2021 NBA Big Board: March Madness Top 30

Oftentimes, we see rankings this time of the year of the best players from exclusively NCAA tournament teams. This is taking that idea and pushing it to the next level. The following rankings – which are dominated by my own Twitter takes – are exclusively based on what these players have done in the tournament.

Unlike my – and most others’ – typical big boards, this ranking does not take into account high school, international play, and the majority of their college careers. We’re only taking 1-5 games (since these rankings are pre-Final Four) into account for these players. This board is also going to heavily favor guys on teams that are winning. This shows up clearly at the top, with all but one of the top 6 being from Final Four teams.

#30 – Mardrez McBride, 6’2 shooting guard, North Texas

#29 – Chandler Vaudrin, 6’7 lead guard, Winthrop

#28 – Scottie Barnes, 6’8 point forward, Florida State

#27 – Kai Jones, 6’10 combo big, Texas

#26 – Herb Jones, 6’8 utility wing, Alabama

Jones would be a whole lot higher on this board if not for his last showing in the tournament. Over the first weekend, he averaged 13 points, 6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.5 steals on 52% shooting, as well as perfect from the free throw line. Jones had a horrifically poor showing against UCLA, including 5 missed free throws in a game that was decided in overtime.

#25 – Marcus Zegarowski, 6’2 point guard, Creighton

#24 – Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, 6’9 power forward, Villanova

#23 – Joel Ayayi, 6’6 wing, Gonzaga

#22 – Miles McBride, 6’2 point guard, West Virginia

#21 – Cam Thomas, 6’4 shooting guard, Louisiana State

#20 – Jared Butler, 6’3 point guard, Baylor

#19 – Tre Mann, 6’5 lead guard, Florida

Mann flashed his shot creation with a massive collection of step-backs, including this dagger against Virginia Tech.

#18 – Chris Duarte, 6’6 wing, Oregon

#17 – James Bouknight, 6’4 combo guard, Connecticut

#16 – Cameron Krutwig, 6’9 big, Loyola-Chicago

#15 – Jason Preston, 6’2 lead guard, Ohio

#14 – Moses Moody – 6’6 wing, Arkansas

#13 – Quentin Grimes – 6’5 combo guard, Houston

#12 – Drew Timme, 6’10 big, Gonzaga

#11 – Buddy Boeheim, 6’6 wing, Syracuse

#10 – Luka Garza, 7’0 center, Iowa

I personally think Garza does not translate well to the NBA at all, but for this exercise we’re just focusing on tournament performance, and it’s hard to argue with 30 points (on 64% shooting and 78% from three) and 7.5 rebounds per game.

#9 – Cade Cunningham, 6’7 lead guard, Oklahoma State

#8 – Evan Mobley, 7’0 big, USC

#7 – Corey Kispert, 6’8 wing, Gonzaga

#6 – Franz Wagner, 6’9 wing, Michigan

#5 – Davion Mitchell, 6’2 combo guard, Baylor

#4 – Jalen Suggs, 6’4 point guard, Gonzaga

#3 – Kevin Obanor, 6’8 wing, Oral Roberts

Obanor averaged 23.3 points and 11 rebounds per game on 50/44/84 shooting. He was the perfect wingman for Abmas during Oral Roberts’s magical run that nearly got them to the Elite 8. The duo were often referred to as the perfect NBA Jam teammates.

#2 – Johnny Juzang, 6’6 wing, UCLA

Juzang has been awesome for UCLA. Most recently, he put up 28 points on 19 shots, without a single turnover, helping UCLA to upset #1 Michigan.

#1 – Max Abmas, 6’0 point guard, Oral Roberts

The man was quite literally Damian Lillard incarnate. It brought me deep despair when his shot at the buzzer against Arkansas bounced away. The same despair he gave me when he was first busting our brackets.


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