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November 6, 2009

Preseason power rankings: Centers

Selecting the top three centers in the nation is relatively easy. Filling out the rest of the rankings at this position gets much more complicated.

Kansas' Cole Aldrich, Georgetown's Greg Monroe and Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado are the clear-cut top three centers in the preseason edition of the Rivals.com College Basketball Power Rankings, which measure the nation's top performers at each position.

Aldrich's decision to stay in school helped make Kansas the consensus pick to win the national title. Monroe figures to inherit a more dominant role for the Hoyas in his sophomore season. Varnado enters his senior season with a legitimate chance to end his career as the NCAA's career leader in blocks.

The relative lack of pure centers in college basketball makes it tough to rank the top 25 players at this position. Elite big men are at such a premium that they're more likely to leave school early for the NBA, which helps explain why only four 7-footers appear on this list.

1. Cole Aldrich, Kansas, 6-11/245, Jr.
2. Greg Monroe, Georgetown, 6-11/247, Soph.
3. Jarvis Varnado, Mississippi State, 6-9/230, Sr.
4. JaJuan Johnson, Purdue, 6-10/215, Jr.
5. Trevor Booker, Clemson, 6-7/240, Sr.
6. A.J. Ogilvy, Vanderbilt, 6-11/250, Jr.
7. Dexter Pittman, Texas, 6-10/290, Sr.
8. Larry Sanders, VCU, 6-11/235, Jr.
9. Jerome Jordan, Tulsa, 7-0/250, Sr.
10. Solomon Alabi, Florida State, 7-1/251, Soph.
11. Arinze Onuaku, Syracuse, 6-9/261, Sr.
12. Omar Samhan, Saint Mary's, 6-11/265, Sr.
13. Michael Washington, Arkansas, 6-9/239, Sr.
14. Samardo Samuels, Louisville, 6-9/260, Soph.
15. DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky, 6-11/260, Fr.
16. Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech, 6-10/246, Fr.
17. Kenneth Faried, Morehead State, 6-8/225, Jr.
18. Gerald Lee, Old Dominion, 6-10/250, Sr.
19. Mike Tisdale, Illinois, 7-1/235, Jr.
20. Artsiom Parakhouski, Radford, 6-11/260, Sr.
21. Mac Koshwal, DePaul, 6-10/255, Jr.
22. Mike Holmes, South Carolina, 6-7/230, Jr.
23. Roeland Schaftenaar, Oregon State, 6-11/240, Sr.
24. Chas McFarland, Wake Forest, 7-0/245, Sr.
25. Keith Benson, Oakland, 6-11/221, Jr.

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com.

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