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Big XII (MBB) 2022-23 Mega Preview, Power Rankings, and Award Watchlists

Big XII

Big XII Conference Tourney | Rob Carolla

First things first, this bad boy is LONG. I am talking more than 29,000 words and 50 pages (before pictures were inserted). I would only suggest reading this if you fit one or more of the following criteria: You LOVE Baylor Men's Basketball and want to know how they should fare in the upcoming season. You LOVE Big XII Men's Basketball so much that you want to learn a bit about all of the teams. You are BORED out of your mind and have nothing better to do. If that fits you and you wanna glance at the rest of this post, awesome. I've spent more hours than I'd care to admit on this post and it's nice to think that someone out there is interested in it other than me. If there are typos or small mistakes, I wouldn't be surprised and I'm only kind of sorry. Trying to edit this thing has been a beast. Essentially, I go through all 10 conference teams, breaking down their coaching situation, roster losses, roster additions, potential starting lineups, and potential bench contributors. I also have thrown together some individual award watchlists toward the end of the post. If I haven't chased you off yet, thanks for sticking with me.

Power Ranking Order: Baylor, Texas, Kansas, TCU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, West Virginia

1) Baylor Bears. 2021-22 Record: 27-7 (Big XII Co-Champions; NCAA Tournament 1-Seed)

Coaching

Baylor brings back the now three-time reigning Big XII Coach of the Year winner, Scott Drew. The coaching staff obviously will miss long-time Associate Head Coach, Jerome Tang (who is off take the HC job at Kansas State). Replacing Tang are two long-time assistants: Alvin Brooks III (7th year at BU) and John Jakus (6th year at BU). With the promotion of these two assistants, along with the hiring of Baylor alum, Tweety Carter, as the new Director of Player Development, Baylor should once again be among the best coached teams in the conference. Schematically, this team is set up to be smaller than what it was last season meaning that the pace can likely be turned up a little but also that avoiding bad matchups will be critical. The defense should once again be the no-middle man-to-man that we've seen the last few years. If GLOBL Jam was any indication, Baylor may deploy more full-court press this season.

Roster Losses

James Akinjo; Guard (NBA UDFA: Atlanta Hawks) - 13.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 5.8 APG, and 2.0 SPG in 32 games played (32 started; 33.1 MPG) on 38.3% FG, 29.5% 3P, and 83.5% FT. He was the team leader in assists, steals, free throws, and Usage Rate (among players with at least 100 minutes played). He accounted for 16.5% of the team's points, 18.5% of the team's shot attempts, 19.0% of the team's free throws, 7.2% of the team's rebounds, 34.1% of the team's assists, 21.8% of the team's steals, and 15.5% of the team's minutes. By the numbers, Akinjo represents a huge loss for this team. His impact on both ends of the floor and especially in late-game situations will be missed. He was also, by far, the team's best playmaker.

Matthew Mayer; Forward (Transfer: Illinois Fighting Illini) - 9.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.8 BPG in 33 games played (33 started; 22.8 MPG) on 40.9% FG, 32.4% 3P, and 70.0% FT. He was the team leader in Defensive Rating and Defensive Box Plus-Minus. He accounted for 12.4% of the team's points, 14.0% of the team's shot attempts, 13.0% of the team's rebounds, 6.3% of the team's assists, 13.8% of the team's steals, 22.2% of the team's blocks, and 11.0% of the team's minutes. Mayer was arguably the team's best defender in addition to being a streaky scorer and a veteran leader.

Kendall Brown; Forward (NBA Draft: Indiana Pacers) - 9.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 0.4 BPG in 34 games played (34 started; 27.0 MPG) on 58.4% FG, 34.1% 3P, and 68.9% FT. He was second on the team in FG% and Offensive Win Shares. He accounted for 12.6% of the team's points, 14.4% of the team's 2P shot attempts, 13.1% of the team's rebounds, 11.6% of the team's assists, 11.4% of the team's steals, 10.3% of the team's blocks, and 13.4% of the team's minutes. An extraordinary athlete who could seemingly float in the air, punish the rim, and wreak havoc in transition, he will not be easily replaced.

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Jeremy Sochan (@SochanJeremy) | Twitter: @BaylorMBB

Jeremy Sochan; Forward (NBA Draft: San Antonio Spurs) - 9.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.7 BPG in 30 games played (1 started; 25.1 MPG) on 47.4% FG, 29.6% 3P, and 58.9% FT. He was second on the team in rebounding and Player Efficiency Rating (among players with at least 100 minutes played). He accounted for 10.6% of the team's points, 14.9% of the team's free throw attempts, 15.1% of the team's rebounds, 9.8% of the team's assists, 12.8% of the team's steals, 18.0% of the team's blocks, and 11.0% of the team's minutes. He was an immensely valuable part of last year's team, proving to be the team's best bench contributor (after LJ's injury) and a huge part of the rotation (especially after Jon's injury). It's rare that a true freshman coming off the bench is as productive and efficient as Jeremy was last year.

Overall - 52.0% of the team's scoring, 48.5% of the team's rebounding, 61.8% of the team's assists, 59.7% of the team's steals, 51.3% of the team's blocks, and 50.8% of the team's minutes. That is an awful lot of production to have to replace. For comparison, last year's team was itself tasked with replacing 63.0% of scoring, 46.4% of rebounding, 79.3% of assists, 65.2% of steals, 56.8% of blocks, and 58.9% of minutes. As such, statistically speaking, this year's reloading effort should be somewhat less burdensome than last year's. Still, replacing three starters and a key rotational player is no small task.

Roster Additions

Keyonte George, Guard (High School: IMG Academy [FL]) - Baylor men's basketball fans simply must get comfortable with having one-and-done guys on the roster. It worked nicely, welcoming in Kendall and Jeremy last season. This year, the guy who will be here for a good time, not a long time is Keyonte. He is a consensus five-star recruit who chose Baylor over offers from Kansas, Kentucky, and Texas (among others). 247sports ranks Keyonte as the 6th best player in this year's recruiting class and the best player at his position (shooting guard) as well as being the highest graded recruit for Baylor in the last decade (since Isaiah Austin). This guy looks like the total package as a true three-level scorer. I expect him to score between 12-17 PPG on something like 45/37/80 splits. He likely won't be asked to be much of a facilitator beyond kicking to another talented guard on the perimeter after blowing past his defender although his court vision is not totally lacking. Keyonte has excellent body control, feel for the game, and the ability to get to his spot pretty much whenever he wants. He also projects as a plus defender has will aggressively go for steals and slam them home with authority going the other way. Baylor fans have been spoiled with elite guard play for a long time now and this guy's potential cannot be overstated.

Jalen Bridges, Forward (Transfer: West Virginia Mountaineers) - With the departure of Matthew, Kendall, and Jeremy, Baylor entered the offseason with no real wings on the roster. That concern was largely alleviated when Jalen announced his commitment to Baylor. He is a versatile forward who has the potential to be Baylor's best defensive player this season. He brings that tough-as-nails, first-to-the-floor mentality that is characteristic of WVU players. Add in his athleticism and strength and we could be looking at a more polished version of Kendall Brown, who comes in with 52 starts over his last two seasons with the Mountaineers (22.8 MPG). I should note that he is not as efficient of a scorer as Kendall. Jalen's career scoring efficiencies: 45.2% FG, 35.6% 3P, 78.9% FT, 57.7% TS, 54.5% eFG. This helped him average 8.4 PPG last year and a career Offensive Rating of 124.1. Baylor will likely play at a faster pace offensively this season than what Jalen has been a part of in either of the last couple seasons. As such, I expect that he'll be good for a three-pointer or two in most games and average close to double-digits. The good news is that he likely won't be asked to carry a huge scoring burden (due to Baylor's talent and depth at guard). For him to be a quality asset for the team he just needs to hit some open three-pointers, finish some nice dunks, and lock in on the defensive end.

Caleb Lohner, Forward (Transfer: Brigham Young Cougars) - Any lingering worries about wing depth after Jalen's commitment were fully put to rest after Caleb announced his commitment to come play for the Bears this year. As compared to Jalen Bridges, Caleb has the potential to be a better defender even if he is not quite as skilled on the offensive end of the floor. In his two seasons amongst the Mormons, he had 44 starts (23.5 MPG). He is an excellent rebounder, especially on defense. His Defensive Rebound Percentage was 21.4% last season. That would have been good for second best on Baylor last year (behind only Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua). Offensively his game should be much more geared to playing in the post. His career scoring efficiencies: 43.9% FG, 21.3% 3P, 60.9% FT, 50.1% TS, 48.2% eFG. He will likely come off the bench this season as Jalen's primary backup. Still, he should get major minutes (probably between 17-22 per game) and will be an important rotational player with a role similar to what Jeremy Sochan had early last season. He is an important addition and could be a key cog in another championship run for the Bears. I look at him as a gritty glue guy.

Joshua Ojianwuna, Center (High School: NBA Global Academy [Australia]) - An international product, he comes to Baylor as a four-star prospect. He has great athleticism for a player his size. He figures to be a productive rebounder and interior defender in year one. There is reason to be optimistic about his offensive game even if he is a little raw as a scorer. At Globl Jam this summer, he looked fantastic, displaying great footwork, athleticism, and hustle. He also showed decent touch on a few jump hooks that reminded me at least somewhat of Tristan Clark. Is he ready to give the Bears 30+ minutes a night in the Big XII? Maybe, maybe not, but he is a strong contender for a spot in the regular rotation. Pending the injury status of Everyday Jon and the coaching staff's confidence level in Zach Loveday, Joshua could be the primary backup center this season.

Dantwan Grimes, Guard (Transfer: Kilgore Junior College) - Rounding out the incoming transfers for this year's team is Dantwan. He is a classic point guard who is at his most effective with the ball in his hands. His best attribute is his speed and burst. His JUCO opponents the last two years could flat-out not keep up with him. He projects to be a decent shooter with some range and also an above-average passer. Defensively, he has quick recovery which helps him get back into plays even if he gets out of position. At Globl Jam this summer, he got a ton of playing time and the results, I would say were mixed. He showed off the speed and ball handling while struggling with turnovers, scoring efficiency, and sticking with his assignment defensively. He should be a good player for the Bears, but might not get the chance this season due to the talent and depth at guard in front of him.

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Adam Flagler (@adamflagler) | Twitter: @BaylorMBB

Projected Starters

Adam Flagler, Guard, 6'3" 180 lbs., Redshirt Senior - Folks, he's back. Despite testing the NBA Draft waters, Adam returns for presumably one last season with the Bears. He was the team's leading scorer last season. He had a particularly strong finish averaging 16.4 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.8 SPG, and just 1.1 TOPG on 45.0% FG, 42.2% 3P, and 76.5% FT over his last 9 games. I expect him to work on becoming a more complete guard on the offensive end, meaning improving as a facilitator and ball handler. He will likely be asked to takeover primary ball-handling responsibilities this season following the departure of James Akinjo. Historically, he has been mostly an off-ball shooting guard. This year he will likely assume the role of the team's starting point guard. I believe that he is up to the task because he has already displayed great development and work ethic in his time at Baylor and taking the next step as a leader on this team is imminently achievable.

LJ Cryer, Guard, 6'1" 190 lbs., Junior - LJ had his season cut short by injury last year. Prior to the injury, he looked like the clear frontrunner for Big XII Sixth Man of the Year, leading the Bears in scoring (prior to Adam Flagler's strong finish to the season) and 3P shooting. This dude is a walking bucket and I look forward to hearing Fran Fraschilla gush over LJ's incredible scoring exploits in high school. He should step into a starting role for Baylor for the first time in his career. He may be asked to carry an increased share of the ball-handling and passing duties as projected backcourt mate, Adam Flagler, is not the most comfortable at shouldering that load. That said, this duo of Flagler and Cryer should be lethal from a scoring perspective. LJ is coming off a season where he averaged a team-high 30.3 points per 100 possessions on 47.6% FG, 46.8% 3P, and 77.8% FT.

Keyonte George, Guard, 6'4" 185 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, this guy can flat-out put the ball in the hoop. He is as gifted of a scorer as Baylor has had in recent years. I would not be shocked if he ends up leading the team in scoring. He'll make his presence felt on the defensive end as well, stifling opposing guards and small forwards. Having Keyonte as a the third member of this three-guard lineup could make this offense the most high-powered in the nation.

Jalen Bridges, Forward, 6'7" 210 lbs., Redshirt Junior - As mentioned above, Jalen will likely start and play an important role for this team even if he doesn't have the ball in his hands often or take many shots. He is primarily out there to defend, rebound, set screens, and help with floor spacing. Don't be surprised though if he has occasional breakout games where scores 15+ points. Last year, he had a nine-game stretch during conference play where he averaged 11.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 0.9 BPG.

Flo Thamba, Center, 6'10" 240 lbs., Super Senior - Entering his fifth season playing for the Bears, utilizing his COVID year of eligibility, Flo needs to appear in 26 games this season to pass AJ Walton and Rico Gathers and become Baylor's all-time leader in games played. Flo is a traditional, back-to-the-basket center who is an excellent rebounder and rim protector. He sets great screens, freeing up Baylor's guards to score in space. He is coming off a season where he had the 2nd best Offensive Rating on the team (behind only Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua) and the 3rd best Win Shares per 40 Minutes (behind only Jon and Matthew Mayer). The most exciting part of welcoming Flo back for another season as the Bears' starting center is that he showed so much growth toward the end of last season. He had a nine-game stretch near the end of the season where he averaged 10.9 PPG, 7.9 RPG, and 1.2 BPG on 56.5% FG. If he can duplicate that type of productivity this year, it will make Baylor extremely difficult to beat.

Projected Rotational Players

Langston Love, Guard, 6'4" 190 lbs., Redshirt Freshman - Langston was robbed of his true freshman season by an ACL tear suffered just before the start of last year's campaign. He was a consensus four-star prospect in high school, ranked by 247sports as being a top 50 player nationally in his recruiting class. Langston is a sharp shooter from beyond the arc and should play a major role in Baylor's offense this year. He will try to follow in the footsteps of productive bench guards that have preceded him like Devonte Bandoo (8.2 PPG in 27 games off the bench in the 2018-19 season and 7.3 PPG in 27 games off the bench in the 2019-20 season), Adam Flagler (9.1 PPG in 28 games off the bench in the 2020-21 season), and LJ Cryer (12.3 PPG in 16 games off the bench last season). He is a high IQ player who is described as having great maturity which should bode well for him being a heavily used rotation player this season. I expect him to score between 6-10 PPG on something like 40/35/79 splits with somewhere between 12-20 MPG.

Dale Bonner, Guard, 6'3" 180 lbs., Senior - Dale was one of the pleasant surprises Baylor fans were treated to last season, in his first year after transferring from Division II. He showed promise as a passer, sporting an Assist-to-Turnover Ratio of 1.96 which was the best on the team. He averaged 5.1 assists per 100 possessions which was third on the team behind only James Akinjo and Adam Flagler. He struggled as a 3P shooter but displayed the quickness to break down defenses by driving to the basket. Playing him alongside at least 2 of the other 4 guards, should make it so that his lack of 3P shooting won't negatively affect floor spacing when he's in the game. At Globl Jam this summer, he looked much more confident and effective with his jump shot which would be a huge addition to his already impressive skillset. Dale is also a hyper aggressive defender, constantly trying to jump passing lanes and turn the ball pressure up to 10. At Globl Jam, he looked much more controlled defensively, meaning that he took less risks and was rarely out of position. I expect that between Adam, LJ, Keyonte, Langston, and Dale, at least 2 will be on the floor at all times.

Caleb Lohner, Forward, 6'8" 230 lbs., Junior - As mentioned above, will likely come off the bench this season. This doesn't mean that he won't get significant minutes and play an important role. He will be asked to contribute on both ends of the floor and especially as a defensive rebounder. Caleb is a relatively inefficient scorer although his athleticism and experience suggest that he will be a productive part of the rotation. Over his final 9 games last season, he averaged 9.2 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 1.8 APG on 57.1% FG and 42.1% 3P.

Joshua Ojianwuna, Center, 6'10" 230 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, Joshua brings a ton to the table and in the expected absence of Everyday Jon (discussed in more detail below), he could be the team's best option for Flo Thamba's backup. Although young and unproven, Joshua appears to have all the necessary characteristics to be a major contributor even as a true freshman. In the Globl Jam, he displayed great footwork, athleticism, and defensive instincts. He will be well served to learn from Flo and Everyday Jon as mentors. I'm calling it now, he'll be a fan favorite by season's end.

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Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (@JonathanTchamwa) | Twitter: @BaylorMBB)

Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, Forward, 6'9" 240 lbs., Redshirt Senior - Obviously, Jon would be near the top of this list of rotational players if he were healthy. However, it remains unclear what the timetable will be for Jon's return to the court following the leg injury which cost him the final quarter of the season. I have no doubt that he is attacking his rehab as hard as he is able to and that he wants to be back on the floor with his teammates even more than we fans want for him to be there. I strongly suspect that Jon will miss a significant portion or all of the non-conference slate and further, I would not at all be surprised if he misses the entire regular season. Like all Baylor fans, I hope and pray the he is cleared to return to action sooner rather than later. If he is able to play, he is the heart and soul of the team, the ultimate competitor, a versatile defender and strong finisher near the rim. Sprinkle in a few three-pointers (as he did last year, making 6/13 on the season in 25 games played) and he becomes more than just a fan favorite, he becomes a dominant force to be reckoned with coming off Baylor's bench.

Projected Deep Bench Players

Jordan Turner, Guard, 6'8" 200 lbs., Junior - Jordan is a talented wing who, prior to the commitment of transfers, Jalen Bridges and Caleb Lohner, projected to get major playing time this year. In limited playing time in his first two years (25 games, 5.3 MPG), he has flashed mixed efficiencies. On one hand, his career FG% sits at a dismal 28.6% and his career Player Efficiency Rating is a subpar 12.8. On the other hand, per 40 minutes, he averages 13.9 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 2.4 assists on 34.5% 3P% as well as possessing a career Offensive Rating of 110.6 and Defensive Rating of 99.0. At Globl Jam this summer, he looked, for the most part, like a guy who was starting to put the pieces together. In the final round robin game against Brazil, he carried the team as a scorer, both knocking down three-pointers and taking the ball hard to the rim effectively. He also displayed solid rebounding ability and decent defense in the significant playing time he got in the event. Jordan is no doubt a talented player who has patiently waited his turn. He may have to wait a bit longer for his opportunity to get meaningful minutes. Still, he is a quality insurance option to have in the event that the Bears have injury problems like they did a year ago.

Dantwan Grimes, Guard, 6'2" 190 lbs., Junior - As mentioned above, Dantwan likely won't be a regular part of the rotation this season because of the five talented guards presumably ahead of him in the depth chart. I wouldn't be surprised if the coaching staff wants him to redshirt this year to save his eligibility. He would likely benefit from an extra year to adjust to playing not just at the Division 1 level but also for a program with such high standards and expectations.

Zach Loveday, Center, 7'0" 220 lbs., Junior - Zach has been a deep bench guy for the Bears in each of the last two seasons, appearing in 25 games but averaging just 4.1 MPG. Statistically, his efficiency has been good in that small sample size. Per 40 minutes, he averages 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 0.8 steals, and 3.1 blocks on 61.5% FG. He also has a career Offensive Rating of 118.1, Defensive Rating of 91.3, and Player Efficiency Rating of 20.9. Clearly, if Zach were able to maintain this type of efficiency in a larger role it would be a massive boost for the Bears. Zach remains a back-to-the-basket center and only time will tell if he gets meaningful minutes this season and if so, how well he can perform in those minutes. Realistically, if Jon is healthy, either Zach or Joshua will likely be relegated to the deep bench where minutes are hard to come by and Joshua looks ready enough that Zach's role should be relatively small this season.

UPDATE (the below listed non-scholarship players were recently added to the team's official roster which was released following me putting up this post)

Austin Sacks, Forward, 6'7" 200 lbs., Junior - The walk-on started his career with a redshirt season with Santa Clara before joining the Bears last year. He appeared in 7 games (13 combined minutes) last season. He'll try to break through and score his first collegiate points this season although he will likely be limited to garbage time appearances. The good news is that Baylor should have a multitude of garbage time games in the non-conference slate.

Jake Younkin, Guard, 6'3" 200 lbs., Junior - The Cincinnati native rounds out this year's roster. He likely won't get much playing time outside of garbage time opportunities.

Outlook

At a national level, much of Baylor's outlook will depend on three things: 1) whether any combination or all of LJ Cryer, Langston Love, or Everyday Jon can return from their injuries and perform at anything close to their peak; 2) whether a combination or all of Keyonte George, Jalen Bridges, Caleb Lohner, Joshua Ojianwuna, and Dantwan Grimes can step into new roles with this new team and shine in year one; and 3) whether this year's team can stay healthier than last year's team. At the Big XII level, barring a doomsday scenario where the three injury comeback guys all struggle, the five newbies are unable to fit in right away, and everyone else starts dropping like flies with the injury bug, I like Baylor as being the frontrunner to win their third consecutive Big XII regular season championship. It will be a tall order because the league is once again absolutely loaded at the top, middle, and arguably the bottom. Still, considering the depth at guard combined with physical defending forwards/centers and Coach Drew's tutelage, this team is as good it gets on paper.

2) Texas Longhorns. 2021-22 Record: 22-12 (NCAA Tournament 6-Seed)

Coaching

Head Coach Chris Beard is back for his 2nd season leading the Longhorns. Last year, he helped the Horns to their first 22+ win season in 8 years and their first NCAA Tournament win since 2015. Much the same way he did at Texas Tech, he focuses on tough man-to-man defense (frequently following a similar no-middle style as to what the Bears have utilized the last few seasons) and heavy ball-movement offense. Last year, Texas had one of the slowest tempos in college basketball (ranking 336th nationally in adjusted tempo).

Roster Losses

Andrew Jones, Guard (Graduation) - 11.2 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.2 BPG in 33 games (20 starts; 26.3 MPG). He led the team in made three-pointers. He accounted for 15.8% of the team's scoring, 8.2% of the team's rebounding, 11.8% of the team's assists, 14.6% of the team's steals, 6.1% of the team's blocks, and 12.7% of the team's minutes. The cancer survivor spent 6 seasons in Austin, playing in 135 games (88 starts). He was an easy guy to root for even for non-UT fans. He was a major 3P shooting threat and also gave great effort on the defensive end. His presence in the locker room will be missed as much or more than his statistical production (which was ample).

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Courtney Ramey | Twitter: @TexasMBB

Courtney Ramey, Guard (Transfer: Arizona Wildcats) - 9.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.2 BPG in 34 games played (32 starts; 30.1 MPG) on 39.7% FG, 35.0% 3P, and 76.5% FT. He was the team's most efficient 3P shooter. He accounted for 13.7% of the team's scoring, 10.6% of the team's rebounding, 11.8% of the team's assists, 13.4% of the team's steals, 6.1% of the team's blocks, and 15.0% of the team's minutes. The guard appeared in 128 games for the Longhorns (including 106 starts). He was a dynamic scorer who helped tremendously with floor spacing. Last season he developed into a very solid defender.

Tre Mitchell, Forward (Transfer: West Virginia Mountaineers) - 8.7 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 0.7 BPG in 24 games played (17 starts; 18.6 MPG) on 47.8% FG, 32.6% 3P, and 80.0% FT. He led the team in Player Efficiency Rate, Usage Rate, and scoring per 40 minutes. He accounted for 8.9% of the team's scoring, 8.4% of the team's rebounding, 7.1% of the team's assists, 6.5% of the team's steals, 13.9% of the team's blocks, and 6.5% of the team's minutes. He was an excellent defender who made the most of his opportunities on the offensive end.

Jase Febres, Guard (Graduation) - 3.9 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.4 APG, 0.3 SPG, and 0.3 BPG in 31 games played (6 starts; 13.8 MPG) on 36.1% FG, 32.9% 3P, and 75.0% FT. He was 2nd on the team in made three-pointers per 100 possessions. He accounted for 5.1% of the team's scoring, 4.1% of the team's rebounding, 2.7% of the team's assists, 3.8% of the team's steals, 7.0% of the team's blocks, and 6.2% of the team's minutes. Talk about a 3P specialist, nearly 76% of his field goal attempts were three-pointers. Another long-time Longhorn vet, he appeared in 135 games (67 starts) in his 5 seasons in Austin.

Devin Askew, Guard (Transfer: California Golden Bears) - 2.1 PPG, 0.9 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.8 SPG, and 0.1 BPG in 34 games played (3 starts; 14.9 MPG) on 40.0% FG, 32.0% 3P, and 54.5% FT. He was 2nd on the team in assists per 100 possessions. He accounted for 3.1% of the team's scoring, 2.8% of the team's rebounding, 10.0% of the team's assists, 10.0% of the team's steals, 2.6% of the team's blocks, and 7.4% of the team's minutes. The former Kentucky guard saw his Usage Rate decline sharply despite his efficiencies going up in many respects.

Tristen Licon, Guard (Graduation) - 1.4 PPG, 0.4 RPG, and 0.3 SPG in 16 games played (no starts; 4.2 MPG). He remains with the team as a graduate assistant.

Jaylon Tyson, Forward (Transfer: Texas Tech Red Raiders) - 1.8 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.4 APG, 0.5 SPG, and 0.3 BPG in 8 games (0 starts; 6.9 MPG). He entered his name in the transfer portal during the season.

Avery Benson, Guard (Graduation) - Appeared in 16 games (no starts; 3.8 MPG) and tallied all of 1 point, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, and 4 personal fouls and did not make a single field goal (4 attempts). The former Texas Tech transfer never got a real shot to play. "Fun" Fact: Last year, there were 3728 Division I men's basketball players who appeared in 15+ games. Only one of those players (Kyle Legreair of Detroit Mercy) had a lower Usage Rate than Avery Benson. His absence won't be noted except maybe when Texas plays in Lubbock because Avery and his sick facial hair won't be there to instigate his former fanbase.

Overall - 48.3% of scoring, 36.3% of rebounding, 45.3% of assists, 52.1% of steals, 37.4% of blocks, and 50.4% of minutes. In this day and age, this is honestly pretty modest in terms of roster turnover. For comparison, last year Texas had to replace 65.5% of scoring, 72.9% of rebounding, 50.0% of assists, 64.6% of steals, 97.6% of blocks, and 68.6% of minutes. The reloading task this year is much less burdensome. The biggest loss here is not the statistical production but the lost experience and leadership from long-time contributors, Ramey, Jones, and Febres.

Roster Additions

Tyrese Hunter, Guard (Transfer: Iowa State Cyclones) - The reigning Big XII Freshman of the Year brings his talents to Austin. He is an extremely athletic point guard. He is as gifted as it gets as a perimeter defender, leading the Big XII in steals last year (finishing 10th nationally in steals). He is also a gifted passer, finishing 2nd in the Big XII last year in Assist Rate. The biggest missing piece for this young player is improving his scoring efficiencies. Last year, he averaged 11.0 PPG on the following scoring efficiencies: 39.1% FG, 27.4% 3P, 68.7% FT, 47.5% TS, and 44.3% eFG. Overall, he would have been the team's least efficient scorer if he had been on the Longhorns last year with those numbers. He also needs to cut down on turnovers, last season he averaged 3.2 TOs per game and his Turnover Rate would've been the 2nd worst on the Longhorns. Still, he is a wonderful player with a lot of upside and should be starter right away for UT.

Dillon Mitchell, Forward (High School: Montverde Academy [FL]) - A hyper athletic wing who is tall and thin with great speed and hops, he is a consensus five-star recruit ranked 5th nationally (one spot ahead of Baylor's Keyonte George). He is left-handed and has limited range. He midrange shot and slashing ability should enable him to hold his own as a scorer. He is a stud as a defender, able to guard 1-5 and is also a good rebounder. He should be a starter immediately and one of the team's most impactful players.

Arterio Morris, Guard (High School: Kimball [TX]) - The consensus five-star prospect and McDonalds All-American chose Texas over offers from Kansas, Memphis, Oregon, and Texas Tech among others. He is a pure point guard with arguably the best handle in this recruiting class. He is so smooth with the ball in his hands that it's hard not to compare his skillset to that of Kyrie Irving or Ja Morant. His shot selection and jump shot form could use some polishing. If he puts the pieces together, he has the potential to be a one-and-done player and one of the best bench pieces in the conference. UPDATE: As of August 5, 2022, Arterio has been accused by his ex-girlfriend of multiple instances of physical abuse. From what I can tell, these allegations are still unresolved and no punitive action has been taken by the team or the university against him. I would not be surprised if Arterio faces a significant suspension or even expulsion if the decisionmakers determine that the allegations are credible. If he plays, he could be a great player. His pending discipline casts great doubt on his entire future, basketball and otherwise..

Sir'Jabari Rice, Guard (Transfer: New Mexico State Aggies) - This shooting guard has been an All-Conference performer in each of his last 3 seasons at NMSU. He is primarily a catch-and-shoot guard. Over his last 3 seasons, he is averaging 12.5 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 0.3 BPG in 80 games played (69 starts; 29.6 MPG) on 43.7% FG, 36.0% 3P, and 80.5% FT. He is also an active rebounder for his size. He should be one of the first guards off the bench for the Horns this year.

Rowan Brumbaugh, Guard (High School: Northfield Mount Hermon [MA]) - The four-star recruit chose UT over offers from Georgetown, Wisconsin, Butler, Kansas, Maryland, Miami, Oregon, West Virginia, and Xavier among many others. He is a point guard who has been described as an average athlete and 3P shooter. His midrange game is his strength as a scorer. He is a decent defender. His best attribute is his handle and his elite passing ability. He could be a part of the rotation this year, but I wouldn't be shocked if Coach Beard wants him to add some strength before making him a regular contributor.

Alex Anamekwe, Forward (High School: McKinney [TX]) - The three-start prospect picked the Longhorns over offers from Texas Tech, Alabama, and SMU (from whom he decommitted) among others. He is a low-upside small forward who rebounds fairly well. He should not be expected to see regular minutes this season.

Projected Starters

Tyrese Hunter, Guard, 6'0" 180 lbs., Sophomore - As mentioned above, Tyrese should be the team's starting point guard. His abilities as a passer and defender make him a potential First Team All-Big XII caliber player.

Marcus Carr, Guard, 6'2" 200 lbs., Super Senior - The former Minnesota transfer returns for his 2nd season in burnt orange. Last year, he shared the backcourt with Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramey, a duo that combined for 17.6 FGAs per game (over 31% of the team's FGAs). Now sharing the back court with a young pass-first guard like Tyrese, Marcus should see an increase in Usage Rate similar to what he had his last 2 seasons with the Golden Gophers. Over his last 3 seasons, he is averaging 15.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 4.9 APG, and 1.0 SPG in 94 games played (92 starts; 34.4 MPG) on 39.0% FG, 33.7% 3P, and 75.8% FT. He is a workhorse and a shooter that can be tough to stop once he gets hot. He has the potential to be one of the best players in the conference this season. He also showed his classlessness competing for Team Canada in this Summer's Globl Jam where, immediately after being eliminated by Baylor's Team USA, he grabbed Keyonte George in a show of immature frustration.

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Timmy Allen | Twitter: @TexasMBB

Timmy Allen, Forward, 6'6" 200 lbs., Super Senior - The former Utah transfer was the team leader in scoring, rebounding, and steals last season. He was named to the Second Team All-Big XII group last season. Over his last 3 seasons, he is averaging 15.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.3 BPG in 90 games played (all starts; 33.0 MPG) on 46.3% FG, 24.5% 3P, and 73.8% FT. He is a highly efficient, do-it-all forward who should see an uptick in Usage Rate following the departure of Ramey, Jones, and Mitchell. He is another strong contender for Big XII Player of the Year this season.

Dillon Mitchell, Forward, 6'7" 200 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, he should plug in immediately as the team's starting power forward. He rebounds well in addition to boasting great defensive and athletic ability.

Christian Bishop, Forward, 6'7" 225 lbs., Super Senior - The former Creighton transfer returns for his 2nd campaign with the Longhorns. He figures to be the team's starting big man despite his relatively short stature. He has the strength and physicality to hold his own in the paint and score near the rim. He is an excellent rebounder, especially on the offensive end (he finished 5th in the Big XII last year in total offensive rebounds and was 2nd on the team in Total Rebound Rate). His experience and leadership will mean a lot for this team (he has played 124 games played at the high-major college level including 85 starts).

Projected Rotational Players

Arterio Morris, Guard, 6'3" 195 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, Arterio should be the first guard off the bench for the Longhorns this year. He is smooth as molasses and could be a contender for both Sixth Man of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards in the Big XII this season. Update: As mentioned above, Arterio has been accused of serious criminal wrongdoing. His playing status for this season should be considered very much in question.

Sir'Jabari Rice, Guard, 6'4" 185 lbs., Super Senior - As mentioned above, Rice projects to be a major part of the rotation for Chris Beard's team this season. He shoots the ball well and is active both defensively and on the glass.

Dylan Disu, Forward, 6'9" 225 lbs., Senior - The former Vanderbilt transfer is poised to be the team's primary backup big man. He should see a significantly expanded role this season. A year ago, Dylan was the team's most efficient rebounder, leading the Horns in rebounds per 100 possessions and in Total Rebound Rate. Last season he averaged 3.7 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 0.4 APG, 0.4 SPG, and 0.8 BPG in 26 games (no starts; 10.9 MPG) on 46.6% FG, 13.3% 3P, and 81.3% FT. He also led the team in Block Rate. If his minutes go up, it's not hard to imagine that he could get back closer to where he was his final season with the Commodores (averaging 19.0 points per 40 minutes in 17 games on 49.2% FG and 36.9% 3P).

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Brock Cunningham | Twitter: @TexasMBB

Brock Cunningham, Forward, 6'5" 200 lbs., Senior - ESPN analyst, Fran Fraschilla's favorite Longhorn, is back for his 4th season in Austin. Considered a great glue-guy, he'd better be because his statistical production is pathetic. His career averages: 1.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 0.1 BPG in 75 games played (4 starts; 12.5 MPG) on 37.5% FG, 31.6% 3P, and 67.7% FT. He defends and rebounds fairly well. He had the 2nd lowest Usage Rate on the team last season (only Avery Benson's was lower). He should see a larger role this season as one of the only playable forwards on the bench.

Rowan Brumaugh, Guard, 6'4" 195 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, Rowan is unpolished as a scorer and would likely benefit from having a season where he plays few minutes so that he can develop into a more complete guard. Still, there's only a few guards ahead of him in the depth chart including 2 transfers and a fellow true freshman. If any of those guards ahead of him struggle or get hurt or suspended/expelled, Rowan could find himself thrust into serious rotational minutes.

Projected Deep Bench Guys

Alex Anamekwe, Forward, 6'6" 200 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, Alex is a bit raw to be a part of the rotation this year. If the depth chart ahead of him remains relatively injury free, he could be looking at a redshirt season.

Cole Bott, Forward, 6'6" 200 lbs., Sophomore - Former teammate of incoming freshman, Rowan (above), Cole has yet to appear in a collegiate game.

Gavin Perryman, Guard, 6'1" 180 lbs., Sophomore - A gifted 3P shooter in high school, Gavin has yet to appear in a collegiate game.

Preston Clark, Forward, 6'6" 210 lbs., Freshman - The young power forward is unlikely to see meaningful minutes this season.

Outlook

This starting 5 looks as good on paper as any lineup in the nation. Seriously, it looks Final Four good. Establishing chemistry and a team identity early in the year will be huge for this group. I expect this defense to be among the best in the nation and while they may not be the best 3P shooting team, their offense should be near the top of the conference as well. They boast balance, talent, and depth that is as good or better than almost any team in America. If Baylor stumbles for some reason, Texas could be poised to win their first Big XII championship since 2008.

3) Kansas Jayhawks. 2021-22 Record: 34-6 (Big XII Regular Season Co-Champions; NCAA Champions)

Coaching

Head Coach Bill Self is entering his 20th season as the head man in Lawrence. His success with the Jayhawks is undeniable, having never finished lower than 3rd in the Big XII standings and winning a conference title (regular season, tourney, or both) in 16 of his 19 seasons. He primarily uses man-to-man defense but is considered a better offensive coach than defensive. Last season, his team played at a very fast pace (leading the Big XII in shortest average possession length). The last 4 seasons, his team's have limited their reliance on 3P shooting (finishing in the bottom half of the conference in 3PA% each year and on average, only getting 27.9% of their points from three-pointers).

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Ochai Agbaji | Twitter: @KUHoops

Roster Losses

Ochai Agbaji, Guard (NBA Draft: Cleveland Cavaliers) - 18.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.9 SPG, and 0.6 BPG in 39 games played (all starts; 35.1 MPG) on 47.5% FG, 40.7% 3P, and 74.3% FT. The reigning Big XII Player of the Year and Consensus First Team All-American led the team in scoring, 3P shooting, and Win Shares. He accounted for 23.4% of the team's scoring, 13.0% of the team's rebounding, 10.1% of the team's assists, 14.3% of the team's steals, 12.8% of the team's blocks, and 16.9% of the team's minutes. He was far and away the team's best and most impactful player. He was one of the best players in the nation. Now, he's gone and it's hard to a replace a guy who is as versatile and efficient as Ochai.

Christian Braun, Guard (NBA Draft: Denver Nuggets) - 14.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 0.8 BPG in 40 games played (39 starts; 34.4 MPG) on 49.5% FG, 38.6% 3P, and 73.3% FT. Christian finished 3rd in the Big XII in total scoring and in total rebounding as well as finishing 4th in the conference in total blocks and 5th in effective FG%. He accounting for 18.0% of the team's scoring, 17.2% of the team's rebounding, 18.1% of the team's assists, 15.5% of the team's steals, 19.2% of the team's blocks, and 17.0% of the team's minutes. He was very much the Robin to Ochai's Batman and honestly, there weren't many better sidekicks in the Big XII last year.

David McCormack, Center (Graduation) - 10.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.6 SPG, and 0.8 BPG in 40 games played (37 starts; 21.9 MPG) on 50.8% FG and 75.6% FT. David was the team leader in total rebounding and was one blocked shot shy of tying Braun for the team lead in that stat as well. He accounted for 13.6% of the team's scoring, 18.4% of the team's rebounding, 5.9% of the team's assists, 10.0% of the team's steals, 19.2% of the teams blocks, and 10.8% of the team's minutes. The big man spent 4 years with the Jayhawks, starting just under 100 career games for KU. He was a great rebounder and low-post scorer. He had the ability to take over games when he had favorable matchups.

Remy Martin, Guard (Graduation) - 8.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.6 SPG, and 0.1 BPG in 30 games played (13 starts; 21.1 MPG) on 46.2% FG, 38.2% 3P, and 75.4% FT. He was the team's leading scorer off the bench and also had the 2nd best Assist Rate for KU last year. He accounted for 8.3% of the team's scoring, 6.0% of the team's rebounding, 12.4% of the team's assists, 7.6% of the team's steals, 2.3% of the team's blocks, and 7.9% of the team's minutes. The former Arizona State grad transfer played an important 6th man role for the eventual national champs last season.

Mitch Lightfoot, Center (Graduation) - 4.6 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 0.4 APG, 0.3 SPG, and 0.9 BPG in 40 games (3 starts; 12.2 MPG) on 66.1% PPG and 52.3% FT. The backup big finished tied for 3rd in the Big XII in total blocks, also leading his team in rim protection. He accounted for 5.9% of the team's scoring, 7.4% of the team's rebounding, 2.5% of the team's assists, 4.0% of the team's steals, 19.8% of the team's blocks, and 6.0% of the team's minutes. The long-time staple of Bill Self's bench spent 6 years with Kansas (including a redshirt season). He departs as the school's all-time leader in games played with 20 more games played than the legendary Danny Manning.

Jalen Coleman-Lands, Forward (Graduation) - 3.7 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.2 SPG, and 0.1 BPG in 39 games played (1 start; 8.2 MPG) on 46.8% FG, 44.8% 3P, and 75.0% FT. He finished 3rd on the team in points per 100 possessions and 2nd in True Shooting Percentage last year. He accounted for 4.6% of the team's scoring, 1.9% of the team's rebounding, 2.1% of the team's assists, 2.8% of the team's steals, 2.3% of the team's blocks, and 4.0% of the team's minutes. Jalen was an efficient, even if underutilized, part of KU's rotation last season. The fact that he got so few minutes, is a testament to the depth and talent of last year's team. Prior to his one season with the Jayhawks, he split 6 earlier seasons (including a redshirt year) amongst Iowa State, DePaul, and Illinois, appearing in 172 games for the 4 different schools.

Chris Teahan, Guard (Graduation) - The invited walk-on played a total of 32 minutes last year spread across 16 games.

Overall - 74.1% of scoring, 64.2% of rebounding, 51.2% of assists, 54.2% of steals, 75.6% of blocks, and 63.0% of minutes. Losing 3 starters and 3 key rotational players is a daunting challenge facing the Jayhawks. For comparison, last year Kansas was tasked with replacing just 31.2% of scoring, 26.9% of rebounding, 39.1% of assist, 42.0% of steals, 27.5% of blocks, and 34.9% of minutes. The production continuity they had last season was a big part of the team's success. This year is a much different story. The good news for KU fans, the team brings in the #4 recruiting class in the country this year to help replenish the overall talent level.

Roster Additions

Gradey Dick, Forward (High School: Sunrise Christian [KS]) - The consensus five-star, top-20 prospect chose Kansas over offers from Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Creighton, and Purdue among others. He is considered an offense-oriented player with a smooth shooting stroke and good athleticism to go with his long, slender frame. His size and athleticism should help him hold his own on the defensive end even if that's not the strongest part of his game. He will play off ball and likely have a similar role to what Christian Braun's was last year.

Kevin McCullar, Forward (Transfer: Texas Tech Red Raiders) - Evan Miya (check out evanmiya.com) ranked Kevin as the 3rd most impactful player in this year's transfer class. He is best used as a power forward. He is a solid scorer and rebounder, an elite defender, and a sneaky good passer for his position. Over his last 2 seasons at Tech he averaged 10.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.5 SPG, and 0.5 BPG in 49 games played (43 starts; 30.1 MPG) on 40.8% FG, 30.1% 3P, and 71.6% FT. He will have to endure a lot of vitriol in the 2+ games KU plays against Texas Tech this year, but otherwise, he should be an immediate starter and a key part of the Jayhawks' quest to repeat as national champions.

Ernest Udeh Jr., Center (High School: Dr. Phillips [FL]) - The four-start prospect chose Kansas over offers from Baylor, Stanford, Illinois, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Indiana, Texas Tech, Arkansas, Michigan, and UCLA among others. He has an ridiculous wingspan of 7'2" and runs well for a big man. His effort level and good hands make him an excellent rebounder, especially on the offensive end. He should be an above-average defender. He shouldn't be expected to carry much of a scoring load early in his career as his offensive technique is rather raw. Still, he should be a starter from day one on campus.

MJ Rice, Forward (High School: Prolific Prep [CA]) - The four-star prospect chose Bill Self's program over offers from Pittsburgh, Ole Miss, NC State, and Louisville among others. The single best descriptor for the wing: powerful. 247sports recruiting analyst, Brandon Jenkins likens him to Baylor's Mark Vital which is a high compliment. He is thicker than he is tall but has the strength to power his way to the rim. He was a decent 3P shooter in high school, but I expect his college 3P% to be in the low 30s. Still, he should be a part of the rotation as a freshman who does several things at a high level.

Zuby Ejiofor, Forward (High School: Garland [TX]) - The four-star prospect had offers from Texas, TCU, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, Houston, Oklahoma, and Arkansas among others. He is extremely raw in terms of his fundamentals on both ends. His size and athleticism give him serious upside but he is likely at least a year away from being ready to contribute in a meaningful way to KU's success.

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Dajuan Harris | Twitter: @KUHoops

Projected Starters

Dajuan Harris, Guard, 6'1" 170 lbs., Redshirt Junior - The team leader in returning minutes, Dajuan figures to be the team's starting point guard this season. Last year he started 39 of 40 games played (29.0 MPG) but had a relatively small role on the offensive end. His Usage Rate last year was the 2nd lowest on the team. He is an efficient 3P shooter (career 38.2% 3P) although he has never been a high-volume shooter. He is a good perimeter defender and a very good passer. He led the team in assists and steals last season. Last year, among Big XII players with 400+ minutes played and at least 2.0 APG, his Assist-to-Turnover ratio (2.80) was by far the best in the conference. He may be asked to shoot the ball more this year following the departure of Ochai and Christian.

Gradey Dick, Forward, 6'7" 200 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, Gradey is a very good shooter who, despite his size, figures to be utilized more like a big shooting guard (like Braun was a year ago) than a forward. He will be an important part of the starting lineup for a squad that doesn't have a ton of knockdown 3P shooters.

Jalen Wilson, Forward, 6'8" 220 lbs., Senior - After strongly considering staying in the NBA draft, Jalen returns for his 4th (and presumably final) season at Kansas. He is an athletic wing who scores at a high level and is an excellent rebounder. He finished 2nd in the Big XII last year in total rebounding. Over his last 2 seasons he is averaging 11.4 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.9 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 0.4 BPG in 66 games played (53 starts; 28.9 MPG) on 44.0% FG, 29.9% 3P, and 67.5%. He is an inconsistent shooter from the perimeter but can score in the midrange and also finish strong near the rim. He is expected to be the team's best player this season.

Kevin McCullar, Forward, 6'6" 210 lbs., Senior - As mentioned above, Kevin is a very physical and versatile forward. Despite being a bit shorter than Gradey and Jalen, he is a better fit at the 4 due to his strength and tenacity.

Ernest Udeh Jr., Center, 6'10" 230 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, although he's a little raw on the offensive end, he projects as a very good rebounder and defender who plays hard and has a lot of upside.

Projected Rotational Players

Joseph Yesufu, Guard, 6'0" 180 lbs., Senior - The former Drake transfer had a relatively small role last season (2.1 PPG in 9.3 MPG). This season, he should expect to be the first guard off the bench and to see a significantly increased role. His last season at Drake he averaged 12.8 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, and 1.1 SPG in 31 games (only 7 starts; 24.0 MPG) on 44.2% FG, 38.4% 3P, and 81.2% FT. He is a fluid scorer and a decent defender for his size. When Dajuan goes to the bench, Joseph should take over primary ball-handling and passing responsibilities.

MJ Rice, Forward, 6'5" 220 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, MJ is a physical player who can bully his way to the basket on offense and who is very active on the boards. He might not be a high-volume or high-efficiency scorer in his first collegiate season, but he can still have a positive impact for this team.

KJ Adams Jr., Forward, 6'7" 230 lbs., Sophomore - KJ is back for his second season with the Jayhawks after having made the Big XII All-Freshman team last year. He reminds me a bit of Baylor's Kendall Brown the way he seems to almost levitate in the air when he lifts off to slam it home. He doesn't appear to have much range as a shooter but is effective in the high post. He didn't play a lot of meaningful minutes last year (4.8 MPG in 37 games). In his limited playing time, he showed some signs of promise. He led the team Free Throw Rate (indicating he might by adept at getting to line, not surprising considering his physical style of play and tendency to take the ball strong to the basket). He also finished 3rd on the team in Offensive Rebound Rate and Block Rate. He should be a regular part of the rotation this season.

Zach Clemence, Center, 6'10" 230 lbs., Sophomore - Zach enters his 2nd season in Lawrence as the front runner for backup big man. He saw a limited role last year (4.9 MPG in 24 games). In that small sample size, he flashed impressive efficiencies. He had the 2nd best Player Efficiency Rating on the team as a freshman as well as possessing the best Rebound Rate and Steal Rate and Win Shares per 40 minutes. He also had the 2nd best block rate on the team. If he can maintain these types of efficiencies in a larger role this season, he could turn out to be an even better backup big than Mitch Lightfoot. It's also not outside the realm of possibility that Zach takes over the starting spot if the young Ernest Udeh struggles early in the season.

Kyle Cuffe Jr., Guard, 6'2" 180 lbs., Redshirt Freshman - The former four-star recruit should get serious playing time this year. He redshirted last season as a freshman and only played 2 games his senior season of high school due to COVID. He is an explosive athlete who can be lethal in transition. Despite being relatively short, he loves to attack the rim. He projects to be an elite defender which should earn him a spot in the regular rotation.

Bobby Pettiford, Guard, 6'1" 190 lbs., Sophomore - The former four-star recruit struggled to get on the floor as a freshman (8.0 MPG in 14 games) and also struggled when got those rare opportunities. His strength is as a passer. His midrange game is decent enough. He had a tough time on the defensive end last year.

Projected Deep Bench Guys

Zuby Ejiofor, Forward, 6'8" 220 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, despite arguably having a college-ready body, his skillset and fundamentals are underdeveloped to the point that he likely won't see much if any playing time this year. He could be a good candidate to redshirt.

Cam Martin, Forward, 6'9" 230 lbs., Super Senior - The former Division II transfer did not play in his 1st season at Kansas last year. He has a reputation as a stretch-four. He likely will not get meaningful minutes this season.

Michael Jankovich, Guard, 6'5" 190 lbs., Senior - The invited walk-on has played a total of 46 minutes in 3 seasons with the Jayhawks. There is no reason to expect that he'll get significant playing time this season.

Dillon Wilhite, Center, 6'9" 240 lbs., Redshirt Freshman - An invited walk-on who will struggle to get on the floor.

Charlie McCarthy, Guard, 6'2" 200 lbs., Redshirt Freshman - An invited walk-on who is unlikely to get many minutes this season.

Wilder Evers, Guard, 6'3" 190 lbs., Freshman - The walk-on likely won't play much, if at all, this season.

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NCAA Title Game | Twitter: @KUHoops

Outlook

The defending national champions lost a lot talent and production this offseason. Still, they are bringing in a great recruiting class. This roster is full of four and five-star caliber players and remains among the most talented rosters in the conference. Their youth and lack of continuity are concerning but this is a well-coached program and it is hard to say that they won't be highly competitive in the Big XII. They really only have 3 quality guards (one of which is a true freshman). That, combined with potentially problematic floor spacing, could result in the offense taking a step (or two) backward this year. The defense should be about as strong as it has been in recent seasons.

4) Texas Christian Horned Frogs. 2021-22 Record: 21-13 (NCAA Tournament 9-Seed)

Coaching

Head Coach Jamie Dixon returns for his 7th season at his alma matter. Last season, his team won an NCAA Tournament game (something the program had not done in 35 years). He is a fiery coach who emphasizes defense and physicality. His defenses primarily play man-to-man. Offensively, he tends to want to slow the game down. Last year TCU ranked 304th nationally in average offensive possession length.

Roster Losses

Francisco Farabello, Guard (Transfer: Creighton Blue Jays) - 4.7 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.3 APG, and 0.6 SPG in 34 games played (6 starts; 19.0 MPG) on 38.5% FG, 38.4% 3P, and 90.0%. He was the team's leader in 3PFGs per 100 possessions (of players with at least 100 minutes played). He accounted for 6.8% of the team's scoring, 6.3% of the team's rebounding, 9.3% of the team's assists, 8.7% of the team's steals, and 9.4% of the team's minutes. The 3P specialist will be missed, although he doesn't leave behind an unfillable role.

Maxwell Evans, Guard (Graduation) - 3.8 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 2.8 APG, 0.8 SPG, and 0.3 BPG in 4 games played (1 started; 19.0 MPG). His season was cut short by injury.

Overall - 7.5% of scoring, 6.9% of rebounding, 11.6% of assists, 10.5% of steals, 1.4% of blocks, and 10.5% of minutes. The Frogs bring back by far the most production of any team in the conference including all 5 starters from last year's team. For comparison, heading into last season, TCU needed to replace 74.4% of scoring, 76.6% of rebounding, 73.9% of assists, 66.7% of steals, 80.0% of blocks, and 78.3% of minutes. Talk about polar opposites in terms of production continuity year-to-year. Unlike some Big XII teams, there are no predetermined excuses for failure this season, bringing back so much talent from a good team a year ago.

Roster Additions

Rondel Walker, Guard (Transfer: Oklahoma State) - Rondel is a low-efficiency scorer, coming in with the following career scoring efficiencies: 39.5% FG, 30.7% 3P, 70.4% FT, 51.6% TS, 48.2% eFG. He showed serious improvement last year as a disruptive perimeter defender. His experience should earn him an opportunity to be a regular part of the guard rotation for TCU this season.

PJ Haggerty, Guard (High School: Crosby [TX]) - The three-star prospect chose TCU over offers from Auburn and Florida State among others. He is primarily a high-volume 3P shooter. He would be well served to spend his first year at Texas Christian in the weight room. He also needs to work on his decision making. The ball sometimes sticks in his hands offensively when he forces shots for himself instead of giving it up to teammates. It might make sense to redshirt him this year or at least play him sparingly.

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Mike Miles Jr. | Twitter: @TCUBasketball

Projected Starters

Mike Miles, Guard, 6'1" 200 lbs., Junior - The team's leading scorer (and the Big XII's 5th leading scorer) returns and hopes to be fully healthy after injuring his wrist during conference play last season. He is a balanced guard who does a little bit of everything. He is the straw that stirs the drink for this team. Last year, he had the 2nd highest Usage Rate of any player in the Big XII. His career averages: 14.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.1 SPG, and 0.2 BPG in 56 games played (52 starts; 33.2 MPG) on 39.4% FG, 32.3% 3P, and 78.2% FT. When he gets hot, he is as dangerous of a guard as there is in this conference.

Damion Baugh, Guard, 6'3" 190 lbs., Senior - The former Memphis transfer had a breakout season last year wherein he averaged 10.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 4.5 APG (team best), 1.3 SPG (team best), and 0.2 BPG in 31 games played (30 starts; 31.1 MPG) on 42.2% FG, 27.0% 3P, and 65.6% FT. As long as he doesn't fall in love with the three-pointer, he can be the perfect backcourt companion for Miles. He gets it done on both ends of the floor.

Chuck O'Bannon, Jr., Forward, 6'6" 220 lbs., Super Senior - He is an athletic wing who has flourished these past 2 seasons under Coach Dixon. His averages over the last 2 years: 8.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.7 APG, 0.9 SPG, and 0.6 BPG in 59 games played (41 starts; 21.5 MPG) on 40.8% FG, 34.9% 3P, and 72.0% FT. He is the team's best returning 3P shooter. He has the versatility to hurt teams in multiple ways but is best thought of as a 3&D wing.

Emanuel Miller, Forward, 6'7" 210 lbs., Senior - The former Aggie has put together back-to-back strong seasons where he averaged 12.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 0.5 BPG in 51 games played (47 starts; 28.9 MPG) on 52.3% FG, 21.6% 3P, and 75.7% FT. He is an excellent offensive rebounder (he finished with the 6th highest Offensive Rebound Rate in the Big XII last season). He is an athletic power forward who can defend almost any position both on the perimeter and down low.

Eddie Lampkin, Center, 6'11" 295 lbs., Junior - The big fella is a highly effective, old school center. He finished as with the 2nd best Offensive Rebound Rate in the Big XII last season. His averages last year: 6.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.6 SPG, and 0.5 BPG in 33 games played (32 starts; 21.5 MPG) on 60.6% FG and 51.4% FT. He is virtually unmovable down low and can finish over smaller defenders in the paint.

Projected Rotational Players

Micah Peavy, Forward, 6'7" 220 lbs., Junior - The former Texas Tech transfer has become an invaluable member of TCU's rotation. He is an excellent glue guy, an athletic wing who plays with great energy. His averages a year ago: 6.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.6 SPG, and 0.5 BPG in 34 games (9 starts; 21.1 MPG) on 44.4% FG, 16.7% 3P, and 57.1% FT. He gets after it on the offensive glass, finishing 8th in the Big XII last season in total offensive rebounds.

Xavier Cork, Forward, 6'9" 240 lbs., Senior - The former Western Carolina transfer is a low-volume, high-efficiency backup big. Last season his averages per 100 possessions: 14.6 points, 11.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.1 steals, and 3.2 blocks on 60.0% FG and 61.9% FT. He played in 33 games last season (2 starts; 13.5 MPG). He is looking at a similar role this year.

Rondel Walker, Guard, 6'4" 175 lbs., Junior - As mentioned above, Rondel is a pesky defender and a high-volume, low-efficiency scorer. Assuming his scoring efficiencies do not deteriorate beyond where they were a season ago, he should be a part of the regular rotation this season.

JaKobe Coles, Forward, 6'7" 230 lbs., Junior - The former Butler transfer's role off the bench is to help on defense and hit an occasional three-pointer. Last season he averaged per 100 possessions: 18.7 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.6 steals, and 2.6 blocks on 39.3% FG, 28.2% 3P, and 70.6% FT. He played in 34 games last year (8.7 MPG). His minutes should go up slightly following the departure of Francisco Farabello.

Shahada Wells, Guard, 6'0" 180 lbs., Super Senior - The former UT Arlington saw his season cut short by injury, limiting him to just 51 minutes played across 7 games a year ago. His last full season, with the UTA Mavericks, he averaged 16.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 3.8 APG, 2.2 SPG, and 0.3 BPG in 25 games (24 starts; 30.1 MPG) on 41.6% FG, 39.3% 3P, and 78.4% FT. If he is healthy, he gives Coach Dixon another good option at guard coming off the bench.

Projected Deep Bench Guys

Souleymane Doumbia, Center, 6'11" 240 lbs., Sophomore - The big man struggled on both ends of the floor last season, averaging 1.0 PPG, 0.8 RPG, and 0.3 BPG in 29 games played (0 starts; 5.0 MPG) on 54.5% FG and 37.5% FT. Barring an injury to a player ahead of him in the depth chart, he should not be getting meaningful minutes this year.

PJ Haggerty, Guard, 6'3" 170 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, PJ is a raw combo guard who needs to add some weight and strength to his frame as well as improve his shot selection. If he plays at all this year, it will likely only be in garbage time situations.

Darius Ford, Guard, 5'10" 145 lbs., Sophomore - Saw a grand total of 3 minutes of playing time last season.

Tyler Lundblade, Forward, 6'6" 210 lbs., Redshirt Freshman - Former SMU walk-on likely won't see much action this year.

Cole Despie, Guard, 6'3" 180 lbs., Sophomore - The walk-on is unlikely to get any meaningful minutes this year.

Dixon 1

Coach Dixon | Twitter: @TCUBasketball

Outlook

The Frogs are coming off their best season in a very long time and bring back the vast majority of their contributors from last season. This will be a veteran team with a lot of experience and well-established chemistry. They are set up to dominate the glass and own the paint on both ends. I still have questions about how efficient they can be on offense and if their depth will stand up against teams that like to push the pace of games, but this team should be expected to finish in the top half of the conference if not to compete for the championship.

5) Texas Tech Red Raiders. 2021-22 Record: 27-10 (NCAA Tournament 3-Seed)

Coaching

Head Coach Mark Adams returns for his 2nd season leading the Raiders (8th season with the program). Mark is a defensive minded coach who favors long, versatile lineups. His go-to defense is the no-middle man-to-man D that Tech has run for years (and that Baylor has also deployed in recent seasons). His defenses switch fluidly. Offensively, his team typically wants to slow down the game, grinding out possessions and preferring two-pointers over three-pointers.

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Bryson Williams | Twitter: @TexasTechMBB

Roster Losses

Bryson Williams, Forward (NBA UDFA: Miami Heat) - 14.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.5 SPG, and 0.4 BPG in 37 games played (all starts; 25.6 MPG) on 53.5% FG, 41.7% 3P, and 75.5% FT. He was the team's leader in scoring, 3P%, Player Efficiency Rating, Win Shares, and Box Score Plus/Minus. He accounted for 19.6% of the team's scoring, 11.5% of the team's rebounding, 7.7% of the team's assists, 6.1% of the team's steals, 10.7% of the team's blocks, and 12.7% of the team's minutes. He was the team's best player last year, being recognized as 1st Team All-Big XII. He was a hyper-efficient stretch four who entered last season with 114 career starts. His efficient scoring and veteran experience will be difficult to replace

Kevin McCullar, Forward (Transfer: Kansas Jayhawks) - 10.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.4 SPG, and 0.2 BPG in 29 games played (24 starts; 29.9 MPG) on 40.2% FG, 31.1% 3P%, and 72.5% FT. He was the team leader in assists and 2nd on the team in steals. He accounted for 11.0% of the team's scoring, 9.9% of the team's rebounding, 17.6% of the team's assists, 13.8% of the team's steals, 5.4% of the team's blocks, and 11.6% of the team's minutes. He was a gifted passer and defender who played over 2000 career minutes for the Red Raiders. He will be missed by the coaching staff and disparaged by Tech fans when Kansas travels to Lubbock.

Terrance (TJ) Shannon, Jr., Guard (Transfer: Illinois Fighting Illini) - 10.4 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 0.8 SPG, and 0.2 BPG in 26 games played (20 starts; 25.0 MPG) on 45.5% FG, 38.4% 3P, and 78.4% FT. He was the team leader in 3P shooting and 2nd on the team in scoring and Usage Rate. He accounted for 10.2% of the team's scoring, 5.0% of the team's rebounding, 10.3% of the team's assists, 7.4% of the team's steals, 3.9% of the team's blocks, and 8.7% of the team's minutes. TJ struggled with injuries throughout his career but was an explosive scorer with good range. His 3P shooting will be missed.

Davion Warren, Guard (Graduation) - 9.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.4 SPG, and 0.2 BPG in 37 games played (33 starts; 23.8 MPG) on 45.0% FG, 29.8% 3P, and 70.5% FT. He led the team in steals. He accounted for 13.1% of the team's scoring, 8.4% of the team's rebounding, 12.1% of the team's assists, 17.9% of the team's steals, 5.4% of the team's blocks, and 11.8% of the team's minutes. He was a tenacious defender despite being an inconsistent scorer. He fit in nicely in Adams' scheme.

Adonis Arms, Forward (NBA UDFA: Denver Nuggets) - 8.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 0.4 BPG in 37 games played (25 starts; 25.8 MPG) on 44.8% FG, 30.8% 3P, and 74.4% FT. He was the team leader in Defensive Win Shares. He accounted for 11.9% of the team's scoring, 11.9% of the team's rebounding, 20.6% of the team's assists, 12.2% of the team's steals, 10.0% of the team's blocks, and 12.8% of the team's minutes. He was a versatile wing who had a huge impact defensively and was also a streaky shooter. His athleticism and drive will be missed.

Marcus Santos-Silva, Forward (NFL: Cleveland Browns) - 4.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 0.8 BPG in 37 games played (1 start; 14.7 MPG) on 57.8% FG and 48.2% FT. He was the team leader in offensive rebounds and blocks. He accounted for 6.6% of the team's scoring, 11.2% of the team's rebounding, 6.3% of the team's assists, 8.4% of the team's steals, 22.3% of the team's blocks, and 7.3% of the team's minutes. He was arguably the team's most important glue guy. His thick frame and tireless motor made him a force down low (similar to a Mark Vital). His contributions will be tough to replace.

Mylik Wilson, Guard (Transfer: Houston Cougars) - 2.5 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.5 BPG in 32 games played (5 starts; 15.2 MPG) on 43.7% FG, 16.7% 3P, and 63.0% FT. Mylik saw his role reduce dramatically as the season went on last year. Over his final 15 games he averaged 0.9 PPG in 12.9 MPG. He accounted for 3.0% of the team's scoring, 4.0% of the team's rebounding, 10.5% of the team's assists, 12.8% of the team's steals, 13.1% of the team's blocks, and 6.5% of the team's minutes. He was a good rotational guard who will be missed.

Chibuzo Agbo, Forward (Transfer: Boise State Broncos) - 1.5 PPG, 1.0 RPG, and 0.2 SPG in 23 games played (0 starts; 6.7 MPG) on 41.7% FG, 20.0% 3P, and 20.0% FT. He played 45 games in his 2 seasons with Texas Tech (6.5 MPG). He accounted for 1.3% of the team's scoring, 1.8% of the team's rebounding, 1.4% of the team's steals, and 2.1% of the team's minutes.

Sardaar Calhoun, Forward (Transfer: Drake Bulldogs) - The wing only played a grand total of 64 minutes last season spread across 8 games.

Overall - 77.7% of scoring, 64.2% of rebounding, 86.0% of assists, 81.1% of steals, 71.5% of blocks, and 74.2% of minutes. The Raiders are losing 8 players and the vast majority of their production across every major statistical category. They are no strangers to having to replace a lot of production. Last year, they won 27 games in the face of having the unenviable task of replacing 73.7% of scoring, 64.9% of rebounding, 80.0% of assists, 73.2% of steals, 67.5% of blocks, and 77.9% of minutes. This year's refitting burden is even greater. It is hard to imagine that a team can sustain success with this type of roster turnover. Still, Tech has a great coach and is bringing in a top 15 recruiting class as well as the #1 transfer class in the nation.

Roster Additions

De'Vion Harmon, Guard (Transfer: Oregon Ducks) - De'Vion will need a waiver from the NCAA to be immediately illegible to play this season considering that this is his second transfer (in as many seasons, previously playing for the Oklahoma Sooners). With the departure of TJ Shannon, De'Vion should step right into the Raiders' starting lineup as the team's primary point guard. He is an explosive guard who is adept at getting buckets. He is coming off a career best season as a 3P shooter (36.7% on 4.0 attempts per game). Over his last 2 seasons, he is averaging 11.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.1 APG, and 1.2 SPG in 60 games played (57 starts; 31.6 MPG) on 44.3% FG, 35.1% 3P, and 73.3% FT. The ball does occasionally stick in his hands, but when he's hot, he can carry a significant share of the scoring burden.

Elijah Fisher, Forward (High School: Crestwood Prep [Canada]) - The consensus four-star prospect chose Tech over offers from Kansas, Florida, and Florida State among others. His final high school season, he averaged 23.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 3.1 APG, 2.2 SPG, and 1.1 BPG on 49.1% FG, 33.3% 3P, and 62.7% FT. He is one of those highly sought-after players who has the skillset of a guard with the size and strength of a small forward. He projects as an immediate impact player and likely starter in year one in Lubbock.

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Fardaws Aimaq | Twitter: @FardawsAimaq

Fardaws Aimaq, Center (Transfer: Utah Valley Wolverines) - The big man is considered one of the best rebounders in the nation. He led the NCAA in rebounding 2 seasons ago before finishing 2nd in rebounding a year ago. Over the last 13 seasons, he has the 5th best Rebound Rate of all players in the nation (for comparison, Baylor's Rico Gathers sits at 28th on that list). Over his last 2 seasons, he is averaging 16.9 PPG, 14.2 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.5 SPG, and 1.4 BPG in 54 games played (all starts; 32.8 MPG) on 48.8% FG, 44.7% 3P, and 68.2% FT. Don't be fooled by that 3P%, over 93% of his field goal attempts in those 2 seasons are two-pointers. Still, he looks like another lock to be a starter in his first year on campus.

Jaylon Tyson, Forward (Transfer: Texas Longhorns) - The former four-star prospect only saw a combined total of 55 minutes as a freshman with the Longhorns. He is considered an offense-oriented wing who can score from all 3 levels and is strong with the ball on the drive. He is a little bit of a question mark at this point, but the talent is there for him to have significant upside and be a major part of Mark Adams's rotation this year.

Richard Isaacs, Guard (High School: Coronado [NV]) - The four-star prospect chose Texas Tech over offers from Arkansas and Oklahoma State among others. He is dynamic point guard who can light it up from deep. He projects to be a 40+ percent 3P shooter. Assuming he can match the physicality and intensity expected by Mark Adams, he should be a part of the rotation as a freshman.

Lamar Washington, Guard (High School: Compass Prep [AZ]) - The four-star prospect picked Tech over offers from Auburn and TCU among others. He is a thick off-ball guard who should excel in this system, especially after a year or two in the weight room. He was a two-sport athlete in high school, a dominant linebacker. He will have to earn any minutes he gets this year, but I would not bet against him cracking the rotation at some point as a freshman.

Kerwin Walton, Guard (Transfer: North Carolina Tar Heels) - The former four-star prospect saw his role decrease dramatically last season at UNC (starting just 1 game after having started 20 the season before). He is a wing who is at his best offensively when shooting from beyond the arc. He is a career 39.9% 3P shooter (3.4 attempts per game). He has a very smooth stroke. Defensively, he has good footwork and lateral quickness but sometimes gets overpowered by more physical slashing forwards. It would not be a surprise to see Kerwin get regular minutes early and keep them if his defense and 3P shooting can hold up.

Robert Jennings, Forward (High School: Texas Alliance of Christian Athletes [TX]) - The three-star prospect chose Tech over SMU, Houston, and Texas A&M. He is a power forward who should remind Raider fans of recently departed Marcus Santos-Silva (discussed above). He is lacking in raw talent but makes up for it with great hustle. He sprints the floor and dives for loose balls. His shot selection leaves a lot to be desired. At this point I'd say that it's maybe a 50-50 proposition that he'll be a normal part of the rotation this season.

D'Maurian Williams, Guard (Transfer: Gardner-Webb Bulldogs) - The shooting guard comes in with a reputation as a solid 3P shooter. Over his last 2 seasons he is averaging 12.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.3 APG, and 1.0 SPG in 57 games played (34 starts; 28.2 MPG) on 40.9% FG, 38.8% 3P, and 75.7% FT. He showed major improvement on the defensive end last season. If D'Maurian struggles to get consistent minutes, it will likely only be because of the talent ahead of him in the depth chart. He is good enough to be a part of the rotation this season. The question will be if Coach Adams decides to utilize smaller lineups this year than what he seemed to prefer a season ago.

Projected Starters

De'Vion Harmon, Guard, 6'1" 200 lbs., Senior - As mentioned above, De'Vion needs an NCAA waiver to play this season and assuming he gets it, he will be the team's starting point guard. He is no stranger to the Big XII having played 56 games (45 starts; 29.9 MPG) for the Sooners across 2 seasons before playing in the PAC-12 a year ago. He figures to be the team's leading scorer and have the ball in his hands a lot. He is totally comfortable with that having had a Usage Rate of nearly 20.0 over his last 2 seasons.

Clarence Nadolny, Guard, 6'3" 180 lbs., Senior - Returning for his senior season, I expect Clarence to get a shot at being a regular starter for the first time in his career. He has played in 81 games for Tech over the past 3 years (only 3 starts; 10.3 MPG). Last season, he started in 3 games wherein he averaged 12.3 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 1.7 APG, and 3.0 SPG on 57.7% FG. He was then benched and saw a reduced role the rest of the season. The talent is there. He is not a 3P shooter (career 15.4% from deep) but can score (career average of 14.7 points per 100 possessions on 41.7% FG). He is a plus defender who had the 2nd best Steal Rate on the team last season. He will get a chance to be a starter this season and can keep that slot if he stays away from taking too many three-pointers and allows himself to simply play within the system.

Elijah Fisher, Forward, 6'6" 200 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, Elijah is raw but very gifted. His versatility and athleticism should set him up to be one the team's more impactful players.

Kevin Obanor, Forward, 6'8" 230 lbs., Super Senior - The lone returning starter from last year's squad, is a highly effective power forward. Over his last 2 seasons, he is averaging 13.8 PPG and 7.3 RPG in 65 games (all starts; 28.6 MPG) on 48.7% FG, 39.4% 3P (4.1 attempts per game), and 83.4% FT. I expect him to be the second leading scorer and rebounder on this team. Even more important than his statistical production will be his veteran leadership. He is tough as nails and if he sets the tone for this team, they will be poised to duplicate the success they had a year ago.

Fardaws Aimaq, Center, 6'11" 250 lbs., Redshirt Senior - As mentioned above, Fardaws is an intimidating presence in the paint. He crashes the glass like few others and is an efficient scorer near the rim. He alters a lot of shots and protects the rim very well. His presence as a safety of sorts defensively, should allow his teammates to turn up the pressure on the perimeter.

Projected Rotational Players

Jaylon Tyson, Forward, 6'7" 210 lbs., Sophomore - As mentioned above, Jaylon is an unproven commodity. He is a skilled wing who has the talent to be one of the best players coming off the bench for Tech this season.

Daniel Batcho, Center, 6'11" 245 lbs., Sophomore - The French native played in a lot of games last year despite getting relatively few minutes. Even when he was on the floor, he was scarcely used, featuring the lowest Usage Rate among all players on the team. In the rare instances where he was used, he flashed some solid efficiencies. Per 100 possessions he averaged 13.1 points, 16.0 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks. He also boasted a Net Rating of 34.0 which was by far the best on the team. With the departure of Santos-Silva, he should be the primary backup big and see in uptick in minutes. He's an old-school, back-to-the-basket big who rebounds and protects the rim fairly well.

Richard Isaacs, Guard, 6'2" 180 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, he could stand to add some beef to his frame but should still earn his way into the rotation with his skill as a 3P shooter. His ballhandling is good enough for him to garner serious consideration as the team's point guard when Harmon goes to the bench.

Lamar Washington, Guard, 6'4" 210 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, he is a bulldog on defense. He reminds me a bit of former OU Sooner, Elijah Harkless. If he can have that type of glue guy impact for this team, he should get plenty of time in his first collegiate season.

Kerwin Walton, Guard, 6'5" 200 lbs., Junior - As mentioned above, he is a good shooter and solid perimeter defender. If either of the freshmen guards (Washington or Isaacs) struggle, Kerwin would likely slide into their place and should get at least some minutes regardless of anything else if he can give consistent effort on both ends.

Robert Jennings, Forward, 6'7" 220 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, Robert is a hard-working power forward. If Tyson struggles early, he should get increased minutes. He also has a chance to be a part of the rotation if Coach Adams opts to play bigger lineups.

D'Maurian Williams, Guard, 6'5" 200 lbs., Junior - As mentioned above, he has the ability to hit shots. That alone, could prompt him to get minutes and potentially carve out a role as sparkplug off the bench. However, with the depth ahead of him at the guard/wing positions, he may struggle to get on the floor.

Projected Deep Bench Guys

KJ Allen, Forward, 6'6" 250 lbs., Junior - KJ is wing who appeared in 19 games last season (7.7 MPG). He is unlikely to have a major role in the rotation this season barring injuries ahead of him in the depth chart. The former USC commit is a gifted dunker.

Austin Timperman, Forward, 6'9" 190 lbs., Junior - The former UTSA player saw a grand total of 9 minutes last year, all garbage time.

Ethan Duncan, Guard, 6'0" 170 lbs., Redshirt Freshman - He redshirted last year due to injury. He was a touted talented point guard in high school. He likely won't get any meaningful minutes this year.

UPDATE (the following players were recently listed on the team's official roster which wasn't released until after this post was first put out)

CJ Williams, Guard, 6'1" 160 lbs., Freshman - He is the son of an assistant coach who seemingly wasn't recruited and may not be on scholarship. There is no reason to expect that he'll see any meaningful playing time this season.

Malik Ondigo, Center, 6'10" 220 lbs., Senior - He spent his first 2 collegiate seasons with the Red Raiders before transferring to Rice (where he never appeared in a game). He has seen no DI action in the last 3 seasons. He likely won't play much if at all this year.

Outlook

Texas Tech lost a LOT this offseason. They're also bringing in a lot. How quickly these young players develop and how quickly these transfers buy into the program culture will determine everything. On paper, they have a lot of versatility in their starting lineup. They have a big man who can excel when running a slower pace in halfcourt sets. They also have a new point guard who can be productive running a quick-strike offense. Their bench pieces are largely unproven, could be great, could be not so great. Much like the Longhorns last year, the upside with this team is Final Four caliber. They could also be a team that barely sneaks into the tournament. I suspect that they'll wind up somewhere between those two extremes and still be among the more competitive teams in the conference.

6) Oklahoma Sooners. 2021-22 Record: 19-16 (NIT 1-Seed)

Coaching

Head Coach Porter Moser enters his 2nd season in Norman looking build upon the up-and-down season he had in year one with the Sooners. He had success last year integrating transfers and freshmen players. He will again rely on a cast of mostly fresh faces. His team was likely better than their 19-16 record suggests, finishing 30th nationally in KenPom. Per KenPom, they were top 40 both offensively and defensively. They figure to play a lot of small lineups this season and will likely play with the same slow, methodical pace that they did last year.

Roster Losses

Umoja Gibson, Guard (Transfer: DePaul Blue Demons) - 13.3 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.5 APG, and 1.3 SPG in 35 games played (35 started; 32.1 MPG) on 43.5% FG, 39.0% 3P, and 87.1% FT. He was the team leader in scoring, 3P% (among players with at least 50 3P attempts), and points produced (which includes points assisted on). He accounted for 19.3% of the team's scoring, 6.6% of the team's rebounding, 11.0% of the team's assists, 17.8% of the team's steals, 1.5% of the team's blocks, and 15.8% of the team's minutes. The Waco native was one of the best 3P shooters in the conference last season. His offensive contributions will be dearly missed.

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Jordan Goldwire | Twitter: @OU_MBBall

Jordan Goldwire, Guard (Graduation) - 10.4 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.5 SPG, and 0.3 BPG in 35 games played (35 started; 30.1 MPG) on 44.7% FG, 28.4% 3P, and 80.0% FT. He was the team leader in assists and steals. He accounted for 15.1% of the team's scoring, 8.1% of the team's rebounding, 25.5% of the team's assists, 19.8% of the team's steals, 15.2% of the team's blocks, and 14.8% of the team's minutes. The former Duke transfer was Oklahoma's primary point guard last season, handling the bulk of ball-handling and passing responsibilities. He was also a highly effective perimeter defender. His absence on both ends of the floor will be felt.

Elijah Harkless, Guard (Transfer: UNLV Rebels) - 10.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.2 BPG in 26 games played (23 started; 29.0 MPG) on 42.3% FG, 32.3% 3P, 63.8% FT. Elijah was the team's 4th leading scorer, 3rd leading 3P shooter, and 4th leader in Defensive Rating (among players with at least 200 minutes played). He accounted for 10.8% of the team's scoring, 9.6% of the team's rebounding, 9.2% of the team's assists, 13.6% of the team's steals, 6.1% of the team's blocks, and 10.6% of the team's minutes. Considered one of the team's most valuable glue-guys, his departure leaves a hole to fill beyond the lost production, his toughness and effort-level will be hard to replace.

Ethan Chargois, Forward (Graduation) - 4.1 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.9 APG, 0.6 SPG, and 0.3 BPG in 31 games played (none started; 14.5 MPG) on 52.7% FG, 36.7% 3P, and 64.3% FT. He led the team in Assist Rate, was 2nd on the team in Block Rate, and 3rd in Offensive Rebound Rate. He accounted for 5.3% of the team's scoring, 7.8% of the team's rebounding, 12.2% of the team's assists, 7.0% of the team's steals, 13.6% of the team's blocks, and 6.3% of the team's minutes. He was one of the team's more effective bench pieces. Being able to rotate an efficient and versatile big like him, is a luxury Coach Moser will no longer be afforded.

Marvin Johnson, Forward (Graduation) - 4.2 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.5 SPG, and 0.3 BPG in 18 games played (none started; 11.7 MPG) on 44.6% FG, 33.3% 3P, and 75.0% FT. He led the team in Block Rate. He accounted for 3.1% of the team's scoring, 3.7% of the team's rebounding, 2.2% of the team's assists, 3.5% of the team's steals, 7.6% of the team's blocks, and 3.0% of the team's minutes. The Oklahoma native was a solid rotational wing for OU last year.

Alston Mason, Guard (Transfer: Missouri State Grizzlies) - 1.4 PPG, 0.4 RPG, 0.2 APG, and 0.4 SPG in 18 games played (none started; 6.2 MPG) on 27.3% FG, 16.7% 3P, 66.7% FT.

Akol Mawein, Forward (Transfer: Sacramento State Hornets) - 1.2 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.2 APG, and 0.2 SPG in 18 games played (none started; 3.6 MPG) on 56.3% FG, 33.3% 3P, 75.0% FT.

Rick Issanza, Center (Transfer: Loyola-Marymount Lions) - Rick played 49 minutes across 12 games last season.

Overall - 55.9% of scoring, 39.1% of rebounding, 61.9% of assists, 65.9% of steals, 45.5% of blocks, and 53.7% of minutes. The Sooners are losing a hefty chunk of production. Considering that this team finished 19-16 last year and missed the NCAA Tournament, they need to not just replace but to upgrade their roster if they want to achieve better results this year. The silver lining is that as much as they are losing this season, last season they actually lost even more. For comparison, last season's squad had to try to replace 83.7% of scoring, 73.7% of rebounding, 80.5% of assists, 57.8% of steals, 91.7% of blocks, and 77.3% of minutes. In hindsight, it is fairly amazing that Oklahoma managed to finish with a winning record in year one under a new head coach and with having lost as much production as they did.

Roster Additions

Otega Oweh, Forward (High School: Blair Academy [NJ]) - As a high school senior, Otega averaged 20.2 PPG in 25 games. He is not a high-volume 3P shooter, although he projects as a decent catch-and-shoot guy. He is a driver who looks to attack downhill with the ball in his hands. Stronger than he is fast, he has a reputation as a quality defender and rebounder. He strikes me as the sort of player Coach Moser will want in his lineup immediately because of his raw talent and desirable intangibles.

Milos Uzan, Guard (High School: Dream City Christian [AZ]) - Milos is a well-rounded point guard. He is a versatile scorer who can drive and finish with either hand. His midrange game is solid and features a sweet floater. I expect that his 3P% will be good, somewhere between 34-38%. He is also a good facilitator. His defensive game is built more around craftiness than brute strength or physicality. Not only should he figure to be the team's backup point guard this season, he may be on of the best bench pieces available for the Sooners this year.

Grant Sherfield, Guard (Transfer: Nevada Wolf Pack) - Grant should be the team's starting point guard this season. Over his last two years with Nevada, he averaged 18.8 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 6.2 APG, and 1.1 APG in 54 games (all starts; 35.2 MPG) on 43.4% FG, 35.0% 3P, and 86.3% FT. He is an elite passer and dynamic scorer. I would expect the offense to run through him most of the time that he is on the floor. He has the potential to be an All-Big XII type player.

Joseph Bamisile, Guard (Transfer: George Washington Colonials) - Joe needs an NCAA waiver to be able to play this season as a multiple-time transferor (originally started at Virginia Tech). If he gets to play this year, he figures to be Grant's backcourt mate. He is similar to Umoja Gibson (whom he is tasked with replacing) in that he is a shooting guard that is skilled at putting the ball in the hoop. He doesn't appear to be particularly skilled at much else. Last year for the Colonials, he averaged 16.3 PPG in 30 games (29 starts; 31.4 MPG) on 45.8% FG, 35.1% 3P, 71.4% FT, 54.7% TS, and 53.0% eFG. He is a subpar defender and has shown very little promise as a passer (career Assist-to-Turnover Ratio of 0.56). As long as he is not asked to do much more than score, he should be a fine addition to this offense.

Luke Northweather, Center (High School: Blair Oaks [MO]) - While not a consensus four-star prospect like Otega and Milos above, Luke is an accomplished high school player in his own right. He was recognized as the Gatorade 2021 Missouri High School Player of the Year after he averaged 29.2 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 3.4 APG, 2.0 SPG, and 2.4 BPG on 71.6% FG and 38.8% 3P. It's possible that he may have to wait to get playing time, but it also wouldn't be terribly surprising to see him get the nod as the primary backup center.

Sam Godwin, Forward (Transfer: Wofford Terriers) - The native of Moore, Oklahoma returns home after 2 seasons with the Terriers. He is considered a preferred walk-on but has impressed the coaching staff already. His career averages: 6.3 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 0.7 APG, 0.4 SPG, and 0.4 BPG in 52 games (17 starts; 14.8 MPG) on 63.7% FG and 67.3% FT. The advanced stats show that Sam has the potential to be a productive bench big for the Sooners this year. His Player Efficiency Rating, Offensive Rebound Rate, and Win Shares per 40 Minutes with Wofford last season each would have been good for best on Oklahoma. His lack of range limits his playability as anything other than a center, but I suspect that Coach Moser will want him on the floor at least some in almost all games.

Benjamin Schroder, Forward (High School: Germany) - Competing for Germany in the 2021 FIBA U18 European Challenge (5 games), Ben averaged 16.6 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 2.4 APG, and 1.6 SPG in 23.4 MPG on 70.7% FG, 2/5 (40%) 3P, and 59% FT. He doesn't project as a consistent 3P shooter, but instead more as a slashing wing who can defend at a reasonably high level. It is unclear how much he will get to play this season; however, he could eventually develop into a nice role player. Benjamin is still recovering from a knee injury that will preclude him from participating in the team's upcoming European tour.

Yaya Keita, Forward (Transfer: Missouri Tigers) - The Saint Louis native appeared in 21 games (6.8 MPG) last year for Missouri before suffering a season-ending knee injury. The limited minutes he saw don't provide much insight into his abilities as a player other than to suggest that he should be a decent rebounder and also that he struggled with fouling and turnovers as a freshman. He is still recovering from his knee injury and might not get a ton of playing time anyway.

Projected Starters

Grant Sherfield, Guard, 6'2" 190 lbs., Senior - As mentioned above, he will likely be the team's starting point guard. I expect that he'll be up to the task and would not be surprised if he ends up being the team's best player this season.

Joseph Bamisile, Guard, 6'4" 200 lbs., Junior - As mentioned above, if Joe gets his needed NCAA waiver to play this year, he will likely be the team's starting shooting guard. He can be a slight defensive liability but more than makes up for it with his shot-making ability.

Otega Oweh, Forward, 6'6" 210 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, Otega should be a quality 3&D wing. He is athletic and aggressive enough to slash to the basket and do some damage in transition. I would expect that he'll look a lot like a true freshman early (out of position, out of rhythm, silly turnovers, etc.), but he could turn into a nice fixture for this lineup even in year one.

Jalen Hill, Forward, 6'7" 230 lbs., Senior - One of my favorite Sooners is also one of just 2 returning starters from last year's squad. Jalen is an athletic wing who has improved each season with the Sooners. Freshman Year Averages: 10.2 points per 100 possessions, 93.1 Offensive Rating, 9.4 Player Efficiency Rating, and .072 Win Shares per 40 minutes. Sophomore Year Averages: 14.7 points per 100 possessions, 114.1 Offensive Rating, 13.9 Player Efficiency Rating, and .118 Win Shares per 40 minutes. Last year's averages: 18.1 points per 100 possessions, 117.8 Offensive Rating, 16.5 Player Efficiency Rating, and .152 Win Shares per 40 minutes. Last season he averaged 9.1 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.5 APG, and 0.9 SPG in 35 games (all starts; 20.3 MPG) on 51.6% FG, 20.5% 3P, and 75.7% FT. He has the best 2P% on the team that ranked 7th nationally in 2P% last season. He will likely be viewed as this team's Swiss army knife and primary glue guy.

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Tanner GRoves | Twitter: @OU_MBBall

Tanner Groves, Forward, 6'9" 240 lbs., Super Senior - When he wasn't taking knees to the face last year, Tanner was the team's 2nd leading scorer, rebounder, 3P shooter, and assister. The stretch-five will likely be asked once again to carry a large burden of replacing the lost production from the season before. While most Baylor fans might remember Tanner as the temperamental crybaby who was T'ed up for complaining about a "missed call" against Matthew Mayer last year, he is a leader on this team. The Sooners need him to play at a high level to have a chance to compete this season. His versatility as a scorer and his athleticism make him a nightmare for most team's to try to defend. I expect we'll see him in a lot of PNR sets with guards this season.

Projected Rotational Players

Milos Uzan, Guard, 6'4" 190 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, Milos is a talented point guard who should see significant minutes even as a true freshman this season. Slender and better offensively than defensively, he can score in a variety of ways.

Jacob Groves, Forward, 6'7" 190 lbs., Junior - Tanner's little brother is coming off arguably his worst collegiate season (career worst FG%, points per 100 possessions, Defensive Rating, Player Efficiency Rating, TS%, eFG%, Rebound Rate, Steal Rate, and Win Shares per 40 Minutes). Still, he is a career 14.1 points per 40 minutes guy who will look to bounce back and be a regular contributor to this season's effort. He is a solid rebounder and defender who moves well and has the length to alter shots. There's a decent chance that he earns the starting spot over Otega, but even if not, he should be one of the team's better performers off the bench.

CJ Noland, Guard, 6'2" 230 lbs., Sophomore - CJ showed real promise as a true freshman last season. His averages per 40 minutes: 12.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 2.1 steals on 53.6% FG, 43.6% 3P, and 69.2% FT. His TS% was 2nd best on the team (behind only Jalen Hill). He appeared in 33 games last season (no starts; 12.6 MPG). He should see a larger role this season as a regular rotational player. He is an effective scorer who rebounds well for his size. He'll need to limit his turnovers if he want to take another step toward reaching his potential. Along with Uzan, I expect that he'll get a lot of minutes as part of the guard rotation.

Luke Northweather, Center, 6'10" 220 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, Luke was a highly accomplished high school player. He is young and there are talented players ahead of him in the depth chart so his usage this season is a question mark at this point. I expect he will get an opportunity to show what he can do at some point this year, especially if the Sooners struggle for any stretch of the season.

Sam Godwin, Forward, 6'9" 230 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, Sam has a chance to be a low-volume, high-efficiency bench forward for the Sooners this season. He is an excellent offensive rebounder who should be able to carve out a spot in the rotation with his high motor and quality technique.

Bijan Cortes, Guard, 6'3" 200 lbs., Sophomore - As a true freshman, Bijan mostly struggled. His difficulties got worse as the season went along. His averages over his final 13 games (starting with the home loss to Baylor): 1.8 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.8 APG, and 0.4 SPG in 10.9 MPG on 42.9% FG. He is athletic (and has long flowing hair). His biggest problem last year was lack of control. Among players with at least 200 minutes played, he had the worst Turnover Rate in the Big XII (2nd worst in the nation) at 50.1%. The second worst in the conference last season was ISU's George Conditt IV at 29.4%. In fact, his Turnover Rate was the worst of any Big XII player (min. 200 MP) since the stat has been tracked (2009). If he can cut down on the turnovers, perhaps he can be a meaningful contributor off the bench. Otherwise, opposing coaches will smile any time the ball gets into Bijan's hands.

Benjamin Schroder, Forward, 6'7" 200 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, Ben is a wing who is most effective when he attacks the rim. As a young international player, I expect that once healthy, he will be gradually worked into the rotation if he gets any meaningful minutes this year at all. He might be a year away from contributing in a serious way.

Projected Deep Bench Guys

Yaya Keita, Forward, Keita, 6'9" 240 lbs., Sophomore - As mentioned above, Yaya is recovering from a significant knee injury. That, coupled with the depth ahead of him, makes him unlikely to see much action this year.

Jake Moser, Guard, 6'3" 190 lbs., Sophomore - Coach's son appeared in 7 games last year, playing a combined total of 10 minutes in those games.

Blake Seacat, Guard, 6'4" 200 lbs., Senior - Deep bench guy who has played a combined total of 25 minutes across 13 games in his 3 seasons at Oklahoma.

Outlook

The Sooners are coming off a disappointing season where, after starting the year 12-3, they finished 7-13 and missed the Big Dance. Prior to last year, Oklahoma had made 7 of 8 NCAA Tournaments. They want and expect to be in March Madness. To get there this season, they will have to replace a ton of their production lost as 8 players from that team are no longer there. They have a few interesting transfers, a few talented freshmen, and a few returning contributors who will need to improve if this team is going to finish stronger than they did a season ago. This squad should be efficient on the offensive end. Last year's team had a tendency to fall in love with the 3P shot even when they weren't falling. The new crop of shooters they have coming in, should make that less of a problematic proposition. Every starter in the lineup can shoot it from deep, which will make them a very tough team to guard. I expect a lot of five-out sets and good floor spacing. The upside for this team probably isn't as high as it could be for the teams ahead of them in these rankings, but I would be more surprised if the Sooners finish in the bottom third than I would be if they finish in the top third of the conference.

7) Iowa State Cyclones. 2021-22 Record: 22-13 (NCAA Tournament 11-Seed)

Coaching

Head Coach TJ Otzelberger returns for his 2nd season in Ames, fresh off a season where he took a 22-loss team and won 22 games last year. Sure, they started strong (12-0) before struggling in conference play (7-11), but there's no way to look at the job Coach Otz did and call it anything other than a massive step in the right direction for the ISU program. His team excelled on the defensive end, finishing 5th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency (per KenPom). On offense, his team led the conference in Assist Rate last year, putting a clear emphasis on ball movement.

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Izaiah Brockington | Twitter: @CycloneMBB

Roster Losses

Izaiah Brockington, Forward (NBA UDFA: New Orleans Pelicans) - 16.9 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.3 SPG, and 0.3 BPG in 35 games played (all starts; 34.6 MPG) on 44.7% FG, 36.2% 3P, and 77.5% FT. The reigning Big XII Newcomer of the Year was named 1st Team All-Big XII last year after leading his team in scoring, rebounding, and Win Shares. He accounted for 25.7% of the team's scoring, 21.1% of the team's rebounding, 10.9% of the team's assists, 15.4% of the team's steals, 8.3% of the team's blocks, and 17.2% of the team's minutes. He was far and away, the team's best and most impactful player. His versatility will be hard to replace.

Tyrese Hunter, Guard (Transfer: Texas Longhorns) - 11.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 4.9 APG, 2.0 SPG, and 0.3 BPG in 35 games played (all starts; 31.9 MPG) on 39.1% FG, 27.4% 3P, and 68.7% FT. The reigning Big XII Freshman of the Year led the team in assists, steals, and Defensive Rating. He accounted for 16.8% of the team's scoring, 10.9% of the team's rebounding, 33.5% of the team's assists, 23.8% of the team's steals, 9.2% of the team's blocks, and 15.8% of the team's minutes. He was a marvelous Chewbacca to Brockington's Han Solo. Players as young and talented as Tyrese do not grow on trees and his production on both ends of the floor will certainly be missed.

George Condit IV, Center (Graduation) - 4.9 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.9 APG, 0.5 SPG, and 0.9 BPG in 35 games played (26 starts; 18.5 MPG) on 66.3% FG and 70.5% FT. The senior big man led the team in Block Rate and was 2nd in Offensive Rebound Rate. He accounted for 7.5% of the team's scoring, 10.8% of the team's rebounding, 13.0% of the team's assists, 5.4% of the team's steals, 27.5% of the team's blocks, and 9.2% of the team's minutes. George appeared in 117 games for the Cyclones in his career and was a consistently efficient rebounder and rim protector. Despite only starting 36 times in 4 years and averaging 14.5 MPG, he departs ISU as the school's 4th all-time leader in blocked shots and 7th all-time leader in offensive rebounds.

Tristan Enaruna, Forward (Transfer: Cleveland State Vikings) - 4.3 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.5 SPG, and 0.4 BPG in 33 games played (26 starts; 14.4 MPG) on 54.5% FG, 30.0% 3P, and 73.1% FT. The former Kansas transfer led the team in Rebound Rate and was 3rd in Block Rate. He accounted for 6.2% of the team's scoring, 8.5% of the team's rebounding, 2.0% of the team's assists, 5.4% of the team's steals, 12.8% of the team's blocks, and 6.8% of the team's minutes. The athletic wing started the season strong, starting his first 24 games before being moved to the bench. He was a gifted defender and rebounder, but TJ appears to have moved on from him before he entered the portal.

Tre Jackson, Guard (Transfer: Western Carolina Catamounts) - 3.7 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.7 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 0.1 BPG in 28 games played (no starts; 12.8 MPG) on 40.0% FG, 35.7% 3P, and 100.0% FT. He was 4th on the team in both Steal Rate and True Shooting Percentage. He accounted for 4.5% of the team's scoring, 2.5% of the team's rebounding, 3.9% of the team's assists, 6.7% of the team's steals, 1.8% of the team's blocks, and 5.1% of the team's minutes. He was a solid 3P shooter and defender who struggled to get on the floor last year, seeing his minutes decrease by more than 53.1% year-to-year under the new coaching staff.

Jaden Walker, Guard (Transfer: Eastern Carolina Pirates) - 2.3 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.6 SPG, and 0.1 BPG in 14 games played (no starts; 8.2 MPG) on 50.0% FG, 33.3% 3P, and 50.0% FT. He led the team in Steal Rate. He accounted for 1.4% of the team's scoring, 1.2% of the team's rebounding, 1.8% of the team's assists, 3.0% of the team's steals, 0.9% of the team's blocks, and 1.6% of the team's minutes. Like Jackson above, he saw a 54.4% reduction in minutes year-to-year under the new coaching staff.

Carter Boothe, Guard (Graduation) - He played a total of 9 minutes across 6 games last season.

Overall - 62.2% of scoring, 54.9% of rebounding, 65.3% of assists, 59.9% of steals, 60.6% of blocks, and 55.7% of minutes. All-in-all, Iowa State's roster turnover is middle of the road in the Big XII and much less daunting than what they faced a year ago. For comparison, ISU entered last season after having lost 86.1% of scoring, 78.2% of rebounding, 91.4% of assists, 86.2% of steals, 80.7% of blocks, and 90.8% of minutes. This is a team that will look vastly different from a year ago after losing its two best players and several other key pieces. Still, they bring back a good chunk of production and compliment those returning contributors with a fairly talented group of additions.

Roster Additions

Jaren Holmes, Guard (Transfer: St. Bonaventure Bonnies) - The former JUCO shooting guard is a high-volume, medium-efficiency scorer. His career averages with the Bonnies: 13.1 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.9 SPG, and 0.2 BPG in 78 games played (77 starts; 34.6 MPG) on 41.6% FG, 33.8% 3P, and 73.7% FT. He is an average defender who rebounds well for his position. I suspect that Coach Otz will start Holmes in a 3-guard lineup.

Osun Osunniyi, Center (Transfer: St. Bonaventure Bonnies) - The big man played in 111 games (93 starts; 30.1 MPG) in his 4 seasons with the Bonnies. He is an elite rim protector and a good low-post scorer and rebounder. Over his last 3 seasons, he is averaging 11.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 2.8 BPG on 60.2% FG. For the second time in as many years, ISU's best player will likely be transfer in his first season with the team. Osun is that guy. He could be one of the best big men in the conference.

Demarion Watson, Forward (High School: Totino-Grace [MN]) - The three-star prospect chose Iowa State over offers from Creighton, Florida, and Vanderbilt among others. He is a versatile wing who can switch onto bigger players defensively. He has a quick trigger on his catch-and-shoot 3P shot. His footwork and conditioning may take time to get up to speed but he can contribute on both ends immediately. I expect that he'll be a major part of the rotation.

Eli King, Guard (High School: Caledonia [MN]) - The three-star prospect chose the Cyclones over offers from Iowa and Marquette among others. A balanced combo guard who filled up the stat sheet as a high school senior, averaging 19.9 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 4.4 APG, and 4.2 SPG. Due to lack of depth, he should be a part of the guard rotation as a freshman.

Jeremiah Williams, Guard (Transfer: Temple Owls) - The point guard played his last 2 seasons in Philly. His career averages: 9.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.3 SPG, and 0.5 BPG in 38 games played (37 starts; 31.8 MPG) on 42.4% FG, 26.7% 3P, and 63.7% FT. He is a downhill guard who is an above-average passer. Although he lacks range as a shooter, his defense and ball-handling abilities should earn him a spot in the rotation this season.

Hason Ward, Forward (Transfer: Virginia Commonwealth Rams) - The power forward spent his last 3 seasons with VCU. Over the last 2 seasons, he is averaging 6.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.8 SPG, and 1.9 BPG in 55 games played (35 starts; 20.9 MPG) on 56.6% FG and 70.7% FT. He is athletic enough to play the 4 and also big enough and strong enough to be at the 5. His defense and rebounding should be enough for him to see meaningful minutes this year.

Tamin Lipsey, Guard (High School: Ames [IA]) - The three-star prospect chose his hometown team over offers from Nebraska and Minnesota. Despite being named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Iowa as a senior, he projects as a relatively low-ceiling player who does just about everything at a decent level, but almost nothing at a high level. After a year or more to develop, he could become a rotational glue guy.

Projected Starters

Caleb Grill, Guard, 6'3" 200 lbs., Senior - The Kansas native has had a wild path to his senior season. He started his career at ISU where he played as a freshman before transferring to UNLV. He only spent a single season with the Running Rebels before returning to Ames. He is now poised to be the Cyclones starting point guard for the first time. He started all 27 games in his season in the desert, averaging 9.1 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.3 APG, and 1.4 SPG on 39.6% FG, 34.2% 3P, and 64.5% FT. He came off the bench last year in all 35 games played (24.1 MPG), averaging 6.4 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.5 APG, and 1.0 SPG on 39.1% FG, 34.8% 3P, and 62.5% FT. He is a gifted passer (his Assist-to-Turnover Ratio of 2.5 was by far the best on the team last year). He is a decent 3P shooter but overall, a relatively inefficient scorer.

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Gabe Kalscheur | Twitter: @CycloneMBB

Gabe Kalscheur, Guard, 6'4" 200 lbs., Super Senior - The former Minnesota transfer is the team's returning leading scorer. His career averages: 10.2 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 0.2 BPG in 123 games played in 4 years (122 starts; 31.4 MPG) on 37.2% FG, 31.8% 3P, and 74.2% FT. He is a high-volume, low-efficiency scorer. He can carry a decent share of the scoring burden, but if he is asked to be the team's best player, the team likely won't be a serious championship contender.

Jaren Holmes, Guard, 6'4" 220 lbs., Super Senior - As mentioned above, Jaren can be a productive scorer who rebounds well for his size. He isn't exactly a sharpshooter from deep but he should not be left open anywhere on the floor. His defense is average at best but could improve under the tutelage of Coach Otz.

Aljaz Kunc, Forward, 6'8" 210 lbs., Super Senior - The former Washington State transfer could be stepping into a starting role after 4 years of primarily coming off the bench. Over his last 2 seasons, he is averaging 6.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.8 SPG, and 0.4 BPG in 58 games played (17 starts; 21.4 MPG) on 42.0% FG, 36.9% 3P, and 77.4% FT. He is a gifted rebounder (2nd on the team last year in Defensive Rebound Rate). He is a high-volume, high-efficiency 3P shooter (over 64% of his FGAs last season were from deep and he converted at a 38.9% clip). He is a talented defender and should be a solid fit as the starting power forward who can space the floor and switch fluidly on the defensive end.

Osun Osunniyi, Center, 6'10" 220 lbs., Super Senior - As mentioned above, Osun has the potential to be one of the most productive big men in the league. He is an efficient low-post scorer and rebounder as well as an elite rim protector. He should be the best player on this season's team.

Projected Rotational Players

Robert Jones, Center, 6'10" 230 lbs., Senior - The former Denver transfer saw decent playing time last season (12.1 MPG in 34 games [9 starts]) despite taking the fewest shots of any player on the team with 200+ minutes played. He is likely to see his role increase significantly this year. Even last year, he went from starting 1 of his first 18 games to starting 8 of his last 16 (plus a 23% increase in minutes between those groupings). His last 2 seasons as a normal rotation player (both at Denver), he averaged 9.0 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 0.7 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 0.5 BPG in 46 games (37 starts; 22.8 MPG) on 56.5% FG and 47.6% FT. He has the potential to be an efficient low-post scorer as a backup big man. His defensive and rebounding production don't jump off the page, but he can play his role well.

Demarion Watson, Forward, 6'6" 180 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, what Demarion lacks in eye-popping athleticism, he more than makes up for with his size, strength, and jump shot. He won't back down from any challenger on defense, which should endear him to both his coaches and Cyclones fans.

Eli King, Guard, 6'3" 190 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, Eli is young and unproven. On film, he appears to be a slightly above-average athlete who is active on both ends of the floor, including on the glass. I wouldn't be surprised if the coaching staff elects to slowly work him into the rotation.

Jeremiah Williams, Guard, 6'5" 190 lbs., Junior - As mentioned above, Jeremiah is a quick, two-way point guard. He defends at a high level and is a good playmaker, which more than makes up for his low scoring efficiencies.

Hason Ward, Forward, 6'9" 200 lbs., Senior - As mentioned above, Hason is an experienced, power forward. He is a low-volume scorer. His strengths are his low-post defense and rebounding.

Tre King, Forward, 6'9" 230 lbs., Redshirt Senior - The former Georgetown (by way of Eastern Kentucky) transfer sat out last year after failing to receive an NCAA waiver for immediate eligibility. Tre was dismissed from Georgetown without playing a game for vague reasons, namely failing to meet the "conduct expectations of the University." Coach Otz has vouched for his character, but it remains unclear whether he will be a major part of the rotation in his first season playing for the Cyclones. In has last 2 seasons playing (both for EKU), he averaged 13.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.4 SPG, and 1.0 BPG in 60 games played (58 starts; 26.0 MPG) on 50.6% FG, 28.2% 3P, and 73.2% FT. He is a versatile power forward who can have a big impact on both ends, if he can stay out of trouble and in the coaching staff's good graces.

Projected Deep Bench Guys

Tamin Lipsey, Guard, 6'2" 190 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, Tamin has limited upside and is unlikely to see meaningful minutes this season.

Conrad Hawley, Forward, 6'5" 210 lbs., Sophomore - The former Kansas Jayhawk quarterback will have the opportunity to make his Division I basketball debut this year, but he likely won't get a ton of playing time this season.

Outlook

The Cyclones finished 7th in the Big XII regular season standings last season. They are less talented this season than they were then. It stands to reason then that they won't take much of a step forward this season and could be facing a slight regression. They lost Hunter and Brockington and none of their new players compare to the talent level of that duo. Still, they are well coached and have a ton of experience in their projected starting lineup. The starters laid out above have a combined total of 521 games played, 357 games started, and 14,156 minutes at the Division I level. That is a TON of experience. The starters also include 4 competent 3P shooters. They won't beat themselves often, if ever. They will play fundamentally sound defense and grind games out. They'll win some big upsets but will also likely lose a few games against teams near the bottom of the conference. I expect that this team may surprise some people and should have a good chance at making the Big Dance.

8) Kansas State Wildcats. 2021-22 Record: 14-17 (Finished 9th in the Big XII Regular Season Standings)

Coaching

New Head Coach Jerome Tang is in his first season as a head coach following a masterful 21 year run with as an assistant coach with the Baylor Bears. In my opinion, this was a homerun of a hire for KSU. There is little doubt that Tang will establish a program culture built around family, selflessness, sacrifice, and positivity. He's the type of guy young recruits should want to play for, the type of guy you'd want your kids to play for. Establishing a championship caliber culture of this sort takes time though. It didn't happen overnight at Baylor and won't happen overnight at KSU.

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Nijel Pack | Twitter: @KStateMBB

Roster Losses

Nijel Pack, Guard (Transfer: Miami Hurricanes) - 17.4 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.3 SPG, and 0.1 BPG in 29 games played (28 starts; 33.1 MPG) on 45.5% FG, 43.6% 3P, and 84.5% FT. He led the team in scoring, Player Efficiency Rating, and Win Shares on his way to winning the Big XII Most Improved Player award and being named First Team All-Big XII. He accounted for 23.6% of the team's scoring, 10.7% of the team's rebounding, 16.8% of the team's assists, 17.2% of the team's steals, 5.9% of the team's blocks, and 15.4% of the team's minutes. He heads to Miami on a reportedly six-figure NIL deal, leaving this year's team without their clear best player from a year ago.

Mark Smith, Guard (Graduation) - 12.7 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.7 APG, and 1.1 SPG in 31 games played (31 starts; 31.7 MPG) on 44.9% FG, 36.2% 3P, and 70.9% FT. He led the team in rebounding and Defensive Win Shares, earning Third Team All-Big XII honors. He accounted for 18.4% of the team's scoring, 25.2% of the team's rebounding, 13.9% of the team's assists, 14.5% of the team's steals, 1.9% of the team's blocks, and 15.7% of the team's minutes. He made a great duo with Nijel and was one of the more impactful transfers in the conference last season. His activity, athleticism, and shot making will be missed.

Mike McGuirl, Guard (Graduation) - 7.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.1 BPG in 28 games played (17 starts; 27.9 MPG) on 38.6% FG, 31.3% 3P, and 63.4% FT. He was 2nd on the team in Defensive Box Plus/Minus and steals per 40 minutes. He accounted for 10.2% of the team's scoring, 9.3% of the team's rebounding, 14.8% of the team's assists, 14.5% of the team's steals, 3.9% of the team's blocks, and 12.5% of the team's minutes. In his 5 seasons with the Wildcats, he appeared in 132 games (tied for the 7th most in program history). He was a good backup point guard whose leadership and experience will not be easily replaced.

Selton Miguel, Guard (Transfer: South Florida Bulls) - 7.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 0.2 BPG in 26 games played (14 starts; 24.7 MPG) on 37.5% FG, 20.5% 3P, and 69.5% FT. He was 3rd on the team in Defensive Rebound Rate and 4th in assists per 100 possessions. He accounted for 8.7% of the team's scoring, 10.2% of the team's rebounding, 10.1% of the team's assists, 7.5% of the team's steals, 9.8% of the team's blocks, and 10.3% of the team's minutes. He was an athletic guard who rebounded and defended well for his size.

Kaosi Ezeagu, Center (Transfer: Sam Houston State Bearkats) - 4.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 0.2 APG, 0.2 SPG, and 0.3 BPG in 25 games played (12 starts; 12.6 MPG) on 68.5% FG and 56.6% FT. He led the team in Offensive Rebound Rate and was 2nd on the team in rebounds per 100 possessions. He accounted for 4.9% of the team's scoring, 6.6% of the team's rebounding, 1.0% of the team's assists, 2.6% of the team's steals, 15.7% of the team's blocks, and 5.1% of the team's minutes. An underutilized big man, he offered decent rebounding and rim protection in his limited minutes last season.

Davion Bradford, Center (Transfer: Wake Forest Demon Deacons) - 3.3 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.2 APG, 0.1 SPG, and 0.4 BPG in 29 games played (12 starts; 14.7 MPG) on 50.0% FG and 60.0% FT. He led the team in blocks and was 2nd in offensive rebounds. He accounted for 4.4% of the team's scoring, 5.3% of the team's rebounding, 1.6% of the team's assists, 1.8% of the team's steals, 25.5% of the team's blocks, and 6.8% of the team's minutes. The physical big man offered rim protection to a team that desperately needed it a year ago.

Luke Kasubke, Guard (Transfer: Illinois State Redbirds) - 1.9 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.5 APG, and 0.3 SPG in 30 games played (no starts; 12.2 MPG) on 35.4% FG, 25.0% 3P, and 100.0% FT. He was among the least efficient players on the team. He accounted for 2.7% of the team's scoring, 3.1% of the team's rebounding, 3.6% of the team's assists, 4.4% of the team's steals, 1.9% of the team's blocks, and 5.8% of the team's minutes.

Carlton Linguard, Center (Transfer: Texas San Antonio Roadrunners) - 1.3 PPG, 1.3 RPG, and 0.4 BPG in 15 games (2 starts; 8.1 MPG) on 36.8% FG and 54.5% FT. He accounted for 11.8% of the team's blocks.

Logan Landers, Forward (Transfer: Grand Canyon Antelopes) - 1.1 PPG and 1.2 RPG in 11 games (no starts; 6.8 MPG) on 40.0% FG and 66.7% FT. He played a very limited role last season.

Maximus Edwards, Guard (Transfer: George Washington Colonials) - Did not play last season due to leg injury.

Seryee Lewis, Forward (Transfer: Rice Owls) - Did not play last season due to knee injury.

Overall - 74.5% of scoring, 73.6% of rebounding, 62.2% of assists, 63.9% of steals, 76.5% of blocks, and 74.7% of minutes. In the era of the transfer portal, a mass exodus of players has to be expected following a change of head coach. Frankly, KSU holding on to 2 of their 5 best players is probably pretty close to a best case scenario. Still, losing 11+ players is brutal and the Wildcats will have an entirely different look next season compared to what we saw last year. For comparison, last season's team was only tasked with replacing 28.3% of scoring, 35.9% of rebounding, 24.1% of assists, 32.9% of steals, 22.7% of blocks, and 31.2% of minutes. Their production continuity is better than West Virginia and Texas Tech and not much worse than Kansas.

Roster Additions

Tykei Greene, Guard (Transfer: Stony Brook Seawolves) - The New York native started his collegiate career with the Manhattan Jaspers (the only Division I program to offer him out of high school). He spent 2 seasons there before transferring to Stony Brook. Because this is his 2nd time transferring, he will need an NCAA waiver to be eligible to play this season. If he's cleared to play, he could be one of the better players on this season's team. His averages over the last 3 years: 11.3 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 0.3 BPG in 82 games played (75 starts; 30.0 MPG) on 44.9% FG, 33.8% 3P, and 61.4% FT. Last year, he averaged 14.0 PPG and 8.1 RPG on 52.0% FG and 42.6% 3P. If he can maintain those types of numbers in the Big XII, he'll be a massive contributor for this Wildcats team. He is a good scorer, rebounder, and defender. I'd expect him to play a similar role to Mark Smith's last year as an off-ball guard.

Desi Sills, Guard (Transfer: Arkansas State Red Wolves) - The former three-star prospect started his college career with Arkansas, playing 3 seasons with the Razorbacks before going to Arkansas State last year. Like Greene above, he'll need an NCAA waiver to be eligible to play this year. His averages over the last 3 seasons: 10.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.2 SPG in 92 games played (66 starts; 27.1 MPG) on 43.4% FG, 30.3% 3P, and 68.6% FT. He is a well-rounded shooting guard who defends at a high level. More than 90% of his shot attempts are either at the rim or from deep. He is a decent passer who can handle primary ball handling responsibilities when the starter goes to the bench.

Abayomi Iyiola, Forward (Transfer: Hofstra Pride) - The Georgia native has played for Stetson, Arkansas, and Hofstra in his career before arriving in the Little Apple. He will need an NCAA waiver as a multiple-time transferor. His career averages: 9.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 0.4 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 0.8 BPG in 92 career games (64 starts; 20.5 MPG) on 52.6% FG and 72.0% FT. He is athletic enough to be used at the 4 or the 5. He is a better offensive player than defensive, although he is no slouch on either end. He finished with the 8th best Offensive Rebound Rate in the nation last year. His Player Efficiency Rating last year would've been by far the best on KSU's roster. He is a highly efficient, highly productive big man who should be a big part of Coach Tang's recipe for success this year.

Camryn Carter, Guard (Transfer: Mississippi State Bulldogs) - The former four-start recruit struggled to get on the floor last year in Starkville. He had problems with turnovers in addition to posting unimpressive shooting splits of 39/30/68. Coming out of high school, he was projected to be an efficient scorer and balanced shooting guard. It's hard to know what to expect from Cam. He is undeniably talented, but it may take time for that talent to translate to the ability to help his team win. I would expect that he'll be a part of the guard rotation this year.

Jerrell Colbert, Center (Transfer: Louisiana State Tigers) - The Texas native played a total of 27 minutes with the Tigers last season. Coming out of high school, he was recruited by Baylor, Texas, and Oklahoma among others. He has good footwork and the potential to be a quality offensive player. His ability as a defender and rebounder may depend on if he's added some strength in the weight room this offseason. He should be the backup big this season.

Dorian Finister, Guard (High School: Carver [LA]) - The three-star recruit chose Kansas State over Houston. He'll likely be deployed as a 3&D wing. He rebounds well for his position and was a good catch-and-shoot guy in high school. He needs to add some weight and strength to his frame, but he should be a decent contributor off the bench this season.

David N'Guessan, Forward (Transfer: Virginia Tech Hokies) - The Dutch native spent the last 2 seasons with the Hokies. He didn't get the opportunity to play many minutes, averaging 3.3 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.3 SPG, and 0.4 BPG in 57 games played (no starts; 12.1 MPG) on 51.0% FG and 48.7% FT. He projects as a good rebounder and defender. His Rebound Rate would've been the 2nd best on KSU last season and his Defensive Rating would've been the 3rd best on the team. He should be the backup power forward.

Taj Manning, Forward (High School: La Lumier [IN]) - The three-star prospect chose Kansas State over Creighton. He is an athletic power forward. He doesn't have a ton of range but is an efficient scorer and projects as an above average defender, especially in the paint. He could be in the rotation this year if he plays well early.

Nae'Qwan Tomlin, Forward (JUCO: Chipola College [FL]) - The New York native is a power forward who crashes the glass well and can stretch the floor spacing a bit as well. His averages at the JUCO level last year: 11.0 PPG and 4.6 RPG on 54.1% FG, 37.5% 3P, and 64.8% FT. Lack of depth may get him into the rotation this season, but I also wouldn't be surprised if Coach Tang wants to bring him along slowly.

Nowell 1

Markquis Nowell | Twitter: @KStateMBB

Projected Starters

Markquis Nowell, Guard, 5'8" 165 lbs., Super Senior - The team leader in assists and steals a year ago will again be the starting point guard for the Wildcats this year. His averages over the last 3 seasons: 14.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 5.2 APG, and 2.2 SPG in 70 games played (55 starts; 31.7 MPG) on 39.4% FG, 35.1% 3P, and 86.2% FT. He is an elite passer and perimeter defender in addition to having a smooth shooting stroke. His lack of size limits his ability to score near the rim, but he is a crafty player on offense. He should be the best player on this year's team.

Desi Sills, Guard, 6'1" 200 lbs., Super Senior - As mentioned above, if Desi gets his NCAA waiver to be able to play this season, he should be the team's primary shooting guard. He'll hope to bounce back from a rough 3P shooting season last year where his 3P% was nearly 28% lower than it had been in his previous 3 campaigns. He will be an impact player on both ends of the floor.

Tykei Greene, Guard, 6'4" 200 lbs., Super Senior - As mentioned above, Tykei needs an NCAA waiver to be able to play this year. If he gets it, he should be the third member of a three-guard starting lineup this season. He is an athletic wing coming off his best collegiate season. If he can maintain the 3P shooting he displayed last year (when his 3P% was more than 52% higher than it had been in his previous 3 seasons), he'll be another effective scoring threat in this lineup.

Ismael Massoud, Forward, 6'8" 215 lbs., Senior - One of two returning players from last year's team (along with Nowell), Ismael projects as the team's starting power forward. He is a relatively inefficient player, but can help space the floor (averaging 1.3 made three-pointers per game in his career). His averages over his last 2 seasons: 7.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 0.4 APG, 0.6 SPG, and 0.2 BPG in 53 games played (26 starts; 23.2 MPG) on 35.3% FG, 33.5% 3P, and 80.2% FT. His defense is probably slightly below average, but his height and strength help make up for a lack in lateral quickness. He won't fill the stat sheet often, but I expect Coach Tang to reward his loyalty to the program with a spot in the starting lineup.

Abayomi Iyiola, Center, 6'10" 225 lbs., Redshirt Senior - As mentioned above, assuming that he gets his NCAA waiver to play this year, he should be the team's starting big man. He is a highly efficient overall player who rebounds at an elite level and can score in the post.

Projected Rotational Players

Camryn Carter, Guard, 6'3" 180 lbs., Sophomore - As mentioned above, Cam is a bit of an unproven commodity. He has yet to convert his immense talent to success on the court at the college level. The Wildcats are surely hoping that he can reach at least some modest level of his potential as a balanced combo guard this season.

Jerrell Colbert, Center, 6'10" 210 lbs., Sophomore - As mentioned above, Jerrell barely saw any action last season with LSU. He has a slim frame that limits his upside as a rebounder and defender. Still, he has the tools to be an efficient scorer as a backup big this year.

Dorian Finister, Guard, 6'5" 180 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, despite his slender build, he should be a decent 3&D wing this season. He rebounds well for his size and plays hard. He should be a part of the guard rotation this year.

David N'Guessan, Forward, 6'8" 200 lbs., Junior - As mentioned above, David is a gifted rebounder and defender. He should be a part of the rotation this season, likely as the backup power forward.

Taj Manning, Forward, 6'7" 210 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, Taj is unpolished but could be a serviceable scorer near the rim and defender. He likely won't be a huge part of the rotation this season. Still, lack of depth could help him get some minutes this year.

Nae'Qwan Tomlin, Forward, 6'8" 200 lbs., Junior - As mentioned above, he is a decent rebounder and scorer with a little bit of range. I wouldn't expect him to play much this season, but he's likely just one injury away from being thrust into a much larger role.

Projected Deep Bench Guys

As of August 5, the team only has 11 players (those listed above) on the roster. The transfer deadline has passed and so the team may be left with walk-ons to fill out the roster.

Outlook

I have seen a lot of CBB people picking Kansas State to finish in last place in the conference. It makes sense, they have a new coaching staff and lost all but 2 of their players. It'll be an uphill battle to be sure in the best and deepest conference in America, but I think that Kansas State could surprise a lot of people. This starting lineup is talented, balanced, and experienced. The five starters listed above combine for 511 games played including 325 starts and well over 12,000 career minutes played. That's a ton of experience. Yes, they'll have to forge chemistry together and this team will need to establish a brand new identity. Is it possible that things go sideways and KSU finishes at or near the bottom of the conference? Yes, of course it could and that's what most people seem to expect from this team. I think it's equally likely though, that this team shocks many of the pundits, doubters, and haters and finishes near the middle of the conference and makes the NCAA Tournament.

9) Oklahoma State Cowboys. 2021-22 Record: 15-15 (Served NCAA Postseason Ban)

Coaching

Head Coach Mike Boynton, Jr. enters his 6th season running the show for the Pokes. He had the unenviable task of trying to motivate a team with little to play for last season as the program served its postseason ban from the NCAA. That yolk has been lifted and I'm sure Boynton and his staff are looking forward to getting back to the Big Dance if they can put together a strong campaign this year. Coach Boynton likes for his offense to play fast and shoot early in the shot clock (they ranked in the top 60 nationally in average possession length last season [26th the year before that]). He also likes to mix defenses to keep opposing offenses off-balance, not knowing if they'll face man or a zone or a press on any given possession.

Roster Losses

Isaac Likekele, Guard (Transfer: Ohio State Buckeyes) - 7.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.2 BPG in 30 games played (30 started; 30.9 MPG) on 43.7% FG, 18.2% 3P, 53.6% FT. Isaac was the team leader in assists and Defensive Win Shares. He accounted for 10.3% of the team's scoring, 14.8% of the team's rebounding, 26.8% of the team's assists, 14.5% of the team's steals, 3.7% of the team's blocks, and 15.1% of the team's minutes. He was a long-time leader and glue guy for this program. He leaves OSU 3rd in program history (stat tracking goes back to 1974) in career assists and 2nd in the program since 2000 in career defensive rebounds. He played 114 games for the Cowboys for a combined total of over 3500 minutes.

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Bryce Williams | Twitter: @OSUMBB

Bryce Williams, Guard (Graduation) - 8.3 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.4 BPG in 24 games played (8 started; 22.5 MPG) on 35.6% FG, 27.5% 3P, 83.9% FT. Bryce led the team in Assist Rate and was 3rd in 3P shooting. He accounted for 9.7% of the team's scoring, 4.8% of the team's rebounding, 20.0% of the team's assists, 10.9% of the team's steals, 5.5% of the team's blocks, and 8.8% of the team's minutes. He was far more effective as a passer and defender than he was as a scorer. Still, he was an important guy coming off the bench.

Keylan Boone, Forward (Transfer: Pacific Tigers) - 6.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.6 SPG, and 0.5 BPG in 27 games played (1 started; 17.9 MPG) on 36.9% FG, 31.6% 3P, and 83.3% FT. He led the team in made 3PFGs per 100 possessions. He accounted for 7.9% of the team's scoring, 8.1% of the team's rebounding, 3.4% of the team's assists, 6.6% of the team's steals, 8.6% of the team's blocks, and 7.9% of the team's minutes. Despite being an inefficient scorer, he was able to provide an occasional spark of the bench last season.

Rondel Walker, Guard (Transfer: Texas Christian Horned Frogs) - 4.9 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.6 SPG, and 0.1 BPG in 30 games played (8 started; 22.3 MPG) on 36.0% FG, 28.0% 3P, and 82.1% FT. Rondel led the team in Steal Rate (among players with at least 50 minutes played). He accounted for 6.1% of the team's scoring, 10.4% of the team's rebounding, 4.5% of the team's assists, 5.1% of the team's steals, 5.5% of the team's blocks, and 7.2% of the team's minutes. He was another low efficiency guard in OSU's rotation last season.

Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe, Center (Transfer: Georgia Bulldogs) - 4.2 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.4 SPG, and 0.3 BPG in 30 games played (7 started; 14.8 MPG) on 51.0% FG and 52.2% FT. He was 2nd on the team in Rebound Rate. He accounted for 7.1% of the team's scoring, 6.9% of the team's rebounding, 8.7% of the team's assists, 18.8% of the team's steals, 2.5% of the team's blocks, and 10.9% of the team's minutes. He was a quality backup big man.

Donovan Williams, Guard (Transfer: Pacific Tigers) - 3.1 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 0.2 APG, and 0.7 SPG in 9 games played (4 started; 10.4 MPG) on 40.0% FG, 44.4% 3P, and 57.1% FT. He accounted for 1.4% of the team's scoring, 1.3% of the team's rebounding, 0.5% of the team's assists, 2.3% of the team's steals, and 1.5% of the team's minutes. The former four-star recruit's season was cut short by knee injury.

Overall - 42.5% of scoring, 46.3% of rebounding, 64.0% of assists, 58.2% of steals, 25.8% of blocks, and 51.3% of minutes. These numbers reflect that OSU has lost 6 important players and will need to replace them to remain competitive. For comparison, last year's team had to replace 30.7% of scoring, 18.3% of rebounding, 29.7% of assists, 24.0% of steals, 18.2% of blocks, and 23.0% of minutes. Their production continuity going into this season is significantly less than what it was going into last season. On the bright side, the Cowboys bring back their top 2 scorers and top 4 leaders in Player Efficiency Rating. The 6 players leaving include the 3 with the worst eFG% numbers last season.

Roster Additions

John-Michael Wright, Guard (Transfer: High Point Panthers) - John is a gifted combo guard who has been crushing it in the Big South Conference the last 3 years where he averaged 17.4 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.3 BPG in 86 games played (85 started; 33.6 MPG) on 40.6% FG, 34.6% 3P, and 77.3% FT. His Player Efficiency Rating over the last 2 seasons was 21.9 which would have been the 2nd best for the Cowboys last year. He projects as an efficient passer and secondary playmaker. He can score from just about anywhere on the floor. He should be starting alongside Avery Anderson this season.

Caleb Asberry, Guard (Transfer: Texas State Bobcats) - Caleb is a balanced guard with an impressive resume. His averages over his last 2 seasons: 13.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.4 BPG in 54 games played (48 started; 29.0 MPG) on 45.7% FG, 39.8% 3P, and 81.8% FT. He shoots a lot of three-pointers (56.7% of his FGAs last season were from deep). His Win Shares per 40 Minutes over the last 2 years was .183 which would have been the best on OSU last season. He has shown that he can hold his own defensively as well. He should be the first guard off the bench this season.

Russell Harrison, Forward (Transfer: Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks) - Russell spent his first 4 seasons out of high school competing at the JUCO level before spending the last 2 years with ULM. He is a 3-and-D wing who was a high-volume, high-efficiency 3P shooter at ULM (38.3% 3P last season on 5.8 attempts per game). He is an average defender with a limited offensive game. He can be a regular part of the rotation for the Pokes, although there doesn't appear to be as much upside with him as with some of the team's other additions.

Quion Williams, Guard (High School: Jonesboro [AR]) - The four-star (top 100 nationally) prospect chose OSU over offers from Houston, Kansas State, and Cincinnati among others. He has a reputation as a potential glue guy who is a skilled rebounder. He has above average athleticism and an elite motor. He will be more effective as a rebounder and defender early in his career although the scoring and passing should follow with good coaching and time.

Chris Harris, Guard (Transfer: SE Missouri State Redhawks) - Chris is a high-volume, low-efficiency scorer. His career points per 40 minutes average is 16.2 which would have been good for 3rd with the Pokes last season. His career scoring efficiencies: 37.2% FG, 32.1% 3P, 74.9% FT, 51.3% TS, 45.1% eFG. His career Defensive Rating is 107.6 which would have been the worst on OSU last season. It is doubtful that Chris contributes in a major way this season.

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Avery Anderson III | Twitter: @OSUMBB

Projected Starters

Avery Anderson III, Guard, 6'3" 175 lbs., Senior - The team leader in scoring and steals a year ago, returns for presumably one last rodeo. Last season, he averaged 12.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.8 SPG, and 0.3 BPG in 30 games (all starts; 28.6 MPG) on 39.9% FG, 32.4% 3P, and 76.1% FT. He is lightning fast in transition and has a sweet handle that enables him to get past most perimeter defenders and attack downhill. He finished strong last season with a 11-game stretch near the end of the year where he averaged 15.7 PPG on on 43.0% FG, 35.8% 3P, and 83.0% FT. If he can replicate that type of scoring volume and efficiency, he can be not just the best player on this team, but among the best point guards in the conference.

John-Michael Wright, Guard, 6'1" 185 lbs., Senior - As mentioned above, John is a relatively polished combo guard who is an ideal fit with Avery Anderson in OSU's starting backcourt.

Bryce Thompson, Guard, 6'5" 190 lbs., Junior - The former Kansas transfer shined in his first year with the Cowboys, finishing as the only other member of the team (along with Avery) to average double-digits in scoring. He averaged 10.6 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.6 SPG, and 0.1 BPG in 29 games (25 starts; 26.1 MPG) on 41.3% FG, 29.0%, and 66.7% FT. In 2 collegiate seasons, we've seen what Bryce is a low-efficiency, high-volume scorer. He likely won't be a star for this team, but if he gets 10+ shot attempts per game, he can likely average near double-digits scoring again.

Kalib Boone, Forward, 6'9" 210 lbs., Senior - After starting 24/30 (80%) of games played as a sophomore, Kalib was limited to starting just 4/26 (15%) of games played last season (whilst also seeing his MPG drop from 20.6 to 11.0 year-to-year). This move was puzzling to say the least considering that he led the team (among players with at least 50 minutes played) in points per 100 possessions, Player Efficiency Rating, Box Score Plus/Minus, and Win Shares per 40 Minutes. Kalib's averages over the last 2 years: 7.7 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.5 SPG, and 1.5 BPG in 56 games (28 starts; 16.1 MPG) on 61.4% FG and 66.7% FT. He is an old school power forward who can get it done on both ends. If he isn't getting 20+ MPG this season, we'll be left to wonder what he did to offend Coach Boynton so badly.

Moussa Cisse, Center, 6'11" 220 lbs., Junior - One of three reigning Big XII Co-Defensive Players of the Year, Moussa figures to be the starting center again. Last year, he averaged 7.2 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.4 SPG, and 1.9 BPG in 29 games (26 starts; 20 MPG) on 55.9% FG and 56.2% FT. He led the Big XII in blocks last season, displaying his prowess as an elite rim protector. He also finished 5th in the conference in Offensive Rebound Rate. He is a powerful presence in the paint.

Projected Rotational Players

Caleb Asberry, Guard, 6'3" 170 lbs., Senior - As mentioned above, despite his slim frame, Caleb is a gifted scorer and defender who should be a major part of this year's rotation for the Cowboys.

Tyreek Smith, Forward, 6'7" 215 lbs., Redshirt Junior - In his first 2 college season (including 1 at Texas Tech), Tyreek has been a low-volume, high-efficiency player. His career averages per 40 minutes: 11.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.6 steals, and 2.6 blocks on 63.1% FG and 59.4% FT. The problem is that he has only averaged 10.3 MPG in 59 career games (although he did start 7 games for OSU last season). If he can maintain his efficiency in a larger role this season, he will be a productive bench big.

Russell Harrison, Forward, 6'7" 210 lbs., Super Senior - As mentioned above, Russell is an experienced, low-risk, low-upside wing who can be expected to knock down some three-pointers. Provided he is not asked to do too much on either end of the floor, he can be a productive part of this rotation.

Quion Williams, Guard, 6'4" 210 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, Quion plays as hard as anyone which Coach Boynton should absolutely love. Quion will be a part of the rotation this season despite his offensive game likely still needing some work.

Bernard Kouma, Center, 6'10" 240 lbs., Junior - Bernard only saw a total 12 minutes across 6 games played last season. In that extremely small sample size, he averaged per 40 minutes: 23.3 points and 6.7 rebounds on 75.0% FG. This guy is a major question mark. He will likely see meaningful minutes for the first time in his career out of necessity.

Projected Deep Bench Guys

Chris Harris, Jr., Guard, 6'3" 200 lbs., Redshirt Junior - As mentioned above, he is an inefficient scorer and subpar defender. He likely won't be a significant part of the rotation unless there are injuries to guys ahead of him in the depth chart.

Woody Newton, Forward, 6'8"200 lbs., Junior - Appeared in 17 games (7.6 MPG) last year. If Bernard Kouma struggles (or if there are other injuries amongst the team's big men), Woody could enter the regular rotation. He is primarily a 3P-shooting wing. 80% of his FGAs last year were three-pointers (made just 28.6% of them).

Carson Sager, Guard, 6'4" 200 lbs., Sophomore - Appeared in 4 games (1.3 MPG) last season.

Weston Church, Guard, 6'3" 180 lbs., Sophomore - Appeared in 4 games (1.3 MPG) last season.

Brooks Manzer, Guard, 6'3" 190 lbs., Sophomore - Has not appeared in a collegiate game.

Outlook

The Cowboys bring back the vast majority of their rim protection and a slight majority of their scoring. They also have lost a strong majority of their playmaking and perimeter defense. The additions will likely be good, not great. Motivation levels should be higher than last season. This team will continue to be dangerous. However, they appear to be lacking in the depth department and as such, I cannot in good conscience put them higher than the bottom third of the conference unless and until they prove otherwise. Their offensive efficiency will be a big question mark although I think they should preform well defensively under the guidance of Coach Boynton.

10) West Virginia Mountaineers. 2021-22 Record: 16-17 (Finished Last in the Big XII Regular Season Standings)

Coaching

Head Coach Bob Huggins enters his 16th season at the helm in Morgantown. In April, he was finally named to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame after over 40 seasons and 900 wins at the Division I level. He has the 4th most wins all-time as a coach in men's college basketball history and has led both WVU and Cincinnati to the Final Four. Huggins is known as an excellent Xs & Os coach who specializes in defensive strategy. Last year, WVU's offense stayed away from three-pointers and were dead last in the Big XII in Assist Rate. Like many defense-oriented teams, WVU tends to slow the game down on offense to reduce the total number of possessions in a game.

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Taz Sherman | Twitter: @WVUhoops

Roster Losses

Taz Sherman, Guard (Graduation) - 17.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.3 SPG, and 0.2 BPG in 31 games played (31 starts; 34.1 MPG) on 41.4% FG, 34.6% 3P, and 79.7% FT. He made 2nd Team All Big XII after leading his team in scoring, assists, steals, and minutes. He accounted for 24.4% of the team's scoring, 8.8% of the team's rebounding, 21.7% of the team's assists, 16.0% of the team's steals, 3.3% of the team's blocks, and 16.0% of the team's minutes. He was easily the team's best player last season on top of being one of the most dynamic scorers in the conference if not the entire country. There will not be a player missed more by the Mountaineers this year than Taz.

Sean McNeil, Guard (Transfer: Ohio State Buckeyes) - 12.2 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 0.1 BPG in 32 games played (32 starts; 33.7 MPG) on 41.4% FG, 36.8% 3P, and 86.7% FT. He was the team's leading 3P shooter and 2nd leading scorer. He also had the 2nd best Turnover Rate in the Big XII last year. He accounted for 17.3% of the team's scoring, 7.6% of the team's rebounding, 12.7 % of the team's assists, 9.0% of the team's steals, 2.0% of the team's blocks, and 16.3% of the team's minutes. He was a good Samwise to Taz's Frodo. Together, they made one of the more productive scoring backcourts in the nation.

Malik Curry, Guard (Graduation) - 9.7 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 0.2 BPG in 33 games played (0 starts; 18.8 MPG) on 44.6% FG, 25.0% 3P, and 80.3% FT. He led the team in Player Efficiency Rating and was the team's 3rd leading scorer despite never starting a game. He accounted for 14.2% of the team's scoring, 6.8% of the team's rebounding, 14.7% of the team's assists, 12.8% of the team's steals, 3.3% of the team's blocks, and 9.4% of the team's minutes. He was among the best 6th men in the nation. Among players averaging less than 20 MPG and playing in 10 or more games, he was 8th in scoring. Despite struggling from deep, he was a critical part of the West Virginia rotation a year ago.

Jalen Bridges, Forward (Transfer: Baylor Bears) - 8.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 0.8 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 0.7 BPG in 33 games played (33 starts; 26.8 MPG) on 42.8% FG, 32.5% 3P, and 82.3% FT. He led the team in Offensive Rebounds, True Shooting Percentage, Win Shares, and Box Score Plus/Minus. He accounted for 12.3% of the team's scoring, 14.8% of the team's rebounding, 7.5% of the team's assists, 12.5% of the team's steals, 14.7% of the team's blocks, and 13.4% of the team's minutes. He was a highly underrated part of WVU's starting lineup (and a welcome addition to the Bears) who will not be easily replaced.

Gabe Osabuohien, Forward (Graduation) - 4.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.6 BPG in 31 games played (3 starts; 18.1 MPG) on 41.1% FG and 51.1% FT. He led the team in Rebound Rate and was 2nd in Steal Rate en route to being named Big XII Co-Defensive Player of the Year. He accounted for 6.7% of the team's scoring, 15.4% of the team's rebounding, 14.7% of the team's assists, 14.4% of the team's steals, 12.0% of the team's blocks, and 8.5% of the team's minutes. Out of 358 Division I teams, WVU ranked 346th in Defensive Rebound Rate last year. They probably wouldn't have been slaughtered on the glass so often if Gabe has been allowed to play a larger role.

Isaiah Cottrell, Center (Transfer: UNLV Rebels) - 4.2 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.2 SPG, and 0.7 BPG in 33 games played (28 started; 16.1 MPG) on 34.0% FG, 31.9% 3P, and 54.3% FT. He was 3rd on the team in blocks and 4th in made three-pointers. He accounted 6.2% of the team's scoring, 8.7% of the team's rebounding, 4.6% of the team's assists, 2.7% of the team's steals, 15.3% of the team's blocks, and 8.1% of the team's minutes. In the final 3 games of the season, he saw a 22.5% reduction in minutes as the team had seemed to move on from the young big man.

Pauly Paulicap, Forward (Graduation) - 3.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 0.1 APG, 0.2 SPG, and 0.8 BPG in 33 games played (4 starts; 11.8 MPG) on 46.0% FG and 61.9% FT. He was 2nd on the team in blocks and 3rd in rebounds. He accounted for 4.7% of the team's scoring, 10.4% of the team's rebounding, 0.9% of the team's assists, 2.3% of the team's steals, 18.7% of the team's blocks, and 5.9% of the team's minutes. Despite playing a relatively small role off the bench, the well-traveled forward was a sneaky good rebounder and rim protector.

Dimon Carrigan, Forward (Graduation) - 1.9 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 0.2 APG, 0.3 SPG, and 1.1 BPG in 32 games (0 starts; 9.9 MPG) on 49.1% FG and 47.4% FT. He led the team in Blocks and was 3rd in both Rebound Rate and Defensive Rating. He accounted for 2.7% of the team's scoring, 8.0% of the team's rebounding, 1.7% of the team's assists, 3.5% of the team's steals, 22.7% of the team's blocks, and 4.8% of the team's minutes. He showed signs of being a productive rebounder and rim protector despite not getting a lot of minutes.

Taj Thweatt, Forward (Transfer: Temple Owls) - Taj only played 10 total minutes spread across 3 games last season.

Seny Ndiaye, Center (Transfer: South Carolina Upstate Spartans) - Seny only played 23 total minutes spread across 6 games last season.

Overall - 88.5% of scoring, 81.4% of rebounding, 78.6% of assists, 73.5% of steals, 94.0% of blocks, and 82.9% of minutes. The Mountaineers are losing 10 players and the vast majority of their production across the board. For comparison, WVU had to replace just 62.9% of scoring, 69.3% of rebounding, 65.0% of assists, 55.3% of steals, 67.9% of blocks, and 57.9% of minutes going into last season. There is not another team in the Big XII that has lost as much as West Virginia going into this season. The silver lining for fans of the Neers might be that losing a significant number of players off a team that lost 14 out of 15 games and finished in last place in the conference shouldn't sting as bad as it would if the team had performed well. A refit and rebuild may be just what the doctor ordered for WVU.

Roster Additions

Tre Mitchell, Center (Transfer: Texas Longhorns) - Because this is his 2nd time transferring, Tre will need to get an NCAA waiver to be eligible to play this season. Assuming he gets that waiver, he should be the team's starting center. His career averages over 3 seasons between UMass and Texas: 14.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, and 1.0 BPG in 68 games played (60 starts; 26.8 MPG) on 48.9% FG, 33.8% 3P, and 75.4% FT. He is an excellent two-way big who is an efficient scorer and can knock down an occasional three-pointer. I would not be surprised if he ends up being WVU's best player this season.

Emmitt Matthews Jr., Forward (Transfer: Washington Huskies) - The prodigal son returns. Emmitt spent his first 3 collegiate seasons in Morgantown before heading west to be closer to his hometown last year. Like Tre above, he will need a waiver to be eligible to play this season. If he gets it, he should step right into the starting lineup. Over his last 2 seasons he is averaging 9.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.6 SPG, and 0.4 BPG in 60 games played (56 starts; 29.1 MPG) on 42.2% FG, 32.5% 3P, and 75.9% FT. He's a versatile wing who can contribute on both ends. He isn't a great defender but has the ability to hold his own against most players. Offensively, the quality of his shot selection could stand to improve. Still, with 98 career Division I starts, he has the experience and talent to be a solid part of this season's starting lineup.

Josiah Harris, Forward (High School: Richmond Heights [OH]) - The three-star recruit chose West Virginia over offers from Xavier, Wichita State, SMU, and Ohio State among others. He is an athletic power forward who runs the floor well, is active on the glass, and makes all the little hustle plays that will make him a great cultural fit for WVU. He has some range but I'd be surprised if Coach Huggins wants him taking many threes as a freshman. He should be competing for a starting spot his first season.

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Joe Toussaint | Twitter: @IowaHoops

Joe Toussaint, Guard (Transfer: Iowa Hawkeyes) - The smallish point guard is a feisty, pesty defender. He was 2nd in the Big Ten in steals last season and also had his best year in terms of Defensive Rating, Defensive Win Shares, and Defensive Box Plus/Minus. There is no doubt that he is coming in here to win the starting PG job and help West Virginia get back to playing their normal high-level of defense. Offensively, he leaves a lot to be desired, averaging just 4.0 PPG and 2.8 APG over his last 2 seasons on 42.3% FG, 26.1% 3P, and 71.1% FT. He is at his best as a scorer when he can attack aggressively and try to finish through contact.

Erik Stevenson, Guard (Transfer: South Carolina Gamecocks) - The well-traveled shooting guard got his NCAA waiver to be eligible this year because West Virginia will be his 4th team in as many seasons. He should be a regular part of the guard rotation this year. He is a high-volume, low-efficiency scorer, averaging 10.8 PPG on 36.9% FG, 31.4% 3P, and 85.2% FT over his last 3 seasons. He rebounds well for the position and is a slightly above-average defender.

Josiah Davis, Guard (High School: Teays Valley [WV]) - The three-star prospect was lightly recruited, only garnering one other known offer (from Stetson). He is a hard-working, balanced point guard who rebounds well for his size and is a decent passer. He doesn't have a ton of range but can attack the basket effectively as well as hit mid-range shots. Lack of guard depth could create an opportunity for Josiah to get playing time right away.

Pat Suemnick, Forward (JUCO: Triton College) - The three-star transfer was also pursued by Texas A&M before he committed to WVU. He is considered a gifted rebounder and a high-IQ defender. He lacks range but is a relatively efficient low-post scorer. I wouldn't be surprised to see Pat's intangibles earn him a prominent spot in the regular rotation.

Mohamed Wague, Center (JUCO: Harcum College) - The Mali native comes in with a reputation as a great offensive rebounder, a solid rim protector, and an efficient low-post scorer. He chose West Virginia over offers from Wichita State and BYU among others. He should be the backup center to start the season.

Jimmy Bell Jr., Center (JUCO: Moberly Area CC) - Jimmy started his career playing 2 seasons with the Saint Louis Bilikens before going the JUCO route. His averages per 40 minutes as a Division I player: 10.0 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.7 steals, and 1.0 blocks on 48.6% FG and 64.8% FT. At the JUCO level, he showed up as an above-average rebounder and decent defender. The talent ahead of him on the depth chart may relegate him to a deep bench role this season.

Projected Starters

Joe Toussaint, Guard, 6'0" 190 lbs., Senior - As mentioned above, Joe will be the team's starting point guard. He is an above-average passer and a highly disruptive defender. As long as he is not asked to carry much of the scoring burden, he will be a productive part of this lineup.

Kedrian Johnson, Guard, 6'3" 180 lbs., Redshirt Junior - The Dallas native returns for his 3rd season with the Mountaineers. Last year, he averaged 5.3 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 1.7 APG, and 1.6 SPG in 32 games played (30 starts; 20.5 MPG) on 42.2% FG, 24.3% 3P, and 72.5% FT. He is a better defender than scorer, but I'm sure the coaching staff is hoping that he'll take another step in the right direction this next season as an offensive player. In his final 13 games last year, he averaged 6.5 PPG on 45/39/78 splits (compared to averaging 4.5 PPG on 40/11/72 splits in his first 19 games). His development as a scorer will be something to watch with this team.

Emmitt Matthews Jr., Forward, 6'7" 220 lbs., Super Senior - As mentioned above, Emmitt needs a waiver to be able to play this year. He brings a ton of experience and versatility to the lineup.

Josiah Harris, Forward, 6'7" 210 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, this young power forward has a lot of athleticism and plays incredibly hard. He figures to be an above average defender and rebounder.

Tre Mitchell, Center, 6'9" 240 lbs., Senior - As mentioned above, Tre needs a waiver to be eligible to play this season. Assuming he gets it, he should be a dominant force for the Mountaineers on both ends of the floor.

Projected Rotational Players

Erik Stevenson, Guard, 6'4" 200 lbs., Super Senior - As mentioned above, Erik has bounced around Division I basketball a lot. He can be a streaky scorer (7 games with 17+ points scored last season) who defends and rebounds well enough to earn a spot in the rotation.

Pat Suemnick, Forward, 6'8" 230 lbs., Junior - As mentioned above, Pat is a relatively low-upside power forward who rebounds and defends fairly well. Primarily due to lack of depth at the forward position, I expect him to be a normal rotational player.

Mohamed Wague, Center, 6'10" 200 lbs., Sophomore - As mentioned above, Mohamed is a balanced big man who should be a productive part of the rotation immediately. He does a number of things at a high level and could be a critical glue guy.

Josiah Davis, Guard, 6'1" 190 lbs., Freshman - As mentioned above, Josiah is a little raw and far from the most talented player in his recruiting class. Still, this kid has all the intangibles of a guy who Coach Huggins will want to work into the lineup immediately.

Kobe Johnson, Guard, 6'3" 210 lbs., Sophomore - The Ohio native is back for his 2nd season in gold and blue. Last year, he struggled on both ends of the floor. His averages per 40 minutes: 6.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.7 blocks on 38.0% FG and 32.1% 3P. If he makes a big jump forward in productivity and efficiency, it would be a major boon for this squad.

Seth Wilson, Guard, 6'1" 220 lbs., Sophomore - The former three-star combo guard is back for his 2nd season with the Neers. As a freshman, he struggled on defense and also posted unimpressive scoring efficiencies of 29.8% FG, 22.7% 3P, 66.7% FT, 37.1% TS, and 35.1% eFG. Unless he has improved dramatically this offseason, it's hard to imagine him being a highly productive part of this year's rotation.

Projected Deep Bench Guys

Jimmy Bell, Center, 6'10 270 lbs., Senior - As mentioned above, Jimmy plays the one position on the floor where the Mountaineers should have good depth. As such, he likely won't see regular minutes.

Jamel King, Forward, 6'7" 200 lbs., Sophomore - Jamel saw a grand total of 29 minutes last season, spread across 8 games. He is unlikely to be a meaningful part of this season's rotation.

James Okonkwo, Forward, 6'8" 230 lbs., Sophomore - James played a total of 11 minutes last season in 3 games. He is unlikely to get on the floor outside of garbage time this year.

Outlook

Last year was a major struggle for West Virginia, especially once conference play started. They lost almost all their best players and outside of Tre Mitchell, their incoming transfer/recruiting class is less than impressive. The best-case scenario for this team is that they stay healthy, Tre Mitchell plays at an elite level, and the team wins games behind a stifling defense. More likely though, they will be as bad or worse than last year and remain near the bottom of the conference. They may have fixed some of their rebounding problems, but in so doing appear to have sacrificed a great deal of scoring ability. Time will tell if this offense can compete against Big XII defenses. If Bob Huggins takes this team to the NCAA Tournament, well that'd be another bragging point for the Hall of Famer.

Award Watchlists

Big XII Coach of the Year

1) Scott Drew, Baylor

2) Mark Adams, Texas Tech

3) Bill Self, Kansas

4) Chris Beard, Texas

5) Jamie Dixon, Texas Christian

Big XII Player of the Year

1) Adam Flagler, Baylor

2) Marcus Carr, Texas

3) Jalen Wilson, Kansas

4) Keyonte George, Baylor

5) Mike Miles, Jr., Texas Christian

Big XII Defensive Player of the Year

1) Tyrese Hunter, Texas

2) Joe Toussaint, West Virginia

3) Kevin McCullar, Kansas

4) Timmy Allen, Texas

5) Moussa Cisse, Oklahoma State

Big XII Sixth Man of the Year

1) Langston Love, Baylor

2) Robert Jones, Iowa State

3) Milos Uzan, Oklahoma

4) Sir'Jabari Rice, Texas

5) Jaylon Tyson, Texas Tech

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Keyonte George (@keyonte1george) | Twitter: @BaylorMBB

Big XII Freshman of the Year

1) Keyonte George, Baylor

2) Gradey Dick, Kansas

3) Dillon Mitchell, Texas

4) Otega Oweh, Oklahoma

5) Elijah Fisher, Texas Tech

Big XII Newcomer of the Year

1) Fardaws Aimaq, Texas Tech

2) Grant Sherfield, Oklahoma

3) Osun Osunniyi, Iowa State

4) De'Vion Harmon, Texas Tech

5) Jalen Bridges, Baylor

Big XII Most Improved Player

1) Tre Mitchell, West Virginia

2) Flo Thamba, Baylor

3) Ismael Massoud, Kansas State

4) Clarence Nadolny, Texas Tech

5) Eddie Lampkin, TCU

First Team All-Big XII

Adam Flagler, Baylor

Marcus Carr, Texas

Jalen Wilson, Kansas

Kevin Obanor, Texas Tech

Fardaws Aimaq, Texas Tech

Second Team All-Big XII

Mike Miles, Jr., TCU

Keyonte George, Baylor

Gradey Dick, Kansas

Kevin McCullar, Kansas

Tanner Groves, Oklahoma

Cryer 1

LJ Cryer (@LjCryer) | Twitter: @BaylorMBB

Third Team All-Big XII

Tyrese Hunter, Texas

LJ Cryer, Baylor

Kalib Boone, Oklahoma State

Emanuel Miller, TCU

Osun Osunniyi, Iowa State

Final Thoughts

If you made it through this, even if it was with skimming and/or skipping some or most of it, thank you. Seriously, I appreciate it. The notion that these posts are not simply ramblings thrust into an empty void, makes it worth it. This should be a wild season of Big XII basketball. I can hardly wait to see our Bears get to work defending their conference title. I plan on doing weekly Power Ranking and Award Watchlist posts this season. They won't be nearly as long as this behemoth, but hopefully they can provide some information and ideas that you haven't seen other places. Sic Em!

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