College Basketball Preseason Top 25: Post-Draft Deadline

With the NBA early-entry withdrawal deadline here, college rosters are beginning to solidify. I am moving under the assumption that the college basketball season will take place in some capacity, although there is still plenty of uncertainty with COVID. I will be releasing the annual list of preseason top 100 players in college in the next week as well.

1. Gonzaga

Key Departures: Killian Tillie (F), Admon Gilder (G), Ryan Woolridge (G)

Expected Early Departures: Filip Petrusev (F/C)

Projected Lineup: Jalen Suggs (Fr. G), Joel Ayayi (Jr. G), Corey Kispert (Sr. F), Anton Watson (So. F), Drew Timme (So. F)

Bench: Oumar Ballo (RSFr. C), Pavel Zakharov (So. F), Aaron Cook (Gr. G), Dominick Harris (Fr. G), Julian Strawther (Fr. F)

Even with Filip Petrusev leaving to play overseas, the Zags will be loaded with talent. Corey Kispert (13.9 ppg, 43.8% 3PT) will be a favorite for WCC Player of the Year and an All-American candidate on the wing. Look for steady improvements from two-way guard Joel Ayayi (10.6 ppg), versatile forward Anton Watson (4.9 ppg), and efficient big Drew Timme (9.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg). They have depth and a solid freshman class led by star five-star point guard Jalen Suggs. The Final Four will be the expectation.

2. Baylor

Key Departures: Freddie Gillespie (F), Devonte Bandoo (G)

Expected Early Departures: None

Projected Lineup: Jared Butler (Jr. G), MaCio Teague (Sr. G), Davion Mitchell (Jr. G), Mark Vital (Sr. F), Tristan Clark (Sr. F)

Bench: Adam Flagler (RSSo. G), Matthew Mayer (Jr. G/F), Flo Thamba (Jr. F/C), Jordan Turner (RSFr. G/F), Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (RSSo. F), Dain Dainja (Fr. F)

Scott Drew has established a hard-nosed, defensive identity at Baylor that helped push the Bears to a top national ranking last year. Many of the same actors return, including electric guard Jared Butler (16.0 ppg). His backcourt partner MaCio Teague (13.9 ppg) is also back along with defensive stopgap Mark Vital. They will pressure the ball, gang rebound, and spread you out offensively. Baylor will enter the season as the Big-12 favorite.

3. Virginia

Key Departures: Mamadi Diakite (F), Braxton Key (F)

Expected Early Departures: None

Projected Lineup: Kihei Clark (Jr. G), Thomas Woldetensae (Sr. G), Casey Morsell (So. G), Sam Hauser (Sr. F), Jay Huff (Sr. F/C)

Bench: Jabri Abdur-Rahim (Fr. G), Reece Beekman (Fr. G), Kody Stattmann (Jr. G/F), Francisco Caffaro (Jr. C)

The roster doesn’t have any household names, but as usual, Virginia will be one of the toughest teams to score on in the country. 5-foot-9 point guard Kihei Clark (10.8 ppg, 5.9 ppg) sets the tone on both ends with his energy and IQ. Expect fewer scoring droughts this year with Marquette transfer Sam Hauser (14.9 ppg in 18-19) joining the lineup. The ACC will be tough, but the Hoos are going to be a problem.

4. Villanova

Key Departures: None

Expected Early Departures: Saddiq Bey (F)

Projected Lineup: Collin Gillespie (Sr. G), Justin Moore (So. G), Caleb Daniels (RSSr. G), Jermaine Samuels (Sr. F), Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (So. F)

Bench: Cole Swider (Jr. F), Bryan Antoine (So. G), Brandon Slater (Jr. F), Eric Dixon (RSFr. F), Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (Sr. F)

Four starters return from the top team in the Big East. Collin Gillespie (15.1 ppg, 4.7 apg) and Jermaine Samuels (10.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg) were part of the National Championship team and will provide leadership and consistency. I love the toughness and confidence of Justin Moore (11.3 ppg) in big moments. They are incredibly deep, with multiple starting-caliber players off the bench. By year-end, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (10.5 ppg, 9.4 rpg) could be one of the best players in the Big East.

5. Kansas

Key Departures: Udoka Azubuike (C), Isaiah Moss (G)

Expected Early Departures: Devon Dotson (G)

Projected Lineup: Marcus Garrett (Sr. G), Ochai Agbaji (Jr. G), Christian Braun (So. G/F), Silvio De Sousa (Sr. F), David McCormack (Jr. C)

Bench: Bryce Thompson (Fr. G),Mitch Lightfoot (RSSr. F), Dajuan Harris (RSFr. G), Jalen Wilson (RSFr. F), Tristan Enaruna (So. G/F)

Marcus Garrett (9.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.6 apg) is the best defender I saw last season. The Big-12 DPOY will need to carry a heavier offensive workload, something he showed he could do while Devon Dotson was out. Ochai Agbaji (10.0 ppg) will presumably be the go-to scorer in a year where NBA scouts will be watching closely. They have plenty of bigs who have played big minutes and a nice collection of freshmen/redshirts who will contribute.

6. Duke

Key Departures: Javin DeLaurier (F), Jack White (F), Alex O’Connell (G) via transfer

Expected Early Departures: Tre Jones (G), Vernon Carey Jr. (C), Cassius Stanley (G)

Projected Lineup: Jeremy Roach (Fr. G), Jordan Goldwire (Sr. G), Wendell Moore Jr. (So. F), Matthew Hurt (So. F), Jalen Johnson (Fr. F)

Bench: D.J. Steward (Fr. G), Joey Baker (Jr. F), Patrick Tape (Gr. C), Jaemyn Brakefield (Fr. F), Mark Williams (Fr. C)

Everyone knows this recruiting class is legit, but the returns of Wendell Moore Jr. (7.4 ppg) and Matthew Hurt (9.7 ppg) give the Dukies some needed stability and “experience”. Both are going to have more weight to carry as sophomores. Hurt should benefit from added strength and Moore will be a Swiss-army knife for Duke. Jalen Johnson is a unique talent at 6-foot-8 that can facilitate, lead the break, and shoot over defenders. Both Jeremy Roach and D.J. Steward have pro upside as well and will be on the court together more as the year progresses. Interior play is a question, but the talent is there.

7. Illinois

Key Departures: Andres Feliz (G), Kipper Nichols (F), Alan Griffin (F) via transfer

Expected Early Departures: None

Projected Lineup: Ayo Dosunmu (Jr. G), Trent Frazier (Sr. G), Adam Miller (Fr. G), Da’Monte Williams (Sr. G), Kofi Cockburn (So. C)

Bench: Giorgi Bezhanishvili (Jr. F), Austin Hutcherson (Jr. G), Jacob Grandison (Jr. G/F), Andre Curbelo (Fr. G), Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk (So. F)

I was certain Ayo Dosunmu (16.6 ppg) was gone and thought Kofi Cockburn (13.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg) might follow after winning Big Ten Rookie of the Year. Both are back to lead an experienced team with serious Final Four potential. Ayo will be a preseason All-American and Kofi will show improved footwork and shooting range. Grandison (13.9 ppg) and Hutcherson are versatile shooters who sat out as transfers. They also have a pair of tough, skilled freshmen in Adam Miller and Andre Curbelo. If Trent Frazier (9.1 ppg) can get closer to that 40 percent three-point clip of a year ago and the newcomers acclimate, the Fighting Illini will have a historic season.

8. Iowa

Key Departures: Ryan Kreiner (F/C), Bakari Evelyn (G), Cordell Pemsl (F) via transfer

Expected Early Departures: None

Projected Lineup: Jordan Bohannon (RSSr. G), CJ Fredrick (So. G), Connor McCaffery (Jr. G), Joe Wieskamp (Jr. G/F), Luka Garza (Sr. C)

Bench: Joe Toussaint (So. G), Patrick McCaffery (RSFr. F), Jack Nunge (Jr. F/C)

The big news was the return of likely preseason National Player of the Year Luka Garza (23.9 ppg, 9.8 rpg). They are right there with Illinois as the favorites in the Big Ten, returning one of the best offensive groups in the country. Point guard Jordan Bohannon is back to run the show after injuries limited him. His absence gave CJ Fredrick (10.2 ppg, 46.1% 3PT) and Joe Wieskamp (14.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg) a chance to show their scoring ability on a large scale. Now they will have a fully healthy team that will have excellent shooters around the best low post scorer in America. Iowa is looking at a deep March run.

9. Texas Tech

Key Departures: T.J. Holyfield (F), Chris Clarke (F)

Expected Early Departures: Jahmi’us Ramsey (G), Davide Moretti (Sr. G)

Projected Lineup: Nimari Burnett (Fr. G), Kyler Edwards (Jr. G), Terrence Shannon (So. G), Joel Ntambwe (So. F), Marcus Santos-Silva (Gr. F)

Bench: Avery Benson (Jr. G), Micah Peavy (Fr. F), Kevin McCullar (So. G), Russel Tchewa (So. C)

Moretti leaving early to play overseas shocked a lot of people. They still have the grit and length that has become a staple at Texas Tech. Sophomore wing Terrence Shannon (9.8 ppg) is a breakout candidate, especially without Moretti to anchor the backcourt. Assuming he is eligible, Marcus Santos-Silva (12.8 ppg, 8.9 rpg) is a perfect fit on both ends for Chris Beard’s system. They have a couple of really talented freshmen that will have to be ready from day one. Defense will carry them as they figure out their offensive flow.

10. Michigan State

Key Departures: Cassius Winston (G), Kyle Ahrens (G)

Expected Early Departures: Xavier Tillman (F)

Projected Lineup: Rocket Watts (So. G), Joshua Langford (Sr. G), Aaron Henry (Jr. F), Joey Hauser (Jr. F), Marcus Bingham (Jr. F)

Bench: Gabe Brown (Jr. F), Malik Hall (So. F), Mady Sissoko (Fr. C), Foster Loyer (Jr. G), Thomas Kithier (Jr. F), A.J. Hoggard (Fr. G)

With Xavier Tillman, the Spartans would be a top-5 team and the favorites in the Big Ten. Without him, they are still a tough team with the return of Aaron Henry (10.0 ppg, 2.9 apg). He should be an All-Big Ten player as a junior. Joshua Langford has basically lost two seasons, but he is a terrific mid-range shooter that is wired to score. Marquette transfer Joey Hauser (9.7 ppg, 42.5% 3PT) is a big stretch four that fills a need from last year. Now the five spot will be a question. They won’t be short on options but you can never count out a Tom Izzo team.

11. Wisconsin

Key Departures: Brevin Pritzl (G)

Expected Early Departures: None

Projected Lineup: D’Mitrik Trice (RSSr. G), Brad Davison (Sr. G), Aleem Ford (Sr. F), Micah Potter (Sr. F), Nate Reuvers (Sr. F)

Bench: Tyler Wahl (So. F), Ben Carlson (Fr. F), Lorne Bowman (Fr. G), Trevor Anderson (Sr. G)

Rarely do you find a team that wins the Big Ten and returns their top five scorers. They will have the luxury of starting five seniors, with Nate Reuvers (13.1 ppg, 1.9 bpg), Brad Davison (9.9 ppg), and D’Mitrik Trice (9.8 ppg, 4.2 apg) leading the way. Reuvers is on the trajectory of many great Wisconsin bigs before him, and should have more space with Micah Potter (10.1 ppg, 45.1% 3PT) stretching out defenses. They will play at a methodical pace and hit a lot of threes. Wisconsin is old and consistent.

12. Texas

Key Departures: None

Expected Early Departures: None

Projected Lineup: Matt Coleman (Sr. G), Courtney Ramey (Jr. G), Andrew Jones (RSJr. G), Kai Jones (So. F), Jericho Sims (Sr. F)

Bench: Greg Brown (Fr. F), Jase Febres (Sr. G), Will Baker (So. C), Gerald Liddell (Jr. F), Kamaka Hepa (Jr. F), Donovan Williams (So. G)

Shaka Smart’s biggest problem might be figuring out how to keep all of the returning talent happy. Outside of high-flying five-star freshmen Greg Brown, the Longhorns have a locker room of familiar faces. Coleman (12.7 ppg, 3.4 apg), Jones (11.5 ppg), and Ramey (10.9 ppg, 2.9 apg) are a backcourt that will run with anyone. There are a seemingly endless number of athletic interior players to shuffle through as well. They may not have an All-American, but Texas is going to come at you in waves.

13. West Virginia

Key Departures: Jermaine Haley (G/F), Chase Harler (G), Brandon Knapper (Jr. G) via transfer

Expected Early Departures: None

Projected Lineup: Jordan McCabe (Jr. G), Miles McBride (So. G), Emmitt Matthews Jr. (Jr. F), Derek Culver (Jr. F), Oscar Tshiebwe (So. F/C)

Bench: Gabe Osabuohien (Sr. F), Sean McNiel (Jr. G), Taz Sherman (Sr. G), Isaiah Cottrell (Fr. F/C)

I’m used to scrappy, guard-oriented West Virginia teams. They’ll still pressure you from baseline to baseline, but Huggy has a two-headed monster in the post with Derek Culver (10.4 ppg, 8.6 rpg) and Oscar Tshiebwe (11.2 ppg, 9.3 rpg). They are going to play through their bigs whenever they are on the floor. Still expect the Mountaineers to play a lot of guys and get up into you defensively. All-Freshman guard Miles McBride (9.5 ppg) will be the primary option on the perimeter for a team capable of giving any team in the Big-12 a headache.

14. Michigan

Key Departures: Zavier Simpson (Sr. G), Jon Teske (Sr. C), Austin Davis (Sr. F/C), David Dejulius (Jr. G) via transfer

Expected Early Departures: None

Projected Lineup: Mike Smith (Gr. G), Eli Brooks (Sr. G), Franz Wagner (So. G), Isaiah Livers (Sr. F), Hunter Dickinson (Fr. C)

Bench: Brandon Johns Jr. (Jr. F), Zeb Jackson (Fr. G), Terrance Williams (Fr. F)

Michigan was a victim to the G-League wave, losing five-star forward Isaiah Todd. All isn’t lost, with Isaiah Livers (12.9 ppg) back after missing time as a junior to injury. Columbia transfer Mike Smith (22.8 ppg) is more score-first than Zavier Simpson, but he is a proven bucket-getter that will provide needed offensive punch. If Franz Wagner (11.6 ppg) emerges into the player many expect, this Michigan team will be fine. They are set up with a deep recruiting class as well.

15. North Carolina

Key Departures: Brandon Robinson (G), Christian Keeling (G), Justin Pierce (G/F)

Expected Early Departures: Cole Anthony (G)

Projected Lineup: Caleb Love (Fr. G), Anthony Harris (So. G), Leaky Black (Jr. G), Garrison Brooks (Sr. F), Armando Bacot (So. F/C)

Bench: Day’ron Sharpe (Fr. F/C), Walker Kessler (Fr. C), Andrew Platek (Sr. G), R.J. Davis (Fr. G), Jeremiah Francis (So. G), Puff Johnson (Fr. F)

Roy Williams will have the personnel to get back to the bruising style of play that he likes to utilize. Garrison Brooks (16.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg) was a revelation as a junior, earning All-ACC honors and proving that he can be a primary scorer if needed. Freshmen bigs Day’ron Sharpe and Walker Kessler would start on most teams in the country. Both were McDonald’s All-American selections that can finish, defend, and rebound at a high level. Their classmate Caleb Love will need to grow up quickly to score and facilitate. This will be a bounce back year in Chapel Hill.

16. UCLA

Key Departures: Prince Ali (G)

Expected Early Departures: None

Projected Lineup: Tyger Cambell (RSSo. G), Johnny Juzang (So. G), Chris Smith (Jr. G), Jaime Jaquez (So. G),  Jalen Hill (RSJr. F)

Bench: , Cody Riley (RSJr. F), Jules Bernard (Jr. G), David Singleton (Jr. G), Jake Kyman (So. G)

In a bit of a surprise move to me, Chris Smith (13.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg) is coming back to lead what will now be the best preseason team in the Pac-12. Balance is still their strength. Campbell, Jaquez, Riley, and Hill all averaged over eight points a game. Insert Kentucky transfer Johnny Juzang, who received immediate eligibility, as a knockdown shooter with length and it’s easy to see the upside for the Bruins.

17. Florida

Key Departures: Kerry Blackshear Jr. (F), Andrew Nembhard (Jr. G) via transfer,

Expected Early Departures: None

Projected Lineup: Tre Mann (So. G), Noah Locke (Jr. G), Scottie Lewis (So. G), Keyontae Johnson (Jr. F), Anthony Duruji (Jr. F)

Bench: Tyree Appleby (Jr. G), Omar Payne (So. F/C), Ques Glover (So. G), Samson Ruzhentsev (Fr. F)

Nembhard’s transfer was a big blow. Tre Mann is ready to take the reins and Scottie Lewis (8.5 ppg) should become a lock as a first-round pick. They are set up to be a dangerous offensive team that can play small with Keyontae Johnson (14.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg) being able to defend multiple spots. The SEC is wide open for the Gators to take.

18. Louisville

Key Departures: Steven Enoch (C), Dwayne Sutton (F), Ryan McMahaon (G), Lamarr Kimble (G), Darius Perry (G) via transfer

Expected Early Departures: Jordan Nwora (F)

Projected Lineup: Carlik Jones (Gr. G), David Johnson (So. G), Samuell Williamson (So. G/F), Aidan Igiehon (So. F), Malik Williams (Sr. F)

Bench: Charles Minlend (Gr. G), Josh Nickelberry (So. G), Jae’lyn Withers (RSFr. F), D’Andre Davis (Fr. F)

A gifted sophomore class will supplement the important experience at Louisville. Carlik Jones (20.0 ppg, 5.5 apg) was widely considered one of the best grad transfers on the market. He is a very efficient, high-volume scorer that will be productive with less responsibility. I expect David Johnson and Samuell Williamson to take off this season in starting roles. Chris Mack has a new squad, but a lot to work with going forward.

19. Kentucky

Key Departures: Nate Sestina (F), Johnny Juzang (G) via transfer

Expected Early Departures: Tyrese Maxey (G), Immanuel Quickley (G), Nick Richards (C), Ashton Hagans (G), E.J Montgomery (F)

Projected Lineup: Devin Askew (Fr. G), B.J. Boston (Fr. F), Terrence Clarke (Fr. F), Keion Brooks (So. F), Isaiah Jackson (Fr. F)

Bench: Davion Mintz (Gr. G), Lance Ware (Fr. F), Cam’Ron Flethcer (Fr. F)

It was another mass exodus in Kentucky, but this time they don’t have the carryovers that they normally retain. Keion Brooks is the most experienced returner. No one can question the talent, with potential lottery picks in B.J. Boston and Terrence Clarke along with one of the best point guards in the class in Devin Askew. On paper, they have top-10 talent, but turning a collection of new talent into a team is another story.

20. Arizona State

Key Departures: Rob Edwards (G), Romello White (F) via transfer, Khalid Thomas (F), via transfer

Expected Early Departures: None

Projected Lineup: Remy Martin (Sr. G), Alonzo Verge Jr. (Sr. G), Josh Christopher (Fr. G), Kimani Lawrence (Sr. F), Taeshon Cherry (Jr. F)

Bench: Marcus Bagley (Fr. F), Jaelen House (So. G), Jalen Graham (So. F), Elias Valtonen (Jr. G/F)

As soon as Remy Martin (19.1 ppg, 4.1 apg) decided to return, the Sun Devils became an immediate contender in the Pac-12. The bigger offseason news was the commitment of top-10 recruit Josh Christopher. His athleticism and scoring ability is going to provide a lot of fireworks. Those two, along with microwave scorer Alonzo Verge Jr. (14.6 ppg), is going to be a problem for any opposing backcourt. Size will be an issue that doesn’t have a clear solution.

21. Oregon

Key Departures: Payton Pritchard (G), Anthony Mathis (G), Shakur Juiston (F), C.J. Walker (F) via transfer, Francis Okoro (F/C) via transfer

Expected Early Departures:

Projected Lineup: Will Richardson (Jr. G), Chris Duarte (Sr. G), Eric Williams Jr. (Jr. G), Chandler Lawson (So. F), N’Faly Dante (So. C)

Bench: Amauri Hardy (Gr. G), Addison Patterson (So. G), Eugene Omoruyi (Sr. F), Jalen Terry (Fr. G)

Any Oregon lineup without Payton Pritchard doesn’t seem right. Richardson (11.0 ppg) and Duarte (12.9 ppg) will need to set the example for a team that lost a lot. The hope is that N’Faly Dante will stay healthy and anchor the defense. Like many of the recent Duck teams, transfers will play a big role in their success.

22. Rutgers

Key Departures: Akwasi Yeboash (F), Shaq Carter (F)

Expected Early Departures: None

Projected Lineup: Geo Baker (Sr. G), Montez Mathis (Jr. G), Caleb McConnell (Jr. G/F), Ron Harper Jr. (Jr. G/F), Cliff Omoruyi (Fr. C)

Bench: Myles Johnson (Jr. C), Jacob Young (Sr. G), Paul Mulcahy (So. G), Mamadou Doucoure (Sr. F)

It’s been a long few years in the Big Ten, but Rutgers finally turned the corner last year. They bring back most of the players who created that momentum with Ron Harper Jr. (12.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and Geo Baker (10.9 ppg). An already stingy defense is adding shot-blocker Cliff Omoruyi to clean up their mistakes. This isn’t the bottom-feeding Rutgers team anymore.

23. Richmond

Key Departures: Jake Wojcik (G) via transfer

Expected Early Departures: None

Projected Lineup: Jacob Gilyard (Sr. G), Blake Francis (Sr. G), Nick Sherod (Sr. G), Nathan Cayo (Sr. F), Grant Golden (Sr. F/C)

Bench: Tyler Burton (So. F), Connor Crabtree (So. G), Andre Gustavson (Jr. G)

A 24-win team from a year ago, Richmond has Jacob Gilyard (12.7 ppg, 5.7 apg, 3.2 spg) and Blake Francis (17.7 ppg) back in what should be the best backcourt in the A10. Their entire starting five is back as seniors and they have 96 percent of their scoring returning for one last ride. Don’t expect any easy games against the Spiders.

24. Stanford

Key Departures: Isaac White (G) via transfer

Expected Early Departures: Tyrell Terry (G)

Projected Lineup: Daejon Davis (Sr. G), Bryce Wills (Jr. G), Noah Taitz (Fr. G), Spencer Jones (So. F), Oscar Da Silva (Sr. F)

Bench: Jaiden Delaire (Jr. F), Lukas Kisunas (Jr. F)

Obviously Tyrell Terry is hard to replace. They will look to senior Daejon Davis (8.8 ppg, 3.7 apg) to take on more ball-handling responsibility and scoring impact. We know what to expect from Oscar Da Silva (15.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg) playing multiple positions and using his 6-foot-9 frame to create mismatches. Stanford lacks depth, so there isn’t a lot of margin for error this season.

25. Tennessee

Key Departures: Jordan Bowden (G), Lamonte Turner (G), Jalen Johnson (G) via transfer

Expected Early Departures: None

Projected Lineup: Santiago Vescovi (So. G), Josiah-Jordan James (So. G), Jaden Springer (Fr. G), Yves Pons (Sr. G), John Fulkerson (Sr. F)

Bench: Victor Bailey (Jr. G), Keon Johnson (Fr. G), Olivier Nkamhoua (So. F), Davonte Gaines (So. G)

This ranking will seem too low if the youth progresses quicker than expected. Pons (10.8 ppg) and Fulkerson (13.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg) are stalwarts in the lineup, with a ton of tournament experience. A full year of Santiago Vescovi (10.7 ppg, 3.7 apg) at point guard and more refinement from James (7.4 ppg) could make a huge difference. Not to mention they have one of the top recruiting classes in the country.

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