Two years ago, I looked back at near 5×5 NCAA performances and listed the top candidates for the 2014 season. With LSU freshman star Ben Simmons finishing his first exhibition game last week just a steal short, I decided to create a similar list for the 2016 season.
First, let’s take a look back at recent 5×5 history. The guys at TeamRankings confirmed back at the time of my original post that if there has been an NCAA 5×5, it hasn’t been in a very long time:
@hoopvision68 Our player box score data goes back 7 years, and there are no 5×5′s in there. Found 21 5×4′s (at least 4 of all 5 stats).
— TeamRankings.com (@TeamRankings) November 8, 2013
A lot of stars have come very close. The most notable probably being Anthony Davis’ national championship game performance against Kansas. Here’s the list of near misses from 5×5 candidates over the years:
And just like in the original post, no 5×5 discussion would be complete without giving former Vermont star Marqus Blakely his own table:
So is this the year we finally see a 5×5? The new 30 second shot clock might help. An increased number of possessions per game would lead to more counting stats. High possession games against outmatched competition is the recipe for success for any 5×5 candidate. Here are my top five for 2015-16:
1. Ben Simmons – LSU (Fr.)
Exhibition Game – 17 pts, 9 reb, 5 ast, 6 blk, 4 stl vs Southwest Baptist
The pre-season All-American had a ridiculous line to start the season in 29 minutes of playing time. LSU opens up with two teams ranked in the 330s in kenpom, so watch out for a big game out of the gates if Simmons can log enough minutes.
2. Gary Payton II – Oregon State (Sr.)
Last Year – 24 pts, 5 reb, 1 ast, 7 blk, 4 stl vs Colorado
Payton led the country in steal percentage last season and is an elite shot blocker and rebounder for a guy his size. Oregon State’s first game is against a non-D1 opponent followed by an always uptempo Iona team.
3. Jordan Fouse – Green Bay (Sr.)
Last Year – 13 pts, 6 reb, 9 ast, 2 blk, 4 stl vs Detroit
The 6’7″ senior has never recorded five blocks in his career, but he has had four several times. Still, he stuffs the stat sheet and should play a bigger role for Green Bay with the graduation of Keifer Sykes.
4. Venky Jois – Eastern Washington (Sr.)
Last Year – 16 pts, 8 reb, 2 ast, 7 blk, 4 stl
Jois also had a 4×5 game (coming up 3 steals short) last season not listed above. Five steals will be the real long shot for him, but he’s going to play a ton of minutes and be consistent with at least points, rebounds, and blocks.
5. Armani Moore – Tennessee (Sr.)
Last Year – 6 pts, 5 reb, 5 ast, 5 blk, 1 stl
Moore had a huge minutes spike during his junior season playing 77% of all Tennessee minutes. Rick Barnes’ rotation patterns will decide whether Moore has a realistic shot this season. He is the only player on this list also capable of putting up a 0×5. However, the 6’5″ senior did rank in the top 10 in the SEC in steal, block, and offensive rebounding percentages last season.
Honorable Mentions - Tre Hale-Edmerson (Cal St. Northridge), Isaiah Williams (Iona), Terry Tarpey (William & Mary)