ESPN rankings take into consideration three main criteria -- productivity to date, projected college impact and long-term NBA upside.
Ideally, players atop the rankings project out in all three areas. Sometimes though you have a prospect such as Nassir Little, whose immediate college impact didn't measure up to his long-term NBA upside, or conversely, Gary Trent Jr., who was an immediate key for Duke but has struggled to gain the same traction in the NBA.
When it comes to the 2020 class, the contrast between college projection and NBA upside might not be as significant as the recent 2019 class, but there are still plenty of prospects who fall in only one of the two categories.
With that in mind, here's a look at 10 prospects who could be college basketball's best freshmen 18 months from now.
Evan Mobley, Rancho Christian (California) (No. 1 in ESPN 100): What's ironic about the top-ranked prospect in the class is that while he is still likely to be only just scratching the surface of his potential by the time he gets to college, he's so uniquely talented that he'll still be a game-changer at the highest levels of the NCAA. He might not be the type of guy who puts up 25 points and 11 rebounds per game like Kevin Durant at Texas, but an Anthony Davis-like statline of 14 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks, 1 steal and 1 assist might not be unreasonable.
R.J. Hampton, Little Elm (Texas) (No. 4 in ESPN 100): A big lead guard with skills, instinctive feel for the game and evolving athleticism, Hampton absolutely has all the tools to be both an immediate impact college player and a terrific NBA prospect. The biggest question with him is whether he'll make it to 2020 as there is growing buzz behind the scenes that a number of top college programs would love to have him a year sooner than scheduled.