The best rebounders in college basketball possess a blue-collar work ethic and a skill that often translates from high school to college and college to the pros. Their desire never wanes; it’s a man’s world around the basket.
And they're always easy to find in the box score. Just look for the name beside the double-figure total in the column headed “R.” Here are seven of the best to watch this season:
A.J. West, Nevada, Sr.
Last season, the 6-9, 235-pound forward recorded the best offensive rebounding percentage in college basketball since 2009-10 per sports-reference.com, corralling 22.3 percent of the Wolf Pack’s missed shots. He also led the nation in offensive rebounds per game (5.93). The Brooklyn, N.Y. native posted the game-high rebounding total 22 times and in conference led the Mountain West with 6.4 offensive rebounds per game. West was an animal on the glass down the stretch, snagging 16 boards or more in four of Nevada’s last eight contests.
Shevon Thompson, George Mason, Sr.
Rico Gathers, Baylor, Sr.
Cinmeon Bowers, Auburn, Sr.
Cheick Diallo, Kansas, Fr.
ESPN.com college basketball recruiting analyst Jeff Borzello believes the addition of Diallo - who has yet to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center - would make Kansas a serious national title contender.
“He has an unbelievable motor and is really quick off his feet to grab missed shots, at both ends of the floor,” Borzello said.
Caleb Swanigan, Purdue, Fr.
At Homestead HS in Fort Wayne, Ind. he averaged 13.7 rebounds per game as a senior and set the school record with 1,048 career rebounds. Named to the watch list for the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year award, Swanigan will likely split time in the post with 7-footers A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas.
“He led the Nike EYBL circuit in rebounding by a wide margin,” Borzello said. “He has excellent hands and completely owns his area with his size and physical play.”
Ivan Rabb, California, Fr.
“Will have a ton on his plate at Cal this season, as he's likely to be the lone big man in the starting lineup,” Borzello said. “His length and athleticism enables him to be a factor at both ends on the glass; his second jump is quick and he's getting stronger.”
Others worth watching: Josh Hawkinson, Washington State; Egidijus Mockevicius, Evansville; Daniel Ochefu, Villanova; Denzell Taylor, Old Dominion