Players leaving: Archie Goodwin, Ryan Harrow, Julius Mays, Nerlens Noel (likely)
Players returning: Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, Kyle Wiltjer
Incomers: Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee, Julius Randle, Derek Willis
Well, did you really expect anything different? With the most loaded recruiting class since the Fab Five, John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcat’s will have the most talented team in the country. This year the Wildcats struggled with their young players but those freshmen last year aren’t nearly as talented as this group. Oh yeah, want to know the scariest part of this? Kentucky is still in contention and being considered by the number one recruit in the country, Andrew Wiggins.
2. Michigan State
Players leaving: Derrick Nix
Players returning: Keith Appling, Russell Byrd, Branden Dawson, Gary Harris (likely to come back, possibly will leave to draft), Kenny Kaminski, Adreian Payne (likely to come back, possibly will leave to draft), Travis Trice, Denzel Valentine
Incomers: Gavin Schilling
If Gary Harris and Adreian Payne return to school (which they should), Michigan State is going to be loaded with returning players from their successful 2012-2013 campaign. The Big Ten will once again be loaded as the top conference in the nation but don’t be surprised if the Spartans win the conference and make a run to Dallas next April.
Players leaving: Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly, Mason Plumlee
Players returning: Quinn Cook, Josh Hairston, Amile Jefferson, Josh Hairston, Alex Murphy, Rasheed Sulaimon, Tyler Thornton
Incomers: Rodney Hood (via Mississippi State), Matt Jones, Semi Ojeleye, Jabari Parker
Duke does lose their three-headed monster in Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly, and Mason Plumlee, but you can never count out Mike Kryzewski. The Blue Devils are returning Quinn Cook, Tyler Thornton, and Rasheed Sulaimon, who really played well in the last couple months of the year. In addition, they have one of the best recruiting classes in the country, led by top five recruit, Jabari Parker from Chicago.
Players leaving: Gorgui Dieng, Peyton Siva, Russ Smith
Players returning: Chane Behanan, Wayne Blackshear, Luke Hancock, Montrezl Harrell, Stephan Van Treese, Kevin Ware
Incomers: Akoy Agau, Anton Gill, Chris Jones, Terry Rozier
The defending champions are losing arguably their top three players, but they are also returning some significant pieces from their 2013 National Championship team. Luke Hancock, Final Four MOP, will lead this team along with Chane Behanan and Wayne Blackshear. Keep an eye on five-star recruit Terry Rozier, a point guard from Ohio, who may start for the Cardinals by the team the season begins. In addition, I think we are all rooting for Kevin Ware to make an appearance for the Cardinals in the 2013-2014 season.
5. Ohio State
Players leaving: Deshaun Thomas, Even Ravenel
Players returning: Aaron Craft, LaQuinton Ross, Shannon Scott, Lenzelle Smith, Sam Thompson, Amir Williams
Incomers: Marc Loving, Kameron Williams
Two Big Ten teams in my top five…are you surprised? The Buckeyes return their All-Big Ten point guard, Aaron Craft, who seems like he has been there for six years. In addition, they return key elements from their Elite Eight team, LaQuinton Ross and Lenzelle Smith, who will have to make up the scoring lost from Deshaun Thomas leaving school for the NBA Draft.
6. North Carolina
Players leaving: James Michael McAdoo (likely), Dexter Strickland
Players returning: Reggie Bullock, P.J. Hairston, Desmond Hubert, Joel James, Brice Johnson, Leslie McDonald, Marcus Paige, J.P. Tokoto
Incomers: Nate Britt, Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks
If James Michael McAdoo ends up coming back to school for his junior year, this North Carolina team could be very special. The Tar Heels really came on at the end of the year and almost won the ACC Tournament. P.J.Hairston will return to lead the Tar Heels and they will definitely give Duke and Syracuse some competition in the ACC.
Players leaving: Solomon Hill, Mark Lyons, Kevin Parrom
Players returning: Brandon Ashley, Angelo Chol, Grant Jerrett, Nick Johnson, Jordin Mayes, Gabe York
Incomers: Aaron Gordon, Rondae Jefferson, Elliott Pitts, T.J. McConnell (via Duquesne)
Other than Colorado, the Wildcats will not have a whole lot of competition in the Pac-12. Although they do lose some significant players, Arizona returns guard Nick Johnson who can jump out of the gym and will bring in 6’8 Forward, Aaron Gordon, from San Jose. Also, look out for T.J. McConnell, a transfer from Duquesne, who will handle the ball most of the time for Sean Miller’s squad.
Players leaving: Michael Carter-Williams, James Southerland, Brandon Triche
Players returning: Rakeem Christmas, DaJuan Coleman, Trevor Cooney, C.J. Fair, Jerami Grant, Baye Moussa Keita
Incomers: Tyler Ennis, Michael Gbinije (via Duke), B.J. Johnson, Ron Patterson, Chinonso Obokoh, Tyler Roberson
Although they are losing three of their five starters, the Syracuse Orangemen will still be a dangerous team come November. C.J. Fair, who finished off the season very well, will return as a senior for Jim Boeheim’s team. In addition to Fair, former four-star recruit Duke transfer Michael Gbinije will most likely receive a lot of playing for Syracuse. It’s safe to say the ACC conference season is going to be a fun one.
Players leaving: Trey Burke (likely)
Players returning: Spike Albrecht, Tim Hardaway Jr. (should come back, could possibly leave to draft) Jon Horford, Caris LeVert, Mitch McGary (should come back, could possiby leave to draft) Jordan Morgan, Glenn Robinson III (should come back, could possibly leave to draft)Nik Stauskas
Incomers: Mark Donnal, Zak Irvin, Derrick Walton
Michigan is possibly one of the biggest question marks going into the 2013-2014 season. Trey Burke will leave for the draft, which is pretty certain. However, what about Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III, and Tim Hardaway Jr.? If all three of those key pieces to Michigan’s Final Four team return to school, Michigan is going to be a very good team. They also return sharp shooters Spike Albrecht and Nik Stauskas.
Players leaving: Junior Cadougan, Trent Lockett, Chris Otule, Jake Thomas
Players returning: Juan Anderson, Vander Blue, Davante Gardner, Todd Mayo, Steve Taylor, Derrick Wilson, Jamil Wilson
Incomers: Deonte Burton, John Dawson, Jujuan Johnson, Jameel McKay, Duane Wilson
Buzz Williams’ Golden Eagles will enter the season with a solid group of returners as well as a handful of four-star recruits. Vander Blue will lead Marquette as they will definitely be the favorite to win the Big East with so many schools leaving.
Just outside the Top 10:
Florida, Memphis, Kansas, Wichita State, Colorado, Indiana, Gonzaga, New Mexico