It’s always challenging to do an early preseason top 25, but this year it’s tougher than usual with the incredibly high turnover and also the fact that we didn’t see this freshman class on the AAU circuit a year ago.
However, we’ve got a handful of teams that appear to be a step ahead of the rest.
Gone: SG *Corey Kispert (Sr., 18.8 ppg), PG *Jalen Suggs (NBA, Fr., 14.1 ppg), G *Joel Ayayi (NBA, RS Jr., 12.2 ppg), PG Aaron Cook (Transferring, Grad, 4.4 ppg), PF Pavel Zakharov (Transferring to Cal Baptist, Soph., 0.8 ppg), C Oumar Ballo (Transferring to Arizona, RS Fr., 2.5 ppg)
Back: PF *Drew Timme (Soph., 19.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg), PG *Andrew Nembhard (Jr., 9.2 ppg), PF Anton Watson (Soph., 7.0 ppg), G Julian Strawther (Fr., 3.4 ppg), G Dominick Harris (Fr., 3.0 ppg), PF Ben Gregg (Fr., 0.9 ppg), G Martynas Arlauskas (Soph., 0.1 ppg)
Add: PF Chet Holmgren (No. 1), PG Hunter Sallis (No. 6), PG Nolan Hickman (No. 31), PF Kaden Perry (No. 53)
Transfer Add: G Rasir Bolton (Iowa State, Jr., 15.5 ppg)
Suggs, Kispert and Ayayi are all gone, but Timme and Nembhard will return and the Zags will add the top-rated frosh in the nation. That means Mark Few will have a frontline of Timme and 7-foot-1 Holmgren, the No. 1 freshman in the country. 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 – where the Zags have options.
Gone: G Matt Coleman (Sr., 13.2 ppg), F Greg Brown (NBA, Fr., 9.3 ppg), C Jericho Sims (NBA, Sr., 9.2 ppg), F Kai Jones (NBA, Soph., 8.8 ppg) G Donovan Williams (Transferring to UNLV, Soph., 3.3 ppg), F Kamaka Kepa (Transferring to Hawaii, Jr., 2.9 ppg), F Gerald Liddell (Transferring to Alabama, Jr., 2.1 ppg), F Will Baker (Transferring to Nevada, Soph., 2.1 ppg), F Royce Hamm (Transferring to UNLV, Sr., 1.9 ppg)
Back: G Andrew Jones (RS Jr., 14.6 ppg), G Courtney Ramey (Jr., 12.2 ppg), G Jase Febres (Sr., 5.2 ppg), F Brock Cunningham (Soph., 1.6 ppg)
Add: Jaylon Tyson (No. 35)
Transfer Adds: G Marcus Carr (Minnesota, Jr., 19.4 ppg, 4.9 apg), C Tre Mitchell (UMass, Soph., 18.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg), F Timmy Allen (Utah, Jr., 17.2 ppg), F Dylan Disu (Vanderbilt, Soph., 15.0 ppg, 9.2 rpg), F Christian Bishop (Creighton, Jr., 11.0 ppg), PG Devin Askew (Kentucky, Fr., 6.5 ppg)
Chris Beard and his staff brought two double-digit scorers back to Austin in Jones and Ramey, and added six top transfers. The point guard spot will be key and whether Askew can be a front-line floor leader or Beard uses Carr or Ramey in that role, but there’s enough talent in Austin to go with one of the best coaches in the country.
Gone: PF *Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Soph., 15.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg), F Cole Swider (Transferring to Syracuse, Jr., 5.7 ppg)
Seniors: F Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (DNP)
Back: PG *Collin Gillespie (Sr., 14.0 ppg), G *Justin Moore (Soph., 12.9 ppg), SF *Jermaine Samuels (Sr., 12.0 ppg), G *Caleb Daniels (RS Jr., 9.6 ppg), SF Brandon Slater (Jr., 3.8 ppg), F Eric Dixon (Fr., 3.0 ppg), SG Bryan Antoine (Soph., 2.3 ppg), PG Chris Arcidiacono (Soph., 0.9 ppg), F Trey Patterson (Fr.)
Add: SF Jordan Longino (No. 50), C Nnanna Njoku (No. 84), PG Angelo Brizzi
With Gillespie and Samuels both deciding to return for their fifth year, Wright brings back everyone of note besides Robinson-Earl. 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 this is a program that can win the national title – again.
Gone: G *Marcus Garrett (Sr., 11.0 ppg), G Bryce Thompson (Transferring to Oklahoma State, Fr., 4.6 ppg), G Tyon Grant-Foster (Tranferring to DePaul, Jr., 3.1 ppg), F Tristan Enaruna (Transferring to Iowa State, Soph., 2.8 ppg), F Gethro Muscadin (Transferring to New Mexico, Fr., 0.2 ppg), PG Latrell Jossell (Transferring to Stephen F. Austin, Fr.)
Back: G *Ochai Agbaji (Jr., 14.1 ppg), C *David McCormack (Jr., 13.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg), G *Christian Braun (Soph., 9.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg), F *Jalen Wilson (RS Fr., 11.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg), F Mitch Lightfoot (RS Sr.), PG Dajuan Harris Jr. (RS Fr.)
Add: C Zach Clemence (No. 39), PF K.J. Adams (No. 71), PG Bobby Pettiford (No. 88), G Kyle Cuffe Jr.
Transfer Add: PG Remy Martin (Arizona State, Sr., 19.1 ppg), SG Jalen Coleman-Lands (Sr., 14.1 ppg), PG Joseph Yesufu (Drake, Soph., 12.8 ppg), Cam Martin (Missouri Southern State, 25.0 ppg, 9.1 rpg)
The Jayhawks return four starters and will also add some key pieces – including a veteran guard in Remy Martin, who along with Drake transfer Joseph Yesufu will give KU much-needed speed. KU has a strong frontline of McCormack and Wilson, and quality perimeter players in Agbaji and Braun.
Gone: F Chris Smith (12.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg), PF Jalen Hill (Retiring, RS Jr., 6.1 ppg)
Back: G *Johnny Juzang (Soph., 16.0 ppg), 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., 4.7 ppg), SF Jake Kyman (Soph., 3.0 ppg), PF Mac Etienne (Fr., 2.6 ppg), G Jaylen Clark (Fr., 2.5 ppg), PF Kenneth Nwuba (RS Soph., 0.1 ppg)
Add: SF Peyton Watson (No. 10), SG Will McClendon (No. 45)
Transfer Add: C Myles Johnson (Rutgers, Jr., 8.0 ppg)
No one saw this coming in the NCAA Tournament, and with Juzang back in the fold, 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 and also a big man in Johnson.
Gone: F Aaron Wheeler (Transferring to St. John’s, Jr., 3.9 ppg), C Emmanuel Dowuona (Transferring to Tennessee State, 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., 4.2 ppg), G Ethan Morton (Fr., 0.6 ppg)
Add: PF Trey Kaufman-Renn (No. 32), C Caleb Furst (No. 54), F Brian Waddell
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.
Gone: G *Boogie Ellis (Transferring to USC, Soph., 10.2 ppg), F D.J. Jeffries (Transferring to Mississippi State, Soph., 9.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg), C *Moussa Cisse (Transferring to Oklahoma State, Fr., 6.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg), G Damion Baugh (Transferring to TCU, Soph., 3.4 ppg), F Lance Thomas (Transferring to South Alabama, Jr. 2.1 ppg), G Jordan Nesbitt (Transferring to Saint Louis, Fr.), F Ahmad Rand (Transferring to Oregon State, RS Jr.)
Back: SG *Landers Nolley II (RS Jr., 13.1 ppg), F *Deandre Williams (Sr., 11.7 ppg)
SG *Lester Quinones (Jr., 9.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg), PG Alex Lomax (Sr., 6.0 ppg), C Malcolm Dandridge (Jr., 3.8 ppg), G Jayden Hardaway (RS Jr., 2.6 ppg)
Add: G-F Emoni Bates (No. 4), C Jalen Duren (No. 5), G Josh Minott (No. 44), F Johnathan Lawson (No. 99), C Sam Onu, F John Camden
Transfer Add: G Earl Timberlake (Miami, Fr., 9.3 ppg), G Tyler Harris (Iowa State, Jr., 7.5 ppg), F Chandler Lawson (Oregon, Soph., 4.4 ppg)
It all changed late in the summer for Penny Hardaway. He was able to land the two top players in the Class of 2023, skilled and versatile guard/forward Emoni Bates and also tough, athletic big man Jalen Duren. Both reclassified and will join a team with a few proven returning vets in Nolley, Williams and Quinones. The key will be chemistry and point guard play — where Bates likely gets first crack at it.
Gone: G *Jared Butler (Jr., 16.6 ppg), G *MaCio Teague (Sr., 15.8 ppg), G *Davion Mitchell (NBA, Jr., 14.0 ppg), PF *Mark Vital (Sr., 5.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg), F Tristan Clark (Sr., DNP)
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., 3.4 ppg), PF *Flo Thamba (Jr., 3.6 ppg), PF Zach Loveday (Fr., 2.2 ppg), SF Jordan Turner (Fr., 1.7 ppg)
Sat Out: PF Dain Dainja (Fr.)
Add: SF Kendall Brown (No. 15), SG Langston Love (No. 34), F Jeremy Sochan (No. 96)
Transfer Add: G James Akinjo (Arizona, Jr., 15.6 ppg), G Dale Bonner (Fairmont State, Soph., 21.2 ppg)
Scott Drew will lose a ton in Mitchell, Teague, Vital and likely Butler. So this may be a stretch, but the culture is strong and the Bears have key contributors returning from this year’s team and they also added Akinjo. Mayer 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 still have a chance to be a Final Four team.
Gone: SG *Isaiah Livers (Sr., 13.1 ppg), F *Franz Wagner (NBA, Soph., 12.5 ppg), PG *Mike Smith (Grad, 9.0 ppg), SG Chaundee Brown (Grad, 8.0 ppg), C Austin Davis (Grad, 5.4 ppg)
Back: C *Hunter Dickinson (Fr., 14.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg), G *Eli Brooks (9.5 ppg), 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
Transfer Add: G DeVante’ Jones (Coastal Carolina, RS Jr., 19.3 ppg)
The good news is that Dickinson and Brooks decided to come back for another year. Juwan Howard is also bringing in a star-studded class with a trio of McDonald’s All-Americans, and he added a veteran point guard in Jones. There’s still questions, but the Wolverines should have enough talent to be in the mix for a Big Ten title.
Gone: SG *Brandon Boston Jr. (NBA, Fr., 11.5 ppg), C *Olivier Sarr (Grad, 10.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg), SF *Terrence Clarke (Fr., 9.6 ppg), C Isaiah Jackson (NBA, Fr., 8.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg), PG *Devin Askew (Transferring to Texas, Fr., 6.5 ppg), F Cam’Ron Fletcher (Transferring to Florida State, Fr., 1.7 ppg)
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., 2.0 ppg)
Add: PG TyTy Washington (No. 11), C Daimion Collins (No. 12), PF Bryce Hopkins (No. 27)
Transfer Add: PG Sahvir Wheeler (Georgia, Soph., 14.0 ppg, 7.2 apg), C Oscar Tshiebwe (West Virginia, Soph., 8.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg), G Kellan Grady (Davidson, Grad, 17.1 ppg), SG CJ Fredrick (Iowa, Soph., 7.5 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 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 four impact transfers in Wheeler, Tshiebwe, Grady and Fredrick.
Gone: SG *Moses Moody (NBA, Fr., 16.8 ppg), F *Justin Smith (Grad, 13.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg), G *Jalen Tate (Grad, 10.9 ppg), G Desi Sills (Transferring to Auburn, Jr., 7.5 ppg), F Vance Jackson (Grad, 3.8 ppg), F Ethan Henderson (Transferring to Texas A&M, Jr., 1.2 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., 3.7 ppg), G Khalen Robinson (Fr., 2.6 ppg)
Add: G Chance Moore (No. 89)
Transfer Adds: PG Chris Lykes (Miami, Sr., 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, Jr., 11.0 ppg), F Jaxson Robinson (Texas A&M, Fr., 2.1 ppg)
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 few impact transfers.
Gone: F *Eugene Omoruyi (RS Sr., 17.1 ppg), G *Chris Duarte (Sr., 17.1 ppg), F *LJ Figueroa (Sr., 12.3 ppg), F Chandler Lawson (Transferring to Memphis, Soph., 4.4 ppg), G Amauri Hardy (Sr., 3.9 ppg), G Aaron Estrada (Transferring to Hofstra, Soph., 3.1 ppg), G Jalen Terry (Transferring to DePaul, Fr., 2.9 ppg), G Addison Patterson (Transferring to Nevada, Soph.)
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), C Franck Kepnang (Fr., 2.6 ppg), F Lok Wur (RS Fr., 1.5 ppg)
Add: C Nathan Bittle (No. 16), PF Isaac Johnson, G Rivaldo Soares (Juco)
Transfer Add: G Jacob Young (Sr., 14.1 ppg), F Quincy Guerrier (Syracuse, Soph., 13.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg), G De’Vion Harmon (Oklahoma, Soph., 12.9 ppg)
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 a heralded frosh in Bittle. They already brought in Harmon and Guerrier, and probably aren’t done yet.
Gone: G *Ayo Dosunmu (NBA, Jr., 20.1 ppg), SG *Adam Miller (Transferred to LSU, Fr., 8.3 ppg), Giorgi Bezhanishvili (F, Jr., 5.1 ppg), C Jermaine Hamlin (Soph.,, 1.0 ppg)
Back: C *Kofi Cockburn (Soph., 17.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg), G *Trent Frazier (Sr., 10.2 ppg), PG Andre Curbelo (Fr., 9.1 ppg, 4.2 apg), G *Da’Monte Williams (5.5 ppg), SF Jacob Grandison (Sr., 4.6 ppg), F Coleman Hawkins (Soph., 1.4 ppg), C Brandon Lieb (Soph., 0.8 ppg), F Bejamin Bosmans-Verdonk (RS Soph., 0.3 ppg)
Add: SG RJ Melendez (No. 90), SF Luke Goode (No. 97), SG Brandin Podziemski
Transfer Add: G Alfonso Plummer (Utah, Sr., 13.6 ppg), PF Omar Payne (Florida, Jr., 3.8 ppg)
The Illini cracked the Top 25 when big man Kofi Cockburn decided to return to Champaign. Now Brad Underwood has elite passing point guard Andre Curbelo, a veteran wing in Frazier and one of the top big men in the country with Cockburn.
14. North Carolina
Transferring: C *Garrison Brooks (Sr., Transferring to Mississippi State, 10.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg), C Day’Ron Sharpe (NBA, Fr., 9.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), C Walker Kessler (Transferring to Auburn, Fr., 4.4 ppg), SG Andrew Platek (Sr., 3.7 ppg), Sterling Manley (Transferring, RS Jr., 0.5 ppg)
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., 3.2 ppg), G Puff Johnson (Fr., 1.1 ppg)
Add: SF Dontrez Styles (No. 61), SG D’Marco Dunn (No. 65)
Transfer Adds: F Dawson Garcia (Marquette, Fr., 13.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg), F Brady Manek (Oklahoma, Sr., 10.8 ppg), F Justin McKoy (Virginia, Soph., 3.5 ppg)
New head coach Hubert Davis takes over for Roy Williams, and it’ll be interesting to see how he does. UNC lost Sharpe and Kessler, but Bacot, Garcia and Manek should be a quality frontcourt. The young backcourt will also need to improve.
Gone: PF *Matthew Hurt (NBA, Soph., 18.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg), SG *DJ Steward (NBA, Fr., 13.0 ppg), F Jalen Johnson (NBA, 11.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg), PG Jordan Goldwire (Transferring to Oklahoma, Sr., 5.8 ppg), PF Jaemyn Brakefield (Transferring to Ole Miss, Fr., 3.5 ppg), F Henry Coleman (Transferring to Texas A&M, Fr., 1.1 ppg), F Patrick Tape (Transferring to San Francisco, Grad, 1.1 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.)
Add: PF Paolo Banchero (No. 3), SF A.J. Griffin (No. 7), SG Trevor Keels (No. 20), PG Jaylen Blakes
Transfer Add: F Theo John (Marquette, Sr., 8.0 ppg)
The Blue Devils will 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 in his coaching swan song. Williams was terrific down the stretch, but the key will likely be at the point where Roach will need to make a jump.
Gone: SG *John Petty Jr. (Sr., 12.6 ppg), F *Herbert Jones (Sr., 11.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg), G *Josh Primo (NBA, Fr., 8.1 ppg), C *Jordan Bruner (Sr., 5.6 ppg), F Alex Reese (Sr., 5.4 ppg)
Back: G *Jaden Shackelford (Transferred, Soph., 14.0 ppg), PG Jahvon Quinerly (Soph., 12.9 ppg), SG Keon Ellis (Jr., 5.5 ppg), F Juwan Gary (RS Fr., 3.8 ppg), PF James Rojas (Jr., 2.9 ppg), F Darius Miles (Fr., 2.2 ppg), F Keon Ambrose-Hylton (Fr., 1.1 ppg), PF Alex Tchikou (Fr.)
Add: PG JD Davison (No. 9), C Charles Bediako (No. 26), SF Jusaun Holt
Transfer Add: G Nimari Burnett (Texas Tech, Fr., 5.3 ppg), F Noah Gurley (Furman, Jr., 15.4 ppg)
Nate Oats and the Crimson Tide will definitely look different next year, but they still return enough key pieces from a team that won the SEC regular-season title and tournament. Oats will need Quinerly to be an all-league point guard, and Davison to make a major impact as a frosh. He has also added a couple of transfers in Burnett and Gurley who will help.
Gone: G Jaden Springer (NBA, Fr., 12.5 ppg), G *Keon Johnson (NBA, Fr., 11.3 ppg), F *Yves Pons (Sr., 8.7 ppg), F EJ Anosike (Transferring, Sr., 1.7 ppg), F Davonte Gaines (Soph., 0.7 ppg), F Drew Pember F (Transferred to UNC Asheville, Soph., 0.2 ppg), Corey Walker (Transferred to South Florida, Fr.)
Back: G Victor Bailey Jr., (Sr., 10.9 ppg), F *John Fulkerson (Grad, 9.5 ppg), PG *Santiago Vescovi (Jr., 8.7 ppg), G *Josiah-Jordan James (Jr., 8.0 ppg), F Olivier Nkamhoua (Jr., 2.3 ppg), F Uros Plavsic (Jr., 1.1 ppg)
Add: PG Kennedy Chandler (No. 11), PF Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (No. 19), C Jonas Aidoo (No. 55), SF Jahami Mashack (No. 58), SG Quentin Diboundje
Transfer Adds: G Justin Powell (Auburn, Fr., 11.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg)
The Vols lose two talented freshmen and also a terrific defender in Pons, but Rick Barnes will bring back four guys in Bailey, Fulkerson, Vescovi and James who started a combined 76 games last season. Then add in another talented recruiting class led by Chandler and Huntley-Hatfield, and there’s more than enough talent and experience.
Gone: SG *Quentin Grimes (NBA, Jr., 17.8 ppg), G *DeJon Jarreau (RS Sr., 10.6 ppg), G Caleb Mills (Transferring to Florida State, 9.8 ppg), F *Justin Gorham (RS Sr., 8.4 ppg), G Cameron Tyson (Transferring to Seattle, RS Soph., 6.2 ppg), F *Brison Gresham (RS Sr., 3.0 ppg)
Back: G *Marcus Sasser (Soph., 13.7 ppg), G Tramon Mark (Fr., 7.8 ppg), F Fabian White Jr., (Sr., 6.2 ppg), F Reggie Chaney (Jr.), G Jamal Shead (Fr., 3.3 ppg), F Kiyron Powell (Fr., 2.3 ppg), F J’Wan Roberts (Fr., 1.9 ppg)
Add: C Ja’Vier Francis, SF Ramon Walker, PF Robbie Armbrester, F Ja’Vier Francis
Transfer Add: G, Kyler Edwards (Texas Tech, Jr., 10.1 ppg), C Josh Carlton (UConn, Sr., 3.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg), G Taze Moore (Cal State Bakersfield, Sr., 12.2 ppg)
The Cougars are going to lose a ton from their Final Four team, but with Sasser and Mark back in the fold, they will have a chance. Sasser can carry the team on the offensive end, and Mark is a star in the making. The addition of Edwards, a Texas Tech transfer who averaged 10 points last season, should help.
19. Ohio State
Gone: G *Duane Washington Jr. (NBA, Jr., 16.4 ppg), G *CJ Walker (Sr., 9.5 ppg), G Musa Jallow (Transferring to Charlotte, RS Jr., 2.9 ppg), F Ibrahima Diallo (Transferring, Soph., 0.2 ppg)
Back: PF *E.J. Liddell (Soph., 16.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg), F *Justice Sueing (RS Jr., 10.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg), F *Kyle Young (Sr., 8.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg), F Justin Ahrens (Jr., 5.7 ppg), F Zed Key (Fr., 5.2 ppg), F Seth Towns (Grad, 3.8 ppg), G Jimmy Sotos (Sr., 1.7 ppg), G Meechie Johnson Jr. (Fr., 1.2 ppg), G Eugene Brown III (Fr., 1.2 ppg)
Add: SG Malaki Branham (No. 29), PF Kalen Etzler
Transfer Add: G Jamari Wheeler (Penn State, Sr., 6.8 ppg), C Joey Brunk (Indiana, Sr., 6.8 ppg)
With Liddell back in the fold, this is a group that will still challenge for one of the top spots in the Big Ten. 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.
20. Michigan State
Gone: F *Aaron Henry (NBA, Jr., 15.4 ppg), G *Josh Langford (Grad, 9.7 ppg), G *Rocket Watts (Transferring, Soph., 7.7 ppg), G Foster Loyer (Transferring to Davidson, Jr., 4.2 ppg), F *Thomas Kithier (Transferring to Valparaiso, Jr., 2.4 ppg)
Back: F *Joey Hauser (RS Jr., 9.7 ppg), F Gabe Brown (Jr., 7.2 ppg), F Malik Hall (Soph., 5.0 ppg), F Julius Marble II (Soph., 4.0 ppg), PF Marcus Bingham Jr. (Jr., 3.5 ppg), PG A.J. Hoggard (Fr., 2.5 ppg), F Mady Sissoko (Fr., 1.1 ppg)
Add: SG Max Christie (No. 17), PG Jaden Akins (No. 55), SF Pierre Brooks (No. 66)
Transfer Add: G Tyson Walker (Northeastern, Soph., 18.8 ppg)
The Spartans, who are losing Watts and Henry, still 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.
21. St. Bonaventure
Gone: G Alejandro Vasquez (Transferring to Hofstra, Soph., 4.4 ppg), PF Jalen Shaw (Transferring, Jr., 1.4 ppg), F Quintin Metcalf (Transferring, Fr.), G Jermaine Taggart (Fr.) F Anthony Roberts (Transferring, Jr.), G Justin Winston (Transferring to Robert Morris, Soph., 3.0 ppg), G Eddie Creal (Transferring, Jr., 0.9 ppg), G Alpha Okoli (Transferring, Jr., 1.3 ppg), F Jalen Shaw (Jr., 1.4 ppg), SG Josh Bell (Fr.)
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)
Add: SF Justin Ndjock-Tadjore, G Joryam Saizonou, G Linton Brown (JUCO), C Oluwasegun Durosinmi (JUCO)
Transfer Adds: G Quadry Adams (Wake Forest, Fr., 2.2 ppg), F Abdoul Karim Coulibaly (Pittsburgh, Soph., 5.2 ppg)
Mark Schmidt and the Bonnies bring all five starters back from a team that won both the A-10 regular-season and tourney titles. The bench is revamped, but Schmidt has five guys who are proven and have won a ton of games together.
22. Florida State
Gone: Scottie Barnes (NBA, Fr., 10.3 ppg), G *M.J. Walker (Sr., 12.2 ppg), F *RaiQuan Gray (NBA, RS Jr., 11.9 ppg), C *Balsa Koprivica (NBA, Soph., 9.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg), SG Sardaar Calhoun (Transferring to Texas Tech, 5.3 ppg), G Nathanael Jack (Transferring, Sr., 3.6 ppg)
Back: G *Anthony Polite (RS Jr., 10.1 ppg), F Malik Osborne (RS Jr., 5.9 ppg), G *RayQuan Evans (Sr., 5.1 ppg), SF Wyatt Wilkes (RS Jr.), C Tanor Ngom (Sr., 2.4 ppg), C Quincy Ballard (Fr.)
Add: SF Matthew Cleveland (No. 22), G Jalen Warley (No. 28), C John Butler (No. 64), C Naheem McLeod (JUCO)
Transfer Adds: G Caleb Mills (Houston, Soph., 9.8 ppg), F Cam’ron Fletcher (Kentucky, Fr., 1.7 ppg)
I feel like it’s just the right move to put the ‘Noles somewhere in the top 25 even though they will lose some guys to the NBA once again. FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton will add two transfers in Mills and Fletcher, and a talented freshman class that includes wing Cleveland and combo guard Warley.
Gone: G *Darryl Morsell (Transferring to Marquette, Sr., 9.0 ppg), G *Aaron Wiggins (Jr., 14.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg), F Jairus Hamilton (Transferring, Jr., 6.5 ppg), F Galin Smith (Sr., 3.7 ppg), C Chol Marial (Transferring to Oregon State, Soph., 1.6 ppg), G Aquan Smart (Transferring to FIU, Fr., 1.4 ppg)
Back: G *Eric Ayala (Jr., 15.1 ppg), F *Donta Scott (Soph., 11.0 ppg), G *Hakim Hart (Soph., 7.1 ppg), PF James Graham III (Fr., 1.3 ppg), G Marcus Dockery (Soph., 1.4 ppg)
Add: C Julian Reese (No. 82), SF Ike Cornish (No. 100)
Transfer Add: C Qudus Wahab (Georgetown, Soph., 12.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg), PG Fatts Russell (URI, Sr., 14.7 ppg, 4.5 apg), G Ian Martinez (Utah, Fr., 5.2 ppg), F Pavlo Dziuba (Arizona State, Soph., 0.4 ppg)
The bad news is that Morsell and Wiggins left; the good is that 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.
Gone: PG Sharife Cooper (NBA, Fr., 20.2 ppg, 8.1 apg), G Justin Powell (Transferring to Tennessee, Fr., 11.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg), F JT Thor (NBA, Fr., 9.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg), G Jamal Johnson (Transferring to UAB, Jr., 9.4 ppg), G Tyrell Jones (Transferring to South Alabama, Soph., 3.3 ppg), F Javon Franklin (Transferring to South Alabama, Jr., 1.3 ppg)
Back: G Allen Flanigan (Soph., 14.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg), F Jaylin Williams (Soph., 10.9 ppg), G Devan Cambridge (Soph., 8.9 ppg), C Daylan Cardwell (Fr., 3.8 ppg), F Chris Moore (Fr., 2.8 ppg), C Babatunde Akingbola (Soph., 1.9 ppg)
Adds: PF Jabari Smith (No. 4)
Transfer Adds: G Wendell Green (Eastern Kentucky, Fr., 15.8 ppg), G Zep Jasper (Charleston, Jr., 15.6 ppg), G KD Johnson (Georgia, Fr., 13.5 ppg) C Walker Kessler (North Carolina, Fr., 4.4 ppg), G Desi Sills (Arkansas, Jr., 7.5 ppg)
Bruce Pearl and the Tigers bring back a few key pieces from last season, but they revamped the roster via transfers and also adding one of the best freshman in the country in Jabari Smith. The frontline should be loaded with Smith, UNC transfer Walker Kessler and Jaylin Williams. The key will be at the point where two transfers – Wendell Green and Zep Jasper — will likely battle for playing time.
Gone: SG *James Bouknight (NBA, Soph., 18.7 ppg), G Brendan Adams (Transferring to GW, Jr., 4.5 ppg), PF Josh Carlton (Transferring to Houston, Sr., 3.5 ppg), C Javonte Brown (Transferring to Texas A&M, Fr.)
Back: G *R.J. Cole (RS Jr., 12.2 ppg), SG *Tyrese Martin (Jr., 10.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg), F *Isaiah Whaley (Sr., 8.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg), F Tyler Polley (Sr., 7.5 ppg), F *Adama Sanogo (Fr., 7.3 ppg), G Jalen Gaffney (Soph., 6.1 ppg), G Andre Jackson (Fr., 2.7 ppg), PF Akok Akok (RS Soph., 1.3 ppg), 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.
Gone: G Mitch Listau (Transferring, Soph., 3.1 ppg)
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., 4.0 ppg), G EJ Bellinger (Soph., 3.1 ppg), G Tate Pierson (Jr., 3.0 ppg), F Frank Jakubicek (Fr., 2.5 ppg), F Derek Sabin (Soph., 2.1 ppg), F Michael Shanks (Fr., 1.6 ppg)
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