With the new college basketball season upon us, it's time to shine light on college prospects who either have local ties and/or play for a local college program, that fans should follow closely headed into the season. Some players, you may know, others, may be on your radar after you've finished reading this article. Nonetheless, these are some of the brightest players the area has to offer at the college level. These select players, will have a LOT to say regarding the success of their respective teams. So without further delay, here is the Finest Magazine DMV College Basketball Preview Preseason FIRST TEAM.
Ace Baldwin Jr/ Penn State/ 6'0/ Point Guard:
One of the best all around floor generals in college basketball. Baldwin, who transferred to Penn State from VCU, following his coach from VCU Mike Rhoades, was selected Atlantic 10 Player of the Year AND Defensive Player of the Year during the 22-23 season after averaging 12.7 points, 5.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game. He ranked 15th in assists and 19th in steals in all of Division I. Baldwin's leadership, competitiveness and high level impact on BOTH ends of the floor will be counted on heavily as Penn State looks to return to the big dance and stay around longer than the first weekend.
James Bishop/ George Washington/ 6'2/ Guard:
Bishop, who I respectfully call the "A-10's James Harden," comes into the season as an Atlantic 10 Player of the Year candidate following a outstanding season where he established himself as one of the best to play for the Colonials. The two time All A-10 selection, led the A-10 in total points (631), points per game (21.6), was third in total assists (165) and assists per game (5.2). He proved he could score in bunches while finding teammates for scoring opportunities as well. Now with more depth this upcoming season, although with a younger roster, look for Bishop to become more efficient doing what he does as he looks to lead the Colonials to the top of the A-10.
Hunter Dickinson/ Kansas/ 7'1/ Center:
Arguably the premiere center in college basketball, Dickinson caused a seismic shift in college hoops when he elected to move on from Michigan and join Kansas program. The Consensus All American is a walking double-double, who can score from all three levels, is dominant in the low and high post, while being an adequate passer. The three time All Big Ten selection addition to Kansas, vaults the Jayhawks into being favorites to cut down the nets in early April.
Justin Moore/ Villanova/ 6'4/ Guard:
Moore, when healthy, is one of the most complete guards in college hoops. After being out for 10 months, recovering from a torn achilles that he suffered during a sweet sixteen loss to Houston in March of 2022, Moore returned last season, playing in 13 games, scoring in double figures in nine of those games, while posting averages of 13.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists. Now with Moore fully healthy, in rhythm and reportedly more slimmed down, don't be shocked to see Moore regain his All Big East form and for Villanova to be right back in the mix as Big East and NCAA Title contenders.
Jahmir Young/ Maryland/ 6'2/ Point Guard:
The unquestioned leader for the Terps. Young, after a dominant run in Conference USA when he was leading Charlotte and earning All-CUSA honors, made the move to Maryland and immediately made a huge impact for Maryland, earning All Big Ten Second Team honors. He went on to average 15.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals during the 22-23 season. A deadeye mid-range shooter who also lives in the paint, resulting in constant trips to the free throw line for himself and his Terrapin teammates, the only thing holding Young back from being nearly unstoppable and being a projected NBA Draft pick is his three point shooting (31.1%). Improving that alone makes him and Maryland even more of a problem to deal with and increases optimism of a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.