Seniors are difference-makers for programs, on and off the floor. The crop of veterans ready to make a name for themselves this season is loaded with talent. NCAA.com's Andy Katz breaks it all down on the latest episode of March Madness 365.
This episode also features a Big Ten preview with ESPN and Big Ten Network analyst Robbie Hummel, and Indiana's head coach Archie Miller and Michigan's Juwan Howard. Katz also ranks the best centers in the race for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar award. Chad "March Chadness" Aycock and Katz discuss the top impact seniors near the end of the episode which starts at about the 40-minute mark of the pod.
Here the top 20 impact seniors going into the 2020-21 season, according to Katz:
20. Jordan Goodwin — Saint Louis, Guard
Not many guards average a double-double in points and rebounds, but Jordan Goodwin did for Saint Louis last season. Goodwin put up 15.5 points and grabbed 10.4 boards per game last year. He will return as the Billikens' leading scorer.
19. Kellen Grady — Davidson, Guard
Grady has been putting up consistent numbers for Davidson since he was a freshman. He averaged 18 points per game his freshman year, 17.3 his sophomore year and 17.2 during his junior campaign. This all comes while shooting better than 45 percent from the floor each of those seasons.
18. Sandro Mamukelashvili — Seton Hall, Forward
Sandro Mamukelashvili has battled injuries throughout his college career. When healthy, the 6'11" big man is a force inside. He averaged 11.9 points and six rebounds per game last season while playing in just 18 games.
17. John Fulkerson — Tennessee, Forward
Fulkerson is entering his fifth season with the Volunteers. Katz thinks the 6'9" forward is a contender for the Karl Malone award this season, as he is coming off of a year where he averaged 13.7 points and 5.9 boards per game.
16. Jordan Bohannon — Iowa, Guard
Jordan Bohannon is one of two seniors from Iowa to make it on this list — the other is National Player of the Year favorite Luka Garza. Bohannon shoots better than 40 percent from three throughout his college career, and if he can continue to tap into his range, Katz thinks Iowa has a good shot at winning the Big Ten.
15. Jalen Crutcher — Dayton, Guard
With no Obi Toppin, Dayton is officially Jalen Crutcher's team. Crutcher may have played in Toppin's shadow last season, but the numbers he produced suggest that he was consistently one of the best players on the floor. He averaged 15.1 points and 4.9 assists per game.
14. John Petty — Alabama, Guard
John Petty is coming off of a season where he was the third-leading scorer and leading rebounder for the Crimson Tide. The 6'5" guard will continue to crash the boards, but he'll also try to be a threat from deep, as he shot 44 percent from beyond the three-point line last season.
13. Geo Baker — Rutgers, Guard
Geo Baker led Rutgers to its first winning season since 2006 and was a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic away from ending the Scarlet Knights' 29-year NCAA tournament drought. Baker is back though, and his career 11.3 points, 3.4 assists per game will help end the drought.
12. Aamir Simms — Clemson, Forward
Aamir Simms returns as Clemson's leading scorer, rebounder, assist-producer and shot-blocker. Simms was Mr. Everything for the Tigers last year as he averaged 13 points, 7.2 boards 2.6 assists and 0.8 blocks per game. Katz thinks Clemson will be a bubble team this season, and if they want an NCAA tournament bid, Simms is going to have to be that difference maker for the Tigers.
11. McKinley Wright IV — Colorado, Guard
McKinley Wright IV has been a stud for Colorado ever since he started playing for the Buffaloes during the 2017-2018 season. Wright has a career average 13.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game and returns as Colorado's leading scorer.
10. Colbey Ross — Pepperdine, Guard
Colbey Ross was the second-leading scorer in the West Coast Conference last season, averaging 20.5 points per game. He also racked up 7.2 assists per game and 4.7 boards per game for Pepperdine. He'll be someone to keep an eye on the outside of the big names at Gonzaga in the WCC.
9. Isaiah Livers — Michigan, Forward
Juwan Howard and Michigan basketball fans are excited about Isaiah LIvers this season. The Michigan forward has been on the forefront of a breakout season for quite some time now, but after only playing 21 games last season, Livers is healthy and ready to push Michigan into the top tier of this year's Big Ten.
8. Chris Smith — UCLA, Guard
If there is one thing Chris Smith is likely to improve upon his senior season it is his three-point percentage. His numbers have gotten better every year since he started playing at UCLA in 2017. Smith shot 18 percent from beyond the arc his freshman year, 28 percent his sophomore year and 34 percent his junior year.
7. Corey Kispert — Gonzaga, Forward
Corey Kispert is Gonzaga's de facto leader on and off the floor. He is also arguably the best player on the best team in the nation, as he'll try to rally together young stars like Drew Timme and Jalen Suggs to try and keep the Bulldogs atop the AP Poll throughout the season.
6. Marcus Garrett — Kansas, Guard
Marcus Garrett will enter this season as the best defensive player in the country as he is fresh off of his National Defensive Player of the Year award. Garrett will need to get it done the offensive this year too though. He only averaged 9.2 points per game during his junior year.
5. Garrison Brooks — North Carolina, Forward/Center
Garrison Brooks will be North Carolina's go-to man this season. After a disappointing 2019-2020 season, the Tar Heels will be leaning on Brooks to be a leader as much as he is an offensive force. He'll play with highly-touted freshman Caleb Love.
4. Collin Gillespie — Villanova, Guard
From Scottie Reynolds to Jalen Brunson, Villanova is known for having veteran guards run the show and succeed at running the show, and Collin Gillespie is next in line. Already with national championship experience, Gillespie will need to hone his playmaking abilities to lead the Wildcats back to the Final Four.
3. Sam Hauser — Virginia, Forward
Sam Hauser might be the most interesting player to watch this season. He took a year off after transferring from Marquette to Virginia. He'll enter his senior season with a career average of 12.7 points and six rebounds per game.
2. Remy Martin — Arizona State, Guard
Remy Martin has the potential to be the most exciting scorer in college basketball this season. He averaged 19.1 points per game and with freshman Josh Christopher joining the Sun Devils' roster this year, it could free up Martin during some offensive possessions.
1. Luka Garza — Iowa, Forward/Center
Of course the National Player of the Year frontrunner is also the favorite to be college basketball's best senior this year, and for good reason. Luka Garza averaged 32 minutes per game last season, scored 23.9 points and grabbed 9.8 rebounds. Garza will be counted on to lead Iowa to a championship in a crowded Big Ten this year.