamaica.
16. Cleanthony Early, Wichita State – If you're making a list of how the Shockers made the Final Four last season, start with Anthony, a 6-foot-8 forward. A two-time junior college all-American, Anthony was named newcomer of the year in the Missouri Valley Conference and scored in double figures in four of Wichita State's five NCAA Tournament games.
Fast Fact: Early scored 24 points against Louisville and was named to the Final Four all-tournament team.
15. Rodney Hood, Duke – Krzyzewski doesn't take many transfers, just four in 33 seasons. He took this one because Hood is a tough, intelligent player who made the best move of his career by leaving Mississippi State, where he averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds.
Fast Fact: Hood has been named a team captain, even though he's never played a minute for the Blue Devils.
14. Joe Harris, Virginia – Harris made a major move on the national scene last season by averaging 16.3 points and making better than 42 percent of his three-point shots for the Cavaliers. He's the only returning first-team player in the ACC this season, so that makes him one of the frontrunners for the league's top player.
Fast Fact: Harris might have more nicknames than any player in college basketball: Joey Buckets, Joey Hoops, Joey Wahoo.
13. Adreian Payne, Michigan State – Payne made a wise move by returning to play one final season for Tom Izzo and the Spartans. He added a solid three-point shot to his game last season and now he needs to prove that he can dominate on the block every night in the Big Ten. If he does, he's a lottery pick.
Fast Fact: As a high school senior, Payne was ranked the third-best center in the nation, behind Fab Melo and Jared Sullinger.
12. Jahii Carson, Arizona State – Don't dwell on Carson's size. He's only 5-10. Dwell on his speed and ability to score. He gave the Sun Devils 18.5 points per game last season and was named co-freshman on the year in the Pac-12. He was second in the league in free throw attempts – and that was before the new emphasis on hand-checking.
Fast Fact: Carson, a sophomore, has already said this is his final season in Tempe.
11. C. J. Fair, Syracuse – Jim Boeheim always has somebody show up in the first round of the NBA Draft. Fair will be that guy next June. Michael Carter-Williams might have gotten all the ink for the Orange last season, but Fair was their leading scorer and rebounder.
Fast Fact: Fair was headed to the NBA Draft after last season, but his father told him not to tell anybody and re-think his plan. He changed his mind and stayed.
31. Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky; 32. Joel Embiid, Kansas; 33. Alex Kirk, New Mexico; 34. Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga; 35. Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati; 36. Joe Jackson, Memphis; 37. Jordan Adams, UCLA; 38. James Young, Kentucky; 39. James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina; 40. Jerian Grant, Notre Dame.