The landscape of college basketball will change considerably heading into next season, as happens every year. With players deciding on whether they should come back for another year of eligibility or availing themselves for the NBA Draft, as well as high school prospects committing, there’s a lot to be had in the way of transformation.
We already know who’s going into the Draft but there are still a few decisions that need to be made in order to fully evaluate college teams. However, we can still go ahead and rank some of the top sides according to how strong they could be after the NBA Draft.
You could check the rankings out right below:
1. Gonzaga Bulldogs
The Bulldogs were upset in the NCAA Final this year as the Baylor Bears went on to win the national title. They still appear to be the strongest team heading into the upcoming campaign and are likely to attract lots of attention as it relates to NCAA basketball picks.
The team was well aware of the fact that Jaylen Suggs and Corey Kispert were poised to move on; junior guard Joel Ayayi declared for the draft shortly after the national title contest.
There were questions over starting point guard Andrew Nembhard and center Drew Timme as they could have both decided to try out for the Draft but they have opted to remain, leaving the team with lots of depth. Gonzaga has also secured Iowa State transfer Rasir Bolton, who averaged 15.5 points per game along with 3.9 assists last term.
2. UCLA Bruins
UCLA ranks as highly as it does mainly because Johnny Juzang will be back after speculatively checking out the draft. The player became an absolute star during the NCAA Tournament and his presence should mean lots of wins for the college. Juzang went from being a seldom-used bench player for Kentucky to the leading scorer at UCLA, averaging 16.0 points per game. He took that up to 22.0 points per game in the tournament, firing the 11th-seeded Bruins into the Final Four.
UCLA has everyone else coming back, with the likes of Tyger Campbell, Jaime Jaquez, and Jules Bernard all set to return. David Singleton, an important reserve guard, and Rutgers pickup center Myles Johnson will also be involved in affairs while five-star freshman Peyton Watson will be called upon to make an impact.
3. Michigan Wolverines
The Wolverines only have Eli Brooks coming back for a fifth year and knew they would be losing a lot of talent in the summer. Starters Mike Smith, Isaiah Livers, Chaundee Brown, and Austin Davis are all out. Sophomore forward Franz Wagner, expected to be a lottery pick, will likely play in a different uniform later this year.
There were still lots of key decisions to be made and perhaps the biggest one was All-American freshman Hunter Dickinson. However, he calmed nerves when he opted to return, although he left it close. Transfer pickup guard DaVante Jones, the Sun Belt Player of the Year at Coastal Carolina, is also sticking around and, along with Dickinson, should help propel the Wolverines to the NCAA Tournament.
4. Kansas Jayhawks
The Jayhawks were probably the busiest team during the offseason as they were desperate to get a top point guard to replace Marcus Garrett. They missed out on a few priority targets but managed to secure Remy Martin. The guard has averaged close to 20.0 points per game over the past two years and is a multi-time Pac-12 player at Arizona State.
The roster looked to be in a good place given the above, plus starting forward Jalen Wilson and center David McCormack also coming back. But there was also a very pleasant surprise in the form of Ochai Agbaji, who led the team in scoring last season with 14.1 points a contest, deciding to return.
The team will also feature 7th-year transfer guard Jalen Coleman-Lands, Drake transfer guard Joseph Yesufu, and a number of top-class recruits.
5. Texas Longhorns
Texas’ offseason was filled with transfer pickups, which is always great, but there were questions lingering over the NBA Draft. All of the players who were mulling over a move have left. Starting guard Matt Coleman and forwards Kai Jones, Greg Brown, and Jericho Sims are all gone.
The coaching staff anticipated the moves and went ahead to secure replacement talent, bringing in 6ft 9in center Tre Mitchell as one of the biggest names. The big man averaged 18.0 points per game along with 7.2 rebounds a contest in two years at UMass. This is considered to be quite the coup as Mitchell is rated as one of the top transfers this year. He will be joining the likes of Dylan Disu, Timmy Allen, and Christian Bishop in the Longhorns’ frontcourt.