Centers in fantasy college basketball are so hard to find that many leagues choose not to even use them. For leagues that like that extra challenge, the search for a viable center never ends. Fantasy owners can choose to overdraft a big man and hope for solid production. Dire consequences can come from waiting on a center. The following list of players are a good guess at the productive centers across the NCAA. Other big men will bubble up during the season, but this is our best guess at the players who will have plenty of draft value.
1. Isaiah Austin, Baylor - The 7-foot-1 Austin seems like the clear choice as the top center in the land. He was hampered by a shoulder injury as a freshman, but still managed to provide 13.2 points and 8.6 rebounds. Austin's production did fall off as the injury impeded his movement, but he managed four 20-point games and 11 double-doubles. With Cory Jefferson and Ricardo Gathers, Austin forms one of the best frontcourts in college basketball and the trio should be able to go plenty of damage in the Big 12.
2. Alec Brown, Wisconsin-Green Bay - NBA scouts don't often travel north of Milwaukee in the state of Wisconsin, but the 7-1 Brown has given them reason to take a peak at the Horizon League. In his junior season, Brown provided 14.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. His rebounding and shot blocking numbers fell off from his sophomore season, but he added a 3-point shot to his arsenal. Brown made 42.9 percent of his 3-pointers (30-of-70) and should be able to terrorize the Horizon in his senior season.
3. A.J. Hammons, Purdue - The 7-0 sophomore had a nice stepping-stone kind of season as a freshman Boilermaker. He provided 10.6 points and 6.0 rebounds, but he put up those numbers in just 23.1 minutes. Hammons tended to get in foul trouble. When he was able to stay on the court, he was very effective. The Indiana native's best stretch came in late-January/early-February as he hung 30 points on Indiana followed by a pair of double-doubles against Northwestern and Penn State.
4. Jordan Bachynski, Arizona State - Some leagues provide bonuses for shot blockers. For those leagues, Bachynski should be a major factor. The 7-2 Canadian swatted 3.4 shots in 2012-13 and figures to be one of the better post defenders in the country. Bachynski's offense has improved steadily in his three years in Tempe. He provided 9.8 points on 58.3 percent from the field and 5.9 rebounds to go along with his prodigious block totals. Look for Bachynski and Jahii Carson to be one of the best inside-outside combos in the Pac 12.
5. Terrell Parks, Western Illinois - The top centers list includes some deep cuts, such as Parks, a 6-8, 250 lb double-double machine from the Summit League. Parks averaged 12.7 points and 9.6 rebounds in his sophomore season. The junior will be hard-pressed to exceed those numbers because the Leathernecks like to play very slowly. Parks missed the last five games of the season, including a first round loss to Purdue in the CBI Tournament, with an ankle injury, but should be ready to go for the new season.
6. Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky - Despite coming off the bench at the start of the season, the 7-0 Cauley-Stein played significant minutes behind and with Nerlens Noel for the 2012-13 Wildcats. This season, he is slated to start (much like he did after Noel injured his knee) and could be very productive. He will be challenged for playing time by Dakari Johnson, but he is slated to start over the freshman. Cauley-Stein had a pair of double-doubles to finish SEC regular season play and should have a productive season as one of Kentucky's "veterans."
7. Matthew Hezekiah, South Carolina State - Sometimes the smallest conferences yield the biggest players. Hezekiah is a 6-11 senior who helped the Bulldogs with 12.9 points and 7.4 rebounds in 2012-13. The Jacksonville, Florida native who transferred to SCSU from junior college opened the season with three straight double-doubles and had four more during the season. He should be available in most leagues and could out produce many Tier 1 players.
8. Patric Young, Florida Gators - Young is a better looking player than he is an actual numbers producer. The 6-9, 240 lb senior has not developed much of an offensive game in his three years in Gainesville and likely will not see a big increase in shot attempts in his last year in school. To make matters worse, Young has watched his free throw percentage descend each season to the truly terrible 48.9 percent last season. He is stronger than many opponents, but will need to play with a consistent level of ferocity.
9. Dakari Johnson, Kentucky - It is a rather scary prospect that the Wildcats are once again so loaded that they may bring the Johnson, generally regarded as one of the best centers in his recruiting class, off the bench. In high school, the 250 pounder was able to simply outmuscle opponents. He will be able to do that in college at times as well, but the issue will be playing time. With Cauley-Stein and Julius Randle in the frontcourt, Johnson's opportunities may be limited.
10. Daniel Miller, Georgia Tech - Miller is basically the bottom rung of center that you still want to end up with. The 6-11 senior averaged 8.4 points and 6.6 rebounds for the Yellow Jackets in 2012-13. He is one of the ACC's best shot blockers and has swatted more than two shots per game over his three-year career. Miller's offense has improved incrementally and he made a career-high 51.2 percent of his field goals last season. The upside on Miller may be limited, but he is better than many alternatives.
11. Gavin Ware, Mississippi State
12. Gene Teague, Seton Hall
13. Josh Smith, Georgetown
14. Joel Embiid, Kansas
15. Adam Woodbury, Iowa