• My Scores
  • Golf
  • NFL
  • NCAA FB
  • NCAA BB
  • NBA
  • NHL
CBSSports.com Senior Writer

Ridiculously Early Preseason Top 25 (and one): UK No. 1 -- now

  •  

This task is an impossible task because there's still no way to know for sure which players will return, transfer and enroll. But fans love rankings, and I love doing them. So every year at this time I make educated guesses, project certain guys to leave and certain guys to stay, and then I rank college basketball teams accordingly.

Am I always right?

No.

Fan Poll

Who's the early favorite for next season?

Kentucky
40%
Syracuse
6%
Ohio State
10%
North Carolina
22%
Vanderbilt
2%
Another team
19%

Total Votes: 41,614

And I won't be 100 percent correct this year, either. But it's never too early to start the debate. So with that in mind, here's the Ridiculously Early (But Still Kind of Fun) Preseason Top 25 (and one). When the deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the NBA Draft passes on May 8, rest assured, I'll reshuffle and do it all again.

(For the purposes of these rankings, I'm assuming Kentucky's Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones, Duke's Kyrie Irving, North Carolina's Harrison Barnes, Connecticut's Kemba Walker, Memphis' Wesley Witherspoon, Texas' Jordan Hamilton, UCLA's Tyler Honeycutt, Kansas' Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris and Josh Selby, Arizona's Derrick Williams, Baylor's Perry Jones, San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard, Colorado's Alec Burks, Georgia's Trey Thompkins and Tennessee's Tobias Harris will all either enter and remain in the NBA Draft or not return to their current schools for some other reason. Again, I'll be wrong about some of them, and some of the players I have returning to school will actually leave. Like I said, I'll correct any and all mistakes on May 8 and adjust accordingly. But for now, this is it.)

1. Kentucky
Notable players definitely gone: Josh Harrellson
Notable players expected to leave early: Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones
Notable players expected to return: DeAndre Liggins, Darius Miller, Doron Lamb
Notable newcomers: Anthony Davis, Mike Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, Kyle Wiltjer
2. North Carolina
Notable players definitely gone: None
Notable players expected to leave early: Harrison Barnes
Notable players expected to return: Tyler Zeller, John Henson, Kendall Marshall, Dexter Strickland, Leslie McDonald, Reggie Bullock
Notable newcomers: James McAdoo, P.J. Hairston
3. Syracuse
Notable players definitely gone: Rick Jackson
Notable players expected to leave early: None
Notable players expected to return: Kris Joseph, Scoop Jardine, Brandon Triche, Dion Waiters, C.J. Fair, James Southerland, Mookie Jones, Fab Melo, Baye Moussa Keita
Notable newcomers: Rakeem Christmas, Trevor Cooney, Michael Carter-Williams
4. Ohio State
Notable players definitely gone: David Lighty, Jon Diebler, Dallas Lauderdale
Notable players expected to leave early: None
Notable players expected to return: Jared Sullinger, William Buford, Deshaun Thomas, Aaron Craft
Notable newcomers: Amir Williams, LaQuinton Ross, Sam Thompson, Shannon Scott, Trey McDonald, Eric Ravenel
5. Vanderbilt
Notable players definitely gone: None
Notable players expected to leave early: None
Notable players expected to return: John Jenkins, Jeff Taylor, Festus Ezeli, Brad Tinsley, Lance Goulbourne, Steve Tchiengang, Rod Odom, Andre Walker, Kyle Fuller
Notable newcomers: Dai-Jon Parker, Shelby Moats, Kedren Johnson
6. Texas
Notable players definitely gone: Gary Johnson, Dogus Balbay, Jai Lucas, Matt Hill
Notable players expected to leave early: Jordan Hamilton
Notable players expected to return: Tristan Thompson, J'Covan Brown, Cory Joseph, Alexis Wangmene, Clint Chapman
Notable newcomers: Myck Kabongo, Kevin Thomas, Jonathan Holmes, Julien Lewis, Sheldon McClellan
7. Duke
Notable players definitely gone: Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler
Notable players expected to leave early: Kyrie Irving
Notable players expected to return: Mason Plumlee, Miles Plumlee, Ryan Kelly, Seth Curry, Andre Dawkins
Notable newcomers: Austin Rivers, Quinn Cook, Marshall Plumlee, Michael Gbinije
8. Butler
Notable players definitely gone: Matt Howard, Shawn Vanzant, Zach Hahn
Notable players expected to leave early: None
Notable players expected to return: Shelvin Mack, Andrew Smith, Khyle Marshall, Ron Nored, Chase Stigall, Chrishawn Hopkins
Notable newcomers: Kameron Woods, Jackson Aldridge, Roosevelt Jones, Andrew Smeathers
9. Louisville
Notable players definitely gone: Preston Knowles
Notable players expected to leave early: None
Notable players expected to return: Kyle Kuric, Peyton Siva, Terrence Jennings, Chris Smith, Rakeem Buckles, Mike Marra, Gorgui Dieng
Notable newcomers: Wayne Blackshear, Zach Price, Chane Behanan, Angel Nunez
10. Memphis
Notable players definitely gone: Will Coleman
Notable players expected to leave early: Wesley Witherspoon
Notable players expected to return: Will Barton, Joe Jackson, Tarik Black, Antonio Barton, Charles Carmouche, Chris Crawford, D.J. Stephens
Notable newcomers: Adonis Thomas, Ferrakohn Hall
11. Connecticut
Notable players definitely gone: Donnell Beverly, Charles Okwandu
Notable players expected to leave early: Kemba Walker
Notable players expected to return: Jeremy Lamb, Alex Oriakhi, Shabazz Napier, Roscoe Smith, Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, Niels Giffey, Tyler Olander
Notable newcomers: Ryan Boatright
12. Wisconsin
Notable players definitely gone: Jon Leuer, Keaton Nankivil, Tim Jarmusz
Notable players expected to leave early: None
Notable players expected to return: Jordan Taylor, Josh Gasser, Mike Bruesewitz, Ryan Evans
Notable newcomers: Jarrod Uthoff, Traevon Jackson, Frank Kaminsky, George Marshall
13. Kansas
Notable players definitely gone: Brady Morningstar, Tyrel Reed, Mario Little
Notable players expected to leave early: Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Josh Selby
Notable players expected to return: Tyshawn Taylor, Thomas Robinson, Travis Releford, Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson
Notable newcomers: Naadir Tharpe, Ben McLemore
14. Pittsburgh
Notable players definitely gone: Brad Wannamaker, Gilbert Brown, Gary McGhee
Notable players expected to leave early: None
Notable players expected to return: Ashton Gibbs, Nasir Robinson, Travon Woodall, Dante Taylor, Talib Zanna, J.J. Moore, Lamar Patterson
Notable newcomers: Khem Birch, Malcolm Gilbert, Durand Johnson, Jaylen Bond, John Johnson
15. Florida
Notable players definitely gone: Vernon Macklin, Chandler Parsons, Alex Tyus
Notable players expected to leave early: None
Notable players expected to return: Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton, Erik Murphy, Patric Young, Scottie Wilbekin
Notable newcomers: Brad Beal, Mike Rosario, Walter Pitchford
16. Michigan
Notable players definitely gone: None
Notable players expected to leave early: None
Notable players expected to return: Darius Morris, Tim Hardaway Jr., Jordan Morgan, Zach Novak, Stu Douglass, Evan Smotrycz, Matt Vogrich
Notable newcomers: Carlton Brundidge, Trey Burke, Max Bielfeldt
17. Arizona
Notable players definitely gone: Jamelle Horne
Notable players expected to leave early: Derrick Williams
Notable players expected to return: Lamont Jones, Kyle Fogg, Solomon Hill, Kevin Parrom, Jesse Perry, Jordin Mayes, Brendon Lavender
Notable newcomers: Josiah Turner, Angelo Chol, Nick Johnson, Sidiki Johnson
18. Cincinnati
Notable players definitely gone: Rashad Bishop, Ibrahima Thomas, Larry Davis, Darnell Wilks
Notable players expected to leave early: None
Notable players expected to return: Yancy Gates, Dion Dixon, Sean Kilpatrick, Cashmere Wright, Justin Jackson
Notable newcomers: Jermaine Sanders, Shaquille Thomas, Jeremiah Davis, Ge-Lawn Guyn, Octavious Ellis
19. UCLA
Notable players definitely gone: None
Notable players expected to leave early: Tyler Honeycutt
Notable players expected to return: Reeves Nelson, Malcolm Lee, Joshua Smith, Lazeric Jones, Jerime Anderson, Brendan Lane, Tyler Lamb
Notable newcomers: Norman Powell, David Wear, Travis Wear, De'End Parker
20. Xavier
Notable players definitely gone: Jamel McLean, Dante Jackson, Andrew Taylor
Notable players expected to leave early: None
Notable players expected to return: Tu Holloway, Mark Lyons, Kenny Frease, Jeff Robinson, Brad Redford
Notable newcomers: Dezmine Wells, Dee Davis, Jalen Reynolds, Travis Taylor, Justin Martin
21. Missouri
Notable players definitely gone: Justin Safford
Notable players expected to leave early: None
Notable players expected to return: Kim English, Phil Pressey, Matt Pressey, Ricardo Ratliffe, Michael Dixon, Marcus Denmom, Laurence Bowers
Notable newcomers: None
22. Gonzaga
Notable players definitely gone: Steven Gray
Notable players expected to leave early: None
Notable players expected to return: Elias Harris, Robert Sacre, Sam Dower, David Stockton, Kelly Olynyk, Demetri Goodson, Marquise Carter
Notable newcomers: Gary Bell, Kevin Pangos, Ryan Spangler
23. Marquette
Notable players definitely gone: Jimmy Butler, Dwight Buycks, Joseph Fulce
Notable players expected to leave early: None
Notable players expected to return: Darius Johnson-Odom, Vander Blue, Jae Crowder, Chris Otule, Junior Cadougan, Davonte Gardner
Notable newcomers: Todd Mayo, Derrick Wilson, Juan Anderson, Jamil Wilson
24. Texas A&M
Notable players definitely gone: B.J. Holmes, Nathan Walkup
Notable players expected to leave early: None
Notable players expected to return: Khris Middleton, David Loubeau, Kourtney Robinson, Naji Hibbert, Dash Harris, Ray Turner
Notable newcomers: Jamal Branch, Elston Turner, Jordan Green
25. George Mason
Notable players definitely gone: Cam Long, Isaiah Tate
Notable players expected to leave early: None
Notable players expected to return: Ryan Person, Luke Hancock, Andre Cornelius, Mike Morrison, Vertail Vaughns, Jonny Williams
Notable newcomers: Corey Edwards, Vaughn Gray
26. Alabama
Notable players definitely gone: Senario Hillman, Charvez Davis, Chris Hines
Notable players expected to leave early: None
Notable players expected to return: JaMychal Green, Tony Mitchell, Trevor Releford, Andrew Steele, Charles Hankerson
Notable newcomers: Levi Randolph, Nick Jacobs, Moussa Gueye, Rodney Cooper

Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for CBSSports.com and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.
  •  
 

Biggest Stories

CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 

Latest

Most Popular

CBSSports.com Shop

Mens No. 34 Kansas Jayhawks adidas Cream Replica Basketball Jersey

FLASH SALE! 12-4pm EST
$10 Off $75 use code FLASH10
Shop Now