With the start of college basketball right around the corner — Tennessee starts exhibition play against Pikeville on Monday — it’s time to get a feel for the current landscape. Polls and All-American teams are popping up — the AP’s picks will be out Oct. 31 — and preseason mags are being devoured. On top of it all SBNation recently released its collection of top 100 players. UT fans should become familiar with some of the names on this list.
No. 43: VCU’s Treveon Graham
The 6-foot-6, 220-pound senior forward averaged 15.8 points and 7 rebounds for the Rams last season. NBADraft.net projects him as the No. 50 pick in the draft. The former two-star recruit is 604 points away from the program’s all-time scoring record.
No. 45: Kansas State’s Marcus Foster
The 6-3, 210 sophomore guard averaged 15.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists for the Wildcats last season. After he started every game as a freshman, he landed on the Big 12 preseason all-conference team.
January 13 and January 27
No. 75: Arkansas’ Bobby Portis
The 6-11, 242 sophomore forward averaged 12.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists last season. NBADraft.net projects him as the No. 12 pick in the draft. Among his first-year accomplishments: second-team All-SEC, SEC all-freshman team, three-time SEC freshman of the week. Now he’s a first-teamer on the SEC preseason team. Portis had a quiet night against the Vols last season: 4 points (2-of-7), 4 rebounds, an assist and a steal.
January 20 and March 7
No. 82: South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell
The 6-5, 215 sophomore guard averaged 13.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.2 steals last season. NBADraft.net projects him as the No. 21 pick in the draft. Thornwell joined Portis on the league’s all-freshman team last season and also earned freshman of the week honors three times. He scored 15 points (5-of-18) in South Carolina’s first loss to the Vols. UT held him to 7 points (3-of-9) in its second win.
No. 70: Auburn’s Antoine Mason
The 6-1, 216 graduate transfer guard averaged 25.6 points — second in the nation behind Creighton’s Doug McDermott — at Niagra last season. He led the nation in free throws made (260) and attempted (357).
No. 99: Auburn’s KT Harrell
The 6-4, 212 senior guard averaged 18.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists last season. He finished sixth in the SEC in scoring while shooting 43.3 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from 3-point range. He twice scored 15 points (5-of-15 and 6-of-15) in losses to UT last season.
February 14 and March 4
No. 27: LSU’s Jordan Mickey
The 6-8, 235 sophomore forward averaged 12.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.1 blocks last season. NBADraft.net projects him as the No. 29 pick in the draft. Last season he joined Portis and Thornwell on the league’s all-freshmen team, earned second-team all-conference honors and made the league’s all-defensive team. His nine double-doubles ranked third in the SEC, behind Kentucky’s Julius Randle and UT’s Jarnell Stokes. He totaled 14 points (7-of-10), 5 blocks, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in a loss to UT last season.
No. 7: Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns
The 6-11, 250 freshman forward was the 2014 Gatorade national player of the year. He’s one of the nine McDonald’s All-Americans on the Wildcat roster. NBADraft.net projects him as the No. 3 pick in the draft. He averaged 11 points and 6.5 rebounds through six games during UK’s Big Blue Bahamas Tour.
No. 17: Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein
The 7-0, 240 junior forward averaged 6.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks last season. NBADraft.net projects hims the No. 14 pick in the draft. He made last season’s SEC all-defensive team and earned a second-team spot on the preseason all-conference team. Cauley-Stein missed five shots and scored zero points against UT in the Wildcats’ win last season.
No. 21: Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison
The 6-6, 212 sophomore guard averaged 13.7 points, 3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 steals last season. NBADraft.net projects him as the No. 40 pick in the draft. Last season he was named to the 2014 Midwest Region NCAA all-tournament team and the SEC all-tournament team. Now he’s a first-team member of the league’s preseason team. He totaled 14 points (3-of-7), 4 rebounds and an assist in UK’s victory over the Vols.
No. 40: Kentucky’s Andrew Harrison
The 6-6, 210 sophomore guard averaged 10.9 points, 4 assists and 3.2 rebounds last season. NBADraft.net projects him as the No. 31 pick in the draft. He’s a second-team member of the league’s preseason team. While his twin became the NCAA tournament sniper, it was Andrew who did the most damage against the Vols. He went off for a career-high 26 points (7-of-13) to help beat UT.
No. 66: Kentucky’s Dakari Johnson
The 7-0, 255 sophomore center averaged 5.2 points, and 3.9 rebounds last season. NBADraft.net projects him as the No. 36 pick in the draft. He had 4 points (2-of-3) and 4 rebounds against the Vols.
No. 72: Kentucky’s Alex Poythress
The 6-8, 238 junior guard averaged 5.9 points and 4.5 rebounds last season. NBADraft.net projects him as the No. 34 pick in the draft. He’s second-team member of the league’s preseason team. He had 4 points (1-of-4), 3 rebounds and 2 assists against the Vols.
No. 79: Ole Miss’ Jarvis Summers
The 6-3, 186 senior guard averaged 17.3 points, 3.8 assists and 2.4 rebounds last season. He earned second-team all-conference honors last season and enters his final year as a preseason SEC first-teamer. He will be featured even more now that volume shooter Marshall Henderson is gone. Summers hung 16 points (6-of-11) and 5 assists on the Vols in a loss last season.
No. 20: Florida’s Chris Walker
The 6-10, 220 sophomore forward averaged 1.9 points and 1.3 rebounds last season. NBADraft.net projects him as the No. 26 pick in the draft. A rules violation got him suspended for the Gators’ first two regular season games this season. If Walker can stay out of his own way, the McDonald’s All-American could be one of the best players in the league. Walker, thanks to NCAA issues, didn’t see the Vols in the first meeting between the two teams last season. He had 3 rebounds in 5 minutes in the second game, and 1 rebound in 5 minutes in the third.
No. 74: Florida’s Kasey Hill
The 6-1, 182 sophomore guard averaged 5.5 points, 3.1 assists and 2 rebounds last season. As a freshman the McDonald’s All-American ranked fourth in the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio and 10th in assists. He will have a bigger role now that former SEC POY Scottie Wilbekin is gone. Hill totaled 2 points (1-of-6), 3 assists and 3 rebounds in the Gators’ first win against the Vols last season. He had 4 points (2-of-6) in the second, and 5 points (2-of-4) in the third.
No. 86: Florida’s Dorian Finney-Smith
The 6-8, 218 junior forward averaged 8.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists last season. The SEC’s sixth man of the year should be a starter now. He totaled 9 points (4-of-9) and 8 rebounds against the Vols in the Gators’ first victory against UT last season. He had four points (1-of-6) and five rebounds in the second. He was held to zero points (0-2) and 2 rebounds in the final meeting.
No. 93: Florida’s Michael Frazier II
The 6-4, 194 junior guard averaged 12.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists last season. He made the All-SEC tournament team along with the All-NCAA tournament South regional team. He enters this season a first-team member of the conference’s preseason team. Frazier is one of the deadliest 3-point shooters in the nation. He made 118 last season, including 11 in a game against South Carolina. He totaled 17 points (5-of-8) and 4 rebounds in the Gators’ first win over the Vols. He went for 11 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals in the second. In game three he had 7 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals.
* If UT beats Santa Clara in the Orlando Classic, it will almost certainly play Kansas next. The Jayhawks are loaded with No. 16 Wayne Selden, No. 29 Cliff Alexander, No. 31 Perry Ellis, No. 35 Kelly Oubre. Other SBNation Top-100 players in the Orlando Classic field include No. 81 Matt Carlino (Marquette) and No. 26 Branden Dawson (Michigan State).