Since I released my first version of this list more than a month ago, much has changed in college basketball.
Virginia's Justin Anderson has been temporarily sidelined by injury (he would be included here otherwise), Louisville has bid adieu to Chris Jones, Nebraska's players have been banished from their locker room and Kentucky ... well, the Wildcats have just kept on winning.
Not everything changes, but as you'll see my rankings have. Here are my choices for the 25 best players in college basketball right now -- hype-free, based on college performance only and with zero consideration of pro potential:
Kaminsky most likely will not have the best pro career of any player on this list, and several of the players found at Nos. 2-25 here will be drafted before Bo Ryan's star hears his name called. But Frank the Tank is having the best 2014-15 of any player in Division I, and recognizing that fact is written into this list's mission statement.
There are a small number of players nationally -- crazed hoarders of sustained "unsustainable" accuracy from both sides of the arc, mostly -- who can reasonably stake a claim to having had as good a season as Kaminsky's on offense: Seth Tuttle, Kyle Wiltjer, Tyler Haws, Corey Hawkins, etc., etc.; you know, the usual suspects. A certain Jahlil Okafor might even be able to mount a case in that same direction. But none of these guys, Okafor included, can compete with Kaminsky when we include the game's other 20 minutes as well.
Half your time in this sport is spent when your team doesn't have the ball. Kaminsky's no Karl-Anthony Towns at the rim, certainly, but he'll block more shots than Okafor does, and he'll definitely clean up the defensive glass for you. That's a pretty fair defensive portfolio for the featured scorer in one of the best offenses we've seen in the last 10 years.
Ryan seems to know offense fairly well, and he chose to give Kaminsky a larger load of possessions than any player has carried in Madison since the days of Jon Leuer. Ryan's decision appears to have worked out pretty well: Wisconsin is scoring 1.23 points per possession in Big Ten play and that is after a couple of down games for the Badgers' offense (seriously). This is the Kaminsky Era at Wisconsin, and the valuable defender is powering an extraordinary offense. He's having the best season of any player in the country.
2. Jahlil Okafor, Duke Blue Devils
My career coaching record is 0-0, so take this with a grain of salt: I would double-team Okafor on every single touch. (Well, either that or foul him with a defender off my bench.) We're talking about a player who has recorded a grand total of three assists over the last 266 offensive possessions in which he's been on the floor. And sure, go ahead and speculate about his "hockey" assists -- that's kind of my point. Make Okafor make the hockey assist. That's demonstrably more difficult for him to do than it is for him to make a 2 against a single defender.
We know this is true because Okafor probably has one of the best 2-point percentages weighted by usage in the nation. (Unfortunately, such a stat is not recorded, but it's a safe guess.) For the season, Okafor's hitting 66 percent of his 2s and taking 26 percent of his team's shots while he's in the game.
True, this season, Connecticut's Amida Brimah is connecting 71 percent of the time, but he accounts for just 17 percent of the shots in the Huskies' Boatright-powered attack. And you may remember a couple of years back when Ricardo Ratliffe put a good scare into record-book legend Steve Johnson. It turns out Ratliffe converted 69 percent of his 2s while taking 24 percent of the Tigers' shots.
Ratliffe's season was considered something of a boutique stat wonder (a hoops perfect game), but the amazing thing about Okafor is that the best freshman season recorded by any post scorer in the last decade feels more or less like what was expected. Sometimes he scores on a post move that makes Twitter gush about "footwork," other times he just lays it in off the glass in more of a lunch-pail manner and heads back down the floor. But the key term there is "score," which Okafor does with high frequency.