110 Sports created a formula to determine the 100 greatest college basketball players of the last decade spanning from the 2010-11 season through the end of 2019-20. The base requirement to be considered for the list was making an all-conference first team and 1,351 players fit that basic criteria. All 1,351 players went through the algorithm to determine the greatest 100 to play the sport over the last 10 seasons.
|Points (average of two best seasons)||1 point per 4 points (12 ppg = 3 points)|
|Assists (average of two best seasons)||1 point per 2 assists ( 6 assists = 3 points)|
|Rebounds (average of two best seasons)||1 point per 2 rebounds (6 rebounds = 3 points)|
|Steals (average of two best seasons)||1 point per 1 steal (3 steals = 3 points)|
|Blocks (average of two best seasons)||1 point per 1 block (3 blocks = 3 points)|
|Regular season title||3 points (major), 2 points (mid-major)|
|Conference tournament title||2 points (major), 1 point (mid-major)|
|NCAA Tournament appearance||2 points|
|Final Four appearance||4 points|
|National Championship||6 points|
|AP All-American||7 points (1st Team), 5 points (2nd Team), 3 points (3rd team)|
|Naismith Player of the Year||8 points|
The formula is not perfect, but it takes out as much bias as possible. And please remember, this is an examination of the greatest players of the decade, not the best.
With that being said, here are the 10 players just outside the top 50 on the list.
60. G Myles Powell | Seton Hall | 2016/17-2019/20
Total Points: 30 (27)
At a Glance: 2019-20 AP First Team All-American, 2019-20 Big East Player of the Year
Josh Mullenix: Powell belongs right around here. He got better every year and the first team all-american honor in 2019-20 was well deserved. However, the Pirates didn’t win more than 10 Big East games until this past season and Powell never made it past the second round of the NCAA tournament. I’m glad Seton Hall won a regular season title because that helps get Powell to this spot that I find very appropriate.
Chris Brown: One of the top scorers in college basketball over the past few years, Powell is well deserving of a spot around 60th. He contributed significantly for the Pirates from his freshman year, and over the last three seasons averaged roughly 20 points per game while starting nearly 100 games. Seton Hall’s regular season title in 2020 helps Powell’s case significantly, lifting him to a place in the rankings that seems appropriate.
Josh Doering: A spot just inside the top 60 seems reasonable for Powell. The Big East regular season championship gave his resume a massive boost. Before this past season, he was just an elite scorer on a team that was 29-25 in the Big East over his first three years. The conference championship took him from the 80s to 60, and a Final Four would’ve landed him in the 20s. All of that sounds extremely logical to me.
59. G Casey Prather | Florida | 2010/11-2013/14
Total Points: 31 (20)
At a Glance: 2014 Final Four, three-time SEC regular season champion
JM: Prather is too high on this list. He benefits greatly from the dominant stretch the Gators had in the SEC regular season race and of course the 2014 Final Four. He was one of the two best players on that 2013-14 Florida team but he didn’t average more than 6.2 points or start more than two games in a season before his senior year. I would’ve been fine with him making the very bottom of this list but that’s as far as I’ll go.
CB: Yikes. Not to diminish Prather and his very impressive senior season, but he belongs nowhere near the top 60, or 75, or 80, in my opinion. Prather started 35 games in 2013-14, averaging 13.8 points, 1.6 assists and five rebounds per game and leading the Gators to the Final Four. He certainly deserves all the points he earned for that year. But the three years prior, Prather averaged 3.1 points per game while making just four starts. He received credit for three NCAA Tournament appearances and two regular season conference titles during that stretch. Enough said.
JD: Prather should be on the list because of his contributions to a Final Four team, but he’s at least 20 spots too high. The formula doesn’t take into consideration how large of a role someone played, so there were bound to be a handful of outliers like him. He scored a total of 276 points his first three years at Florida. Powell produced 1,663 in the same stretch of his career. It’s obviously not that simple but you get the point.
58. F Anthony Lamb | Vermont | 2016/17-2019/20
Total Points: 31 (21)
At a Glance: Two time America East Player of the Year (2018-19, 2019-20), four-time America East regular season champion
JM: I’m pumped to see Lamb get a spot on this list. Individually, he’s one of the better mid-major players of the decade and the added team success helps him separate from the other four-year winners further down on the list. What’s gonna hurt him at the next level is his inconsistencies from beyond the arc but on a list that determines the greatest players of the decade, he deserves a spot and I’m completely cool with where he landed.
CB: It’s good to see that our formula rewarded Lamb over several mid major players with team success, but weaker numbers. Lamb was a consistent starter for four seasons (aside from one injury his sophomore year) and averaged double digits every single season. His junior and senior years, Lamb averaged roughly 19 points and seven rebounds. The two-time conference player of the year helped lead the Catamounts to four straight regular season titles and two NCAA Tournaments. A spot in the 50s seems great for Lamb.
JD: I am thrilled to see that Lamb is separated from most of the other mid-major guys who made it because of team success. The only conference title Lamb failed to capture was the 2017-18 America East Tournament. On an individual note, he finished his career with 1,993 points, 765 rebounds, 195 assists, 160 blocks and 100 steals. Any discussion about the best mid-major players of the 2010s would not be complete without him.
57. G Aaron Craft | Ohio State | 2010/11-2013/14
Total Points: 31 (21)
At a Glance: 2012 Final Four, two-time Big Ten regular season champion, two-time Big Ten Tournament champion
JM: This is easily my favorite Big Ten player of the decade ahead of Purdue’s Dakota Mathias. Craft is fifth in all time assists in the Big Ten, first in steals by some 80 or so swipes and 10th in win shares. He played the game the right way at a high level with unbelievable consistency for four years and was largely responsible for the success the Buckeyes saw during his time in Columbus. Can he be much higher than this? No, probably not with the lack of individual accolades and overwhelming statistics. With that being said, his impact on the Ohio State program can’t be understated and a lower ranking wouldn’t have been appropriate.
CB: There’s a ceiling for a player who only barely averaged 10 points per game in a season, but Craft did enough else to be deserving of a solid position on this list. Craft started 111 games over his final three seasons, was a member of the Big Ten’s All-Defense Team four straight years, and became the program’s all-time steals leader his junior year. The Buckeyes went 119-29 in his time with the program, appearing in the Big Dance each year while reaching at least the Sweet 16 three times and the Final Four once. While the lack of eye-catching individual stats would likely have led to a lower ranking personally, that probably would have been a mistake.
JD: I don’t think I could have placed Craft better myself. I refuse to put someone who never averaged more than 10.0 points per game in my top 50 or let everything else Craft brought to the table drop him any farther than 60th. He was instrumental in everything Ohio State accomplished during his time in Columbus. Here’s a little fun fact: Craft averaged between 4.6 and 4.8 assists all four seasons. Talk about consistency.
56. G Kevin Pangos | Gonzaga | 2011/12-2014/15
Total Points: 31 (22)
At a Glance: 2014-15 AP Third Team All-American, 2014-15 WCC Player of the Year
JM: Pangos is one of the first names I think of when considering the most important Gonzaga players of the decade. He started every game he played in a zags uniform except two — for a total of 140 starts — while getting better as a playmaker and decision maker every season. His career 42% from beyond the arc is remarkable especially for a guy taking 5.5 per game early in the decade. Tack on an Elite Eight, WCC dominance and a player of the year honor and all that adds up to this spot on the list, one that I think is very appropriate.
CB: A major part of the foundation that propelled Gonzaga basketball into a new era, Pangos was a four-year starter and extremely consistent force for the Bulldogs, averaging between 11.6 and 14.4 points per game each year. The Zags’ all-time leader in made 3-pointers knocked down 322 in his career — at an impressive 42% rate — and led his team to the Elite 8 his senior year. I’m pleased with where Pangos falls.
JD: Pangos’s numbers weren’t all that much better as a senior (11.6 points, 4.8 assists, 2.7 rebounds) than they were as a freshman (13.6 points, 3.4 assists, 2.7 rebounds), which is rather remarkable. Other notable reasons he deserves this spot include his 140 career starts, knocking down 41.5% of his 3-point attempts, a No. 2 seed in 2014-15 and a No. 1 seed in 2012-13. Another job well done by the formula.
55. C Deandre Ayton | Arizona | 2017/18
Total Points: 31 (26)
At a Glance: 2017-18 AP First Team All-American, 2017-18 Pac 12 Player of the Year
JM: This is one of those instances that I think looks really good for our formula because it accurately weighs individual success with individual accolades and longer college careers. Ayton was simply elite during his one season at Arizona resulting in a first team all-american award, Pac 12 Player of the Year and the Karl Malone Award recipient. He gets recognition for his team’s success in the Pac 12, but Arizona lost to Buffalo in the first round of the tournament, ending Ayton’s season earlier than anyone thought it would. This is a perfect example of greatest versus best. Is Ayton one of the best college players of the decade? Absolutely. But his accolades and team success don’t mirror that of one of the greatest college basketball players of the decade. I’m very pleased with his placement in the rankings.
CB: Ayton’s single college season was undoubtedly one of the best of the 2010s statistically. The 7-foot, 1-inch center averaged 20.1 points, 11.6 boards and roughly two blocks per contest and was the Pac 12 Player of the Year as a freshman. Consensus first team all-american, Pac 12 Tournament MVP, Pac 12 All-Defense team — Ayton was recognized individually in just about every way possible. Of course, the team side must be considered as well, and the Wildcats’ loss to Buffalo in the first round of the NCAA Tournament limits how high Ayton should be here. I’m really pleased with our formula in giving Ayton recognition for his outstanding season while also considering the team aspect as well.
JD: 55th is too high for my liking based on the fact that Arizona only earned a four seed and promptly lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Somewhere in the 60s would be more fitting. What can’t be disputed, though, is that Ayton put up numbers comparable to any one-and-done freshman in the decade. Improper benefits aside, he absolutely terrorized the Pac-12. Ayton was so good it makes me wonder why that team wasn’t better, especially with the talent around him.
54. F Grant Williams | Tennessee | 2016/17-2018/19
Total Points: 31 (28)
At a Glance: 2018-19 AP First Team All-American, two-time SEC Player of the Year (2017-18, 2018-19)
JM: I often make the mistake of thinking that Williams was in Knoxville for four years. That’s how big of an impact he made on the Volunteers. He turned Tennessee into a powerhouse for two years and was a first team all-american and two time SEC Player of the Year in the process. Tennessee had only won 25 games twice since 2000; they did it twice while Williams was there. That alone means he deserves a spot on this list. Add in the individual accolades and he’s a no brainer.
CB: One of the greatest players in program history, Williams led Tennessee to 31 wins, tying a program best, in 2018-19. A great defender and rebounder who could also function as a primary scorer, Williams could nearly do it all, and upped his scoring average from 12.6 points his freshman year to nearly 19 two years later. Few players have done more to help turn around a program in such a short time than Williams. I understand why he falls here at 54, but I likely would have had him roughly 10 spots higher.
JD: I wholeheartedly approve of what the formula did here. If anything, Williams should be even higher. The Volunteers had not been ranked in the AP poll since 2010-11 when he stepped on campus. By the time he left, Tennessee had won 57 games in a two-year span and spent time as the No. 1 team in the country. Williams turned the entire trajectory of a program around, which unfortunately can’t be quantified. I guess the first team all-american and two SEC Player of the Year awards will have to do that instead.
53. G Kris Dunn | Providence | 2012/13-2015/16
Total Points: 31 (29)
At a Glance: 2015-16 AP Second Team All-American, two-time Big East Player of the Year (2014-15, 2015-16)
JM: In terms of individual points — the number in parenthesis — nobody around Dunn on the list will compare. Two player of the year honors in a conference like the Big East is not an accolade most players on this list can boast. The Big East has seen some of the country’s most elite guards over the last decade including Ryan Arcidiacano, Jalen Brunson, Markus Howard and Myles Powell, but Dunn is the only one with multiple player of the year awards. I actually disagree with the other Josh here, I think Dunn is very accurately rated considering his individual accolades. If the Friars did anything of any real significance while he was there, he would’ve been a little higher.
CB: As Josh mentioned, despite a strong, but not spectacular, 16 points per game average during his best two seasons, Dunn’s individual points total is sky high thanks to his high assist average (6.9) and strong rebound average (5.4) used for this formula as well as two player of the year awards in the Big East. There’s no disputing Dunn’s abilities at his best, but he wasn’t really a high-level player until his final two seasons, and with little postseason success to speak of, I’m actually going to lean the other way and say I would have had Dunn a few spots lower. That’s more about elevating other players than wanting to knock Dunn down, though.
JD: Did Dunn end up getting overrated a little bit? Yeah. Do I care? Not really. The last time Providence experienced the kind of success it had in Dunn’s junior and senior seasons was 2004-05. And don’t forget the Friars got as high as eighth in the AP poll during his all-america campaign. Anyone who finishes with career averages of over 12 points, five assists, five rebounds and two steals in a major conference immediately has my attention. I put Dunn right up there with Powell, Markus Howard and Jalen Brunson as the top Big East guards of the 2010s.
52. F Thomas Walkup | Stephen F. Austin | 2012/13-2015/16
Total Points: 32 (21)
At a Glance: Two-time Southland Player of the Year (2014-15, 2015-16), four-time Southland regular season champion, three-time Southland Tournament champion
JM: SFA lost one conference game after Walkup’s freshman year. One. That’s ridiculous. I don’t care who you are or which conference you play in. Walkup is near the top of almost every significant all-time category for the Southland because he was so consistent his entire career while getting better each season. I’m all for Walkup landing where he did.
CB: The Lumberjacks lost just one conference game in Walkup’s final three seasons. Yes, you just read that stat from Josh. It’s just so incredible that I thought it beared repeating. Walkup was absolutely one of the very best mid major players in the country in the past decade. He led SFA to its first two NCAA Tournament games in program history, and his career offensive rating is third all-time in NCAA history. That’s right. I’m happy with Walkup here, and may have even snuck him just inside my top 50.
JD: In hindsight, it would have been interesting to consider adding something into the formula for major March Madness upsets. Walkup earned a spot in the 50s without it though. In his last three seasons, the Lumberjacks won two NCAA Tournament games and lost one conference game. Walkup averaged at least 13 points all three of those seasons by the way. No argument from me on this one.
51. G Josh Perkins | Gonzaga | 2014/15-2018/19
Total Points: 32 (21)
At a Glance: 2017 Final Four, Four-time WCC regular season and conference tournament champion
JM: Perkins is a winner, plain and simple. We wanted to award players for winning at this level despite the lack of individual accolades so I’m glad he’s included. He might’ve been a little lower on my list, but I’ve got no issues with a low 50s ranking. He was never the best player on a Zags team, but did you ever feel bad about Perkins running your offense? Of course not.
CB: I’ll echo the thoughts of Josh and Josh here as I’m glad to see players like Perkins getting rewarded for their role in immense team success. Perkins trails only our 48th ranked player in career wins in NCAA history and is the Zags all-time assists leader. With a lack of truly eye-catching individual numbers compared to others in this range, I likely would have placed Perkins closer to 60 than 50, but I’m fine with this ranking.
JD: The low 50s are an extremely reasonable spot for Perkins from my perspective. He was never the best player on his team but was a four-year starter that reached the Sweet 16 all five years he was in Spokane. Perkins is exactly the kind of player we tried to reward with our scoring system and I’m glad we did him justice.