The Karl Malone Award is given out each year to the top power forward in the country. Here are Andy Katz's top 11 candidates (and 14 more contenders) that could follow Zion Williamson in taking home the hardware in 2019-20.
1.) Tristan Clark, Jr., Baylor: Clark’s knee injury shelved him from early January on last season. But once he’s back, he’ll leap into the forefront as one of the top forwards in the country. He’s a double-double type player who can help lead the Bears to challenge toward the top of the Big 12. Clark is going to be a stud this season.
2.) Xavier Tillman, Jr., Michigan State: Tillman will shine even more with the departures of Nick Ward and Kenny Goins. He has continued to diversify his game and will continue to be a major factor in the Spartans quest for a national title.
3.) Lamar Stevens, Sr., Penn State: Stevens’ decision to return to Penn State immediately will help the Nittany Lions be a top half Big Ten contender. Stevens can control the backboard and produce at the other end at a high clip.
4.) Jalen Smith, So., Maryland: Smith benefited from Bruno Fernando as a top rim protector. Now, it’s his time to shine. Smith has the skill set to be a double-double player. If the Terps reach their potential it will be because Smith has a stellar sophomore season.
5.) Killian Tillie, Sr., Gonzaga: Tillie just needs to stay healthy. Tillie is a tremendous stretch player, can score in a variety of spots on the floor and board. He’s ready to take on more of a leadership role and should go down as one of Spokane’s favorites.
6.) Silvio de Sousa, Jr., Kansas: De Sousa earned a year of eligibility back after winning an appeal. How effective he will be is still unknown. But the potential is there for him to be an all-Big 12 player.
7.) Giorgi Bezhanishvili, So., Illinois: Bezhanishvili isn’t just the most engaging player in the Big Ten, but he’s become a player who can work all the angles. His game continues to develop and should really flourish in Year 2 in Champaign.
8.) Trevion Williams, So., Purdue: Williams is a classic Purdue player who gets better and better over the course of his career. Williams can become a force in the paint for the Boilermakers in their quest to challenge yet again for the Big Ten.
9.) Mamadi Diakite, Sr., Virginia: Diakite converted one of the most important buckets in Cavaliers history to send the Purdue game into overtime in the Elite Eight. Diakite is back to be a much more featured player for Tony Bennett’s crew.
10.) Jaden McDaniels, Fr., Washington: The Huskies got one of the top players in the class of 2019 to stay home and help Washington stay atop the Pac-12. McDaniels should thrive in the zone and be an effective player on the offensive end.
11.) EJ Montgomery, So., Kentucky: Forget that Montgomery’s numbers don’t jump off the page. The reason is opportunity. He returns to Kentucky ready to increase his points and rebounds closer to double figures.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL RANKINGS: Andy Katz gives his preseason Power 36 rankings, as of late May
12. Luka Garza, Jr., Iowa
13. Garrison Brooks, Jr., North Carolina
14. Nate Reuvers, Jr., Wisconsin
15. Matthew Hurt, Fr., Duke
16. De’Ron Davis, Sr., Indiana
17. Brady Manek, Jr., Oklahoma
18. Alexis Yetna, So., South Florida
19. Cameron McGriff, Sr., Oklahoma State
20. Jeremiah Tillman, Jr., Missouri
21. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Fr., Villanova
22. Trendon Watford, Fr., LSU
23. Isaiah Mobley, Fr., USC
24. Steffon Mitchell, Jr., Boston College
25. CJ Walker, Fr., Oregon