The future of Southwest 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 Southwest 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. Kansas Jayhawks
What they're losing: Key role players Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar are the only known losses. The NBA Draft could have a profound impact on the future of this team. From Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris to Josh Selby and Thomas Robinson, KU's future, especially in the frontcourt is up in the air.
What they're adding: The only player signed up is Naadir Tharpe (Worcester, Mass./Brewster Academy) and his services at the point will be needed. Kansas is involved with a number of potential spring additions and we expect they'll be all over any kids who opt out of LOI's in the event of coaching changes.
What it equals: Hey, it's Kansas and Bill Self losses talent every year. They also win the Big 12 just about every year and contend for titles. Despite an air of uncertainty in terms of who they'll sign and which players defect to the NBA, there isn't a panic button in Lawrence and even if there was, Self would be too cool a customer to push it. Kansas is in good standing, we just can't tell you whose hands will be wrapped around the basketball next year.
|2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
What they're losing:
They are losing two starters who have brought the Irish tremendous success in Ben Hansbrough and Tyrone Nash. Both have helped carry this team all season long with their shooting, basketball IQ and "burn offense." Their level of impact on the program is enormous.
|3. Purdue Boilermakers
What they're losing: The dynamic duo of seniors JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore will be a huge loss for the Boilermakers. Johnson who is the Big Ten POY is a versatile matchup nightmare who came back for his senior season after testing the NBA waters. Moore earned First Team All-Big Ten Honors as well and is a scoring machine who will be very happy in late June as well when the NBA draft is held. Johnson and Moore also displayed great leadership and stepped up big for their team after the early loss Robbie Hummel.
What they're adding: Big Ten Coach of the Year Matt Painter has added two very athletic forwards with great motors. Jacob Lawson (Greensboro, N.C./Oak Ridge Military Academy) is a 6-7 jumping jack who plays above the rim at every opportunity. He can rebound in traffic and has all the tools to be an excellent multiple position defender with great upside. Donnie Hale (New Albany, Ind./Bridgton Academy) is a 6-8 lefty who plays in full attack mode. Hale rebounds on both ends in and out of his area, blocks shots and can score out to about 15 feet or make a short dribble move to the rim.
What it equals: Both Lawson and Hale are both ready to contribute from an athletic standpoint and are Big Ten level rebounders and capable of being terrific in the Boilermakers' pressure man defense. A healthy Hummel will have to be back to provide big and consistent scoring numbers for Purdue to make another NCAA appearance.
|4. Louisville Cardinals
What they're losing: Preston Knowles will be a major loss because he brings so much to every game, especially his 3-point shooting. Defensively, he also got his share of steals in the Cardinals' press and zone defense.
What they're adding: Louisville is bringing in the No. 8-ranked class in the country led by ESPNU 100 prospects SG Wayne Blackshear (Chicago, Ill./Morgan Park), PF Chane Behanan (Bowling Green, Ky./Bowling Green) and C Zach Price (Louisville, Ky./Jeffersontown). Blackshear is athletic, tough and will defend the way coach Rick Pitino wants and needs. Behanan's body is college ready and he is a threat to score inside and will pull down rebounds on a consistent basis. As Price develops, he will have a bigger role.
What it equals: The incoming class will give the Cardinals the help they need right away and support a strong returning cast. If Price can get on the floor and keep himself there for a while, he can be an inside presence scoring and blocking shots. This group is loaded with what Pitino looks for -- players who can put pressure on opponents and play in the open floor.
|5. Vanderbilt Commodores
What they're losing: The Commodores lose a pair of seniors, but the biggest loss would be if 6-7 SF Jeffery Taylor left for the pros. He averages nearly 15 points and 6 rebounds a game. With him, Vanderbilt could be one of the teams to beat in the SEC next year.
What they're adding: SG Dai-Jon Parker (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton) and PG Kedren Johnson (Lewisburg, Tenn./Marshall County) are the backcourt of the future, while 6-8 PF Shelby Moats (Waconia, Minn/Waconia) fits coach Kevin Stallings' system perfectly.
What it equals: Vanderbilt is positioned nicely for the future with an outstanding class that will be able to come in and contribute immediately without the pressure of having to carry the program as freshmen. Parker may have a chance to push for heavy minutes early.
|6. Georgetown Hoyas
What they're losing: The Hoyas are losing what has gotten them so much success over the years. Austin Freeman, Chris Wright and Julian Vaughn lead this team in scoring, assists and rebounding. This trio is the heart and soul of this club and is mainly responsible for all the success over the last four years at Georgetown. A lot to lose and much to replace.
What they're adding: There is plenty of help coming in next season, including a couple of ESPNU 100 players in SG Jabril Trawick (Jenkintown, Pa./Abington Friends) and C Mikael Hopkins (Hyattsville, Md./ DeMatha Catholic), along with C Tyler Adams (Brandon, Miss./Brandon). Trawick can come in and add something right away as he beats defenders off the bounce and is aggressive in his approach. He is suited to score and that's what the Hoyas needs most next year. Hopkins should see time with his athletic frame and shot blocking skills, while Adams is a wide body with some skill.
What it equals: There is no way of getting around the departure of three seniors who were the leaders and top performers all season long. This class addresses the need of size with Hopkins and Adams and they bring different talents to the table. Trawick's mentality is to come in immediately and contribute; his skills and demeanor will allow that to happen.
|7. Texas A&M Aggies
What they're losing: Mark Turgeon has transformed the Aggies into one of the nation's most stable programs. He'll lose B.J. Holmes, a guard that turned in an excellent career and a smattering of others. The Aggies are more than capable of absorbing normal personnel loses due to the overall health and state of their program.
What they're adding: Out goes Holmes and in comes future point guard replacement Jamal Branch (Humble, Texas/Grace Prep). He is a consistent improver and owns a deluxe handle. Unselfish almost to a fault, expect big things from him. Wing man Jordan Green (Flower Mount, Texas/Flower Mound) quietly turned in a strong second half of his high school career and should easily fit into A&M's future plans. Plus, Washington transfer Elston Turner will be in the fold.
What it equals: Given the high level of coaching in the program, the development of Khris Middleton and the incoming players, expect the Aggies to retain their status as perennial NCAA Tournament participants.
|8. UNLV Rebels
What they're losing: The Rebels will lose 6-4 guard Tre'Von Willis, who is their best perimeter scorer. Although he only shot 43 percent from the field, he did average nearly 14 points and 4 assists a game.
What they're adding: Coach Lon Kruger has done a terrific job of finding players who fit his program and prep school standout 6-6 Grandy Glaze (Notre Dame Prep) will continue the trend. The Barkley-esque power forward is blue-collar-tough and a load to deal with in the paint area.
What it equals: The loss of Willis will hurt early on, but the Rebels have a deep roster of prospects who fit into the Kruger system. Look for Chace Stanback and Oscar Bellfield to lead another balanced scoring attack for the Rebels.
|9. Illionis Fighting Illini
What they're losing: The Fighting Illini will need to fill the void left by third-team All-Big Ten point guard Demetri McCamey who leads the team in scoring and assists. Forward Mike Davis' inside scoring and rebounding, as well as 7-foot C Mike Tisdale post play and 3-point shooting will be missed as well.
What they're adding: Four ESPNU 100 prospects from Illinois and a small forward from Alabama are on their way. SF Mycheal Henry (Chicago, Ill./Orr Academy) is a big time athlete with great strength who excels in transition, finishes through contact at the rim and has a nice midrange game. PF Mike Shaw (Chicago, Ill./De La Salle) is long, athletic and creates matchup problems with his ability to score inside and out, as well as rebound on both ends. PG Tracy Abrams (Chicago, Ill./Mount Carmel) has a nice pull-up jumper and will be able to help at the point in the Illini motion offense, while C Nnanna Egwu (Chicago, Ill./St. Ignatius Prep) at 6-10 runs the floor extremely well, scores with his back to the rim with jump hooks, has range to to about 12 feet and rebounds aggressively on both ends.
What it equals: Henry and Shaw have the size, athletic ability and skill to contribute right away and if they can produce in the Illini motion offense expect coach Bruce Weber to have a great chance to get back in the NCAA tournament.
|10. Florida State Seminoles
What they're losing: Chris Singleton will make a decision that could determine the direction of the Seminoles season. They'll be without scorer Derwin Kitchen and didn't exactly light it up offensively with both guys anyway.
What they're adding: We like this group because it contains a trio of ESPNU 100 commits. Antwan Space (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) is a Singleton clone and he's a great rebounder with bounce at the rim. Aaron Thomas (Cincinnati, Ohio/Withrow) can score like former Seminole Toney Douglas. Terry Whisnant (Cherryville, N.C./Cherryville) owns one of the prettiest shots in the Class of 2011 and scored over 2,000 points in high school.
What it equals: Sophomores to be Ian Miller and Okaro White have potential and Michael Snaer will have to assume a larger role. Snaer hasn't lived up to his All-American reputation coming out of high school, but if the older guys can set the tone for the talented youngsters, FSU could surprise in the ACC and find itself back in the dance.
|11. (play in) USC Trojans
What they're losing: Alex Stepheson, the Trojans' heart and soul in the paint area, has exhausted his eligibility and if Nikola Vucevic puts his name in the NBA draft, that leaves USC without two key cogs on the front line. USC also loses its most potent perimeter defender in Marcus Simmons.
What they're adding: Coach Kevin O'Neill and his staff have done a nice job on the recruiting front by adding tough and skilled 6-5 SF Byron Wesley (Etiwanda, Calif./Etiwanda) and one of the more improved playmakers in the West in 6-2 PG Alexis Moore (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly). The Trojans went the junior college route and snagged the smooth-shooting 7-1 C James Blasczyk (Lee College, Texas) to help soften the blow if Vucevic leaves early.
What it equals: There might not be a coach who does more with less than O'Neill. He finds his players to fit his system and it seems no different with this incoming class. The key for the Trojans is if Blasczyk can give the Trojans some scoring punch and rebounding. If not, O'Neill may continue to scour the country for a big to add depth along the front court.
|11. (play in) VCU Rams
What they're losing: The Rams will certainly miss all-conference forward Jamie Skeen. They'll also say goodbye to Joey Rodriguez, a starter in the backcourt, as well as Ed Nixon and Brandon Rozzell.
What they're adding: Shaka Smart's team has recruited well since his arrival and he'll welcome a guard and wing next season. Treveon Graham (Leonardtown, Md./St. Mary's Ryken) is a young man they have high hopes for as a scorer. Briante Weber (Chesapeake, Va./Fork Union) fits perfectly with the Rams' "havoc" style of play.
What it equals: Yes, the Rams are losing four seniors who contributed to the program. Yes, the CAA is a strong league. Yes, Smart's kids can continue to compete in the upper echelon because they're recruited well and Rob Brandenberg and Bradford Burgess should be ready to advance their games.
|12. Richmond Spiders
What they're losing: Chris Mooney loses three key seniors, including point guard Kevin Anderson. The core elder statesmen of the team exhausted their eligibility and leave a hole in the lineup that won't be easily fixed. The team's top rebounder, scorer and assist man graduate this season.
What they're adding: Now for the good news, help is on the way. Trey Davis (Richmond, Va./Benedictine) turned in an outstanding senior season and could be seasoned enough to make a splash as a freshman. Luke Piotrowski (Egg Harbor, N.J./Atlantic Christian) is a Mooney-style power forward and their other two recruits provide depth.
What it equals: There's going to be a rebuild taking place for the Spiders. The system, structure and culture of the program are huge assets in helping the next group of players assimilate into the A-10. However, when you lose as many good, older players as the Spiders will, there's bound to be growing pains.
|13. Morehead State Eagles
What they're losing: Their losing a professional basketball player in Kenneth Faried, who was the Dennis Rodman of the OVC by averaging 14.5 rebounds per game. More bad news: guard Demonte Harper will graduate as well. Harper is a special player in his own right and has been an integral part of two NCAA tournament teams.
What they're adding: Donnie Tyndall knows what he's doing when it comes to recruiting. He recruited three pros as an assistant at LSU. Next year, the coach is going to need name tags to identify his seven freshmen and one junior college player. Keep an eye out for Will Bailey (Columbus, Ga./Brookstone).
What it equals: Losing Harper and Faried means rebuilding. With an eight-person class, Tyndall's hoping someone emerges and eventually can replace some of the star power. They'll be young next season and look for them to take two seasons to get back into contention.
|14. St. Peter's Peacocks
What they're losing: Pretty close to everything. Seniors Nick Leon, Wesley Jenkins and Ryan Bacon are all graduating starters while MAAC tournament MVP Jeron Belin is one of the best sixth men in the league and also on his way out.
What they're adding: The Peacocks signed one player in November, Lamin Fulton (Philadelphia, Pa./Neumann-Goretti), an undersized pure point guard with a world of intangibles who will assume a leadership role from his first days in Jersey City. Expect there to be at least two more names in this class before it's all said and done with a big man and a wing being the most likely targets.
What it equals: St. Peter's will likely take a couple of steps back next year but the bottom line is that coach John Dunne had this program over achieving long before they punched their ticket to the tournament. St. Peter's is one of the toughest jobs in the MAAC and for a coach to have their team in contention every three or four years is probably the best case scenario.
|15. Akron Zips
What they're losing: The Zips will lose three of their top six scorers. Guards Steve McNees and Darryl Roberts both depart as well as inside/outside operator Brett McKnight. All provided coach Keith Dambrot with a lot of leadership and productivity.
What they're adding: Akron brings in help on the perimeter in 6-2 shooter Blake Justice (Peebles, Ohio/Peebles) as well as athletic wing Adedeji Ibitayo (Olympia Fields, Ill./Rich Central). Both should be able to provide quality depth if not make their way into the rotation.
What it equals: The Akron Zips are deep this year so they should be able to replace the senior players that are leaving. They may be a little light at the point guard position but they have versatile players and should be able to fill in the point guard spot by committee.
|16. Boston University Terriers
What they're losing: BU only graduates one senior this year but he is the America East's POY in 6-5 swingman John Holland, a high-volume scorer and one of the best long distance shooters in the conference.
What they're adding: Local PF James Kennedy (Dorchester, Mass./Cushing Academy) will provide some muscle and bounce to the Terriers' frontline while, Zach Chionuma (DeWitt, N.Y./Marianapolis Prep) will add a triple threat perimeter scorer who can drain long jumpers, pull up off the dribble or get all the way to the rim.
What it equals: Kennedy and Chionuma won't be ready to make up for the departure of Holland, but they won't need to as coach Pat Chambers still has plenty of weapons coming back including Darryl Partin, Patrick Hazel, D.J. Irving, Dom Morris and Jake O'Brien who missed the majority of the season due to injury.