The future of Southeast 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 Southeast 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. Pittsburgh Panthers
What they're losing: It seems like every year Pittsburgh loses some very talented seniors. This year, that is the case again. As Gary McGhee, Brad Wanamaker and Gilbert Brown depart. McGhee has been a constant force on the glass and scoring inside the paint. Wannamaker is an excellent passer with a 2-1 assist to turnover ratio. Gilbert scored and rebounded well as a perimeter player. The most important quality Pitt is losing with all three young men is their willingness to defend and understanding how to win.
What they're adding: A nationally ranked class class because of the twin towers ESPNU 100 prospects Khem Birch (Motreal, Canada/Notre Dame Prep) and Malcolm Gilbert (Philadelphia, Pa./Academy of the New Church). Birch is a long big-time athletic and mobile big man who can impact the game with his shot blocking talent. He will finish plays inside at the rim and rebounds outside of his given area. Gilbert, who stands 6-11, will be a huge defensive presence and shot blocker along side Birch. However, both need to develop their offensive skill and basketball IQ. Giving the class depth and the toughness that all Pitt teams have is SG John Johnson (Philadelphia, Pa./Life Center Academy), SG Durand Johnson (Baltimore, Md./Brewster Academy) and SF Jaylen Bond (Plymouth Mtg., Pa./Plymouth Whitemarsh).
What it equals: Since Jamie Dixon has been at Pittsburgh he has recruited players that fit into how he wants the game to be played -- defense first with toughness, while sharing the basketball. This group brings all of that and then some. What the players lack now Dixon will develop over time. Look for this class to come in and blend very well with the returning group.
|2. Florida Gators
What they're losing: What they're losing: Florida loses three anchors on the front line in Chandler Parsons, Vernon Macklin and Alex Tyus, but if Patric Young returns for his sophomore season it will go a long way to help the Gators ease through the transition.
What they're adding: Bradley Beal (St. Louis, Mo./Chaminade) is one of the best shooters in the country regardless of level. He will fit in perfectly in Billy Donovan's system and should be an immediate impact. Walter Pitchford (Grand Rapids, Mich./Summit Academy) is a developing post player and an athletic shot blocker who runs the floor. If Young declares early, Pitchford could be thrown into the rotation as a freshman.
What it equals: Beal is one of the top prospects in the 2011 class and has the talent to keep the Gators in the hunt for an SEC Championship.
|3. BYU Cougars
What they're losing: The Cougars will have to replace arguably their best player ever in NCAA POY candidate Jimmer Fredette. Not only was he an elite scorer, but his competitive nature was contagious. Add in unsung hero Jackson Emery who has hit some big shots this season and that is quite a tandem to replace.
What they're adding: Head coach Dave Rose did a great job of filling that hole in the backcourt with the signing of DeMarcus Harrison (Greenwood, S.C./Christ School), who is a tremendous athlete with a lot of range. In addition, the Cougars added some significant size in 6-10 Ian Harward (East Orem, Utah/Orem) and 6-9 Nate Austin (Highland, Utah/Lone Peak).
What it equals: The loss of Fredette -- a once in a lifetime type of player -- will be an impossible hole to fill. However, the Cougars have been one of the more consistently solid programs as of late, and there is no sign of that ending.
|4. Wisconsin Badgers
What they're losing: The Badgers will be without 6-10 forward Jon Leuer, an All-Big Ten selection, and 6-8 Keaton Nankivil, who was an honorable mention on the All-Big Ten team. Leuer, averaging 18 points and 7 rebounds, led the Badgers in scoring and rebounding. Nankivil averaged 10 points and 4 rebounds and also did a great job of stretching the defense with his range to the arc. Junior PG Jordan Taylor, who also earned All-Big Ten honors and was also on the All-Big Ten defensive team, is the floor leader. He averaged 18 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds a game, but what is most impressive is that despite being the primary ball handler, he averages less than two turnovers a game. Taylor could return to Madison, but it would not be surprising if he tested the NBA waters because scouts have noticed him. He reminds many of Portland Trailblazers PG Andre Miller.
What they're adding: Coach Bo Ryan added more skilled bigs in this class with 6-8 forward Jarrod Uthoff (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Jefferson) and 6-10 center Frank Kaminsky (Lisle, Ill./Benet Academy). Both will excel in pick-and-pop situations, rebound and compete on both ends of the floor. Uthoff has range to the arc and Kaminsky out to at least 18 feet. Guard Traevon Jackson (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville South), the son of Ohio State great Jim Jackson, is a lefty wing who will provide the Badgers with a strong slasher who can finish through contact. He's also a physical, multiple position defender. Completing the class is 5-11 scoring point guard George Marshall (Chicago, Ill./Brooks College Prep Academy), who can provide leadership and get teammates involved.
What it equals: Ryan did a great job of recruiting players who should flourish in the Badgers' style right away. Marshall will be thrown into the fire if Taylor leaves, but expect Wisconsin to do what it does year in and out -- develop players, play tough and be competitive on both ends of the floor. That's usually good enough to get the Badgers a bunch of wins and a trip to the NCAA tournament.
|5. Kansas State Wildcats
What they're losing: Frank Martin has the unenviable job of finding a replacement for Jacob Pullen. He embodied Martin's toughness and tone for the program. These guys aren't recruited, they evolve and that's what makes replacing them so difficult.
What they're adding: Martin has toughness in forward Thomas Gipson (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill) and length in Adrian Diaz (Miami, Fla./Hialeah Lakes) locked for the frontline. His new point guard is a kid who believes in himself, can score and hails from Martin's sweet spot: Miami. Angel Rodriguez, from Dr. Krop, is wired up just how Martin likes his players and there's a chip on his shoulder.
What it equals: The loss of Pullen is significant enough that it'll have an effect on the team, but the hope is that it doesn't change the culture. Rodney McGruder's role will expand and Kansas State's toughness should help it stay on the course Martin's laid for it. K-State is at the point where older players should be able to step into larger roles and if one of the three recruits can step up, the Wildcats' winning ways will continue.
|6. St. John's Red Storm
What they're losing: Everyone! The Johnnies lose a total of nine seniors, all of which contributed heavily to the resurrection of the Red Storm. Not sure we have seen that in a while. This group grinded and made so much progress it finally helped get Saint John's back into the upper level of the Big East and more importantly on a national level. Dwight Hardy and Justin Brownlee carried a 1-2 punch for the Red Storm.
What they're adding: First-year coach Steve Lavin performed miracles with his recruiting ability and is bringing in the No. 2-ranked class in the country anchored by six ESPNU 100 players. SF Dom Pointer (Roseville, Mich./Quality Education Academy) is someone fans will take a liking to quickly with his aggressive style of defense and rebounding. Jakarr Sampson (Akron, Ohio/Brewster Academy) is best when he is in the open floor, finishing a transition basket as well as defending perimeter and post players. D'Angelo Harrison (Missouri City, Texas/John Foster Dulles) and Maurice Harkless (Queens, N.Y./South Kent) score the ball with drives and jumpers. Amir Garrett (Los Angeles, Calif./Findlay Prep) could be a difficult matchup with his attacking mindset and hang time.
What it equals: Lavin goes from coaching an experienced group to starting all over again with freshman. A tall order for any program. There is plenty of talent to go around in this class, but it remains to be seen who is ready to step forward from this terrific group and contribute immediately.
|7. UCLA Bruins
What they're losing: The Bruins don't have any seniors on the roster, but the word in Westwood is that sophomore forward Tyler Honeycutt is leaning towards turning pro. He is prone to making turnovers, but if he does leave, the Bruins will have to replace his versatile game.
What they're adding: Coach Ben Howland tapped into the prep and junior college ranks to snag two explosive perimeter prospects in 6-4 Norman Powell (San Diego, Calif./Lincoln) and juco sleeper 6-5 De'End Parker (City College of San Francisco). Neither are great shooters, but both will be suffocating defenders and acrobatic finishers in the open court.
What it equals: The Bruins will be very deep next season at every position besides point guard. UNC transfers David Wear and Travis Wear will add size and skill to the front court. If the Bruins can get an answer for their much-maligned point guard situation, they have the ability to contend for the Pac-12 title.
|8. Butler Bulldogs
What they're losing: Butler is the perennial power in the Horizon. Next year's team will need to rebuild after losing their leading rebounder and scorer in Matt Howard. The Bulldogs could also lose their second leading scorer, Shelvin Mack who is being scouted by the NBA.
What they're adding: They will have some impact freshmen in 6-4 versatile wing Roosevelt Jones (O'Fallon, Ill./O'Fallon Township), 6-8 thin but athletic and skilled post Kameron Woods (Louisville, Ky./Eastern), 6-1 Australian import PG Jackson Aldridge (Sydney, Australia) and 6-6 shooter Andy Smeathers (Bargersville, Ind./Center Grove).
What it equals: They lose a lot (especially if Mack leaves) but Butler always seems to find a way to get it done. Don't be surprised to see the Bulldogs back in the tournament ... again.
|9. Old Dominion Monarchs
What they're losing: Blaine Taylor's inside horse, Frank Hassell, closes out his career in this tournament. Hassell and three other seniors won't be around and it'll be a tough group to replace. Hassell beat up VCU in the conference title game and maxed out his college career.
What they're adding: The Monarchs dipped into Florida and nabbed another wide body in Jason Pimentel (Orlando, Fla./Montverde Academy). Next year Taylor will have six Virginians on the roster as guard Breon Key (Hampton, Va./Phoebus) matriculates from the Boo Williams AAU program.
What it equals: ODU has talent in the program but it'll take a step back in terms of challenging for the league title as will VCU and Hofstra. The key will be the maturation of players who will replace the outstanding senior class. Playing time will be up for grabs between the freshmen and sophomore classes as Taylor re-tools his rotation. Clemson transfer Donte Hill, a swingman, will also factor heavily into the mix.
|10. Michigan State Spartans
What they're losing: Current leading scorer and former Big Ten POY, Kalin Lucas, as well as Durrell Summers will be missed. In those two, the Spartans lose a significant amount of perimeter scoring, ballhandling and playmaking ability.
What they're adding: Help for all three perimeter positions is on the way, led by ESPNU 100 SF Branden Dawson (Gary, Ind./Lew Wallace) and SG Dwaun Anderson (Suttons Bay, Mich./Suttons Bay). Both Dawson and Anderson play above the rim on any and all clear paths and slash to the rim with good strength where they can finish through contact and rebound on both ends of the floor. Brandan Kearney (Detroit, Mich./Southeastern) is the most skilled of the three, who can hit jumpers with range to the arc and is an excellent passer. PG Travis Trice (Huber Heights, Ohio/Wayne) has a great basketball IQ with deep range to keep the defense honest.
What it equals: Trice will be solid and contribute right away with the departure of Lucas. Expect Dawson to be an excellent rebounder and defender immediately to help the Spartans get back to the dance. The entire class fits Tom Izzo's formula for success with athletic ability and toughness.
|11. Gonzaga Bulldogs
What they're losing: The Bulldogs will see the departure of one of the better shooters/scorers in the WCC in Steven Gray. He was their go-to perimeter scorer this past year and he'll be missed.
What they're adding: Although the loss of Gray is significant, Mark Few and his staff always do one of the better jobs of filling needs in the country and this recruiting season is no different. To replace Gray, the Bulldogs have added two prolific shooters in 6-2 Gary Bell Jr. (Kent, Wash./Kentridge) and 6-5 Kyle Dranginis (Nampa, Idaho/Skyview). In addition, 6-1 Kevin Pangos (New Market, Ontario/Denison) has the savvy and talent to make an immediate impact, while 6-7 Ryan Spangler (Blanchard, Okla./Bridge Creek) adds blue-collar toughness.
What it equals: The Bulldogs, after struggling early on, gained the necessary momentum to knock off their conference rival St. Mary's. The Zags' point guard play will significantly improve with the arrival of Pangos and shooting will not be an issue with the prolific shots of Bell and Dranginis.
|12. Utah State Aggies
What they're losing: The Aggies are losing a very strong core of seniors, including the WAC player of the year Tai Wesley, G/F Pooh Williams, who was a member of the All-WAC defensive team last year, and Brian Green, who is their most prolific 3-point shooter.
What they're adding: Coach Stew Morrill and his staff hit the junior college ranks to add 6-9 C Igor Premasunac (Lon Morris JC, Texas) and 6-7 PF Kyisean Reed (Antelope Valley College, Calif.) to fill the void left by Wesley.
What it equals: It will be very difficult for Morrill to find an ample replacement for Wesley, but junior college transfers usually offer immediate help and should sever the blow of the departure of an outstanding senior class.
|13. Belmont Bruins
What they're losing: Winning 30 games during the course of the season is evidence of the type of senior leadership that SFs Jordan Campbell and Jon House provided, but Belmont's strong nucleus of juniors and sophomores are the strength of the team.
What they're adding: SG Spencer Turner (Bloomington, Ind./Bloomington South) comes into a winning environment and will have an opportunity to ease into a role as a contributor and should evolve into a solid performer.
What it equals: The Bruins didn't need to add a lot, but they found a player in Turner who fits what they do. Look for Belmont to again be the team to beat within the A-Sun in 2012.
|14. Wofford Terriers
What they're losing: Coach Mike Young's Terriers will be terrorized by graduation. They lose the bulk of their starting five, including Noah Dahlman -- the Blake Griffin of Wofford rebounding. Young mined a ton of talent from Minnesota four years ago and now the bulk of it is moving on.
What they're adding: Again, Young tapped into his pipeline in Minnesota. How does he do this? Minnesota has just one Division I program in the state, so the good players need options and having seen Wofford win with Minnesota players before, more prospects from the area are interested in the Terriers. Guard Lucas Brown (Roseville, Minn./Roseville) traded harsh winters for cool springs and Georgian Karl Cochran (Marietta, Ga./Walton) will see time at the point.
What it equals: It's a rebuilding scenario for Wofford. However, the Terriers aren't alone because many of their counterparts in the Southern Conference are in the same boat.
|15. UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
What they're losing: The Gauchos will be losing three solid seniors in Justin Joyner, Jordan Weiner and Jon Pastorek. In addition, if leading scorer Orlando Johnson tests the NBA waters, it would be a significant blow for the Gauchos.
What they're adding: In the early signing period Bob Williams added 5-8 point guard T.J. Taylor (Oakland, Calif./Oakland), 6-5 wing-type John Green (Hayward, Calif./Westwind Prep), 6-7 Taran Brown (Gillette, Wyo./Campbell County) and Alan Williams (Phoenix, Ariz./North). Taylor is more of a scorer than facilitator, but his outside shot should get him on the floor early, while Williams should be a serviceable backup for senior-to-be Jaime Serna.
What it equals: The Gauchos will be gunning for a third straight trip to NCAA tournament. If Johnson (best all-around player) decides to stick around for his senior campaign, the newly added recruits should make the Gauchos a much deeper squad.
|16. (play in) UNC-Asheville Bulldogs
What they're losing: John Williams, the team's inside post presence and shot blocker won't be around. Asheville's been known to have all kinds of height, but this time it will have to replace an athlete.
What they're adding: Eddie Biedenbach is singing a good tune on the recruiting trail. He signed Keith Hornsby (Williamsburg, Va./Oak Hill), son of famed pianist Bruce Hornsby. Nice addition, add a sharpshooter and a father who can sing the national anthem; the ultimate two-for-one recruit. Corey Littlejohn (Columbia, S.C./Heathwood Hall) is a scoring guard and Thomas Bess (Cherryville, N.C./Cherryville) provide backcourt backup. Bess is also a baseball prospect.
What it equals: The Bulldogs only lose two seniors, so the big pieces are in place. The freshmen will have a chance to grow in the program and fill in as needed. With Hornsby on the way, it sounds like a good tune for the Bulldogs.
|16. (play in) Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans
What they're losing: The Trojans lose their top three scorers -- PG Solomon Bozeman, SG Alex Garcia-Mendoza and SG Matt Mouzy -- and need to find a solid replacement for their backcourt.
What they're adding: Center Michael Javes (Jacksonville, Fla./Arlington Country Day) may be one of the biggest steals in the 2011 class and has a chance to be a major impact as a freshman. SG Reggie Fondren (Memphis, Tenn./Northeast Miss. CC) is a juco transfer who should also provide some scoring punch.
What it equals: Arkansas-Little Rock, which won its tournament championship in dramatic fashion, is bringing in a strong frontline that should be one of the best in the conference. If the Trojans can find a consistent outside threat, they may have a chance to be in this same position next year.