Welcome back to our latest rankings of the top 25 players in college basketball. You'll never guess Nos. 2-25.
A certain rather well-known player (get well soon, sir) has made the rightful owner of the No. 1 ranking a less hotly disputed topic than in years past. So be it. There are still things to be learned about that player and certainly still news to be spread about other amazing performances.
Just a reminder that NBA-agnostic player evaluation is the name of this game. We'll leave the mock drafts and fretting about future potential to others. This is how players would be ranked on present-tense college impact only.
The story so far: Zion Williamson was doing Zion Williamson things, and then his shoe failed him. Hopefully the knee injury that resulted is, as Mike Krzyzewski said, a "mild sprain." Ideally, Williamson will return to the floor soon and at full speed.
As to these "Zion Williamson things" that we hope to see again in the very near future, some specificity is in order. Williamson is historically great at getting opportunities at the rim. The last time these top 25 rankings appeared, this fact was highlighted, quantified and celebrated.
Well, it's still true. In fact, Williamson's numbers were inching upward since we last convened to gawk at the havoc he can wreak in the paint. Shooting 75 percent on 2s as a 20-points-a-night scorer doesn't just come out of nowhere.
Allowing for the fact that we don't even know what we don't know regarding shot location back in the old days (it would be nice to see Bill Walton's 1972-73 rendered in this form), one might still hazard to say it's likely no player in the 3-point era has attempted so many shots so close as often as Williamson.
If anything, Williamson was being penalized statistically, ever so slightly, for the "do something spectacular" expectations that were heaped upon him. Specifically, his dunk percentage is, relatively speaking, underwhelming. The Duke freshman has converted 52 of his 58 attempted dunks this season.
That's a bit on the low side (see, for example, Rui Hachimura: 46-of-46, not to mention the vertically privileged Tacko Fall: 58-of-58), and it very likely speaks to the fact that when it was Williamson who was on a breakaway, the lad was expected to at least attempt a 720-degree windmill backflip dunk while eating a cupcake topped by a lit candle.
Were he merely a force of historically high-volume 2-point-scoring nature for a national title contender, it would probably be enough to land Williamson at No. 1 on this list. Add in the fact that he owns the highest steal rate of any player during the ACC conference season and is a partner in shot-blocking and shot-altering mayhem with Marques Bolden, however, and you're confronted with a basketball unicorn. Get well soon, Zion.