CBS Sports has unveiled its Top 101 player rankings and complete team rankings as we are now under a month until the tip-off of the 2015-16 college basketball season. Matt Norlander and the CBS Sports college basketball staff compiled the following rankings. Mountain West players included in the Top 101 are highlighted, as well as each Mountain West team.
50) Malik Pope, San Diego State
Pope is highly thought of in NBA circles for good reason, given his skill set and length at 6-10. Plus, he should now be fully recovered from a knee injury that occurred in his senior year of high school. However, he did only put up four double-digit scoring games last season, so he'll need to show us that skill before moving up this list.
65) Anthony Drmic, Boise State
Drmic will probably become Boise State's all-time leading scorer this year after stepping back into the Broncos' lineup this year after missing the last one with an ankle injury. He'll have a shot to win the Mountain West player of the year award.
76) Stephen Zimmerman, UNLV
Zimmerman is the latest one-and-done prospect to enroll at UNLV under Dave Rice. The McDonald's All-American led his high school to four consecutive state titles in Nevada. He's a 7-foot forward who picked the Rebels over Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA and Arizona, among others.
94) Winston Shepard, San Diego State
One of San Diego State's many great two-way players, Shepard will need to take a much bigger step forward offensively without J.J. O'Brien in the mix.
Four Mountain West players cracked the CBS Sports Top 101. Each of these four are very deserving of the recognition they received. Malik Pope is the defensive anchor of the Aztec squad, and similar to Shepard, if these two can improve their offensive game SDSU will be scary come March.
Anthony Drmic of Boise State is undoubtedly a top three scorer in this conference. The Broncos are being very cautious with Drmic's ankle, a setback could be devastating for Boise State. All eyes will be on UNLV's Stephen Zimmerman from the get-go, one of the highest rated recruits in conference history. A player that MWC fans might be surprised to not see on this list is Fresno State guard Marvelle Harris. Harris was named the MWC pre-season player of the year at Mountain West media days over Pope and Drmic.
The Broncos do lose Mountain West player of the year Derrick Marks, but they return just about everyone else from last season's 25-9 team and re-add Anthony Drmic, who has a chance to finish as the school's all-time leading scorer.
Under Steve Fisher, the Aztecs will always be solid defensively. Their key will be whether or not they can score efficiently and consistently, and that will come down to whether Malik Pope can become the star his talent necessitates.
Look for the Aggies to take a step forward in the Mountain West despite Stew Morrill's departure. David Collette and Jalen Moore are potential all-league players over both of the next two years.
This might honestly be too high for the Runnin' Rebs, or it could be far too low. The jury is fully out on what Dave Rice will get out of this talented group featuring five-star freshman Stephen Zimmerman.
95) New Mexico Lobos
The Lobos had a down year by their standards in their second post-Alford year, and this season could be much of the same. Cullen Neal returns after a year from injury to help the cause, and transfer Tim Williams should make an impact.
101) Colorado State Rams
Larry Eustachy's team is taking on huge losses, but we're confident he'll be able to keep CSU around .500 on the season. Call it a hunch.
This might be a bit too low for Fresno, who returns just about everyone from a competitive Mountain West team. Marvelle Harris might be the preseason player of the year in the league, as he's a terrific scorer.
158) Wyoming Cowboys
Larry Nance was a first round pick, plus losing Riley Grabau and Derek Cooke will be tough. Look for Josh Adams to take over the reigns even more, potentially blossoming into a first team All-MWC player under Larry Shyatt.
198) Nevada Wolf Pack
Eric Musselman coaching at Nevada feels like something that will pay off in a huge way three years from now. We've already got enough confidence in his ability that we've bumped the Wolf Pack up significantly from where they finished in KenPom at the end of last season.
252) Air Force Falcons
It's never easy to go to Air Force and play, but this team will miss Max Yon and Marek Olesinski.
They didn't win a game in Division I last year, so at least there's nowhere to go but up?
Not too many shockers in the CBS team rankings. Boise State and San Diego State lead what is projected to be a two-team race for the conference title. Strong non-conference showings should place both schools in the top 25. The middle of the conference should be very competitive and unpredictable. UNLV and Fresno State are the most intriguing teams in the middle group. Both squads have the potential to lock down a tourney spot, but there are a number of question marks that must be answered. The Runnin' Rebels are oozing with young talent, as coach Dave Rice's seat continues to warm. UNLV has struggled reaching expectations the past few seasons, and losing star players to the NBA before graduation has made it a greater challenge. Fresno State features an elite all-around guard in Marvelle Harris who might single-handedly pull the Bulldogs into NCAA contention.