Early 2009-10 NCAA Rankings
Well, that's not true at all. But Thursday, the NBA released an official list of the early entrants to its upcoming draft. And as a result, the NCAA basketball scene for 2009-10 is looking a whole heck of a lot more approachable at this point.
So it's time for some pre-preseason rankings for you to chomp on as you watch the NBA Playoffs.
Now, it's important to keep in mind that players have until June 15 to officially pull their names out of the NBA Draft. At that point, I'll make sure to have a revised set of preseason rankings because I'm sure they'll be necessary. This list, though, will be going on the idea that every player currently entered into the draft will stay in it.
It's also worth noting several big-name recruits - none of more significance than point guard John Wall - have yet to declare where they will be going to school. That should make for some major waves by June, as well.
Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich
Last season: 27-8 (14-2 Big 12), Sweet 16
Key returnees: PG Sherron Collins (18.9 ppg, 5.0 apg), C Cole Aldrich (14.9 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 2.7 bpg)
Key additions: SG Xavier Henry, SF Thomas Robinson
Key losses: None
The Prognosis: It's that last category really boosting the Jayhawks into the driver's seat when it comes to figuring out who will win the national championship this year. The returns of Collins and Aldrich, along with the late recruiting boost from signing Henry, have the defending Big 12 regular season champs poised to win a second national title in three years. They should be significantly deeper and more talented this year than last, adding perhaps the best recruiting class in the country.
2. Michigan State Spartans
Last season: 31-7 (15-3 Big Ten), National Runners-up
Key returnees: PG Kalin Lucas (14.7 ppg, 4.6 apg), SF Raymar Morgan (10.2 ppg, 5.3 ppg)
Key addition: C Derrick Nix, C Garrick Sherman
Key losses: C Goran Suton, PG Travis Walton
The Prognosis: Michigan State has a boatload of talent at the guard and forward positions. Lucas and Morgan are joined by Durrell Summers, Chris Allen, Korie Lucious, Draymond Green and Delvon Roe - perhaps the most talented player on the team - to form a more than formitable opponent. That, and Morgan probably will return. The key here is figuring out if Nix, Sherman or seldom-used reserve Tom Herzog, a former five-star prospect, can take over the center position. Morgan, Green and Roe will help out on the boards, but Tom Izzo may be forced to play small a lot this year.
3. North Carolina Tar Heels
Last season: 34-4 (13-3 ACC) National Champions
Key returnees: C Ed Davis (6.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg), PF Deon Thompson (10.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg)
Key additions: Marcus Ginyard (returning from injury), PF John Henson, G Dexter Strickland, G Leslie McDonald
Key losses: C Tyler Hansbrough, PG Ty Lawson, SG Wayne Ellington, SF Danny Green
The Prognosis: A lot has changed in one season. But North Carolina is still right there among the title contenders to no one's surprise. Davis and Henson are true blue-chip recruits, the types of players the NBA thrives on. Meanwhile, Thompson and Ginyard, whose return will be huge defensively, should provide a solid base to build on with their experience. The season may hinge on finding a point guard. Larry Drew III probably isn't the answer, and it's unclear as to whether Strickland or McDonald can run a high-caliber college offense. Signing Wall would make this the No. 2 team in the country.
4. West Virginia Mountaineers
Last season: 23-12 (10-8 Big East), Round of 64
Key returnees: SF Da'Sean Butler (17.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg), PF Devin Ebanks (10.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.7 apg)
Key additions: PG Joe Mazzulla (back from injury), SG Dalton Pepper
Key loss: SG Alex Ruoff
The Prognosis: Call it a hunch, but I believe we will look back at the high school class of 2008 and say Ebanks was its best player. The versatile swingman was an absolute rebounding machine at the end of the season last year, and he really began to look comfortable in the system. The loss of Ruoff hurts a lot, but Mazzulla's return cannot be underscored. He'll provide some of the leadership and ball-handling missing from last year's Mountaineers. Butler, meanwhile, will continue his role as one of the better scorers in the Big East.
Last season: 27-10 (11-7 Big Ten), Sweet 16
Key returnees: C JaJuan Johnson (13.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.1 bpg), G E'Twaun Moore (13.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.0 apg), F Robbie Hummel (12.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg)
Key additions: None
Key losses: C Nemanja Calasan
The Prognosis: Purdue might be bringing back as much talent as Kansas. Unfortunately, the loss of Calasan leaves the Boilermakers even more undersized this year. Johnson will have a heavy load to carry, but he, Hummel and Moore are talented enough to put this team among the nation's elite. Hummel, in particular, is an x-factor. He's perhaps the most talented player in the Big Ten, but injuries severely limited him last year. If he can maintain health, he could be a force to be reckoned with next year.
6. Duke Blue Devils
Last season: 30-7 (11-5 ACC), Sweet 16
Key returnees: PF Kyle Singler (16.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg), SG Jon Scheyer (14.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.8 apg) SG Elliot Williams
Key additions: C Mason Plumlee, F Ryan Kelly
Key losses: SG Gerald Henderson
The Prognosis: Singler and Scheyer give this team guaranteed, proven commodities. Plumlee and Kelly are both highly rated recruits, and Plumlee, in particular, has enormous upside. Nolan Smith should make some strides at point guard, and even if he doesn't, Scheyer proved he could handle those duties if need be last season. But the guy I really like here is Elliot Williams, a rising sophomore guard. Williams' versatility could make replacing Henderson, perhaps the ACC's best player last year, a lot easier. He's not ready for stardom yet, but there is enough talent around him that he won't have to be.
7. Texas Longhorns
Last season: 23-12 (9-7 Big 12), Round of 32
Key returnees: C Dexter Pittman (10.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg), F Gary Johnson (10.0 ppg, 5.3 ppg)
Key additions: G Avery Bradley, F Jordan Hamilton
Key losses: SG A.J. Abrams, PF Damion James
The Prognosis: James can still return, and that would be a big boost for this team. At the same time, Hamilton and Johnson are the types of players who can man either forward position, and if Pittman stays in shape, he should be an absolute load down low. Bradley, though, is the reason I have so much confidence in this team. He's a high scorer and incredible defender with the potential to be a lottery pick despite his status as a bit of a tweener.
8. Villanova Wildcats
Last season: 30-8 (13-5 Big East), Final Four
Key returnees: PG Corey Fisher (10.8 ppg, 2.8 apg), SG Corey Stokes (9.3 ppg), SF Reggie Redding (7.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.1 apg)
Key additions: C Mouphtaou Yarou, PG Maalik Wayns, SG Dominic Cheek, PF Isaiah Armwood
Key losses: PF Dante Cunningham, PG Scottie Reynolds, SF Dwayne Anderson
The Prognosis: I wouldn't normally list four recruits in the "Key additions" line. But those four guys have the potential to make or break this team. Few coaches will rely on freshmen more than Jay Wright next season, especially if Reynolds remains in the draft. But the upside is there, and this team could be the best in the Big East.
Last season: 22-11 (11-7 Pac-10), Round of 64
Key returnees: PG Jerome Randle (18.3 ppg, 5.0 apg), SG Patrick Christopher (14.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg), SF Theo Robertson (13.1 ppg, 48.7 3P%)
Key additions: None
Key losses: None
The Prognosis: For better or worse, Mike Montgomery is returning essentially the same team he had last year in Berkley. But another year with this nucleus, featuring three fearsome gunslingers on the perimeter in Randle, Christopher and Robertson, could produce even better results. A big factor for this team will be the continued development of Duke transfer Jamal Boykin, the team's only hope at a low-post game to compliment their spectacular shooting.
10. Oklahoma Sooners
Last season: 30-6 (13-3 Big 12), Elite Eight
Key returnees: SG Willie Warren (14.6 ppg, 3.1 apg), SF Tony Crocker (9.6 ppg)
Key additions: C Keith Gallon, PG Tommy Mason-Griffin, PF Andrew Fitzpatrick
Key losses: C Blake Griffin, PF Taylor Griffin, PG Austin Johnson
The Prognosis: Few teams in the country will enter this season more of a mystery than the Sooners. Why? Well, they revolved everything around Blake Griffin last year. Without him, other players will have to pick things up. I like Warren as a top option offensively, and Gallon and Fitzpatrick are both nice post players. But they'll need Gallon to deliver on his enormous potential from Day 1 if they hope to again seriously contend for a title. Additionally, Mason-Griffin is more of a score-first point guard, and his adjustments to a role as a distributor are vital.
11. Ohio State Buckeyes
Last season: 22-11 (10-8 Big Ten), Round of 64
Key returnees: F Evan Turner (17.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 4.0 apg), SG William Buford (11.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg), Jon Diebler (11.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.5 apg)
Key additions: None
Key loss: C B.J. Mullens
The Prognosis: With a point guard, Thad Matta's club could be one of the top couple teams in the country. They've got a boatload of talent coming back, namely the three aforementioned wing players who are all partially responsible for ball-handling and play-making duties. Buford's got a lot of potential as a dynamic wing scorer, while Turner is a do-everything swingman who keeps the team running effectively. Bigman Dallas Lauderdale's impact cannot be denied, either, as he grabs rebounds and blocks shots at high rates with his unbelievable athleticism. Still, this team could use a true point guard, and I'm not sold former JUCO transfer Jeremie Simmons is that guy.
12. Washington Huskies
Last season: 26-9 (14-4 Pac-10), Round of 32
Key returnees: G Isaiah Thomas (15.5 ppg), SF Quincy Pondexter (12.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg)
Key additions: PG Abdul Gaddy
Key losses: PF Jon Brockman, G Justin Dentmon
The Prognosis: Gaddy provides this team with everything they needed last year. He's a heady playmaker who is much more of a natural point guard than Thomas or Dentmon. His abilities should also prevent Thomas from hogging the ball too much and get the ball into the hands of Matthew Bryan-Amaning, a London-native who has shown developing skills in each of his first two years with the Huskies. If Bryan-Amaning, as anticipated, steps in for Brockman this year, he and the Huskies could be a repeat pleasant surprise nationally, with potentially better NCAA Tournament results.
13. Butler Bulldogs
Last season: 26-6 (15-3 Horizon), Round of 64
Key returnees: PF Matt Howard (14.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.5 bpg), SF Gordon Hayward (13.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.5 spg), PG Shelvin Mack (11.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.5 apg)
Key additions: PF Andrew Smith
Key losses: None
The Prognosis: Brad Stevens has gone 56-10 in two years at Butler. His record speaks for itself. To top that off, the Bulldogs lost literally no one from last year's Horizon League champions. Howard is one of the best bigmen in the college game, regardless of school or conference. He, Hayward and Mack create the kind of trio that could push Butler past the Sweet 16 if they hit their stride at the right time.
Last season: 21-14 (9-9 Big Ten), Round of 32
Key returnees: G Manny Harris (16.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 4.4 apg), F DeShawn Sims (15.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
Key additions: PG Darius Morris
Key losses: None
The Prognosis: Size is the issue here. Harris was relied on far too much in every regard by John Beilein's team last year. He's a very talented and versatile player, but he's also not capable of single-handedly carrying a team into the Big Ten elite. If a player like rising senior Zack Gibson, a 6-foot-10 forward, can pick up his game, Michigan could be that elite level team next year. If not, they should still have enough returning to make a nice run. Beilein's system is known to help overcome size deficiencies.
15. Tennessee Volunteers
Last season: 21-13 (10-6 SEC), Round of 64
Key returnees: PF Wayne Chism (13.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg), SF J.P. Prince (9.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.1 apg)
Key addition: PF Kenny Hall
Key loss: SF Tyler Smith
The Prognosis: Smith was the guy who pulled everything together for Tennessee last year. But even without him, the potential is great enough the Volunteers should be among the SEC's elite. Swingman Scotty Hopson is really worth watching and a second season at point guard should really help Bobby Maze lead this high-paced ofense. Chism and Prince both have a lot to imrpove on after last year, and it could be an exciting year for Tennessee basketball.
16. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Last season: 22-11 (9-9 Big Ten), Round of 64
Key returnees: SG Lawrence Westbrook (12.6 ppg), SF Damian Johnson (9.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg)
Key additions: SF Royce White, SF Rodney Williams
Key losses: None
The Prognosis: Tubby Smith is a really good coach, for those of you who forgot when he was, perhaps, a little overmatched by expectations at Kentucky. Smith brings back Lawrence Westbrook and a group of overachievers committed to defense, which is always a recipe for success. Expect the Gophers to compete for a championship in what might be the best conference in the country.
That's all we've got for now. Check back regularly, and I'll return with an updated list on June 15.
I think Washington is a little high. I think they are really gonna miss Brockman.
I highly doubt Reynolds stays in the draft...they'll be the favorites in the Big East now that they finally have legit big men. Should be closer to West Virginia, if not ranked higher.
The Pac-10 is gonna be down again, but I think Cal can be top 10 this year for sure. They don't lose anybody off a tournament team from a year ago and have as much perimeter talent as anyone. Washington is rated too high and the Bruins will struggle just to make the tournament this year. The Bruins have been the most heavily hit team in the nation as far as kids leaving early. Just in the last 3 years they lost Famar, Afflalo, Mbah a Moute, Love, Westbrook, Holiday. Tough to stay on top like that.
If you are looking from Farmar (26th in 2006) to Holiday (?? in 2009), then that's four years.
only 2 big east teams is suprising seeing as how they dominated last year, to me the rankings should really begin after the draft process and recruiting season are over as teams like Wake Forest(with teague maybe coming back) and kentucky(meeks?patterson?wall?) could all move into the rankings.
He has fallen. I think the question of him being a PG has afeicted his status
Finally, the Big Ten and Purdue gets some love from nbadraft.net
No Kentucky? UK just landed Bledsoe.... soon to land Wall. UK has the best recruiting class since the Fab 5. When Meeks and Patterson return, UK is easily a top 5 team. Without Patterson, they should still be a lock for the top 10 with Cousins, Orton, Hood and Bledsoe coming to Lexington.
I did these rankings on the basis of no one returning.
If Patterson and Meeks return, Kentucky will be ranked in the top 10. If not, they have no proven talent.
How come Taylor King is not listed as a key addition for Villanova.
He will certainly have a strong impact from the beginning of the season. Although Stokes returns, King will be a more consistent shooter and also has the ability to create.
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only 2 big east teams is suprising seeing as how they dominated last year, to me the rankings should really begin after the draft process and recruiting season are over as teams mirc , sohbet like Wake Forest(with teague maybe coming back) and kentucky(meeks?patterson?wall?) could all move into the rankings.
They don't lose anybody off a tournament team from a year ago and have as much perimeter talent as anyone. Washington is rated too high and the Bruins will struggle just to make the tournament this year. The Bruins have been the most heavily hit team in the nation as far as kids leaving early. Just in the last 3 years they lost Famar, Afflalo, Mbah a Moute, Love, Westbrook, Holiday.
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