In this era of one-and-done players, the 2015-16 college basketball season was an anomaly. Sure, freshmen Brandon Ingram of Duke and Ben Simmons of LSU are likely to go one and two in June's NBA draft -- but this past season was all about the seniors.
Oklahoma's Buddy Hield and Michigan State's Denzel Valentine waged a back-and-forth competition for Player of the Year honors, while Virginia's Malcolm Brogdon, Kansas' Perry Ellis, Indiana's Yogi Ferrell, Iowa State's Georges Niang and Iowa's Jarrod Uthoff all had legitimate All-American cases. The list continues outside the big conferences, too: Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga), Jameel Warney (Stony Brook), Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker (Wichita State), Thomas Walkup (Stephen F. Austin). It was great to watch, but sad to see so many terrific careers end over the past few weeks.
There will be far fewer tears around this time next year, as the focus of college basketball will turn back toward the young players. The incoming freshman class is the deepest we've seen in a long time -- plus it's loaded with top-end talent ready to make an immediate impact. Some of the players on this list haven't made their college decisions yet -- but whichever schools they choose will see a significant boost.
You might notice that this doesn't correlate directly to the top 25 players in the ESPN 100; you would be right. While the ESPN 100 is based on a longer-term evaluation, the list below is about the 25 freshmen who will have the biggest impact on the 2016-17 college basketball season: