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Top 25 players in the 2019 NCAA tournament

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Morant: 'I still have a lot of more work to do' (2:50)

Ja Morant talks with Marty Smith about his journey to Murray State and his rise to being recognized as one of the best players in college basketball. (2:50)

Welcome to our second annual look at the best 25 players in the field of 68. Well, in all honesty, make that 60.

You'll notice there are no players in the First Four on this list. There's a reason for that.

Last year I worked myself up into a fine state of analytic bliss praising UCLA's Aaron Holiday to the skies, only to have my editor helpfully inform me on the morning the piece was scheduled to run that the player in question was actually no longer in the NCAA tournament. To be fair, that was an excellent editorial point, and I had to write up a 26th player on the spot. Never again.

As always, NBA-agnostic player evaluation is the name of this game. There are people who do mock drafts and are really good at it. Conversely, this is all about how players would be ranked in terms of present-tense college impact only.


1. Zion Williamson, Duke Blue Devils

So, that ACC tournament was a pretty fun watch, yes? College basketball is better with a healthy Williamson. It just is. The 6-foot-7 freshman enters the tournament carrying a ridiculous 76 percent conversion rate on his 2-point attempts. If you've been reading along with the top 25 lists this season, you know the secret sauce here: Williamson gets point-blank scoring opportunities with a frequency we've never seen before. This season, 87 percent of his 2-point attempts have been recorded at the rim. That is absurd, and it's also a testament to wise and total abstinence on non-rim 2s. Oh, he also posted the second highest steal rate of anyone in ACC play. This list is NBA-potential-blind, but for the record, the eye test and the metrics do agree: Zion will be amazing at the next level.