The Athletic

College basketball expert predictions: Most entertaining player in the country?

Do you like big men doing big things? Then this college basketball season is for you.

Thanks to NIL and the lack of post play in the NBA, an unprecedented amount of star bigs are back on campus this year, including reigning consensus national player of the year Oscar Tshiebwe, Gonzaga’s Drew Timme, North Carolina’s Armando Bacot and Indiana’s Trayce Jackson- Davis, just to name a few. But how much fun is it to watch these massive humans ply their trades?

A panel of 17 experts here at The Athletic made picks for all sorts of key preseason questions, and we’ll be running those responses daily until the 2022-23 campaign tips off. Today’s question is admittedly almost entirely subjective, but one that might impact your early-season TV-watching choices: Who will be the most entertaining player in the country?

Here they are now. Entertain us.

Most entertaining player in the country?

Player Team Voting

Caleb Love

4

Max Abmas

3

Drew Timme

3

Andre Curbelo/Posh Alexander

1

Hunter Dickinson

1

Zach Edey

1

Kerr Kriisa

1

Dillon Mitchell

1

Oscar Tshiebwe

1

Jelly Walker

1

Here’s a sampling of our experts’ rationales:

Caleb Love

The Caleb Love Experience — and an experience it is — returns, after the nation was introduced to the mercurial guard last March. Will he make seven straight 3s in a game or go 2 of 15? You never know … which is what makes him so fun. — Brendan Marks

I don’t think there is anything more fun to watch than seeing Love get smoldering hot and just not be able to consider missing. — Sam Vecenie

Caleb Love, with a caveat: I want a *fully updated* Caleb Love. I want Caleb Love to be even *more* confidant. I want to see some James Harden shimmies every now and again. Can you even imagine? — Eamonn Brennan

Max Abmas

Generously listed as 6-foot, 174 pounds, this diminutive dynamo has a soft touch, a green light, and no conscience. Two years ago, he led the nation in scoring at 24.5 points per game, and he had the Golden Eagles within a possession of advancing to the Elite Eight. After putting up 22.8 points and 3.7 assists a game last season, Abmas (pronounced “ACE-mus,” which is extremely cool) is one of four returning starters for Oral Roberts, and if he stays healthy, he should break the 2,000 career mark this season. — Seth Davis

Abmas is one of the best three-level scorers in the country and can put up 30 in a blink of an eye. Abmas was fifth in points per game and fourth in 3-pointers made (114) while chipping 3.7 assists per game. — Tobias Bass

The 6-foot star of the 2021 NCAA Tournament — the guy who averaged 24.5 points that season and 22.8 points last season, a career 39.4 percent 3-point shooter on 8.6 attempts per game — is back for another season. He’s scored 1,818 points in three years and should add significantly to that total. Now get him back in the dance. — Kyle Tucker

Drew Timme

There are probably many people who, after four years, will tire of the Zags big man’s mustache-stroking shenanigans. I am not one of those people. — Brian Hamilton

Gotta be Drew Timme. Those old-school post moves and footwork are enough to get me to tune in every time. Others probably dig the ‘stache and swag. Honorable mention to Max Abmas. — CJ Moore

The footwork is enough to make Quentin Tarantino and Larys Strong stroke out. The celebrations keep me in stitches. May he stay at Gonzaga forever (and at this point, he feels like he has). — Brian Bennett

Posh Alexander/Andre Curbelo

Can I take two? OK. I am. I’m weirdly fascinated to see how the Posh Alexander/Andre Curbelo tandem is going to work at St. John’s, because it could be epic, or an epic flameout. Either way, it will be interesting to watch. — Dana O’Neil

Hunter Dickinson

Love him or hate him, Dickinson puts on a great show. — austin meek

Zach Edey

The man is unlike anyone or anything else. In previous years, he was an oddity — an uncommon piece for Purdue to unleash when Matt Painter wanted. Now? He’s the cornerstone and the Boilermakers revolve around the 7-4, 300-pound gigantor. What will the numbers look like if/when Edey plays 25-30 minutes per night? — Brendan Quinn

Oscar Tshiebwe

A throwback college prospect and reigning Player of the Year with a great, compelling backstory, who thing to return for another season with one of the most prominent programs in the sport. — justin williams

Jelly Walker

A dazzling game to go with the name. — Joe Rexode

(Our complete panel of experts: Nicole Auerbach, Tobias Bass, Brian Bennett, Eamonn Brennan, Seth Davis, Scott Dochterman, Brian Hamilton, Hugh Kellenberger, Brendan Marks, Austin Meek, CJ Moore, Dana O’Neil, Brendan Quinn, Joe Rexrode , Kyle Tucker, Sam Vecenie and Justin Williams.)

Previous predictions:

Mid-major that can make a March run

(Photo of Caleb Love: Handout/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

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