Coach: Rick Barnes (14 seasons at Texas 330-130), Overall 533=262, 25 seasons
2011-12: Record 20-14 overall, 9-9 in Big 12 (6th)
Starters Returning (3) Jonathan Holmes, Myck Kabongo, Julien Lewis
Preseason Tournament: Maui, Jimmy V Classic
Top Non-Conference Games: vs. UCLA, at North Carolina, at Michigan State
Transfer Out: Sterling Gibbs (Seton Hall)
Early Departure: J’Covan Brown
Texas has made the NCAA tournament all of Rich Barnes 14 seasons at Texas but for the most part they have underachieved in the big dance. However, credit is due to Barnes to reloading the Texas program and getting them to the big dance. The longhorns lose their top scorer but they return a handful of young talent. The Longhorns return 4 quality sophomores and also bring in a top recruiting class for this season.
Leading the way for the Longhorns is point guard Myck Kabongo (9.6 ppg). However, the status for Kabongo could be up in the air this season with questions about a relationship he had with an agent. Kabongo has not played a game this season. He is probably one of the fastest players in the country; he is also a good passer but he needs to improve his shooting and decision making skills. Joining him in the backcourt will be Sheldon McClellan (11.3 ppg). He was the Longhorns second leading scorer despite coming off the bench. He excels at attacking the rim. The Longhorns will likely start and 3 guard lineup and that guard will be Julien Lewis (7.8 ppg). He is the best three point shooter on a team that struggles to shot the ball. Providing depth here will be freshman DeMarucs Holland and Javan Felix. Felix will start at point guard with Kabongo out. Also lone seniors Dean Melchionni and Andrew Dick will see limited time.
The questions for this team lies in the frontcourt, mostly because of youth. The leader in the frontcourt will be power forward Jonathan Holmes (7.1 ppg). He can score both inside and out. He was the team’s second leading rebounder last season. Likely to start along Holmes will be top recruit Cameron Ridley. He is a very big body that will produce right away on the defensive end and rebounding the ball. The two top options off the bench will be Jaylen Boyd (3.4 ppg) and another big athletic freshman Prince Ibeh. Three freshman will add more depth in Ioannis Papapetrou, Danny Newsome, and Connor Lammert.
Coach: John Thompson III (8 seasons at Georgetown 184-81), Overall 252-123, 12 seasons
2011-12: Record 24-9 overall, 12-6 in Big East (tie 4th)
Starters Returning (2) Markel Starks, Nate Lubick
Preseason Tournament: Legends Classic, Jimmy V Classic
Top Non-Conference Games: vs. Florida, vs. Tennessee
Early Departure : Hollis Thompson
Last season was another successful season for John Thompson III but now the Hoyas lose their top 3 scorers. You would think that the Hoyas are in line for a rebuild season but think again. Coming into last season the Hoyas lost 3 of their top 4 scorers. I think this says a lot about Thompson’s coaching and his style. Along with the players coming back Thompson also bring in a very talented recruiting class.
Leading the Hoyas will be power forward Otto Porter (9.7 ppg). Porter really had an outstanding freshman season. He can do a little bit of everything. He gets most of his work done in the paint and he is one of the best offensive rebounders in the country. He could average a double double this season. Joining him in the frontcourt will be Nate Lubick (3.5 ppg). Lubick is best asset is his passing ability. At the small forward position will be Greg Whittington (4.3 ppg). Whittington best strength is his outside shooting ability. The top option off the bench will be Mikael Hopkins (2.4 ppg). Also providing depth will be two freshman small forward Bradley Hayes, and Brandon Bolden.
The questions for the Hoyas lies in the backcourt. That really only have 4 scholarship players here. Running the point guard duties will be Markel Starks (7.1 ppg). Starks should score more and have more assists with him being in control the ball more. He is the best shooter on the team. Joining him in the backcourt will be highly touted freshman D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera. His best asset is probably his shooting ability. The other two players providing depth will be Jabril Trawick (3.4 ppg) and freshman Stephen Domingo.
North Carolina State
Coach: Mark Gottfried (1 season at NC State 24-13) Overall 303-167, 15 years
2011-12: Record 24-13 overall, 9-7 in ACC (Tie 4th)
Starters Returning (4) Richard Howell, Lorenzo Brown, C.J. Leslie, Scott Wood
Preseason Tournament: Puerto Rico, Jimmy V Classic
Top Non-Conference Games: vs. Michigan, vs. Stanford
Transfer Out: Deshawn Painter (Old Dominion), Tyler Harris , Jaqawn Raymond (Middle Tennessee State)
Transfer In : Ralston Turner (LSU)
Sat Out: Jordan Vandenberg (redshirt)
The Wolfpack really came on late in the season late year and the program’s future under Mark Gottfried looks very bright. The Wolfpack lost to runner up Kansas by 3 points in the Sweet 16. The reason there is plenty of hype for this season is they bring back 4 of their top 5 scorers. They also bring in 3 McDonalds All Americans. With that being said the core of these players only went 9-7 in the ACC last season and where on the NCAA bubble the whole season.
Leading the way for the Wolfpack will be power forward will be C.J. Leslie (14.7 ppg). Leslie turned down the NBA to return to NC State. Lesile biggest strength is his length and athletic ability that create matchup problems. He is unstoppable when he attacks the rim. He is also an excellent rebounder and shot blocker. He needs to improve his decision making and shooting skills. Joining him in the frontcourt is Richard Howell (10.8 ppg). Howell gives the Wolfpack the physical presence in the paint. He almost averaged a double double last season; look for him to do that this season. The top option off the bench will be versatile freshman T.J. Warren. After Warren depth could be a concern here. Jordan Vandenberg (2 ppg) redshirted last season due to injuries. The really only other body here is Thomas de Thaey (1.2 ppg).
In the backcourt the Wolfpack will be led by one of the best point guards in the nation Lorenzo Brown (12. 7ppg). He is an all-around guard that creates matchup problems because of 6’5” size. He is the returning leader in the ACC in assists. Brown led the Wolfpack in steals and was third on the team in rebounding. Brown is a versatile scorer but he excels at attacking the rim. At shooting guard will be 5 guard freshman guard Rodney Purvis. Purvis is a flat our scorer. He is always it attack mode because of his elite speed and athletic ability. He needs to continue to improve as a shooter. At small forward will be Scott Wood (12.4 ppg) one of the best shooters in the country. Wood made 95 three pointers last season and made 66 free throws in a row. The top back up here will be crafty freshman Tyler Lewis. He is instinctive player that is an excellent passer. His weakness is his size. After Lewis there is major depth concerns here for NC State. Providing extra depth will be Jay Lewis and Staats Battle (1 ppg). This unit receives a boost next season when LSU transfer Ralston Turner can play.
Coach: Kevin Ollie (1st season at UConn)
2011-12: Record 20-14 overall, 8-10 in Big East ( 9th)
Starters Returning (1 ) Shabazz Napier
Preseason Tournament: Paradise Jam, Jimmy V Classic
Top Non-Conference Games: vs. Michigan State (Armed Forces Classic), vs. Washington
Transfer Out: Alex Oriakhi (Missouri-eligible immediately), Roscoe Smith (UNLV), Michael Bradley (Western Kentucky)
Transfer In : R.J. Evans (Holy Cross- eligible immediately)
Early Departure: Jeremy Lamb, Andre Drummond
Wow, what an offseason for the Huskies. Gone is Hall of Fame head coach Jim Calhoun, who retired. He retired due to health reasons and the Huskies being ineligible for the 2013 NCAA tournament. Now former Huskie player Kevin Ollie, takes over the program. Although he only has a one year contract as of now. With all this changeover 3 players transferred out of the program and 2 left early for NBA. The good news the Huskies return two of their three scorers from last season.
The strength of this team will be the backcourt. Leading the way is Shabazz Napier (13 ppg). Along with Napier Ryan Boatright (10.4 ppg), returns in the backcourt. Problem is both of these players are point guards and need the ball in their hands. It will be interesting to see what Ollie does here. Both player know how to score and get to the rim and are decent three point shooters. Look for highly touted freshman Omar Calhoun to start at the 3 spot. Like Napier and Boatright he is a very talented scorer. Providing depth here are Holy Cross transfer R.J. Evans (11.5 ppg) and Brendan Allen (.2 ppg).
The questions for this team will be in the frontcourt as reverses from last year will be ask to be starters this season. Center Tyler Olander (4.2 ppg) is not that physical player that you think as UConn centers in the past, he is more a spot up shooter. Joining Olander in the frontcourt is DeAndre Daniels. He struggled last year as a freshman but he has potential with his athletic ability. The Huskies have depth here but it is inexperienced. Enosch Wolf (.3 ppg) and freshman Phil Nolan, Leon Tolksdorf will try to provide depth. Niels Giffey (2.6 ppg) can provide depth both at the 3 spot and power forward.
Follow me on twitter @ScottBasketball http://twitter.com/#!/ScottBasketball
Also like the Roundballchat site on facebook. http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/roundballchatcom/191263564258333