The College Basketball offseason is about 6 weeks (feels like 6 years) old and thus far there has been no shortage of topics to talk about. From Jalen Green (and others) deciding to go to the G-League, to the one-time transfer rule that will be voted on at some point, or the ongoing draft decisions that are taking place. With these ongoing decisions, some teams will see their teams benefit, while other teams have seen players that they thought would be in their rotation deciding to play elsewhere. While with the COVID-19 pandemic a lot remains up in the air in terms of when sports will resume, we will carry on talking about the sport of College Basketball. As is the case, here are my winners and losers of the offseason to this point.
While Arizona State still awaits the NBA Draft decisions of Remy Martin and Romello White, the Sun Devils have already won the offseason by landing the highest-rated recruit in program history in Josh Christopher. Christopher joins what is an already good young core of players in Marcus Bagley, Jaelen House, Alonzo Verge, and Taeshon Cherry. While losing Remy Martin is still a possibility for the Sun Devils, the team is set up to have a great year with or without him.
Texas is back. Okay maybe they aren’t going to be fully back but by all means, the Longhorns are set up for their best year in the Shaka Smart era. Texas landed a Top-10 recruit in Greg Brown who is a forward that provides some much-needed athleticism at the 4 spot. The Horns have also brought every single player back from a team that was inconsistent but was playing well towards the end of the season this past year. This team should enter the season ranked inside the Top-25 and if the team can live up to their billing Texas should be set up for a great season.
While we still don’t know whether or not Tyrell Terry is going to come back to school for his Sophomore season, the program still got one of the biggest additions of this decade as they landed a Top-10 recruit in Ziaire Williams. Williams should come in right away and help the Cardinal be one of the favorites in the PAC-12 this season. While the team could still lose Tyrell Terry to the NBA, this team will be heading to the NCAA Tournament with or without him.
Kansas might have been the team that was most affected by the NCAA Tournament cancellation, as they were the clear favorites to win it all. That being said, one could argue that no program has had a more boring offseason than Kansas, and that is a good thing for them. Yes, they lose Devon Dotson to the NBA but keeping Marcus Garrett and Ochai Agbaji for another season makes Kansas a guaranteed Top-10 team in the sport next season. While the Jayhawks might have ended up in that same spot with those two players in a month as is, having that stability early on is definitely helpful.
With the NCAA Tournament getting canceled this past season, Rutgers was unable to end their streak of missing the NCAA Tournament, despite being essentially a lock to make the NCAA Tournament. While that is going to be hard to get over, the Scarlet Knights are one of four high-major programs that do not have a player either transfer or declare for the NBA Draft (stat via @heatcheckcbb on Twitter). Rutgers also added one of the best recruits in Cliff Omoruyi who should help create a formidable frontcourt. This Rutgers team should not only make the NCAA Tournament for what should have been a second-straight season but they could compete for a Big Ten title as well.
Coming into the offseason it appeared Ashton Hagans, Nick Richards, and Tyrese Maxey were all gone, while Immanuel Quickley was most likely gone, so losing all four of them isn’t the end of the world. That being said, no one should have expected EJ Montgomery to leave for the NBA as he’s plain and simply not that good. Anyway, Montgomery leaves for the NBA but Kentucky seemed to be in the driver’s seat for Purdue grad transfer Matt Haarms, but Haarms decided he would instead go to BYU. So now Kentucky has been left with an extremely young and inexperienced team that will be forced to play freshmen bigs. Kentucky still will be a preseason Top-25 team and they could still win a few games in the NCAA Tournament but they are poised to struggle, especially early in the season.
For Creighton, most expected Ty-Shon Alexander to return to Creighton for what would have been his senior season. Alexander returning would have made the Blue Jays a Top-4 team preseason and one of the teams favored to cut down the nets. The Blue Jays dream of having a title contender, of course, have since gone up in flames with him heading to the NBA While the team will still return a lot of pieces and they will be good, losing your best scorer and defender makes Creighton a Top-25 team preseason as opposed to a Top-4 team.
Let me start by saying that if Isaiah Livers comes back to Michigan for his senior season, the Wolverines will be very good. Having said all that, the Wolverines really got hurt from a recruiting perspective in the past month. The Wolverines had already landed a commitment from Isaiah Todd and they were expected to land a commitment from Josh Christopher. In a period of a week, Christopher chose Arizona State, while Todd went to the G-League. This Wolverines team will still be a tournament level team but they are a long way from being a Top-10 team that they could have been.
San Diego State
The Aztecs were a team that had a wide-ranging outcome in the preseason and it depended a lot upon what Malachi Flynn decided to do. While Flynn heading to the NBA Draft was no surprise, him deciding to enter the NBA Draft and forgo his senior season is a major loss for the Aztecs. San Diego State still has the talent to win the Mountain West but don’t expect them to be contending for a one seed this year.
UCLA still will be a likely tournament as they should return the bulk of their roster from last year’s team that nearly won the PAC-12 last season. That being said, the team lost their prized-recruit in Daishen Nix to the G-League. This is a really tough loss that will take UCLA from a preseason Top-15 team and the likely Pac-12 favorites, to a less talented team that will probably just make the NCAA Tournament. While the second option is still good, it isn’t what it could have been had Nix decided to stay at UCLA.