Key Returners- Nick Richards, E.J. Montgomery, Immanuel Quickley, Ashton Hagans
Key Additions-Tyrese Maxey, Nate Sestina, Johnny Juzang, Khalil Whitney, Keion Brooks
Kentucky returns a good amount of veterans led by Ashton Hagans in the backcourt along with Immanuel Quickley. Further, the frontcourt will be led by Nick Richards and a breakout candidate in E.J. Montgomery who brings great face-up ability. In addition, of course, John Calipari is bringing in another loaded recruiting class. This will be headlined by Tyrese Maxey, Keion Brooks, Khalil Whitney and Johnny Juzang, who each fit a specific role differently which will add to Kentucky’s versatility. Also, the graduate transfer Nate Sestina will help with frontcourt depth. Kentucky has the talent and aspirations to contend for the national championship.
Key Returners- Andrew Nembhard, Keyonte Johnson, Noah Locke, Dontay Bassett, Gorjok Gak,
Key Additions- Kerry Blackshear, Scottie Lewis, Tre Mann, Omar Payne
This will be the most talented team Mike White has had at Florida. The addition of Kerry Blackshear will give them a veteran and a dominant interior player. Also, the return of Andrew Nembhard and Noah Locke alone with freshman Tre Mann will give Florida one of the best backcourts in the country. In addition, freshman Scottie Lewis goes along with Keyonte Johnson on the wings. Next, Omar Payne will help give depth to the interior with Dontay Bassett next to Kerry Blackshear. Florida is a complete team and is ready to compete for a national championship.
Key Returners-Ja’Vonte Smart, Darius Days, Emmitt Williams, Marlon Taylor
Key Additions- Charles Manning Jr., Trendon Watford, James Bishop
Will Wade will be back on the sidelines for LSU this upcoming season. Furthermore, the return of Ja’Vonte Smart will secure the point guard duties and should develop into a more consistent shooter. Also, the wings will be headlined by Darius Days and Marlon Taylor who bring good versatility. Continued, Emmitt Williams the ability to take step next step and become a matchup problem with his great motor. As well as the additions of Trenton Watford and Charles Manning will be immediate impact players. LSU has a talented roster and has the capabilities to make it back to the Sweet 16.
4. Mississippi State
Key Returners- Reggie Perry, Robert Woodard, Abdul Ado, Tyson Carter, Nick Weatherspoon,
Key Additions- Ellias King, Iverson Molinar, Prince Oduro
Ben Howland has the return of one of the most talented players in the country in Reggie Perry who can elevate himself into a lottery pick. In addition, Robert Woodard and Tyson Carter will fill out the perimeter very well with the ability to score. Nick Weatherspoon will be the primary point guard and is capable of becoming more dynamic. Next, the biggest key will be Abdul Ado’s ability to operate the paint effectively. Mississippi State has a really good opportunity to advance in the NCAA tournament.
Key Returners- Herbert Jones, Kira Lewis Jr., Alex Reese, John Petty Jr.,
Key Additions- James Bolden, Jahovon Quinerly, Juwan Gray, Jaylen Forbes, Jaden Shackelford
Nate Oats has a strong returning core with an extremely talented backcourt. This is led by Kira Lewis Jr. a dynamic point guard along with Herbert Jones and John Petty who bring great athleticism. Also, the addition of James Bolden brings a steady veteran to the backcourt as well. Next, Alex Reese will be a big part of the frontcourt after the loss of James Rojos. Alabama has a very dynamic team and Nate Oats should have an NCAA tournament team in year one.
Key Returners-Danjel Purifoy, J’Von McCormick, Samir Doughty, Anfernee McClemore, Austin Wiley
Key Additions- Issac Okoro, Tyrell Jones, Jaylin Williams
Bruce Pearl coming off a trip to the Final Four and has veterans returning ready to for more success. In addition, the frontcourt will be really strong with Anfernee McClemore, Austin Wiley and Issac Okoro the dynamic freshman. Also, the wings will be operated by Samir Doughty and Danjel Purifoy who bring really good experience. Further, the most important player will be J’Von McCormick replacing Jared Harper as the point guard. Auburn will look to return to the NCAA tournament.
7. Ole Miss
Key Returners- Blake Hinson, Devonte Shuler, Breein Tyree, KJ Buffen
Key Additions- Austin Crowley, Bryce Williams, Khadim Sy
Kermit Davis in year two returns a veteran team and a dynamic backcourt. In addition, the triplets of Blake Hinson, Devonte Shuler and Breein Tyree all can score at a high level. Also, KJ Buffen is a very solid post player who brings good athleticism. Next, the addition of Austin Crowley and Khadim Sy will be very important to give depth. Ole Miss has the capabilities to return to the NCAA tournament.
Key Returners-Lamonte Turner, John Fulkerson, Jordan Bowden, Yves Pond, Jalen Johnson
Key Additions-Josiah-Jordan James, Olivier Nkamhoua, Uros Plavsic
Rick Barnes has to replace Grant Williams and Jordan Bone two major impact players. Next, the return of Lamonte Turner and Jordan Bowden will give them two really athletic and dynamic scorers on the perimeter. Also, Josiah-Jordan James will be joining them in the backcourt as well who will bring toughness at the point. Furthermore, Yves Pond is a high energy player who must have a better skill set to help with the frontcourt. Also, Uros Plavsic could be a big boost in the frontcourt if he gets eligibility. Tennessee has the capabilities to return to the NCAA tournament with one of the better backcourts.
Key Returners- Jordan Harris, Tyree Crump, Tye Fagan, Rayshaun Hammonds,
Key Additions- Anthony Edwards, Christian Brown, Jaykwon Walton, Sahvir Wheeler, Toumani Camara, Donnell Gresham Jr.
Tom Crean in year two has brought in a very good recruiting class headlined by Anthony Edwards. Furthermore, if Anthony Edwards can be an elite player right away Georgia will be able to compete on a national level. Next, Jordan Harris will give a veteran presence in the backcourt. Also, Rayshaun Hammonds needs to be very effective in the frontcourt. Georgia needs to show progress in year two under Tom Crean.
Key Returners- Isaiah Joe, Adrio Bailey, Jalen Harris, Jimmy Whitt Jr., Reggie Chaney, Desi Sills
Key Additions- Emaka Obukwelu, Jeantal Cylla
Eric Mussleman is heading into year one at Arkansas and has a talented backcourt returning. Furthermore, Isaiah Joe will be one of the best guards in the conference along with Jimmy Whitt Jr. coming from SMU. Next, Adrio Bailey and Reggie Chaney will be crucial in the frontcourt for Arkansas to produce. In addition, Jalen Harris will be an important part of bringing consistency in the backcourt as well. Eric Mussleman’s success will be determined by the transfers mixing in well. Arkansas has an opportunity to be a tough out with the backcourt talent.
11. South Carolina
Key Returners- A.J. Lawson, Maik Kotsar, T.J. Moss, Justin Minaya,
Key Additions- Micaiah Henry, Seventh Woods, Jalyn McCreary, Trae Hannibal
Frank Martin returns a very talented player in A.J. Lawson who will be the lead go-to scorer on the perimeter. Also, the return of Maik Kotsar is key with his experience to bring stability to the frontcourt. Furthermore, the addition of Seventh Woods will be huge for South Carolina gaining a guy who can operate the offense. Next, T.J. Moss and Justin Minaya will be key in players who can take the next step and add quality minutes for South Carolina. South Carolina needs to find consistency and will likely wind up being an NIT team this season.
12. Texas A&M
Key Returners- Jay Jay Chandler, Savion Flaggs, T.J. Starks, Wendell Mitchell, Brandon Mahan, Josh Nebo
Key Additions- Cashius McNeilly, Quenton Jackson, Emanuel Miller
Buzz Williams will be in year one and he must install his energy and culture quickly to build success. Next, T.J. Starks, Savion Flagg and Jay Jay Chandler will bring very good consistency to the backcourt for Texas A&M. Also, Josh Nebo and John Walker will be really important to give consistency to the frontcourt. In addition, Brandon Mahan will be an x-factor for Texas A&M as a potential sharpshooter off the bench. Buzz Williams has players to build success in year one.
Key Returners- Javon Pickett, Mitchell Smith, Mark Smith, Jeremiah Tillmon,
Key Additions- Dru Smith, Axel Okongo, Tray Jackson, Mario McKinney
Now, Cuonzo Martin is in year three and must find the consistency to really build success. Next, Javon Pickett will have the opportunity to take the next step in his game and be a lead guard. Also, Mark Smith must continue to grow as a player and become a versatile guard. Further, Jeremiah Tillmon will be the go-to player inside for Missouri and must continue to be a force. In addition, Tray Jackson will be a really important player to play with Tillmon down low and give them front court quality. Missouri has a talented roster which is capable of taking that next step for Cuonzo Martin.
Key Returners- Aaron Nesmith, Saben Lee, Maxwell Evans, Matthew Moyer, Ejike Obinna, Clevon Brown
Key Additions- Dylan Disu, Scottie Pippen Jr.
Jerry Stackhouse is in his first year and has to start rebuilding this roster immediately. Next, the return of sophomore Aaron Nesmith will be important as he needs to be the lead scorer and elevate his game. Also, Saben Lee has the potential to continue to develop into a very solid player in the backcourt. Further, Matthew Moyer and Clevon must be frontcourt players that develop into legitimate options. In addition, the NBA background will help Stackhouse recruit, but year one is all about changing the tone for this program.
Images Courtesy of, Maven Sports, The New Yorker, WholeHogSports
You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with James!
“From Our Haus to Yours”