Big Ten’s top 25 players for 2020-21: 6-10

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So the top 5 is some order of Cockburn, Ayo, Garza, TJD and Franz. If I had to guess I’d say:

  1. Garza

  2. Ayo

  3. Cockburn

  4. TJD

  5. Franz

Assuming Eli isn’t top 5, I’m curious where you’d have him ranked?

No idea to be honest. He didn’t really come into consideration for the top 25 for us. Once you get past 30-40, I’m not sure what criteria you’d even really use to rank players in this sort of context.

Eli is vital for UM, but I don’t really see him in consideration for a list like this.

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I ranked out to 35 and didn’t have him on my list. He is a very solid player, but I don’t view him as someone that belongs in the top 25 by any means.

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I’m happy he’s our senior starter in the backcourt and all, but didn’t expect his name mentioned here.

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A minor point, but Trevion Williams is not a Michigan native. He ended up his last couple of years of high school in Michigan, but he grew up in Chicago.

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To me, that depends on whether the list is of guys who meet a general standard of what a top 25 Big Ten player should look like, or whether it’s a relative listing of how well the players in the conference will actually perform this coming season. Numbers 20-25 on the list consist of two up transfers, one of whom hasn’t played for the past two seasons because of injuries, a power conference transfer who had good numbers, but on a team which won five games over two seasons when the conference was at its nadir, a 5* freshman PG in the class of '21 who reclassified to the class of '20 (Hello, Derryck Thornton?), a 4* freshman who may not even start this season, and a very solid fifth year senior who missed virtually all of last season with injuries, and was replaced by a guy who is still there, and had numbers on a par with his. While all of those guys might be very good, they’re all giant question marks (Bohannon maybe less than the others), and in truth, there are a whole series of guys not even on the also considered list who are at least as likely to be top 25 in production next year as the guys listed. Take Eli out of the equation because he’s a Michigan player and there’s some bias, and substitute a guy everyone loves to hate–will all six of the guys between 20 and 25, or even three of them, be more productive as overall players next year than will be Brad Davison, who isn’t on the also considered list? This is why the list looks more to me like a potential list than a production list, which is fine, but should be discussed as such.

It is a projection list in many ways. We are projecting our top 25 players for the coming season. That’s how we have always framed it.

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The list is definitely rooted in potential over production – it is a 2020-21 list. The intention is definitely not to rank guys based on last year’s stats, it is to project for the upcoming season.

I also don’t think Alex or I would hang our hat on the 20-25 range. It was a complete mess. Most teams that have candidates for that range have too many candidates to sort through (would you say Eli, Dickinson or Chaundee Brown is Michigan’s 3rd-best player? what do you do with guys like Liddell, Walker, Towns and Sueing at OSU… they are all probably 20-30 ranked guys, I like Fredrick a lot and he’s going to make a sophomore leap but Bohannon is back, how does that influence his role? etc.). So it is definitely easier in that range to take guys who will probably have a lot of opportunity.

As far as not including guys like Eli or Brad Davison who are solid players in an established role, average around 10 ppg and have other top 25 players as teammates, it is hard to predict any sort of break out that would lead to them making the list if you did it again in the postseason.

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Curious, do you guys think Micah Potter unquestionably Wisconsin’s best player this season? I guess I haven’t viewed him as that at all yet.

I think so. He completely transformed their season last year. He’s a pick and pop big who can roll, finish and hit threes.

We overrated Reuvers/Roovers last year so we were hesitant to do that again this year :rofl:.

Trice is critical for that team though because he’s the only perimeter player who can create his own shot, but I don’t think that means he’s their best player.

Sort of like Simpson wasn’t Michigan’s best player in 2018 (most would say it was Moe) but the team would have completely fallen apart without Simpson’s ability to create out of PNR.

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To be clear, I overrated Reuvers last year and brought you along for the ride.


This is a cool list guys, and thanks for doing it. Without revisiting last year’s list, it feels like there’s a lot less talent this year in the Big Ten and I have a lot less enthusiasm for the talent that does exist going into the season. I guess that’s evident when you look at outgoing players and consider how deep the conference was a year ago. Might explain some of these arguments as well.

Is that your sense as well? Is that a Big Ten story or more representative of college ball overall?

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I was curious if you guys considered chaundee Brown at all. If not was it because of potential, because he didn’t get a waiver yet, or both?
Really enjoying this. Thanks for doing it.

I was thinking that as well. My guess is that he might be higher on a team that didn’t already have two forwards in the top-10 of their list. His upside is probably limited given that he’ll be sharing the floor with two possible NBA guys who play the same position.

It might make for some interesting content to do a quick recap of how last year’s list compared to the final outcome with everyone. Maybe that would have been better during the long Covid summer…but still wouldn’t be back to revisit and see how well the rankings matched performance.


I like Potter, but 6 seems high. He didn’t even average 20 mpg last year and Wisconsin has basically the exact same team back. Do you think he will get enough minutes this year to produce like a borderline top 5 player? Can Gard figure out a way to play both Reuvers and Potter close to 30 mpg? At 20-25 mpg, I don’t see how he has the same production as some of the other guys in the top 15 who will play heavy minutes.


If I had to guess, I think Kofi is 4-5. I think there has been talk from Dylan and others that he was probably close to his ceiling last year and hard to imagine both him and Ayo being top-3. I think TJD has more upside and probably slips ahead of him. Everyone hopes/wants/thinks Franz may be the most likely NBA player in that group, but he has to show he can shoot and take on a little more usage.

I’ll say:
1 - Garza
2 - Ayo
3 - TJD
4 - Kofi
5 - Franz

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Is it that big of a leap that Potter will play more minutes this year than in a season when he was eligible in late December? He completely transformed Wisconsin last year and is a huge reason they are preseason favorites.