Small forwards need to be highly versatile players, as they’re expected to score a lot of points as well as defend and pass well to create opportunities for their teammates.
There are some excellent small forwards in college basketball right now, so who can we expect to hear more about during March Madness as well as in the months and years to come?
Jaime Jaquez Jr – UCLA Bruins
Jaime Jaquez Jr recently scored a career-high 30 points as the Bruins powered past Washington 77-66, and his troublesome ankle issues seemed to have finally gone away. The Mexican-American has picked up a list of honors since starring at Camarillo High School and then joining UCLA.
His performances since recovering from the ankle injury have led to Jaquez Jr being listed as one of the handful of finalists in the running for the Julius Erving Award that goes to the country’s best small forward.
He’s already represented Mexico in the 2019 Pan American Games and is one of the reasons why UCLA can be found among the favorites to win March Madness this year, so it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on him. You can find out more here about how UCLA positions in the March Madness odds and college basketball rankings.
AJ Griffin – The Duke Blue Devils
AJ Griffin started playing basketball with Archbishop Stepinac High School in New York before joining Duke as a consensus five-star recruit. His college career started strongly, and he also helped the American team to win the gold medal in the 2019 FIBA Under-16 Americas Championship.
His impressive 49.1% shooting rate on 3-pointers helped him to win the Freshman of the Week award recently, as his breakout season continues to see him impress. Will Griffin’s form help the Blue Devils to win the NCAA championship for the sixth time? He is certainly one of their key players who could help to decide their face in 2022.
Kendall Brown – The Baylor Bears
Another of the favorites to win March Madness that has a highly-rated small forward in their roster, Baylor won the NCAA tournament in 2021 and could do the same this year. Kendall Brown was rated as a five-star recruit and one of the best players in this position after completing his high school career at East Ridge High School and Sunrise Christian Academy.
After joining Baylor, he has posted solid figures including 16-points against the Iowa State Cyclones in a career-best performance that helped him get the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week award in March this year. This was the second time in his freshman season that he won the award and it shows how much progress he is already making.
Justice Sueing – The Ohio State Buckeyes
Justice Sueing was born in Hawaii and played with Maryknoll School and Mater Dei High School, before joining the California Golden Bears as a four-star recruit and then moving to the Ohio State Buckeyes. Since moving to Ohio State in 2019. Sueing has posted strong figures to become one of the most highly-rated small forwards in the college game.
He suffered an abdominal injury in late 2021 that has stopped him taking part in the rest of the season and there is currently no word on when Sueing might get back in the team. His mobility and highly effective shooting have been badly missed lately, and this is reflected in the fact that the Buckeyes are listed as outsiders to win the NCAA championship during March Madness.
Jermaine Samuels – The Villanova Wildcats
6 foot 7 inch small forward Jermaine Samuels has performed to a high level since joining the Wildcats. Before this, he played his high school basketball with The Rivers School and averaged 17.5 points as a senior. When the time came to choose a college, Samuels had numerous offers and eventually chose Villanova.
His career-high total of 32 points came at the start of 2021, and he decided to return to the college game for his fifth season of eligibility. By the end of the year, he had passed the 1,000-point mark and is likely to be a key player during March Madness, where Villanova is currently at 1000+ to win the tournament.
Matthew Mayer – The Baylor Bears
Another player who played a part in Baylor winning the NCAA championship in 2021, Matthew Mayer joined the Bears as a four-star recruit following his high school career at Westlake High School. His time as Baylor started slowly but he began to contribute strongly off the bench and averaged 8.1 points over his junior season.
It looked as though Mayer was going to join the NBA in the 2021 draft, but he eventually went back to complete his senior season at college. He is currently thought to be a second-round prospect for the 2022 draft, but strong performances during March could see Mayer get picked earlier when the draft occurs.
Best Small Forwards in College Basketball Teams