It’s always challenging to do a preseason Top 25, but this year it’s tougher than usual with the incredibly high transfer 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.
[RELATED: These College Basketball Coaches Are on the Hot Seat]
* Indicates player was a starter last season.
• Player stats and classifications from 2020-21 season.
• 2021 freshman rankings are the 247Sports Composite Rating.
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 to Georgia, 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 return and the Zags add the top-rated frosh in the nation in Holmgren. That means Mark Few will have a frontline of Timme and the skilled Holmgren. The question is who else emerges? Look for veteran pass-first point guard Nembhard to get an increased role, but the key will be whether other freshmen, like Sallis and Hickman, are ready.
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 State, Jr., 2.1 ppg), F Will Baker (Transferring to Nevada, Soph., 2.1 ppg), F Royce Hamm (Transferring to UNLV, Sr.)
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 Add: 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)
New Texas coach Chris Beard and his staff brought two double-digit scorers back to Austin in Jones and Ramey, and added six top transfers (with five of them averaging double-figures at their previous spots). Will Carr be a guy who can balance scoring with keeping his teammates happy? Another concern is rim protection, as the Longhorns don’t have much in that department.
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 the Final Four run coming, and with Juzang back in the fold, there’s no reason to believe the Bruins won’t pick up where they left off. Juzang was arguably the tournament’s brightest star, but Jaquez and Bernard were both terrific, and Mick Cronin will add a stud freshman in Watson and also a big man/rim protector in Johnson.
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 largely due to the fact that the freshmen class didn’t live up to the hype. This year, Calipari added four impact transfers and also addressed recent perimeter shooting woes with the additions of Fredrick and Grady. Talented freshman Washington should also evolve into a star before long. This team could get out of the gates much faster than usual due to their added experience.
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 Martin, who along with Drake transfer Yesufu will give KU much-needed speed. KU has a strong frontline of McCormack and Wilson, and quality perimeter players in Agbaji and Braun. KU may not have a high-level pro on its roster, but Bill Self has experience, enough quality college players and also no shortage of depth.
Gone: PF *Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Soph., 15.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg), F Cole Swider (Transferring to Syracuse, Jr., 5.7 ppg)
Off Active Roster: F Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (Health)
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, Jay Wright brings back everyone of note besides Robinson-Earl. Wright will have to figure out how to fill the void of JRE, a guy who did it all for the Wildcats. It won’t be easy and will likely be done via committee, but this is a program that can win the national title, again.
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 dynamic scorer, 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. However, he’ll need quality point guard play and to figure out how to best utilize his two bigs.
Gone: G *Jared Butler (NBA, 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 lost Mitchell, Teague, Vital and Butler from last season’s championship team, but the culture is strong and the Bears have key contributors returning with Flagler, Mayer, JTT and Thamba, and they also added the reliable Akinjo. Cryer might need to become an X-factor in order for Baylor to have a chance to vie for the Big 12 title.
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)
Dickinson will be one of the best big men in the country, and the Wolverines will also get Brooks back for another go-around in Ann Arbor. But Juwan Howard & Co. will go as far as this heralded freshman class and Coastal Carolina transfer DeVante’ Jones take them. The hope is that Jones fits as well as last year’s transfer point guard Mike Smith did at Michigan. Houstan is the highest-rated frosh, but there are three others that all ranked in the Top 75.
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 when he was able to land skilled and versatile guard/forward Emoni Bates and also tough, athletic big man Jalen Duren. Both of the top prospects 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 it could ultimately fall to Lomax, a career backup.
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 have one of the best big men in the country in Cockburn and one of the top true point guards in Curbelo, but another key was the return of underrated guard Frazier and also that of Williams. Plummer should be a welcome addition after putting up 13.6 points per game at Utah, and will give Brad Underwood another offensive threat. But the main factor will be Curbelo, and whether he can keep defenses honest and cut down on his turnovers.
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 Add: 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 losing Moody and a bunch of grad transfers from last year’s Elite Eight team. Eric Musselman and his staff still have Notae and a couple of talented young guys in Davis and Williams, and they hit the transfer portal hard — adding high-major guys in Lykes and Toney, while also bringing in mid-major transfers Umude and Johnson.
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 two starters back in Richardson and Williams, and fared well in the portal with the addition of scoring guards Harmon and Young, and versatile forward Guerrier. The key might be up front where Altman hopes to get a healthy Dante back sometime in December.
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 Add: 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 the difference. UNC lost big men Sharpe and Kessler, but Bacot, Garcia and Manek should be a versatile frontcourt. The young backcourt of Love and Davis will likely be the key in Chapel Hill this season, and they’ll need to take a jump from their freshman campaigns.
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 have one of the top freshmen in the country in Banchero, who is a Chris Webber-type forward in terms of his toughness and versatility. Banchero and Williams should form one of the best frontcourt tandems in the country, but the key for Coach K’s swan song will be guard play.
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 (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 look different this season without Petty, Jones and Primo, 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, but they have Shackelford back and added a couple of quality frosh in Davison and Bediako.
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., (Jr., 10.9 ppg), F *John Fulkerson (Sr., 9.5 ppg), PG *Santiago Vescovi (Soph., 8.7 ppg), G *Josiah-Jordan James (Soph., 8.0 ppg), F Olivier Nkamhoua (Soph., 2.3 ppg), F Uros Plavsic (Soph., 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 Add: G Justin Powell (Auburn, Fr., 11.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg)
The Vols lost two talented freshmen in Springer and Johnson, 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. Add in another talented recruiting class led by Chandler and Huntley-Hatfield, as well as Auburn transfer Powell, and there’s more than enough talent and experience to contend for the SEC crown.
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 lost a ton from their Final Four team, but with Sasser and Mark back in the fold and the addition of Edwards, the perimeter will be strong. Sasser is already a proven scorer while Mark has a chance to be one of the most improved players in the country. White returns up front, and the hope is that UConn transfer Carlton can give Kelvin Sampson more quality size.
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 addressed two glaring weaknesses from last season by acquiring 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.
20. 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. He’s a potential first-team All-American and should be the focal point for Chris Holtmann. But the Buckeyes’ biggest question is at the point guard spot — where the versatile Sueing might wind up filling that role as a mismatch guy.
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 Add: 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 title a year ago. Lofton is one of the most underrated players in the country and leads this team, and the other four starters know the system and their roles. The key will be health and also the bench, which is completely revamped.
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 Add: 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 lost some guys, including No. 4 pick Barnes. 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.
23. 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 don’t boast a star, but have some solid players all the way around. Hauser, Brown and Hall all have experience up front, but the key for Tom Izzo will be in the backcourt. Christie is the most talented player on the roster and will need to come along quickly, but the critical piece is at the point — where it’ll likely fall to talented Northeastern transfer Walker.
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 *Brandon Avarette (Sr., 11.7 ppg); C *Matt Haarms (11.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg)
Back: G *Alex Barcello (Jr., 16.1 ppg, 4.3 apg); F *Caleb Lohner (Fr., 7.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg), F Gavin Baxter (Jr., 2 games – 6.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg), G Trevin Knell (Soph., 6.1 ppg), C Richard Harward (Jr., 6.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg), F *Gideon George (Jr., 5.4 ppg), G Spencer Johnson (Soph., 5.1 ppg), G Hunter Erickson (Fr., 0.4 ppg)
Add: F Atiki Ally Atiki, F Fousseyni Traore, G Nate Hansen, G Casey Brown, G Trey Stewart, G Jeremy DowDell, G Paora Winiitana
Transfer Add: G Te’Jon Lucas (Milwaukee, Sr., 14.9 ppg, 5.8 apg), F Seneca Knight (San Jose State, 9.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg – 4 games)
Mark Pope got Barcello back for another season, has a potential star in Lohner and also added a couple of transfers who should make huge impacts: Lucas and Knight. BYU should be the clear-cut No. 2 team in the WCC this season.