Jeff Goodman’s Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25 for 2021-22

It’s always challenging to do an early preseason top 25, but this year it’s virtually impossible. There are already more than 1,000 scholarship players in the transfer portal and there will probably be another 250 or so that declare for the NBA Draft.

No school has a clear picture of their roster, but I’ve come up with my best guess. Check back regularly throughout the offseason as I update the rankings when rosters become clearer.


1. Gonzaga
Transferring: PF Pavel Zakharov (Soph.)
Seniors:
SG *Corey Kispert (18.8 ppg), PG Aaron Cook (Grad, 4.4 ppg)
Likely Gone: PG *Jalen Suggs (Fr., 14.1 ppg), G *Joel Ayayi (RS Jr., 12.2 ppg)
50-50: PF *Drew Timme (Soph., 19.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg), PG *Andrew Nembhard (Jr., 9.2 ppg)
Back: PF Anton Watson (Soph., 7.0 ppg), G Julian Strawther (Fr.), G Dominick Harris (Fr.), C Oumar Ballo (RS Fr.), PF Ben Gregg (Fr.), G Martynas Arlauskas (Soph.)
Add: PG Hunter Sallis (No. 6), PF Kaden Perry (No. 53)

Suggs, Kispert and Ayayi are all expected to be gone while Timme and Nembhard are probably 50-50 regarding whether they return. In these rankings, we’re going under the presumption that both return to Spokane, and also that the Zags add at least one of incoming frosh Chet Holmgren or North Carolina transfer Walker Kessler. There are also plenty of quality young guys that will have a chance to get minutes, and also a couple of talented freshmen. The key will be the backcourt, and the point guard position.

2. Ohio State
Transferring: G Musa Jallow (RS Jr., 2.9 ppg)
Seniors: G *CJ Walker (9.5 ppg), F *Kyle Young (8.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg), G Jimmy Sotos (1.7 ppg)
Likely Back: G *Duane Washington Jr. (Jr., 16.4 ppg), PF *E.J. Liddell (Soph., 16.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg)
Back: F *Justice Sueing (RS Jr., 10.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg), F Justin Ahrens (Jr., 5.7 ppg), F Zed Key (Fr., 5.2 ppg), F Seth Towns (Grad), G Meechie Johnson Jr. (Fr.), G Eugene Brown III (Fr.)
Add: SG Malaki Branham (No. 29), PF Kalen Etzler
Transfer Add: G Jamari Wheeler (Penn State, Sr., 6.8 ppg)

As long as Liddell and Washington return to Columbus, this is a group that should be among the preseason favorites. Chris Holtmann will need to find a replacement for Walker, but he’s hoping maybe Johnson can fill that role. He also has no shortage of veterans that were a part of a team that earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tourney.

3. UCLA
Seniors: F Chris Smith (12.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg)
50-50: G *Johnny Juzang (Soph., 16.0 ppg)
Unknown: PF Jalen Hill (RS Jr., 6.1 ppg)
Back: SG *Jaime Jaquez Jr. (Soph., 12.3 ppg), PG *Tyger Campbell (RS Soph., 10.4 ppg), G *Jules Bernard (Jr., 10.3 ppg), PF *Cody Riley (RS Jr., 10.0 ppg), G David Singleton (Jr.), SF Jake Kyman (Soph.), PF Mac Etienne (Fr.), G Jaylen Clark (Fr.), PF Kenneth Nwuba (RS Soph.)
Add: SF Peyton Watson (No. 10), SG Will McClendon (No. 45)

No one saw this coming in the NCAA Tournament, and as long as Juzang returns to Westwood, there’s no reason to believe the Bruins won’t pick up where they left off. But that’s a big question. Juzang was arguably the tournament’s brightest star, Jaquez and Bernard were both terrific, and Mick Cronin will add a stud freshman in Watson. The other x-factor is whether Smith returns.

4. Purdue
Transferring: F Aaron Wheeler (Jr., 3.9 ppg), C Emmanuel Dowuona (Soph.)
Back: PF *Trevion Williams (Jr., 15.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg), G *Jaden Ivey (Fr., 11.1 ppg), SG *Sasha Stefanovic (Jr., 9.3 ppg), C Zach Edey (Fr., 8.7 ppg), G *Eric Hunter Jr. (Jr., 8.5 ppg), G *Brandon Newman (RS Fr., 8.0 ppg), F Mason Gillis (RS Fr., 5.2 ppg), G Isaiah Thompson (Soph.), G Ethan Morton (Fr.)
Add: PF Trey Kaufman-Renn (No. 32), C Caleb Furst (No. 54)

Matt Painter returns just about everyone of note from a top 25 team. Williams and Edey are tough to match with on the frontline, Ivey is a potential star and Stefanovic and Newman give the Boilermakers proven shooters. Continuity will be rare this season, and that’s where Painter will have a major advantage.

5. Arkansas
Transferring: G Desi Sills (Jr., 7.5 ppg)
Seniors: F *Justin Smith (Grad, 13.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg), G *Jalen Tate (Grad, 10.9 ppg), F Vance Jackson (Grad, 3.8 ppg)
Likely Gone: SG *Moses Moody (Fr., 16.8 ppg)
Back: G JD Notae (RS Jr., 12.8 ppg), G *Davonte Davis (Fr., 8.5 ppg), PF *Connor Vanover (RS Soph., 6.3 ppg), F Jaylin Williams (Fr.), G Khalen Robinson (Fr.)
Add: G Chance Moore (No. 89), PF Akol Mawein
Transfer Adds: PG Chris Lykes (Sr., Miami, 15.5 ppg), G Stanley Umude (South Dakota, Grad, 21.6 ppg), G Au’Diese Toney (Pittsburgh, Jr., 14.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg), F Kamani Johnson (Little Rock)

The Muss Bus will keep rolling despite almost certainly losing Moody and a bunch of grad transfers. Eric Musselman and his staff still have Notae and a couple of talented young guys in Davis and Williams, and they have already added a couple transfers. Trust me, there will be more.

6. Maryland
Transferring: C Chol Marial (Soph., 1.6 ppg), G Aquan Smart (Fr., 1.4 ppg)
Seniors: G *Darryl Morsell (9.0 ppg), F Galin Smith (3.7 ppg)
Likely Back: G *Aaron Wiggins (Jr., 14.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg)
Back: G *Eric Ayala (Jr., 15.1 ppg), F *Donta Scott (Soph., 11.0 ppg), G *Hakim Hart (Soph., 7.1 ppg), F Jairus Hamilton (Jr., 6.5 ppg), PF James Graham III (Fr.)
Add: C Julian Reese (No. 82), SF Ike Cornish (No. 100)
Transfer Add: C Qudus Wahab (Georgetown, 12.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg), PG Fatts Russell (URI, 14.7 ppg, 4.5 apg)

The Terps could have everyone important back besides Morsell, and Mark Turgeon has addressed two glaring weaknesses from last season: a point guard in URI transfer Russell and a big man in Georgetown transfer Wahab. This is a Maryland team that could have all the pieces to make a deep run, especially if Russell becomes more of a pass-first guy with all the weapons he’ll have at his disposal.

7. Alabama
Seniors: SG *John Petty Jr. (12.6 ppg), F *Herbert Jones (11.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg), C *Jordan Bruner (5.6 ppg), F Alex Reese (5.4 ppg)
Back: G *Jaden Shackelford (Soph., 14.0 ppg), PG Jahvon Quinerly (Soph., 12.9 ppg), G *Josh Primo (Fr., 8.1 ppg), SG Keon Ellis (Jr., 5.5 ppg), F Juwan Gary (RS Fr.), PF James Rojas (Jr.), F Darius Miles (Fr.), F Keon Ambrose-Hylton (Fr.), PF Alex Tchikou (Fr.)
Add: PG JD Davison (No. 9), C Charles Bediako (No. 26), SF Jusaun Holt, PF Langston Wilson
Transfer Add: Nimari Burnett (Texas Tech, Fr., 5.3 ppg)

Nate Oats and the Crimson Tide will definitely look different next year, but they still return a bunch of key pieces from a team that won the SEC regular-season title and tournament. Shackelford could turn into a star, and Oats will likely have plenty of guards who can make plays in the trio of Quinerly, Primo and Davison.

8. Kansas
Transferring: G Tyon Grant-Foster (Jr., 3.1 ppg), F Tristan Enaruna (Soph., 2.8 ppg), F Gethro Muscadin (Fr., 0.2 ppg)
Seniors: G *Marcus Garrett (11.0 ppg)
Likely Back: G *Ochai Agbaji (Jr., 14.1 ppg)
Back: C *David McCormack (Jr., 13.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg), F *Jalen Wilson (RS Fr., 11.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg), G *Christian Braun (Soph., 9.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg), G Bryce Thompson (Fr.), F Mitch Lightfoot (RS Sr.), PG Dajuan Harris Jr. (RS Fr.), PG Latrell Jossell (Fr.)
Add: C Zach Clemence (No. 39), PF K.J. Adams (No. 71), PG Bobby Pettiford (No. 88), PF Sydney Curry
Transfer Add: PG Joseph Yseufu (Drake, Soph., 12.8 ppg), Cam Martin (Missouri Southern State, 25.0 ppg, 9.1 rpg)

The Jayhawks should return the majority of last year’s team and will add a few key pieces. Bill Self has a lifetime contract now, but he’ll need for the freshman Pettiford to be ready as he’ll be expected to make plays off the bounce. KU has a strong frontline of McCormack and Wilson, and quality perimeter players in Agbaji, Braun and Thompson. But the key comes at the point guard spot where it could be up to Pettiford to change the dynamic of this team.

9. Duke
Transferring: PG Jordan Goldwire (Sr., 5.8 ppg), PF Jaemyn Brakefield (Fr., 3.5 ppg), F Patrick Tape (San Francisco, Grad, 1.1 ppg)
Gone: F Jalen Johnson (11.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg)
Likely Gone: PF *Matthew Hurt (Soph., 18.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg), SG *DJ Steward (Fr., 13.0 ppg)
Back: SG *Wendell Moore (Soph., 9.7 ppg), PG *Jeremy Roach (Fr., 8.7 ppg), C *Mark Williams (Fr., 7.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg), F Joey Baker (Jr.), PF Henry Coleman III (Fr.)
Add: PF Paolo Banchero (No. 3), SF A.J. Griffin (No. 7), SG Trevor Keels (No. 20)

The Blue Devils will likely lose Hurt, but will replace him with one of the top freshmen in the country in Banchero, who is a Chris Webber-type forward in terms of his toughness and versatility. Coach K will add two more talented freshmen with Griffin and Keels. Williams was terrific down the stretch, but the key will likely be at the point where Roach will need to make a jump.

10. Florida State
Transferring: G Nathanael Jack (Sr., 3.6 ppg)
Seniors: G *M.J. Walker (12.2 ppg), G *RayQuan Evans (5.1 ppg), C Tanor Ngom (2.4 ppg)
Likely Gone: Scottie Barnes (Fr., 10.3 ppg), F *RaiQuan Gray (RS Jr., 11.9 ppg)
Back: G *Anthony Polite (RS Jr., 10.1 ppg), C *Balsa Koprivica (Soph., 9.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg), F Malik Osborne (RS Jr., 5.9 ppg), SG Sardaar Calhoun (Jr., 5.3 ppg), SF Wyatt Wilkes (RS Jr.), C Quincy Ballard (Fr.)
Add: SF Matthew Cleveland (No. 22), G Jalen Warley (No. 28), C John Butler (No. 64), C Naheem McLeod
Transfer Add: G Caleb Mills (Houston)

I feel like it’s just the right move to put the ‘Noles somewhere in the top 25 even though they always lose a couple key pieces every year (look for Barnes to go to the NBA, and Walker and Evans are seniors). FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton will add Houston transfer Mills and a talented freshman class that includes wing Cleveland and combo guard Warley.

11. Baylor
Transfers: F Tristan Clark (DNP) 
Seniors:
 G *MaCio Teague (15.8 ppg), PF *Mark Vital (5.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg)
Likely Gone: G *Jared Butler (Jr., 16.6 ppg), G *Davion Mitchell (Jr., 14.0 ppg)
Back: SG Adam Flagler (Soph., 9.0 ppg), F Matthew Mayer (Jr., 8.3 ppg), PF Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (Soph., 6.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg), G LJ Cryer (Fr.), PF *Flo Thamba (Jr.), PF Zach Loveday (Fr.), SF Jordan Turner (Fr.)
Sat Out: PF Dain Dainja (Fr.)
Add: SF Kendall Brown (No. 15), SG Langston Love (No. 34), F Jeremy Sochan (No. 96)

Scott Drew will lose a ton in Butler, Mitchell, Teague and Vital. So this may be a stretch, but the culture is strong and the Bears have key contributors returning from this year’s team. Cryer could develop into a star, while Baylor also adds three talented freshmen, including a pair ranked in the top 50. There might be some growing pains early, but Baylor should stay relevant.

12. Villanova
Transferring: F Cole Swider (Syracuse, Jr., 5.7 ppg)
Seniors: SF *Jermaine Samuels (12.0 ppg), F Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (DNP)
Likely Gone: PF *Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Soph., 15.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg)
Likely Back: PG *Collin Gillespie (Sr., 14.0 ppg)
Back: G *Justin Moore (Soph., 12.9 ppg), G *Caleb Daniels (RS Jr., 9.6 ppg), SF Brandon Slater (Jr.), F Eric Dixon (Fr.), SG Bryan Antoine (Soph.), PG Chris Arcidiacono (Soph.), F Trey Patterson (Fr.)
Add: SF Jordan Longino (No. 50), C Nnanna Njoku (No. 84), PG Angelo Brizzi

Obviously, this ranking is heavily dependent on whether Gillespie decides to return for another year. If he does, Jay Wright brings back his perimeter trio of Gillespie, Moore and Daniels. The issue on the frontline means he’ll have to figure out how to fill the void of JRE, a guy who did it all for the Wildcats. But Wright and the ‘Nova culture make it impossible to exclude this program from the list.

13. Michigan
Seniors: SG *Isaiah Livers (13.1 ppg), G *Eli Brooks (9.5 ppg), PG *Mike Smith (Grad, 9.0 ppg), SG Chaundee Brown (8.0 ppg), C Austin Davis (Grad, 5.4 ppg)
Likely Gone: F *Franz Wagner (Soph., 12.5 ppg)
Back: C *Hunter Dickinson (Fr., 14.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg), F Brandon Johns (Jr.), F Terrance Williams II (Fr.), SG Jace Howard (Fr.), G Zeb Jackson (Fr.)
Add: SF Caleb Houstan (No. 8), PF Moussa Diabate (No. 18), SG Kobe Bufkin (No. 42), PG Frankie Collins (No. 51), SF Isaiah Barnes, PF Will Tschetter

We’ll see what happens with Dickinson and also whether maybe one of Brooks or Brown returns to Ann Arbor. But even if one of those guys leave, Juwan Howard is bringing in a star-studded class with a trio of McDonald’s All-Americans. There’s still a lot to be ironed out, but the Wolverines should have enough talent to be in the top 20 — and maybe even higher.

14. Syracuse
Transferring: G Kadary Richmond (Seton Hall, Fr., 6.3 ppg), F Robert Braswell (RS Soph., 3.8 ppg), F Woody Newton (Fr., 3.5 ppg), John Bol Ajak (RS Fr., 0.2 ppg)
Seniors: F *Marek Dolezaj (9.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg), C Bourama Sidibe (1.5 ppg)
Back: G *Buddy Boeheim (Jr., 17.8 ppg), F *Quincy Guerrier (Soph., 13.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg), F *Alan Griffin (Jr., 13.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg), G *Joseph Girard (Soph., 9.8 ppg), F Woody Newton (Fr.), C Jesse Edwards (Soph.), C Frank Anselem (Fr.)
Add: F Benny Williams (No. 25)
Transfer Add: F Cole Swider (Villanova, Jr., 5.7 ppg)

‘Cuse could return four starters next season if everyone comes back. The only significant departures right now are that of Dolezaj and Richmond, but Jim Boeheim will bring back his son, Buddy, in addition to Guerrier, Griffin and Girard. The Orange also added Villanova transfer Swider, who can really shoot it, and one of the top frosh in the country in Williams.

15. Kentucky
Transferring: PG *Devin Askew (Fr., 6.5 ppg), F Cam’Ron Fletcher (Fr., 1.7 ppg)
Seniors: C *Olivier Sarr (Grad, 10.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg)
Gone: SG *Brandon Boston Jr. (Fr., 11.5 ppg), SF *Terrence Clarke (Fr., 9.6 ppg)
50-50: C Isaiah Jackson (Fr., 8.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg)
Back: G *Davion Mintz (Grad, 11.5 ppg), F Keion Brooks (Soph., 10.3 ppg), G Dontaie Allen (RS Fr., 5.4 ppg), F Jacob Toppin (Soph., 5.2 ppg), PF Lance Ware (Fr.)
Add: C Daimion Collins (No. 11), PF Bryce Hopkins (No. 27), PG Nolan Hickman (No. 31)
Transfer Add: C Oscar Tshiebwe (West Virginia, Soph., 8.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg), G Kellan Grady (Davidson, Grad, 17.1 ppg)

Last season was a disaster for John Calipari and the ‘Cats. Boston and Clarke didn’t live up to the hype and Askew struggled as a freshman point guard. There are still plenty of unanswered questions with the roster, but Cal has enough guys back that should take a jump, and he’s bringing in another highly rated group of frosh in addition to Tshiebwe, who was a force at times in the paint for West Virginia.

16. St. Bonaventure
Transferring: G Alejandro Vasquez (Soph., 4.4 ppg), PF Jalen Shaw (Jr., 1.4 ppg), F Quintin Metcalf (Fr.), G Jermaine Taggart (Fr.) F Anthony Roberts (Jr.), G Justin Winston (Robert Morris, Soph.)
Back: G *Kyle Lofton (Jr., 14.4 ppg), G *Jaren Holmes (Jr., 13.8 ppg), G *Jalen Adaway (RS Jr., 12.2 ppg), G *Dominick Welch (Jr., 11.4 ppg), PF *Osun Osunniyi (Jr., 10.7 ppg), G Alpha Okoli (Jr.), G Eddie Creal (Jr.)
Add: G Justin Ndjock
Transfer Add: G Quadry Adams (Wake Forest, Fr.), F Abdoul Karim Coulibaly (Pittsburgh, Soph., 5.2 ppg)

Mark Schmidt and the Bonnies bring everyone important back from a team that won both the A-10 regular-season and tourney titles. Bona earned a No. 9 seed in the NCAA tourney and should have all five starters back.

17. Oregon
Transferring: G Addison Patterson (Soph., Nevada), F Chandler Lawson (Soph., 4.4 ppg), G Jalen Terry (Fr., 2.9 ppg)
Seniors: F *Eugene Omoruyi (RS Sr., 17.1 ppg), G *Chris Duarte (17.1 ppg), F *LJ Figueroa (12.3 ppg), G Amauri Hardy (3.9 ppg)
Back: G *Will Richardson (Jr., 11.3 ppg), F *Eric Williams Jr. (RS Jr., 10.0 ppg), C N’Faly Dante (Soph., 8.2 ppg), G Aaron Estrada (Soph.), C Franck Kepnang (Fr.)
Add: C Nathan Bittle (No. 16), SF Johnathan Lawson (No. 91)

Honestly, this one is about Dana Altman and the program’s ability to reload via transfers more than anything else. There will be major turnover, but that’s almost always the case these days with the Ducks. They still have at least two starters back in Richardson and Williams, and a couple of talented bigs with Dante and Kepnang, plus two heralded frosh with Bittle and Lawson.

18. Michigan State
Transferring: G *Rocket Watts (Soph., 7.7 ppg)
Seniors: G *Josh Langford (Grad, 9.7 ppg)
50-50: F *Aaron Henry (Jr., 15.4 ppg)
Back: F *Joey Hauser (RS Jr., 9.7 ppg), F Gabe Brown (Jr., 7.2 ppg), F Malik Hall (Soph., 5.0 ppg), G Foster Loyer (Jr.), F Julius Marble II (Soph.), PF Marcus Bingham Jr. (Jr.), PG A.J. Hoggard (Fr.), F *Thomas Kithier (Jr.)
Add: SG Max Christie (No. 17), PG Jaden Akins (No. 55), SF Pierre Brooks (No. 66),
G Tyson Walker (Northeastern, Soph., 18.8 ppg)

The Spartans, who are losing Watts, have some decent pieces with Hauser, Brown and Hall but are lacking in the star department. I’m not sure that Walker, a transfer from Northeastern, is a star but he is an upgrade at the point guard position. Tom Izzo also adds three top-75 freshmen — including talented wing Christie and another possibility at the point guard spot in Akins.

19. Houston
Transferring: G Caleb Mills (9.8 ppg, Florida State)
Seniors: G *DeJon Jarreau (RS Sr., 10.6 ppg), F *Justin Gorham (RS Sr., 8.4 ppg), F Fabian White Jr., (6.2 ppg), F *Brison Gresham (RS Sr., 3.0 ppg)
Likely Gone: SG *Quentin Grimes (Jr., 17.8 ppg)
Back: G *Marcus Sasser (Soph., 13.7 ppg), G Tramon Mark (Fr., 7.8 ppg), G Cameron Tyson (RS Soph., 6.2 ppg), F Reggie Chaney (Jr.), G Jamal Shead (Fr.)
Add: C Ja’Vier Francis, SF Ramon Walker, PF Robbie Armbrester
Transfer Add: C Josh Carlton (UConn, Sr., 3.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg)

The Cougars are going to lose a ton from their Final Four team, but as long as they bring back Sasser and Mark, they will have a chance. Sasser can carry the team on the offensive end, and Mark is a star in the making. The key will be adding a few more guys who can fill it up, especially if Grimes doesn’t return.

20. North Carolina
Transferring: C Walker Kessler (Fr., 4.4 ppg), Sterling Manley (RS Jr., 0.5 ppg)
Seniors: C *Garrison Brooks (10.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg), SG Andrew Platek (3.7 ppg)
Likely Gone: C Day’Ron Sharpe (Fr., 9.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg)
Back: PF *Armando Bacot (Soph., 12.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg), G *Caleb Love (Fr., 10.5 ppg), G RJ Davis (Fr., 8.4 ppg), G *Kerwin Walton (Fr., 8.2 ppg), SF *Leaky Black (Jr., 5.6 ppg), G Anthony Harris (RS Fr.), G Puff Johnson (Fr.)
Add: SF Dontrez Styles (No. 61), SG D’Marco Dunn (No. 65)
Transfer Add: F Justin McKoy (Virginia, Soph., 3.5 ppg)

New head coach Hubert Davis will have his hands full because UNC’s roster has serious question marks regarding players transferring. UNC will need to make sure Bacot returns since it looks as though Sharpe will be off to the NBA, while Kessler opted to transfer. The young backcourt will also need to improve.

21. Arizona
Transferring: G Jemarl Baker Jr. (RS Jr., 12.0 ppg), G Terrell Brown Jr. (Grad, 7.3 ppg); F Ira Lee (Sr., 3.0 ppg)
Back: G *James Akinjo (Jr., 15.6 ppg), PF *Azuolas Tubelis (Fr., 12.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg), SF *Bennedict Mathurin (Fr., 10.8 ppg), PF Jordan Brown (RS Soph., 9.4 ppg), G *Kerr Kriisa (Fr., 5.5 ppg), C *Christian Koloko (Soph., 5.3 ppg), F Dalen Terry (Fr.)
Add: SG-SF Shane Nowell (No. 80), G K.J. Simpson (No. 99), SG Shane Dezonie

The Wildcats weren’t eligible for the NCAA tourney this past season, but likely would have gotten in if they hadn’t self-imposed a ban. If they bring back their core of Akinjo, Tubelis, and Mathurin while adding a trio of solid freshmen, there’s no reason to think they can’t compete for the Pac-12 title.

22. UConn
Transferring: G Brendan Adams (Jr., 4.5 ppg), PF Josh Carlton (Sr., 3.5 ppg), C Javonte Brown (Texas A&M, Fr.)
Seniors: F *Isaiah Whaley (8.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg), F Tyler Polley (7.5 ppg)
Likely Gone: SG *James Bouknight (Soph., 18.7 ppg)
Back: G *R.J. Cole (RS Jr., 12.2 ppg), SG *Tyrese Martin (Jr., 10.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg), F *Adama Sanogo (Fr., 7.3 ppg), G Jalen Gaffney (Soph., 6.1 ppg), G Andre Jackson (Fr.), PF Akok Akok (RS Soph.), F Richie Springs (RS Fr.)
Add: PG Rahsool Diggins (No. 46), SG Jordan Hawkins (No. 49), C Samson Johnson (No. 70)

Yes, I know Bouknight is gone and that he was everything for the Huskies. I still think this can be the best team in the Big East not named Villanova this season. Cole is a quality point guard, Martin can take a step forward and Dan Hurley has some other talented pieces in Gaffney, Jackson and a healthy Akok. UConn also brings in a couple of talented guards.

23. West Virginia
Transferring: F *Emmitt Matthews Jr. (Jr., 7.8 ppg), G Jordan McCabe (Jr., 2.2 ppg)
Seniors: G Taz Sherman (13.4 ppg), F Gabe Osabuohien
50-50: G *Miles McBride (Soph., 15.8 ppg)
Back: PF *Derek Culver (Jr., 14.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg), G *Sean McNeil (Jr., 12.2 ppg), F *Jalen Bridges (RS Fr., 5.9 ppg), F Isaiah Cottrell (Fr.), G Kedrian Johnson (Jr.), F Taj Thweatt (Fr.), PF Seny Ndiaye (Fr.)
Add: G Seth Wilson, PG Kobe Johnson
Transfer Add: F Dimon Carrigan (FIU, Sr., 6.8 ppg), G Malik Curry (Old Dominion, Sr., 15.7 ppg)

There are several questions for the Mountaineers — with the most important being whether McBride comes back to Morgantown. If he doesn’t, Bob Huggins will need to add a transfer point guard. West Virginia has a talented big man in Culver and a couple of quality guards, but again, McBride really is the difference maker for WVU.

24. Virginia
Transferring: G Casey Morsell (NC State, Soph., 4.4 ppg), F Justin McKoy (North Carolina, Soph., 3.5 ppg), SG Jabri Abdur-Rahim (Fr., 0.9 ppg)
Seniors: F *Sam Hauser (16.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg), PF *Jay Huff (13.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg), G Tomas Woldetensae (4.4 ppg)
Back: F *Trey Murphy (Jr., 11.3 ppg), PG *Kihei Clark (Jr., 9.5 ppg, 4.5 apg), G *Reece Beekman (Fr.), G Kody Stattmann (Jr.), F Kadin Shedrick (RS Fr.), C Francisco Caffaro (RS Soph.), G Carson McCorkle (Fr.)
Add: SG Taine Murray (No. 83)
Transfer Add: G Armaan Franklin (Indiana, Soph., 11.4 ppg)

The roster looks underwhelming, but it’s difficult to imagine a Tony Bennett team not in the preseason top 25. Clark is still a point guard who makes people better, Murphy can make shots and I’d expect Beekman to make a big jump this year. I’d also be shocked if Virginia isn’t active in the transfer market.

25. Belmont
Transferring: G Mitch Listau (Soph., 3.1 ppg)
Seniors: None
Back: C *Nick Muszynski (Jr., 15.0 ppg), G *Luke Smith (Jr., 12.7 ppg), G JaCobi Wood (Fr., 11.3 ppg), PG *Grayson Murphy (Jr., 10.9 ppg), G *Ben Sheppard (Soph., 10.5 ppg), F *Caleb Hollander (Jr., 9.3 ppg), C Even Brauns (Fr.), G EJ Bellinger (Soph.), G Tate Pierson (Jr.), F Frank Jakubicek (Fr.), F Derek Sabin (Soph.), F Michael Shanks (Fr.)
Add: F Will Richard, G Isaiah Walker

The Bruins were 26-4 overall last season, 18-2 in the OVC and Casey Alexander returns his top seven scorers from last year’s team. Look for Belmont to be even more dominant this season, especially with Muszynski, Murphy, Hollander and Pierson all in their fifth year of college.


*Indicates player was a starter last season.
• 2021 freshman rankings are the 247Sports Composite Rating
• Player stats and classification from 2020-21 season