basketball-men-d1 flag

Andy Wittry | NCAA.com | September 27, 2021

These are the top 9 returning playmakers in men's college basketball

First preseason 2022 March Madness bracket predictions by Andy Katz

Did you know that four of the top five players in assists per game last men's basketball season return to the sport this fall, including one who was a first-team All-AAC selection and a second-team All-SEC pick who has since transferred to another school in the Southeastern Conference?

Here are the top nine returning players in DI men's basketball based on assists per game in the 2020-21 season.

Rob Ferguson | USA Today Sports Images Oakland's Jalen Moore is the leading returning player in assists per game.

1. Jalen Moore, Oakland

Assists per game (2020-21): 8.4

Not only did Moore lead the country in assists per game last season but his assist average was 0.7 more than the next-closest players. He also led all DI men's basketball players in total assists with 252, which was 45 more than Pepperdine's Colbey Ross, who ranked second nationally.

It was an impressive debut at the DI level for Moore, who spent the previous two seasons at Olney Central College. He had at least five assists in 27 of the 30 games he played, including 12 games with double-digit assists. During a five-game stretch in January, Moore posted at least 11 assists in each game for a five-game total of 68 assists.

From an advanced stats perspective, Moore ranked second nationally in assist rate (45.9 percent, per kenpom.com), meaning he assisted on nearly half of Oakland's made shots when he was on the floor.

Prairie View Athletics Cam Mack was tied for second nationally in assists per game last season.

2. Cam Mack, Prairie View

Assists per game (2020-21): 7.7

Mack was tied for second nationally with 7.7 assists per game last season in his first season at Prairie View, where he transferred from Nebraska. Mack was almost always on the floor for Panthers, playing more than 36 minutes per game, and he used that extended playing time to increase his assist average by 1.3 assists per game from his freshman season.

He had at least 10 assists in five of his 18 games last season, which included four double-doubles, and he finished with nine assists on four other occasions.

Mack's 37.4 assist rate ranked 14th nationally, per kenpom.com.

OFFSEASON: Here are the 12 biggest winners from the summer in men's college basketball 

Justin Ford | USA TODAY Sports Images Kendric Davis' 46.4 assist rate in 2021 ranked first nationally.

3. Kendric Davis, SMU

Assists per game (2020-21): 7.6

There's a reason we named Davis as a starter for our hypothetical state of Texas All-Star team, where we created lineups for numerous states based upon the rosters of the schools located in the state. His 7.6 assists per game ranked fourth nationally and it was almost one assist higher than his sophomore-year average of 6.7.

Between Davis' scoring average of 19 points per game and his seven-plus assists per night, he fueled a significant percent of the Mustangs' scoring. His assist rate of 46.4 ranked first in the country.

Christopher Hanewinckel | USA TODAY Sports Images Sahvir Wheeler transferred from Georgia to Kentucky in the offseason.

4. Sahvir Wheeler, Kentucky

Assists per game (2020-21): 7.4

Wheeler transferred from Georgia to Kentucky in the offseason and the Wildcats will have at their disposal a player who ranked fifth nationally in assists per game and 11th in assist rate (37.8 percent) as a sophomore last season. Wheeler went from being a part-time starter as a freshman to a full-time starter last season, who played 34.8 minutes per game and saw his assist average climb from 4.5 in 2020 to 7.4 in 2021.

His assist numbers were particularly strong at the start and end of last season, as he recorded double-digit assists in each of his first three games and three of his last four, including a triple-double against LSU when he had 14 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds.

RETURNING STARS: Here are the 25 best players returning this college basketball season

North Carolina A&T Athletics Kameron Langley averaged 6.6 assists per game in 2021.

5. Kameron Langley, North Carolina A&T

Assists per game (2020-21): 6.6

Langley's 6.6 assists per game last season ranked eighth nationally and his 41.1-percent assist rate ranked fifth, per kenpom.com. His assist average actually took a dip from the 2019-20 season, when he averaged eight per game, but he was still one of the most prolific creators in the sport. In a game against Western Carolina last season, Langley had a season-high 20 points and a season-high 16 assists, and he was one rebound shy of a triple-double.

Geoff Burke | USA TODAY Sports Images Yuri Collins averaged 6.1 assists per game last season.

6. Yuri Collins, Saint Louis

Assists per game (2020-21): 6.1

As a sophomore, Collins ranked 10th in the country in assists per game last season, when his assist average improved by 0.6 per game from his freshman campaign, despite his minutes per game declining. He had at least five assists in 13 of the 19 games he played, including a season-high 11 assists against Dayton.

Orlando Ramirez | USA TODAY Sports Images Grant Sherfield averaged a career-high six assists per game after transferring to Nevada.

7. Grant Sherfield, Nevada

Assists per game (2020-21): 6.1

Sherfield ranked 11th nationally last season in both total assists (158) and assists per game (6.1) in his first season at Nevada after transferring from Wichita State. He was a regular starter for the Wolf Pack and his minutes per game increased by almost 10 minutes per game from his freshman year when he averaged 2.9 assists in 25.1 minutes per game.

His high-water mark for assists came in a win over Boise State when he had a 20-point, 14-assist double-double.

Briana Sanchez | Argus Leader Jarrod West averaged a career-high six assists per game last season.

8. Jarrod West, Louisville

Assists per game (2020-21): 6.0

West transferred from Marshall to Louisville in the offseason after averaging six assists per game last season, which ranked 12th nationally. As a freshman and sophomore, West averaged just 2.9 and 1.6 assists in 32.4 and 28.6 minutes per game, respectively, but he grew as a playmaker during his four seasons at Marshall to the point where he led the Thundering Herd in assists last season.

He had a season-high 10 assists against Old Dominion last season and he had at least five assists in 17 of the 21 games he played.

Ken Blaze | USA TODAY Sports Images Marreon Jackson transferred from Toledo to Arizona State in the offseason.

9. Marreon Jackson, Arizona State

Assists per game (2020-21): 5.9

Jackson transferred from Toledo to Arizona State after finishing last season ranked 13th nationally in assists per game and fifth in total assists (178). He helped the Rockets go 21-9, win the MAC regular-season title and post the 19th-most efficient offensive rating in the country, per kenpom.com.

Jackson had an assist rate of 32.3, which means that he assisted on almost a third of the team's made baskets when he was on the floor.

2021 Georgia football schedule: Dates, times, TV channels, results

Here's everything you need to know about Georgia's 2021 football schedule.
READ MORE

Undefeated college football teams in 2021

Here are the last remaining undefeated teams for the 2021 season.
READ MORE

We predicted when the remaining undefeated college football teams are most likely to lose

There are still nine undefeated teams in the FBS, but there won't be for long.
READ MORE
Presented by
Presented by
Presented by

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners