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November 1, 2011

Preseason power rankings: Power forwards

EARLIER: Small forwards | Point guards | Shooting guards

Every other power forward in the nation is making a futile attempt to keep up with the Joneses.

Kentucky's Terrence Jones and Baylor's Perry Jones, no relation, raised some eyebrows across college basketball last spring when they decided to stay in school for their sophomore seasons rather than enter the NBA draft.

Their decisions made them the top two power forwards in the preseason edition of the Rivals.com College Basketball Power Rankings, which measure the nation's best performers at each position.

Terrence Jones helped lead Kentucky to a Final Four appearance as a freshman. Perry Jones didn't enjoy quite as much team success at Baylor in his freshman season, but his skill and upside make him a likely NBA lottery pick.

While two sophomores top our power forward rankings, the rest of the list rewards experience. Six of our top 10 power forwards are seniors.

Our unveiling of the preseason power rankings continues Wednesday with a look at the nation's top 20 centers.

The top 20 power forwards
1. Terrence Jones (6-9/252, Soph.), Kentucky
Jones' 25-point, 12- rebound performance in his Kentucky debut may have set the tone for the rest of his career. He averaged 15.7 points and 8.8 rebounds last season and will team with freshmen Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to give Kentucky one of the nation's top frontcourts this season.
2. Perry Jones (6-11/235, Soph.), Baylor
Jones is the first Baylor player to be named preseason Big 12 player of the year by the league's coaches. He averaged 13.9 points and 7.2 rebounds as a freshman last season. He must sit out the first five games of the season for receiving improper pre-enrollment benefits.
3. Thomas Robinson (6-9/237, Jr.), Kansas
Although he played only 14.6 minutes per game last season while backing up Marcus and Markieff Morris, Robinson averaged 7.6 points and 6.4 rebounds. He should step into a starring role this year now that the Morris twins have moved on to the NBA.
4. Trevor Mbakwe (6-8/245, Sr.), Minnesota
Mbakwe averaged a double-double last season with 13.9 points and a Big Ten-leading 10.5 rebounds per game. He became the fourth Minnesota player to lead the Big Ten in rebounding. Mbkawe averaged 11.4 points and 9.4 rebounds for Team USA this summer in the World University Games.
5. JaMychal Green (6-8/228, Sr.), Alabama
Green averaged 15.5 points and 7.4 rebounds last season and was a first-team All-SEC selection. He averaged 12.6 points and 5.9 rebounds for Team USA this summer at the World University Games.
6. John Henson (6-11/220, Jr.), North Carolina
Henson averaged a double-double last season with 11.7 points and 10.1 rebounds. He led the ACC in rebounds and blocks (3.2 per game) and was named the ACC defensive player of the year.
7. John Shurna (6-9/215, Sr.), Northwestern
Shurna was bothered by a high ankle sprain and concussion last season, yet he still ranked eighth in the Big Ten in scoring at 16.6 points per game. How much does Northwestern rely on him? Shurna averaged 19.3 points and shot 55.4 percent in wins last season. He averaged 12.2 points and shot 36.6 percent in losses.
8. Draymond Green (6-7/230, Sr.), Michigan State
Green was one of just 10 players nationwide last season to lead his team in rebounds (8.6 per game) and assists (4.1 per game). He also averaged 12.6 points. Green recorded a triple-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in an NCAA tournament loss to UCLA.
9. Kevin Jones (6-8/260, Sr.), West Virginia
Jones has maintained steady production the past few seasons. After averaging 13.5 points and 7.2 rebounds for West Virginia's Final Four team in 2010, he averaged 13.1 points and 7.5 rebounds last season. He ranks second in school history with 309 career offensive rebounds.
10. Drew Gordon (6-9/245, Sr.), New Mexico
This former UCLA player averaged 13 points and 10.5 rebounds last season, his first at New Mexico. He came on strong down the stretch and totaled 30 points and 28 rebounds in two Mountain West Conference tournament games.
11. Elias Harris (6-7/240, Jr.), Gonzaga
This third-year starter averaged 12.4 points and 6.0 rebounds last season despite being hampered by a sore shoulder for much of the season. He averaged 16.5 points and 8.0 rebounds and shot 65 percent in two NCAA tournament games.
12. Reeves Nelson (6-8/235, Jr.), UCLA
Nelson made 64.7 percent of his shots as a freshman while averaging 11.1 points and 5.7 rebounds despite missing four games with a slight retinal tear in his left eye. He ranked third in the Pac-10 in rebounding (9.1) and 11th in the conference in scoring (13.9) last season.
13. Arnett Moultrie (6-11/249, Jr.), Mississippi State
This former UTEP player returns to action this season after sitting out the 2010-11 season under NCAA transfer rules. The athletic Moultrie averaged 9.8 points and 6.7 rebounds and had 70 blocks at UTEP two seasons ago.
14. Alex Oriakhi (6-9/240, Jr.), Connecticut
Oriakhi can control a game with his defense, as he showed by collecting 11 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks in the NCAA tournament final against Butler. He ranked second in the Big East in rebounds per game (8.7) and seventh in blocks (1.6) last season while also averaging 9.6 points. He should team with freshman Andre Drummond to give the Huskies a formidable low-post duo.
15. Mike Scott (6-8/237, Sr.), Virginia
Scott leads all active ACC players in career points (963) and rebounds (679). Although an ankle injury knocked him out for most of the 2010-11 season, Scott averaged 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds in the 10 games he played.
16. Andrew Nicholson (6-9/240, Sr.), St. Bonaventure
Nicholson led the Atlantic 10 and ranked 15th nationally in scoring at 20.8 points per game last season. He made 57.1 percent of his shots and also averaged 7.3 rebounds.
17. Mike Glover (6-7/215, Sr.), Iona
Glover averaged 18.4 points and 10.1 rebounds last season to become the first Iona player since Jeff Ruland in 1979-80 to average a double-double. He shot 61 percent and recorded 21 double-doubles. He signed with Seton Hall out of high school but academic reasons sent him to junior college for two seasons. His playground prowess in New York earned him the nickname "Optimus Prime."
18. Kyle Weems (6-6/226, Sr.), Missouri State
Last season, Weems became the first Missouri State player chosen as the Missouri Valley Conference player of the year. He ranked second in the conference in scoring (16.0), third in rebounds (6.9) and third in steals (1.4).
19. Arsalan Kazemi (6-7/220, Jr.), Rice
Kazemi, the first Iranian-born player in U.S. college basketball history, has averaged a career double-double (12.9 points and 10.0 rebounds) through his first two seasons. He averaged 15.2 points and 11.0 rebounds last season, making him the only Conference USA player to average a double-double.
20. Melsahn Basabe (6-7/225, Soph.), Iowa
Basabe ranked third in the Big Ten in field-goal percentage (.572) and seventh in blocks (1.3 per game) last season. He also averaged 11.0 points and 6.8 rebounds. His productive freshman season included a 20-point, 10-rebound, five-block effort against Ohio State.

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Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com, and you can follow him on Twitter.



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