BIG 12 Deep dive for the 2020-21 season

1. Baylor Bears
PG: Jared Butler
SG: MaCio Teague
SF: Davion Mitchell
PF: Tristan Clark
C: Mark Vital

Bench: Adam Flagler (Presbyterian), Matthew Mayer, Flo Thamba, L.J. Cryer, Dain Dainja, Zach Loveday, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua

Additions: Adam Flagler (Presbyterian), L.J. Cryer, Dain Dainja, Zach Loveday

Departures: Devonte Bandoo, Freddie Gillespie

Last season was the culmination of a ton of hard work by Scott Drew for the past two decades. He finally got the Bears where he wanted to have them, then COVID hit. This season’s team will still be fantastic, my pre-season number two team in the country. Jared Butler came onto the scene as a star last season, having 16 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 3.2 APG while being an intense defender. Butler has the chance to be the first Baylor player in history to be a national player of the year. MaCio Teague is one of the better secondary scorers in the country for many, he would be the go-to scorer. Teague is a phenomenal shooter though he dropped to 35% from three in his first season with the Bears. In his two seasons for UNC-Asheville, he shot 45% and 42% respectively. Last season wasn’t indicative of Teague’s talent, and he was still great. Teague struggled with a wrist injury for much of conference play and now is fully healthy. Davion Mitchell is another transferee who came in from Auburn last season. In Mitchell’s first season for Baylor, he added a ton, elite defense, and can guard three different positions. Mitchell isn’t much on offense yet but makes up for it easily. Tristan Clark is one of the biggest difference-makers for this team. An oft-injured big-man, who when healthy, he’s been a top-tier player. Clark showed himself best in 2018-19 in just 14 games before an injury. Clark had 14.6 PPG with a staggering 73% field-goal percentage. If Clark can stay healthy, the million-dollar question, Baylor could be cutting down the nets in March. Mark Vital is the biggest unsung hero in College Hoops. Vital can defend 1-5 with ease and is quite possibly the best defender in the country. Vital does a ton of things you won’t see on the box-score also, tap-backs on rebounds, things of that nature. Mark Vital could be a first-team BIG 12 player and is a supreme glue-guy. Last season Adam Flagler sat after coming in from Presbyterian. Flagler had 15.9 PPG while shooting 38% from three in the Big South as a freshman. Flagler will be a significant piece off-the-bench. The Bears could cut down the nets in Indianapolis.

2. Kansas Jayhawks
PG: Marcus Garrett
SG: Bryce Thompson
SF: Ochai Agbaji
PF: Tyon Grant-Foster
C: David McCormack

Bench: Christian Braun, Mitch Lightfoot, Jalen Wilson, Tristan Enaruna, Gethro Muscadin, Dajuan Harris, Latrell Jossell

Additions: Bryce Thompson, Tyon Grant-Foster, Gethro Muscadin, Lattrell Jossell, Dajuan Harris

Departures: Devon Dotson, Isaiah Moss, Udoka Azubuike, Silvio De Sousa

Being one season removed from being the best team in College Hoops at season’s end, the Jayhawks lose their two best players in Udoka Azubuike and Devon Dotson. That’s not to say that the Jayhawks don’t return talent they have the returning defensive player of the year in Marcus Garrett. Last season Garrett showed he can do-it-all. He had 9.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 4.6 APG, and proved to be an integral part of the success of the team. Bryce Thompson stepping into the role as the go-to scorer for the Jayhawks as a freshman is a tough task, but Thompson has immense talent. Thompson could easily be one of the top players in the conference this season he’s the complete package. Ochai Agbaji had been expected to blossom into a star as a sophomore, but it didn’t happen. Agbaji is still an elite defender and a supreme athlete but the shooting isn’t there quite yet. For Agbaji to be the complete guy he can be, the shooting has to be above 33%. David McCormack is no Udoka Azubuike, but he’s no slouch. McCormack can score down-low using his size and strength while providing premier defense. The biggest key for the Jayhawks is Christian Braun. I mean, I’m not even sure where, to begin with, Braun, but I’ll start here he’s an elite shooter who has the potential to shoot 45% from three. Braun is also a super long guy who uses that to his advantage on defense Braun will burst onto the scene this season and be a future NBA player. Another player that Bill Self has to be enamored with is sophomore Tristan Enaruna. What he provides is that he’s 6’8 and can play three positions, and guard 4 positions. Once Garrett is the out-of-the picture next season, it’s Enaruna’s time to shine. The Jayhawks will be in contention to win-it-all.

3. West Virginia Mountaineers
PG: Miles McBride
SG: Taz Sherman
SF: Emmitt Matthews Jr
PF: Derek Culver
C: Oscar Tshiebwe

Bench: Jordan McCabe, Gabe Osabouhien, Jalen Bridgers, Isaiah Cottrell, Taj Thweatt

Additions: Jalen Bridges, Isaiah Cottrell, Taj Thweatt

Departures: Jermaine Haley, Brandon Knapper (Eastern Kentucky)

Have you ever wondered what it would look like if an NFL lineman played College Hoops? Well here’s the closest you’ll get. Oscar Tshiebwe is an absolute tank of a human being. Tshiebwe weighs in at 270 LBS and is unstoppable on-the-block. As a whole Bob Huggins team led the country in offensive rebounding percentage. The other key big is Derek Culver, a big-lefty who’s eerily similar to Tshiebwe but left-handed. The player who will be the driving force of what happens for WVU this season is Miles McBride. The best guard Coach Huggins has had since Jevon Carter. With McBride, you have an elite defender who has a massive offensive upside. McBride will improve as a shooter this season and mold himself into a first-round draftee. The other guard, Taz Sherman, is also a tremendous defender, the suffocating force of McBride and Sherman, followed by the rebounding of Tshiebwe and Culver it will be tough for opposing teams. Speaking of an elite defense, Gabe Osabuohein signifies that as much as anyone. Osabuohein offers little-to-nothing on offense but is as good of a defender as you could find. WVU has championship aspirations and could achieve that.

4. Texas Tech Red Raiders
PG: Mac McClung (Georgetown)
SG: Nimari Burnett
SF: Terrance Shannon Jr
PF: Joel Ntambwe (UNLV)
C: Marcus Santos-Silva (VCU)

Bench: Jamarius Burton (Wichita State), Kyler Edwards, Kevin McCullar, Micah Peavy, Avery Benson, Tyreek Smith, Vladislav Goldin, Chibuzo Agbo

Additions: Mac McClung (Georgetown), Nimari Burnett, Joel Ntambwe (UNLV), Marcus Santos-Silva (VCU), Jamarius Burton (Wichita State), Micah Peavy, Vladislav Goldin

Departures: Davide Moretti, Jahm’ius Ramsey

Chris Beard has built a powerhouse in Lubbock. This season continues. With some tremendous newcomers like McClung, Burnett, Santos-Silva, Peavy, Burton, things could be massive. Starting with Mac McClung he had 15.7 PPG for the Hoyas this past season. The glaring issue with McClung is that he shot just 39% from-the-field, 32% from three. That’s an issue for McClung. He has talent but needs to be more consistent. Nimari Burnett is a tremendous talent as a combo-guard. Burnett is great in-the-lane and can shoot. When Burnett is the lead guard, he can distribute the ball with the best of them. Terrance Shannon Jr has all-the-makings of becoming a star. Shannon had 9.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG as a freshman while shooting 47% from-the-field, but just 35% from three. The thing that bodes well for Shannon shooting wise is that he shot 82% from-the-line which could show future potential shooting from three. Another newcomer Joel Ntambwe is eligible after sitting this past season. Ntambwe playing for the Runnin’ Rebels in 2018-19, he had 11.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and shot a glaring 38% from long-range as a 4-man. The BIG-12 pre-season newcomer of the year, Marcus Santos-Silva, is expected to do big things this season. Santos-Silva had 12.8 PPG, 8.9 RPG for the Rams in 2018-19. MSS is an awesome scorer down-low, but his free-throw shooting is a big concern. While McClung may be the most popular addition for the Red Raiders, for my money, I think Burton is better. For the Shockers last season Burton scored in double-figures and shot 38% from three. Burton also provides above-average defense, something McClung doesn’t. The Red Raiders have 2nd-weekend potential.

5. Texas Longhorns
PG: Matt Coleman
SG: Jase Febres
SF: Courtney Ramey
PF: Greg Brown
C: Jericho Sims

Bench: Gerald Liddell, Kamaka Hepa, Brock Cunningham, Andrew Jones, Royce Hamm Jr, Donovan Williams, Kai Jones, Will Baker

Additions: Greg Brown, Donovan Williams

Departures: None

Is Texas back? Let’s find out. Matt Coleman is back for his senior season to try to get the Longhorns back to the big dance. Coleman had 12.7 PPG while shooting 44% from-the-field, 39% from three in his breakout junior season. If Texas is back they’ll need Coleman to replicate that. Jase Febres, in his career, has proven to be a steady shooter throughout his time as a Longhorn. Febres shot 37% from deep the past two seasons. The local product, Greg Brown, committed to Texas. Brown is a great athlete, but it’s yet to be seen if he will be a great college player or be a guy that’s a first-round pick based on upside. I like Brown a lot, but we have to see how his jump-shot looks at this level. Jericho Sims is a massive difference-maker for Shaka Smart. He’s an unreal athlete who can block any shot and plays elite defense.
Andrew Jones is a story of inspiration. During the 2017-18 season, Jones was diagnosed with cancer, which many had thought it would possibly end his Basketball career. Being the fighter Jones is, he beat cancer and came back this season and scored 11.5 PPG while shooting 38% from three. Jones is a fantastic sixth-man that adds a lot to this team. The defense could carry this team in 2020-21 and save Shaka Smart’s job.

6. Oklahoma State Cowboys
PG: Isaac Likekele
SG: Rondel Walker
SF: Cade Cunningham
PF: Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe
C: Kalib Boone

Bench: Bryce Williams (Ole Miss), Ferron Flavors (Cal Baptist), Keylan Boone, Montreal Pena, Chris Harris Jr, Avery Anderson III

Additions: Cade Cunningham, Rondel Walker, Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe, Bryce Williams (Ole Miss), Ferron Flavors (Cal Baptist), Montreal Pena

Departures: Thomas Dziagwa, Lindy Waters, Yor Anei (SMU), Jonathan Laurent, Cameron McGriff

While this team has talent, it won’t end up mattering.
The Cowboys are banned from the postseason due to having a rouge assistant a few years back in Lamont Evans. Oklahoma State has a fantastic team. Cade Cunningham the number one player in the 2020- class, is going to suit-up this season. Cunningham looks to be the modern-day Magic Johnson. A true point guard as his natural position, but can play 1-4 Cunningham, is superb in every aspect of the game except his shooting. Isaac Likekele will be the starting one guard for Mike Boynton’s team. Likekele is a tremendous athlete who drives to the hoop with ease and is one of the top defenders in the conference. The the-former three-star recruit who’s only power five offer was to Oklahoma State has outweighed that ranking. Another freshman, Rondel Walker, will be asked to play a large role as a spot-up shooter this season. Walker and Ferron Flavors will be the main-shooters Flavors shot 44% from three for Cal Baptist last season. Kalib Boone will be asked to play a big role as the replacement for Yor Anei. AS a freshman Kalib Boone had 4.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and shot 54% from-the-field last season. The Cowboys will undoubtedly win games, but they won’t be eligible for the tournament.

7. Oklahoma Sooners
PG: Umoja Gibson (North Texas)
SG: Austin Reaves
SF: Alondes Williams
PF: Brady Manek
C: Kur Kuath

Bench: De’Vion Harmon, Jalen Hill, Victor Iwuakor, Rick Issanza, Trey Phipps

Additions: Umoja Gibson (North Texas), Trey Phipps

Departures: Jamal Bienemy (UTEP), Kristian Doolittle

The Sooners are coming off a season in which they wouldn’t have made the NCAA Tournament. This year, there’s tournament potential for Lon Kruger’s squad in year ten of the tenure. The Sooners lacked scoring punch from the lead-guard spot with Jamal Bienemy being a well-below average offensive player. Now with a recent development is that North Texas transfer Umoja Gibson received a waiver. Gibson had 14.5 PPG for the Mean Green this past season while shooting 38%. Austin Reaves was a riveting player to follow last season. It’s quite stunning, to say the least when you look at Reaves stat-line from last season, having 14.7 PPG but shot just 38% from-the-field, 25% from deep. Reaves had a 40-point outburst against TCU and showed off his scoring prowess, but he just struggled for the majority of the season. I believe Reaves is a talented shooter and will improve on that end this season. De’Vion Harmon was a top-50 recruit in the 2019 class and is skilled in many facets of the game. Harmon is a talented scorer and elite defender. Harmon will be vital to the success of Oklahoma. If Harmon can live up to that top-50 billing, things change immensely. Brady Manek has been a steady piece for Lon Kruger all three seasons in Norman. In all three seasons, Manek has shot 35% and above from-distance. As a forward who is an adequate defender and talented scorer, he’s a massive entity. While junior big-man Kur Kuath played sparingly last season he showed in his limited-play to be a potential All-Defensive player in the conference. With the loss of Kristian Doolittle, someone will need to make a significant jump, and I think Kuath is that guy. You may be asking yourself, what’s the Sooners ceiling? 2nd-weekend potential.

8. TCU Horned Frogs
PG: Francisco Farabello
SG: P.J. Fuller
SF: R.J. Nembhard
PF: Jaedon Ledee (Ohio State)
C: Kevin Samuel

Bench: Dylan Arnette, Chuck O’Bannon (USC), Eddie Lampkin Jr, Kevin Easley Jr (Chattanooga), Terren Frank

Additions: Jaedon Ledee (Ohio State), Chuck O’Bannon Jr (USC), Eddie Lampkin Jr, Kevin Easley Jr (Chattanooga), Terren Frank

Departures: Desmond Bane, Edric Dennis Jr, Jaire Grayer

Jamie Dixon’s team is coming off a season in which they sat at the bottom of the Big 12. Now losing the star of last seasons team in Desmond Bane. There is some significant upside with this Horned Frogs team though. Francisco Farabello is an Argentinian guard who shot 40% from three in his limited play as a freshman. Farabello has all the makings of a future-star for TCU. P.J. Fuller is another player with a sky-high ceiling. Fuller, the former top-100 recruit was known as a big-time scorer in his HS days, but that didn’t translate last season. If Fuller can show off his previous form, he will be huge this season. The best player on the team in my eyes is Junior center, Kevin Samuel. A guy who’s started both of his two seasons in Fort Worth. Since arriving all Samuel has done is produce at an incredibly high-level. Samuel is a tenacious rebounder and ferocious scorer on-the-block with his mix of size-and-strength. I think I could make a compelling argument for Samuel being the number one big man in the conference coming into the season. While Samuel doesn’t fit today’s NBA well due to his lack of shooting, he makes it work at this level. TCU could turn some heads this season.

9. Iowa State Cyclones
PG: Tyler Harris (Memphis)
SG: Rasir Bolton
SF: Jalen Coleman-Lands (DePaul)
PF: Soloman Young
C: George Conditt IV

Bench: Tre Jackson, Xavier Foster, Dudley Blackwell, Jaden Walker

Additions: Tyler Harris (Memphis), Xavier Foster, Jalen Coleman-Lands (DePaul), Jaden Walker, Dudley Blackwell

Departures: Prentiss Nixon, Tyrese Haliburton, Michael Jacobson, Caleb Grill (UNLV)

Steve Prohm led a forgettable season in Ames in 2019-20. Tyrese Haliburton became a star but broke his wrist thus ending his season. This season, Rasir Bolton will be the star of the team. Bolton had 14.7 PPG in his first season playing for Iowa State. I expect Bolton to become a better shooter than his 33.6% clip showed last season. Tyler Harris, transferring in after spending two seasons playing for Penny Hardaway and the Tigers. Harris is one of the quickest guards in the country. Harris shot 36% from three but can get-to-the lane and find open shooters in the corners. Harris looks poised for a big season in Ames. Jalen Coleman-Lands is in his sixth season of eligibility and now onto his third school. Coleman-Lands has had a bizarre College career. Coleman-Lands early in his career was billed as an elite shooter and one of the best in College Hoops, but his career at DePaul was ultimately forgettable. Going from shooting 42% from three as a freshman to 33% as a fifth-year player isn’t the kind of trajectory you want to see. It’s one thing to be stagnant throughout your career, but it’s another to significantly regress. Soloman Young is a big-man who is an offensive-only kind of player. Young struggles mightily on defense and rebounding. George Conditt IV is an intriguing player for Steve Prohm, a player who took a step back as a sophomore in terms of defense. Conditt significantly improved on offense though. Conditt is a 6’10 big-man who can score easily at this point in his career. At some point in the season, I could see Xavier Foster overcoming the minutes that Soloman Young reserves at this juncture. It won’t be a tournament season for Iowa State, but they won’t be awful either.

10. Kansas State Wildcats
PG: Nigel Pack
SG: Mike McGuirl
SF: DaJuan Gordon
PF: Antonio Gordon
C: Montavious Murphy

Bench: Selton Miguel, Davion Bradford, Kaosi Ezeagu, Serylee Lewis

Additions: Nigel Pack, Selton Miguel, Kaosi Ezeagu, Davion Bradford

Departures: Cartier Diarra (Virginia Tech), Xavier Sneed, James Love III (Eastern Michigan), Levi Stockard (VCU), Nigel Shaad (Pacific), David Sloan, Makol Maiwen

After a tough season for Bruce Weber and the Wildcats things aren’t looking much better leading into this season. This is a young team, but there’s talent. Nigel Pack will be a massive piece as a freshman. A super athletic guard with great handles who can score inside-and-out. Alongside Pack, the senior Mike McGuirl will start with him. McGuirl has shown his defensive prowess throughout his collegiate career but showed a massive development in the shooting last season at 39%. DaJuan Gordon was one of the lone bright spots in Manhattan, KS last season. Much will be asked of another freshman guard in the form of Selton Miguel. There’s no bonafide star for Kansas State at this point, and things can change, but for now this is where they sit.

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