The future of East region teams
Who they lose, what recruits are coming in and what it means for the future
Sixty-eight teams made the NCAA tournament, but each of them know if they want to return they need to recruit well. Here's a look at what each team in the East region is losing after this year, what kind of recruiting class they're bringing in and what it means to their hopes of making future NCAA tournaments.
|1. Ohio State Buckeyes
What they're losing: The Buckeyes will miss a trio of seniors including sharpshooter Jon Diebler, David Lighty and center Dallas Lauderdale. On top of that, William Buford, who had a breakout year, could test the NBA waters and freshman center Jared Sullinger is a lottery pick and will be highly considered for National Player of the Year.
What they're adding: Coach Thad Matta adds the No. 4-ranked class in the country. McDonald's All American PG Shannon Scott (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton) and C Amir Williams (Detroit, Mich./Country Day School) are the headliners. Scott will be a nice complement to Aaron Craft with his ability to run the team and make good decisions with the ball. The Bucks will have quality depth at the most important position on the floor. Williams is a long and super athletic rebounder, shot blocker and above-the-rim finisher. Versatile wings Sam Thompson (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) and LaQuinton Ross (Jackson, Miss./Life Center Academy) will provide length, athletic ability, skill and scoring. Center Trey McDonald (Battle Creek Central/ Battle Creek, Mich.) at 6-9 is the sleeper of the class who can score with his back to the basket out and to about 15 feet and uses his strength to rebound in traffic.
What it equals: This recruiting class fills the Buckeyes needs with quality players. Expect Scott and Williams to have an immediate impact because Scott can help Craft run the team and Williams will fill the void left by Lauderdale in the areas of rebounding and shot blocking. Thompson's versatility will help and in time be very good, but no player in this class will provide the production of Sullinger, if he leaves. Ross is the X factor because he has the offensive package to score right away on the college level but must learn to play at the college pace on a consistent basis. Ohio State will need to become more perimeter-oriented in order to get back to the NCAA touranment.
|2. North Carolina Tar Heels|
What they're losing: We've looked into the crystal ball and surveyed the scene. Justin Knox is gone, he was a loaner for a year. The rest of landscape is too difficult to project. With Harrison Barnes and John Henson being the most likely guys to jump to the NBA, no one will know for sure until the end of the season. UNC leads the nation in rebounding but if Henson and/or Tyler Zeller bolt that stat changes.
What they're adding: The Tar Heels will welcome in one of the best shooters Roy Williams ever recruited.P.J. Hairston (Greensboro, N.C./Hargrave) can bust 'em from the logos and he's needed badly in the rotation. James McAdoo (Norfolk, Va./Christian) can help at both forwards and owns a winner's DNA. The X factor is walk-on and potential scholarship forward Jackson Simmons (Sylva, N.C./Smoky Mountain). He's blue-collar and is likely to beat out the spring big guy the Heels may go after.
What it equals: Talent is on the way BUT talent may also exit the program. If, and this is a big one, everyone stays, you're looking at the No. 1 team in America next season. You have to think someone will leave but good young players will help with the transition.
|3. Syracuse Orange
What they're losing: The Orange don't lose much in terms of bodies but they do lose a lot in teams of impact. Rick Jackson has had a monster season for the Cuse. Going into every game you can just about count on him to produce a double-double. The wide body from Philly has done damage over the years in the paint.
What they're adding: Every year Syracuse has done an outstanding job recruiting long athletic guys who can finish in transition. Adding three ESPNU 100 players is always a good way to help yourself. Michael Carter-Williams (Hamilton, Mass./St. Andrews) is a natural scorers= who can make 3s or dribble drive his way in the lane. Trevor Cooney (Wilmington, Del./Sanford) is a long distance shooter who utilizes his shot fake to set up his drive and will stretch a defense out. Rakeem Christmas (Philadelphia, Pa./Academy of the New Church) is a developing athletic big who can block and alter shots.
What it equals: This influx of talent is coming in on the heels of last year's solid recruiting class, which this bodes well for Jim Boeheim. This class gives him two perimeter players that can score off the bounce in Williams and make longrange jumpers behind the arc in Cooney. Christmas will have the biggest learning curve and can take time to develop, which is a luxury.
|4. Kentucky Wildcats
What they're losing: The Wildcats, who only have one senior, are no strangers to a mass exodus of underclassmen departing early to the NBA. This year, along with senior Josh Harrellson, the Wildcats are anticipating the losses of Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight. Luckily they have another outstanding class coming in to keep them in the hunt.
What they're adding: This is the third consecutive No. 1-rated class that coach John Calipari has attracted to Lexington and many think that this group, loaded with the nation's best PG in Marquis Teague (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike), SF in Michael Gilchrist (Somerdale, N.J./St. Patrick) and PF in Anthony Davis (Chicago, Ill./Perspectives Charter), may collectively be the best of the three.
What it equals: Depending on who stays and how quickly these young players adjust to the college game, this could be the most talented team that Calipari has had in his tenure at Kentucky.
|5. West Virginia Mountaineers
What they're losing: West Virginia takes a big hit losing five seniors, including Casey Mitchell, who was the Mountaineers' leading scorer, John Flowers, the team's second leading rebounder, and Joe Mazzulla, who led the team in assists, make up the biggest part of that group. Like most tournament teams there is always a group of experienced talent walking out the door.
What they're adding: Coach Bob Huggins can evaluate talent and develop it. He brings in a six-man class that it loaded with versatility and athletes. PG Jabari Hinds (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Mount Vernon) bring quickness and the ability to make plays by slashing between defenders. SF Aaron Brown (Philadelphia, Pa./Penn Wood) is physical player who finishes, rebounds his position very well and defends. Keep an eye on 6-6 PF Keaton Miles (Dallas, Texas/Lincoln), who is long, athletic and displays skill from 15 feet and in. As he hits the weight room, he could really blossom in time for West Virginia.
What it equals: West Virginia recruits a unique style of player, one that is not always highly rated but is tough and plays with a slight chip on their shoulder to prove themselves. This class will offer immediate help.
|6. Xavier Musketeers
What they're losing: The losses are manageable for coach Chris Mack. Jamel McLean is the team's top rebounder, but aside from his presence inside, Mack won't have to re-write the script. The only potential hitch in Mack's giddyup is Tu Holloway. If he gets happy feet for professional basketball would cause some rain clouds to form for Xavier.
What they're adding: This is where it's exciting for Musketeers fans. With a strong nucleus, "X" is adding three good recruits. The best of the lot is Dezmine Wells (Raleigh, N.C./Hargrave Military). Wells is one of the best finishers in high school ball and he's country strong. Jalen Reynolds (Stevenson, Mich./Stevenson) has explosion and Darwin Davis (Bloomington, Ind./South) is a top 30 point guard. Translation: Another good class is on the way. Plus, Mack has former Monmouth standout Travis Taylor (who averaged 17 points, 7 rebounds per game) ready to rock next fall.
What it equals: This program is one of the healthiest in the nation and the class of its league. Combine the incoming talent with the established players and Mack can pencil himself into the tournament for a few years to come.
|7. Washington Huskies
What they're losing: The Huskies will be without a trio of noteworthy contributors in Justin Holiday, Venoy Overton, and Matthew Bryan-Amaning. Holiday improved as much as any player in the Pac-10 this season and Bryan-Amaning was the Huskies' one consistent inside force.
What they're adding: Coach Lorenzo Romar has been an excellent recruiter throughout his coaching career and it continued this season with the nation's 18th-ranked class. The backcourt will be in good hands with the addition of ESPNU Top 100 talent Tony Wroten Jr. (Renton, Wash./Garfield) and sleeper Hikeem Stewart (Seattle, Wash./Rainier Beach). PF Jernard Jarreau (New Orleans, La./McDonogh), 6-10 and 190 pounds, needs strength but has a high ceiling.
What it equals: The Huskies' backcourt will be the strength of the offense as Romar's team is full of talent at all three perimeter positions. However, losing the inside presence of Bryan-Amaning will hurt significantly until someone -- most notably 7-foot junior-to-be Aziz N'Diaye -- steps up their game.
|8. George Mason Patriots
What they're losing: Jim Larranaga has only two seniors but one of them will go down as an all-time great. Guard Cam Long does it all for the Patriots and is one of the CAA's most respected players. You can't plug another player into his spot because his impact on the team is so unique.
What they're adding: The best recruit for the Patriots is super-slasher Vaughn Gray (Elmwood Park, N.J./St. Benedict's). He improved greatly as a senior and his athleticism and ability to run the floor will be put to good use. Mix in the fact he comes from a winning situation and he'll slide in well. Corey Edwards (Middle Village, N.Y./Christ The King) will be a freshman backup.
What it equals: The Patriots don't need much help from their incoming recruiting class because the program is flush with good players and plenty of talent; they have four starters returning. Excellent freshmen received limited minutes this season and will be chomping at the bit to break into next year's rotation. Good team, good talent, CAA championship expectations.
|9. Villanova Wildcats
What they're losing: The Wildats lose three of their top four leading scorers. Guards Corey Stokes and Corey Fisher combined for 30 pounds and 6 assists a game, while Antonio Pena added 10 points and was a consistent performer on the glass, averaging 7 rebounds a game.
What they're adding: A top 25 recruiting class. Coach Jay Wright puts a premium of having outstanding guards in his program and 6-3 Tyrone Johnson (Plainfield, N.J./Montrose Christian) is a physical PG with the size to carry defenders into the lane and score over defenders. He can create for himself and others. SG Achraf Yacoubou (Brookville, N.Y./Long Island Luteran) brings a strong, tough demeanor to the perimeter. If 6-9, 270-pound C Markus Kennedy (Philadelphia, Pa./Brewster Academy) can get and stay in good condition, he can contribute right away with his ability to score and pass.
What it equals: The group, which was ranked No. 22 in the 2011 class rankings, will replenish the roster. It has the potential to help the Wildcats continue its winning ways.
|10. Georgia Bulldogs
What they're losing: What they're losing: Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins form one of the best inside/outside punches in the the SEC. If they both return for their senior seasons the Dawgs could be in store for a special year.
What they're adding: As Mark Fox's highest-profile recruit, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Greenville, Ga./Greenville) is the headliner in this class and expected to have an immediate impact on the program. Tim Dixon (Oldsmar, Fla./Oldsmar Christian) and John Florveus (Tampa, Fla./Hillsborough CC) could be called into action quickly if Thompkins makes an early departure to the NBA.
What it equals: Fox has quickly put his mark on the program and is making recruiting in-roads within Georgia's fertile grounds. If the Bulldogs can continue their ability to attract the state's top talent look for the Bulldogs to make a strong push towards an SEC championship.
|11. Marquette Golden Eagles
What they're losing: Jimmy Butler lead this Marquette team in scoring and was a terrific rebounder who did so much for Buzz Williams.
What they're adding: SF Juan Anderson (Castro Valley, Calif./Castro Valley) is an under-the-radar player who will blossom in Williams' system. PG Derrick Wilson (Anchorage, Alaska/Hotchkiss) will bring a competitive spirit and depth to the position, while Todd Mayo (Germantown, Tenn./Notre Dame Prep) will make his mark as a scorer.
What it equals: Under the leadership of Williams, this Marquette program consistently wins and develops talent. This class will need time to break in, but will likely over achieve.
|12. (play in) UAB Blazers
What they're losing: Mike Davis will miss the 17.7 points per game from Jamarr Sanders but that's about the sum total of key pieces he's losing. The Conference USA regular season champs, the Blazers still have players in this program.
What they're adding: Our favorite new Blazer is guard K.C. Whitaker (Ashburn, Va./Fishburne Military). This young man was under recruited and the Blazers should feel great about their evaluation and the player they signed. Junior college shooting guard Malcolm Herron (Downers Grove, Ill./Western Texas) is a powerful wing at 6-4 and 205 pounds.
What it equals: Memphis will once again have the inside track on the league championship and Davis loses some scoring, but this is a team that has a chance to absorb the loss and remain in the upper echelon of the league.
|12. (play in) Clemson Tigers
What they're losing: Brad Brownell has a bit of a problem. He's about to lose Demontez Stitt and Jerai Grant, his best assist man and top two scorers. Other than that, it's all good in Tigerland. Look, Brownell's the right guy for the job but he's losing two of his best players. Once he establishes himself recruiting-wise it'll be smooth sailing.
What they're adding: In a perfect world, each of the four newcomers would find a way to contribute. One of them has to help with ballhandling duties and that'll be either Daniel Sapp (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Northeast) or Devin Coleman (Philadelphia, Penn./Friends Central). Bernard Sullivan (Charlotte, N.C./Davidson Day) is the scorer from the power forward slot and K.J. McDaniels (Birmingham, Ala./Central Park Christian) supplies the athleticism.
What it equals: Brownell will keep this program a winner but its hard to put them in the NCAA tournament next year unless forward Milton Jennings delivers on his pre-Clemson hype and becomes the team's dominant offensive player.
|13. Princeton Tigers
What they're losing: The Tigers lose all-conference senior and defensive player of the year Kareem Maddox. Also graduating is starting SG Dan Mavraides who is crucial to the team's offensive execution with his basketball IQ and deep shooting range.
What they're adding: There is some size on the way as 6-10 center Bob Garbade (Binghamton, N.Y./Seton Catholic Central) and 6-6 SF Denton Koon (Liberty, Mo./Liberty) are both en route, but it may be another year or two before either is able to make a significant contribution.
What it equals: Princeton may have a hard time duplicating its success from this season because the Tigers suffer significant losses that they have yet to balance out on the recruiting front.
|14. Indiana State Sycamores
What they're losing: The Sycamores will have to replace two very solid guards in Aaron Carter, an excellent 3-point shooter and the team's best free throw shooter and Jake Kelly, a transfer from Iowa who has battled back from a knee injury to be second on the team in assists.
What they're adding: Coach Greg Lansing tapped the talent-rich state of Indiana for two recruits in PF Justin Gant (Terre Haute, Ind./ North Vigo) who has an excellent motor and is very skilled. Gant knows how to play, can rebound and has comfortable range to about 18 feet with great upside. SG Khristian Smith (Indianapolis, Ind./Maine Central Institute) is a very good athlete at 6-5 who scores with a nice midrange game and has the ability to defend both wing positions. SG Devonte Brown (Killeen, Texas/Ellison) can make plays off the bounce, rebounds well for a perimeter player and can deliver the ball from the wing or when he moves to the point.
What it equals: Indiana State returns its top three scorers and Gant has the offensive skill and urgency to his game to produce right away. Smith and Brown will provide depth and athletic ability on the wings that will give the Sycamores a great chance to make a return trip to the dance again next season.
|15. Long Island Blackbirds
What they're losing: The Blackbirds lose two double figure scorers on the wing in Kyle Johnson and David Hicks. Both players have topped the 20-point plateau on more than one occasion this year, while Johnson is also the team's best perimeter rebounder.
What they're adding: They stayed in New York to sign SG Gerrell Martin (Bronx, N.Y./Wings Academy) in the fall. Martin is a versatile and athletic perimeter player who could see time at any of the three backcourt positions in coach Jim Ferry's lineup.
What it equals: Balance has been a key for LIU this year with four players averaging between 10 and 12 points per game this year. The loss of Johnson and Hicks will hurt but isn't unbearable. Expect the Blackbirds to play more inside-out next year with Julian Boyd and Jamal Olasewere both returning as juniors.
|16. (play in) Texas-San Antonio
What they're losing: The Roadrunners can be pretty thankful in this department. The squad's lone significant loss is leading scorer Devin Gibson who tosses in 17 a game. They'll return their next two scoring leaders but Gibson was also the team's top assist man. They did play a few good young players this season.
What they're adding: We've got UTSA down for A.J. Price, a shooting guard out of The Colony. If you're recruiting junkie, you probably know that superstar Deron Williams and former Indiana star Bracey Wright graduated from The Colony.
What it equals: UTSA crashed the Southland's party to earn the automatic berth this season. With a young roster in tow, they should have momentum and talent to contend the next two seasons but the Southland remains a conference up for grabs each March.
|16. (play in) Alabama State Hornets
What they're losing: Forward Tramayne Moorer and his 12.5 points are exiting the program. That's the most significant loss for the Hornets.
What they're adding: Word out of Alabama State is its very open to suggestions. The program doesn't have a verbal commitment or signed letter of intent for next season. Something tells us that after this week, with a little TV time, things could change quickly for the Hornets.
What it equals: The Hornets finished fourth in their league and started only one senior. With an offseason addition and natural improvement of the players in the program, one has to think Alabama State will be in the mix as one of the better teams in the SWAC.