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Nevada’s Jalen Harris makes ESPN’s Top-25 player list for 2020-21 season

NCAA Basketball: Mountain West Conference Tournament- Wyoming vs Nevada Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Do you think Nevada’s Jalen Harris is a Top-25 player for the next college basketball season? ESPN does.

An ESPN college basketball insider, John Gasaway, ranked his Top-25 best college basketball players the 2020-21 season Tuesday. Harris cracked the rankings, placing No. 24 in between Houston’s Caleb Mills (No. 23) and Louisville’s Carlik Jones (No. 25), who played at Radford last season.

This is what Gasaway said about Harris:

Having sat out a season after transferring in from Louisiana Tech, Harris played like a man with something to prove in Reno. During one memorable stretch spanning late January and early February, the 6-5 junior poured in 186 points over the course of just six outings. Harris was highly productive in that run even when his outside shooting touch deserted him. Despite going 0-for-8 from beyond the arc against UNLV, he recorded a 29-18 double-double to lead the Wolf Pack to an 82-79 victory in overtime.

Harris had a terrific year, putting together one of the best seasons in Wolf Pack history.

The junior guard led the conference in scoring at 21.6 points per game this season. Harris was second on the team with 6.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. The 6-foot-5 guard was one of three players nationally — the only Mountain West player — to average at least 20 points, six rebounds and three assists per game.

Nevada v New Mexico
Jalen Harris #2 of the Nevada Wolf Pack dribbles against the New Mexico Lobos.
Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

Harris scored in double figures his last 27 games (28 total). He had 15 20-point games and six 30-point games — including a career-high 38-point performance versus Air Force, the highest a Mountain West player scored all season. Harris became the first player in Wolf Pack history to total four-straight 30-point games.

He earned numerous honors in his first season of eligibility with Nevada. He was selected to the All-Mountain West first team by the coaches and media. The coaches selected him as their MW Newcomer of the Year. Harris was also named to the NABC and USBWA all-district teams.

Harris tallied a conference-best at 25.3 points per game in 18 conference games. His 456 total points in conference play is the second-most in Mountain West history, trailing only Jimmer Fredette’s 502 points in 2010-11 when Fredette won the prestigious Naismith College Player of the Year Award.

The Dallas, Texas native set Wolf Pack records in MW play with 456 points, 25.3 points per game, 163 made field goals, 9.1 made field goals made per game, 331 attempted field goals and 18.4 attempted field goals per game. His 500 attempted field goals in 30 games ranks 10th in school history.

In MW play, Harris finished 15th in rebounding (5.9 rpg), seventh in assists (3.8 apg), fourth in field goal percentage (.492), third in 3-point percentage (.414), second in 3-pointers made per game (2.9), 10th in steals (1.3 spg) and eighth in assists/turnover ratio (1.39).

It is worth noting that Gasaway did not factor in his list who he believes will be potential draft selections. Some notable players he mentioned that could declare for the draft, who have not officially declared yet, are UNC’s Cole Anthony, Duke’s Vernon Carey Jr., Kansas’ Devon Dotson, Memphis’ Precious Achiuwa and Arizona’s Josh Green. Harris can be bumped off if one, or multiple of those players decide to return to their respective schools for the 2020-21 season.

There is even a chance Harris returns to Nevada for his senior season.

Harris is not high on a lot of NBA draft boards. He is ranked No. 95 on ESPN’s best available board and No. 79 on The Athletic’s draft board. Harris was not listed on nbadraft.net’s Top-100 draft board, CBS Sports’ Top-75 board, the Sporting News’ Top-60 board or Bleacher Report’s Top-50 board. Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, it is unknown when the draft will take place or is players are permitted to workout in front of team’s during pre-draft process. which could potentially sway Harris to return.

Per Chris Murray of Nevada Sportsnet, Harris requested to get feedback about his draft stock from the NBA’s Undergraduate Advisory Committee — which should give him an idea on where he stands on if he will, or will not get drafted. The requirement for the early-entry period is 60 days prior to the NBA draft, which could potentially get pushed back because of the virus.

Harris was not the only Mountain West Player to crack Gasaway’s Top-25. SDSU’s Malachi Flynn was second behind Iowa’s Luka Garza, who was second behind Dayton’s Obi Toppin for the 2019-20 Naismith Award. Three recruits from the 2020 class, including ESPN’s No. 1 recruit Jalen Green, made the list.