Ranking the top 25 players in men's college basketball for the 2020-21 season

Cockburn throws down massive and-1 slam (0:27)

Da'Monte Williams feeds Kofi Cockburn, who gets a big dunk plus a foul to increase Illinois' lead over Maryland. (0:27)

Forgive me for being giddy, but we are now just days away from seeing college basketball being played.

It seems like decades ago that the sport ended suddenly in March amidst confusion and apprehension. Now college hoops is back -- amid, yes, some apprehension and a bit of uncertainty. But there will be basketball on our screens just the same.

These are the players who could make this somewhat strange season special. As always, please remember the rules of the top-25-players road. This is not a mock draft. It's a ranking based on expected college performance in 2020-21.

Here are the top 25 players for this season:

1. Luka Garza, Iowa Hawkeyes

As the only 2019-20 consensus first-team All-American who returned this season, Garza has earned his status as the presumptive player of the year for 2020-21. He'll have to work hard to hold on to that status in competition with many talented players (24 of whom are set forth below), but Iowa's senior certainly has the profile of an elite college star.

Garza has steadily taken on more of the workload within the Iowa offense for three seasons, and by the time Big Ten play rolled around last season, he was responsible for 37% of his team's shot attempts during his minutes on the floor. All the while, his efficiency remained very high. He scored 44 against Michigan (on 17-of-32 shooting from the floor) and 38 against Indiana (14-of-22), and if both games were losses, both also came on the road and showcased Garza's doing everything possible to lift his team. If he chooses to avail himself of the extra season of eligibility afforded by the NCAA because of the coronavirus pandemic, Garza has a shot to become a three-time Big Ten player of the year.