4. Turner Battle
His teammates call him Textbook, an apt moniker for an old-school point guard at a school that's new to winning. "I guess I'm about the fundamentals," says Buffalo senior Turner Battle. At week's end here were the fundamentals on Battle: 15.6 points and 4.4 assists per game, and a 3.56 GPA. Battle has helped give a once woebegone program postseason possibilities for the first time since it moved up to Division I in 1992. The Bulls were 14--71 in the three years before Battle's arrival in 2001; they were 35--19 over the past two seasons and 18--7 this year. When Battle signed with Buffalo out of East Forsyth High in Kernersville, N.C., four years ago, recruiting guru Bob Gibbons called him "the steal of the millennium." We call him the best thing to happen to Buffalo since the invention of the snowplow. -- Richard Deitsch
5. Ike Diogu
FORWARD, Arizona State
There's a reason why longtime observers of the Arizona State athletic program compare Ike Diogu with late football star Pat Tillman. The two have shared not just surpassing talent but also an almost regal combination of dignity and respect. We could go on for hours about the 6'8" junior forward's sculpted physique, his cash-money midrange jumper, his psyche-smashing blocked shots. He was leading the Pac-10 in five of its 13 individual statistical categories through Sunday, for God's sake. But Diogu is one of our favorite players just as much for what he doesn't do. Once when Diogu was being roughed up by his defender, Arizona State coach Rob Evans asked him to tell the referee about it. Diogu returned to the game and never said a word. It may have been the only time he has ever disobeyed orders, but it's more evidence of why we like Ike. --G.W.