'09-'10 Preseason NCAA Player Rankings: Power Forwards

Alec McAfeeCorrespondent IMay 21, 2009

LEXINGTON, KY - JANUARY 21:  Patrick Patterson #54 of the Kentucky Wildcats is pictured during the SEC game against the Auburn Tigers at Rupp Arena on January 21, 2009 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Today, we discuss part four of five of the 2009-10 Preseason Player Rankings. These rankings are centered around the top power forwards in the nation going into next season.

1. Patrick Patterson

The decision by Patterson to return to Kentucky for his junior year was a universal shock to the college basketball world.

Patterson has all the physical talents to make it in the NBA and has a mature mental approach to the game and to life, so him returning surprised us all.

Patterson will return to a Wildcat team that brings in one of the best recruiting classes in NCAA history—if not the best. Patterson will be joined down low by freshmen Daniel Orton and DeMarcus Cousins, as well as transfer Matt Pilgrim.

Patterson, a Huntington, WV native, should post even better stats than his 17.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last season.

You might wonder how that is possible if they are bringing in more talent to take shots away from Patterson that he could improve statistically. Patterson was routinely double and triple teamed last season because of the lack of a second perimeter threat to go along with Jodie Meeks. In this offense he should get more open shots and crash the boards against traditional power forwards instead of centers.

If Patterson improves on his jump shot and dribbling ability then he could become perhaps the best player in the country next season.

2. Luke Harangody

Built from the same mold as Tyler Hansborough, Harangody routinely gets overlooked when discussing the best players in college basketball, but he is one of the elite players across the country.

As a UK fan I saw Harangody tourch the Cats for 30 points in the NIT and he dominated all of the Big East with his rugged, nonstop type of game.

Harangody recorded 24 double-doubles last season, leading the Big East, and was named to several All-American teams.

Although he will most likely post better stats than Patrick Patterson next year, Harangody will be in for a long season as Notre Dame loses several top players and does not bring much in for next season.

3. Kyle Singler

Many people thought Singler was going to make the transition to superstar status last season but that just never panned out. He still did not have a killer instinct or the understanding of when to take over a game.

But Singler has a work ethic comparable to any NBA player which gives me confidence that he will work on areas of his game to become better.

Singler was already a superb three point shooter but if he can develop strength to battle in the post then he will become the best inside-outside power forward in the nation.

Singler returns to a Duke team that should be a major player yet again in the ACC next season.  They return Elliot Williams along with Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith and they add Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee to their roster from high school.

4. Craig Brackins

Brackins flew under the radar for the most part last season because he played in the same league as Blake Griffin, Damion James, and Cole Aldrich. But don't let his secretive game fool you; he can play.

Brackins averaged over 20 points and nine rebounds per game last season in the Big 12 playing against NBA-type talent every game. He was the only major threat on his Iowa State team and was still able to record 15 double-doubles last season, including an unbelievable 42 point, 15 rebound performance against Kansas.

The only reason Brackins is not a spot or two higher is because his team is routinely terrible and that will continue next season. Unless there is drastic improvements do not expect to see them in the NCAA Tournament any time soon.

5. Matt Howard

Howard was one of the top mid major players in the nation last season for Butler. Howard is a force in the paint as well as being able to hit the mid-range jump shot.

Butler was again successful in due part to Howard's success on the block. He is young but knows how to play the game—as evident by his averages of over 14 points and seven rebounds per game.

Next season Butler might be a preseason top 10 team if they get the respect they deserve so look out for Howard to explode onto the national scene.


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