Five yet-to-be-made decisions that will impact preseason rankings
There are still plenty of personnel changes left to be figured out in the next few weeks -- and here are five of the biggest ones.
Although Louisville only just cut down the nets in Atlanta Monday, some might already be looking toward next season. We now have our new Top 25 (and one) with Kentucky looking like the No. 1 team in the country heading into the offseason.
But that’s essentially the only certainty at this point. There are plenty of players still yet to decide whether they will enter the NBA Draft, and transfers are always bound to occur. There aren’t too many recruiting decisions left to be made. In the top 25 (and one), we make predictions on which players are leaving and which are staying. We are bound to be wrong on a few.
It’s easy to say that top prospects Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo of Indiana will leave, along with possibly Ben McLemore (Kansas) and Nerlens Noel (Kentucky). But which are the true “undecided” decisions at this point?
With that in mind, here are five yet-to-be-made recruiting decisions that could shape the preseason top 25 (and one).
Andrew Wiggins: This decision could change the fortunes of four teams in our current top 25 (and one). We have him pegged for Florida State, which is the reason the Seminoles are slotted at No. 26 despite losing in the first game of the NIT this season. Kentucky is also heavily in the mix, and the Wildcats would be an even bigger favorite with Wiggins in the fold. North Carolina has made up some ground lately, and the addition of Wiggins would give the Tar Heels a top-five ranking, at the very least. Kansas is the other team still on Wiggins’ list, and he would make the Jayhawks the clear-cut Big 12 favorite and put them back in the top 10.
Adreian Payne: Michigan State had stretches where it looked like one of the best teams in the country, and those stretches usually coincided with stellar play of Payne. By improving his draft potential he might have made himself plenty of money in the last couple of months of the season, but the question is whether he goes pro this year. If Payne goes back to East Lansing, the Spartans have as good a case as anyone to be No. 2 behind Kentucky. If he leaves, though, the frontcourt will have a completely different look and more responsibility will fall to guys like Matt Costello, Kenny Kaminski and Gavin Schilling.
Michigan’s quartet: None of the Wolverines’ four prospective NBA players would talk much about their draft decision on Monday night, but the common thought is that Trey Burke will depart -- and then one of the other three players. Which one will it be? Tim Hardaway Jr., Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III could all decide to leave, and the Wolverines would be in trouble if four of its five starters go pro. With Nik Stauskas and several quality bench pieces returning, along with the addition of a good recruiting class, two of the four deciding to play another season in Ann Arbor would be a great start.
C.J. Fair: Fair boosted his stock throughout the course of the season, as he was seemingly the most difficult player for defenses to matchup with on Syracuse. The lefty forward has a variety of scoring moves, and he is tough to guard when he is able to get a driving lane. With James Southerland and Brandon Triche gone, and Michael Carter-Williams expected to depart, Fair will be the key cog next season. With him in the lineup, Syracuse will have a go-to scorer and great rotational players around him. However, if Fair decides to try his luck in the NBA, the Orange’s offense takes a major hit.
James Michael McAdoo: North Carolina hit its stride toward the end of the season, when Roy Williams moved McAdoo to the center position and surrounded him with four perimeter players. Will he do that again next season? He obviously will only be able to do that if McAdoo comes back to Chapel Hill. P.J. Hairston has already made his intentions clear, and he will team with Reggie Bullock and Marcus Paige on the perimeter. Several young players will also look to take the next step, and three quality recruits enter the fold. But it comes down to McAdoo. If he goes, UNC’s frontcourt looks too unproven.
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