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Aaron Torres College Hoops 'Way Too Early Top 25' for 2024-2025 - Post NBA Draft edition

Updated: Jun 18

Well folks, we've finally made it: With the transfer portal cycle just about over (shout out to Coleman Hawkins for throwing his own, one-man party), the NBA Draft deadline behind us, and Dan Hurley not going to the Lakers - we can finally definitively say what final, 2024-2025 college basketball rosters will look like.

And with it, let's go ahead and for - likely the final time until the start of next season - update our "Way Too Early Top 25."

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

Key Returnees: Mark Sears, Grant Nelson, Jarin Stevenson, Latrell Wrightsell Jr.,

Key Departures: Aaron Estrada, Rylan Griffen (transfer), Sam Walters (transfer), Nick Pringle (transfer), Davin Cosby Jr. (transfer), Mohamed Wague (transfer)

Key Additions: Cliff Omoruyi (transfer), Aden Holloway (transfer), Chris Youngblood (transfer), Houston Mallette (transfer), Derrion Reid, Aiden Sherrell, Naas Cunningham, Labaron Philon

A month ago I said "If Mark Sears returns Alabama should be No. 1," and many said I was crazy Well, at the draft deadline he came back, so did Jarin Stevenson and now it's a near-consensus the Tide are the top team.

(It's funny how like 90 percent of the stuff I get called crazy for ends up being dead right in the long run - but that's another story for another day).

Looking at this Alabama team, they're kind of like Noah's Arc - they have at least two of everything. Three legit ball-handlers starting with Sears and his back-up, former McDonald's All-American and Auburn transfer Aden Holloway. More shooting than a year ago with Latrell Wrightsell now joined by transfers Chris Youngblood (South Florida) and Houston Mallette (Pepperdine). More size with Grant Nelson teaming with Rutgers transfer Cliff Omoruyi and McDonald's All-American Derrion Reid.

At this point, Alabama's only problem might be trying to find minutes for all these guys - a good problem to have no doubt. The Tide are my preseason No. 1 squad.

2. Kansas Jayhawks

Key Returnees: DaJuan Harris Jr., Hunter Dickinson, Elmarko Jackson, KJ Adams Jr.

Key Departures: Kevin McCullar Jr., Johnny Furphy, Nick Timberlake, Parker Braun

Key Newcomers: AJ Storr (transfer), Rylan Griffen (transfer), Zeke Mayo (transfer), Flory Bidunga, Rakease Passmore

The other team that has been getting most of the "Too Early" No. 1 buzz is Kansas, and let me tell ya: When Bill Self told reporters "I've been planning for next year for a month" following an NCAA Tournament loss, he wasn't lying.

The crux of what Self has done this off-season has come through the portal. My No. 1 ranked portal player AJ Storr is headed to Lawrence after averaging 17 points per game at Wisconsin last season. And Summit League Player of the Year Zeke Mayo and Alabama sharp-shooter Rylan Griffen will join him.

Add them in with a veteran core of returnees (DaJuan Harris Jr., Hunter Dickinson) and you have a team good enough to win a second title in four years.

3. UConn Huskies

Key Returnees: Alex Karaban, Samson Johnson, Hassan Diarra, Jaylin Stewart, Solo Ball

Key Departures: Tristen Newton, Cam Spencer, Stephon Castle, Donovan Clingan

Key Newcomers: Tarris Reed Jr., (transfer), Aidan Mahaney (transfer), Liam McNeeley, Ahmad Nowell, Isaiah Abraham

What a two weeks its been, as the Huskies experienced the high of returning Alex Karaban at the NBA Draft deadline, only to spend a weekend going through Dan Hurley/Lakers watch.

But now that UConn survived that, they're exactly where they were the day Karaban announced his return: A team good enough to once again win it all.

With Karaban back, Huskies bring back a nice mix of contributors from last year's team (Hassan Diarra, Samson Johnson) and high-upside sophomores (Solo Ball and Jaylin Stewart) to pair with intriguing newcomers.

The big name is McDonald's All-American Liam McNeeley, who could be a breakout star in this offense, while Saint Mary's transfer Aidan Mahaney should add needed scoring pop as well. Tarris Reed adds a second big to compliment Samson in the paint.

The road to the Big East again goes through Storrs.

4. Houston Cougars

Key Returnees: LJ Cryer, Emmanuel Sharp, J'Wan Roberts, Ja'Vier Francis, Terrence Arceneaux, Mylik Wilson, Joseph Tugler

Key Departures: Jamal Shead, Damian Dunn (transfer)

Key Additions: Milos Uzan (transfer), Chase McCarty, Mercy Miller

At this point, we're just betting on Kelvin Sampson - because why the heck wouldn't we? But even if you're a doubter, the reigning Big 12 champs return plenty of talent in 2024-2025.

All-American Jamal Shead is out the door, but the Cougars appear to have already addressed that, by adding former Oklahoma starting point guard Milos Uzan.

But beyond Shead's departure most of the key pieces return. Emmanuel Sharp was a breakout start this season and LJ Cryer came on late as the team's much-needed scoring pop. J'Wan Roberts, Ja'Vier Francis and Joseph Tugler provide toughness down low.

5. Iowa State Cyclones

Key Returnees: Keshon Gilbert, Tamin Lipsey, Curtis Jones, Milan Momcilovic

Key Departures: Tre King, Robert Jones, Hason Ward, Omaha Bilew (transfer)

Key Additions: Joshua Jefferson (transfer), Nate Heise (transfer), Dishon Jackson (transfer), Brandon Chatfield (transfer)

The Cyclones were one of the great stories of the college basketball season - and could be an even better one with several key pieces back.

The backcourt returns mostly intact, with Keshon Gilbert and Tamin Lipsey returning, and it should be a big sophomore year for  Milan Momcilovic. Iowa State needed to add some pieces in the frontcourt, and have quickly gotten to work, most notably with Charlotte's Dishon Jackson.

The last big piece came just a week or so ago, when Joshua Jefferson, a star on Saint Mary's WCC Championship team prior to injury announced he'd be a Cyclone. He'll bring a balance of defensive toughness and scoring pop to this team on the wing.

6. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Key Returnees: Ryan Nembhard, Graham Ike, Ben Gregg, Nolan Hickman, Braden Huff, Dusty Stromer, Steele Venters

Key Departures: Anton Watson

Key Additions: Michael Ayayi (transfer), Khalif Battle (transfer)

I'll readily admit that I was hard on Mark Few all season, but the year ended with one of his best coaching jobs - getting to the Zags into the Sweet 16.

And in 2024-2025, they should make their back into the conversation of nationally elite.

Put simply, the Zags basically return six of their top seven players off another second weekend NCAA Tournament team, including point guard Ryan Nembhard and Graham Ike. They also added a pair of high-scoring transfers, as Michael Ayayi (Pepperdine) and Khalif Battle (Arkansas) should add some of the scoring pop they lacked last season.

7. Baylor Bears

Key Returnees: Jalen Bridges, Langston Love, Jayden Nunn, Josh Ojianwuna

Key Departures: Ja'Kobe Walter, RayJ Dennis, Yves Missi

Key Additions: Jeremy Roach (transfer), Norchad Omier (transfer), VJ Edgecombe, Noah Boyed, Rob Wright, Jason Asemoa

Over the last couple off-seasons I haven't always loved Baylor's roster composition, but this year, I love the pieces that Scott Drew has put together.

Put simply, the Bears might have the best starting backcourt in America, with Duke transfer Jeremy Roach and five-star VJ Edgecombe. Roach was, in my opinion, one of the top handful of players to enter the portal all off-season and will bring the experience that this backcourt that was otherwise missing. And a major frontcourt piece was added, as Miami double-double machine Norchad Omier has decided to go to Baylor as well.

Add in returnees like Jalen Bridges and Langston Love, and this group is group is talented and balanced from top-to-bottom. It's Scott Drew's best team since the 2021 national title squad.

8. North Carolina Tar Heels

Key Returnees: RJ Davis, Eliot Cadeau, Seth Trimble, Jalen Washington, Jae'Lyn Withers

Key Losses: Armando Bacot, Harrison Ingram, Cormac Ryan, Paxson Wojcik

Key Newcomers: Cade Tyson (transfer), Ven=Allen Lubin (transfer) Ian Jackson, Drake Powell, James Brown

It was an interesting off-season to say the least for North Carolina, which had two big wins in late April, yet had several very public misses in the portal.

On the positive, there was no bigger news - maybe anywhere - than the return of All-American RJ Davis, who averaged 21 points per game this past season. He might be the most accomplished returnee anywhere in college basketball. The other big news of the month was that the Tar Heels added elite shooting in Belmont transfer Cade Tyson, and he'll team with several key returnees and two highly-touted McDonald's All-Americans in guard Ian Jackson and wing Drake Powell.

If there is a concern, it's that Hubert Davis seemed to very publicly court several big men (Jonas Aidoo, Cliff Omoruyi, Ugonna Onyenso) and whiff on virtually all of them late. He did add Vanderbilt's Ven-Allen Lubin late, but he's more of an undersized four than a true Armando Bacot replacement.

With returnee Jalen Washington alongside Lubin it doesn't feel like a crippling area of weakness, but is worth monitoring.

9. Duke Blue Devils

Key Returnees: Tyrese Proctor, Caleb Foster

Key Losses: Kyle Filipowski, Jared McCain, Ryan Young, Jeremy Roach (transfer), Mark Mitchell (transfer), Sean Stewart (transfer), TJ Power (transfer), Jaylen Blakes (transfer)

Key Newcomers: Cooper Flagg, Khaman Maluach, Isaiah Evans, Kon Knueppel, Patrick Ngongba II, Darren Harris, Maliq Brown (transfer), Mason Gillis (transfer), Sion James (transfer)

It was certainly an active early spring, as Duke lost 10 players total (seven players to the portal and three to the pros).

But one, with a loaded freshman class it wasn't all that surprising. And two, to Jon Scheyer's credit, he did a nice job finding veterans in the portal to round out his roster.

First off, that absurd freshman class. It's obviously headlined by the No. 1 player in America, Cooper Flagg, with five of Duke's six commitments ranked inside 247 Sports' Top 20 players in America.

Add them in with two returnees in the backcourt (Tyrese Proctor, Caleb Foster) and the vet portal guys, and the Blue Devils will again compete with North Carolina atop the ACC.

10. Arizona Wildcats

Key Returnees: Caleb Love, Jaden Bradley, KJ Lewis, Motiejus Krivas

Key Departures: Keshad Johnson, Pelle Larsson, Kylan Boswell (transfer), Oumar Ballo (transfer)

Key Newcomers: Trey Towsend (transfer), Tobe Awaka (transfer) Carter Bryant, Emmanuel Stephen 

It was quite an interesting draft deadline day in Tucson, where Arizona returned Caleb Love, but lost a pair of five-star signees in Joson Sanon (committed to Arizona State) and Jamari Phillips (undecided).

Ultimately however, none of the moves were surprising (they'd been reported by Arizona insiders for weeks) and still leaves the Wildcats with a loaded squad headed into 2024-2025.

The Wildcats have, in my opinion the best backcourt in the land with the return of Love, and high-upside guards Jaden Bradley and KJ Lewis. Lewis has "future first round draft pick" oozing from his pores and Bradley was, arguably, Arizona's best player the final few weeks of the season.

It's been quite a busy off-season in Tucson. Two starters (Kylan Boswell and Oumar Ballo) have transferred, but both were expected. Two more starters (Pelle Larsson and Keshad Johnson) are also gone to the pros, and both Caleb Love and KJ Lewis have declared for the draft, but could return.

Veteran forward Trey Towsend transfers in from Oakland to take over for Larsson on the wing, and Tennessee transfer Tobe Awaka provides toughness down low, with Motiejus Krivas starting at center.

11. Purdue Boilermakers 

Key Returnees: Braden Smith, Fletcher Loyer, Will Berg, Trey Kaufmann-Wrenn, Myles Colvin

Key Departures: Zach Edey, Lance Jones, Mason Gillis (transfer)

Key Additions: Kanon Catchings, Gicarri Harris, Daniel Jacobsen

The Boilermakers came up short of a title, but should again be the class of the Big Ten in 2024-2025.

The backcourt of Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer return, and emerging star Myles Colvin should take over the role of Lance Jones. Trey Kaufmann-Wrenn returns at the four spot.

The big question - how does Purdue replace Zach Edey?

While the production will be impossible to replace, 7'2 Will Berg is ready to step in, and 7'3 freshman Daniel Jacobsen arrives on campus as well. Matt Painter definitely has a type, doesn't he?!

12. Arkansas Razorbacks

Key Returnees: Trevon Brazile

Key Departures: Jeremiah Davenport, Jalen Graham, Mahki Mitchell, Tramon Mark (transfer), Khalif Battle (transfer), Devo Davis (transfer), Keyon Menefield (transfer), Baye Fall (transfer), Layden Blocker (transfer)

Key Additions: Johnell Davis (Arkansas), Jonas Aidoo (transfer), Adou Thiero (transfer), Zvonimir Ivisic (transfer), Boogie Fland, Karter Knox, Billy Richmond

Yes, I know I'll be criticized for having Arkansas this high. And I know it will lead to a chorus of Kentucky fans filling my mentions saying "Wait il March! Cal sucks!"

But serious question: Is there a better Top 9 in all of college basketball?

Your guards are a former McDonald's All-American who was playing much better than he was given credit for, prior to a mid-season injury (don't argue with me Kentucky fans, DJ Wagner was), another McDonald's All-American (Boogie Fland) and the third was arguably the best guard in the portal. Adou Thiero is a rising college star on the wing, and your three big guys are all skilled, experienced and athletic as hell.

Ultimately, it's on John Calipari to get these pieces operating at the highest levels and winning in March. But this team is plenty capable of getting Arkansas to its first Final Four since 1995.

13. Auburn Tigers

Key Returnees: Johni Broome, Chad Baker-Mazara, Denver Jones, Dylan Cardwell, Chaney Johnson

Key Departures: Jaylin Williams, Aden Holloway (transfer), Tre Donaldson (transfer), KD Johnson (transfer)

Key Additions: JP Pegues (transfer), Miles Kelly (transfer), Tahad Pettiford, Jahki Howard

On paper, the Tigers really are one of the most underrated teams in the sport coming into 2024-2025. While they might not be quite as deep as a season ago, they have a combination of high-profile returnees (Johni Broome and Chad Baker-Mazara) with a pair of high-impact portal guards in JP Pegeues and Miles Kelly, who was Georgia Tech's leading scorer a season ago.

The only real question I have is Pegeus adjustment to being a point guard in the SEC, but this team has the pieces to win the SEC again next season. And they better, since incredibly, there will be 10 seniors on this coming team's roster.

14. Kentucky Wildcats

Key Returnees: N/A

Key Departures: Reed Sheppard, Rob Dillingham, Antonio Reeves, Tre Mitchell, DJ Wagner (transfer), Aaron Bradshaw (transfer), Adou Thiero (transfer),

Key Additions: Jaxson Robinson (transfer), Amari Williams (transfer), Koby Brea (transfer), Lamont Butler (transfer), Otega Oweh (transfer), Andrew Carr (transfer), Kerr Kriisa (transfer), Brandon Garrison (transfer), Collin Chandler (transfer), Travis Perry

Kentucky was one of the big winners of the NBA Draft deadline, eventually landing Jaxson Robinson the morning after decision-day - but with it, I just have one question: Why I am the only one so high on these Wildcats?

It seems like most people have Kentucky, at best on the fringes of the Top 25, and I just don't get it. In total, they are bringing in four players who averaged double-figures last season in the power conferences, the best shooter in the portal (Koby Brea), and the best defensive guard (Lamont Butler) and big (Amari Williams) in the portal. Heck, their back-up five is a former McDonald's All-American (Brandon Garrison, who could play in the NBA some day.

In the end, I'm not saying this is a perfect team with no flaws. I have them at No. 14. But it still seems way higher than the consensus.

15. Marquette Golden Eagles

Key Returnees: Kam Jones, David Joplin, Stevie Mitchell, Chase Ross, Ben Gold, Sean Jones, Tre Norman

Key Departures: Tyler Kolek, Oso Ighodaro,

Key Newcomers: Damarius Owens, Royce Parham

This might be a bit high on the Golden Eagles, but even with the departures of Tyler Kolek and Oso Ighodaro, there is still plenty of talent on this roster.

Most resides in the backcourt where Kam Jones will be one of the best guards in the Big East, Ben Gold is a solid stretch big man, and they will be surrounded by plenty of speed and shooting.

This team might not have the ceiling of the previous two Marquette teams, but their floor is higher than most people probably give it credit for.

16. Tennessee Volunteers

Key Returnees: Zakai Ziegler, Justin Gainey, Jamai Mashack, JP Estrella

Key Departures: Dalton Knecht, Josiah Jordan-James, Santiago Vescovi, Jonas Aidoo (transfer), Tobe Awaka (transfer), Freddie Dillone (transfer)

Key Additions: Chaz Lanier (transfer), Darlinstone Dubar (transfer), Igor Milicic Jr. (transfer), Felix Okpara (transfer), Bishop Boswell

I'm starting to wonder if the 2023-2024 season gave Rick Barnes his "Dan Hurley moment."

What do I mean by that?

Well, for his entire career, Dan Hurley was a defensive-minded head coach, a guy who gladly grinded out low scoring wins. But after an opening round 2022 NCAA Tournament loss to New Mexico State he realized he needed to prioritize offense, while keeping the same defensive culture and mind-set. As you may have heard, Hurley has won two national titles since.

I bring it up because last year - thanks to Dalton Knecht - Barnes had his best offensive team in Knoxville, and he seemed to have continued to prioritize putting the ball in the basket this spring as well. Chaz Lanier (North Florida) and Darlinstone Dubar (Hosfstra) were two of the highest-scoring guards in the portal, and paired up with returnees Zakai Ziegler, Justin Gainey and Jahmi Mashack, give the Vols one of the most explosive backcourts in the country. Charlotte transfer Igor Milicic adds more scoring and shooting in the frontcourt as well.

To be clear, I'm not saying Tennessee is going back-to-back. But I do wonder if we'll see a different type of Tennessee team these next few years.

17. Kansas State Wildcats

Key Returnees: David N'Guessan

Key Departures: Tylor Perry, Will McNair, Arthur Kaluma (transfer), Cam Carter (transfer), Dai Dai Ames (transfer)

Key Additions: Coleman Hawkins (transfer), Ugonna Onyenso (transfer), Achor Achor (transfer), Dug McDaniel (transfer), Brendan Hauser (transfer), Baye Fall (transfer), Christian Jones (transfer), Max Jones (transfer), David Castillo

Credit where it's due: About a week ago, I liked the Kansas State roster... but there was something missing.

Then Friday, boom, the bomb dropped - as Kansas State added Illinois transfer Coleman Hawkins, my No. 4 transfer in the portal this off-season, and instantaneously, they now have a contender in the Big 12.

To me, Hawkins is the glue who brings this whole team together. The stats don't blow you away (12 points, six rebounds per game last season) but he is a versatile chess piece that can be used virtually anywhere on the court offensively and guard two-through-five (depending on the matchup) on defense. That versatility means that Jerome Tang can go small with Hawkins at the five, or super big, playing him alongside the likes of Kentucky transfer Ugonna Onyenso if necessary.

Add in dynamic Michigan transfer Dug McDaniel at point guard and versatile Achor Achor (previously of Samford) and the Wildcats are a dark horse Big 12 title contender.

18. St. John's Red Storm

Key Returnees: RJ Luis, Simeon Wilcher, Zuby Ejifor, Brady Dunlap

Key Departures: Joel Soriano, Daniss Jenkins, Chris Ledlum, Jordan Dingle, Nahiem Alleyne, Glenn Taylor Jr. (transfer)

Key Additions: Kadary Richmond (transfer), Deivon Smith (transfer), Aaron Scott (transfer), Vince Iwuchukwu (transfer). Jaiden Glover, Khaman Maker

When St. John's opted out of the NIT after (wrongly) getting snubbed from the NCAA Tournament, it was so Rick Pitino could get to work on his 2024-2025 roster.

And while it took a little while, he has put together a team that's as good as anyone in the Big East not named "UConn."

The biggest addition came in early May when Seton Hall transfer Kadary Richmond, arguably the best player to enter the transfer portal this off-season committed to the Red Storm. He was a player who averaged 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists per game, helping Seton Hall to an NIT championship.

He will team with Utah guard Deivon Smith in one of the most explosive backcourts in college basketball and will be surrounded by talented returning pieces, including wing RJ Luis (11 points per game last year) and sharpshooting Brady Dunlap. Former McDonald's All-American  Vince Iwuchukwu and Zuby Ejifor will man the paint.

In a few short months, Rick Pitino has put together a contender.

Say it with me now: BIG. RICK. ENERGY.

19. BYU Cougars

Key Returnees: Fouss Traore, Trevin Knell, Richie Saunders, Dallin Hall, Trey Stewart

Key Departures: Jaxson Robinson (transfer), Noah Waterman (transfer), Aly Khalifa (transfer)

Key Additions: Keba Keita (transfer), Mawot Mag (transfer), Egor Demin, Kanon Catchings, Brody Kozlowski, Elijah Crawford

So quick question: BYU was a Top 25 team most of last year that made the NCAA Tournament, new coach Kevin Young returned four of the top seven players to return, added a bunch of new pieces (including maybe the best recruit in program history) and I'm the only one who has them in the Top 25?

Not sure I get it.

As mentioned, of the Cougars' top seven guys a year ago four returned who averaged 9+ points per game. including double-digit scorers Fouss Traore and Trevin Knell. The Cougars also added a couple high-profile transfers and a few four-star recruits in April and early May as well.

Then the big splash came just a few weeks ago when Egor Demin - a projected Top 10 prospect in the 2025 NBA Draft - elected to leave Europe to come play in Provo. He is arguably the most high-profile player to ever commit to the school, and gives the Cougars a bona-fide star heading into next year. Oh, and just for good measure, BYU also added former Purdue commit Kanon Catchings in late June.

It should be a FUN season in Provo.

20. Indiana Hoosiers

Key Returnees: Malik Reneau, Trey Galloway, Mackenzie Mgbako

Key Departures: Ke'El Ware, Xavier Johnson, Anthony Walker, CJ Gunn (transfer)

Key Additions: Oumar Ballo (transfer), Myles Rice (transfer), Kanaan Carlyle (transfer), Luke Goode (transfer), Bryson Tucker

Say this for Mike Woodson: In a make-or-break 2024-2025 season, if he goes out, he'll go out guns blazing.

To his credit, Indiana has been as big of a winner as anyone in the college hoops portal this off-season. They added Myles Rice from Washington State, last year's Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, elite freshman talent Kanaan Carlyle (Stanford) and big man Oumar Ballo from Arizona. While Ballo being tabbed by some outlets as "the best player in the portal" seems a bit much, he is a difference-maker on both ends down low. Indiana also added McDonald's All-American Bryson Tucker just a few weeks ago. They recently added more shooting, with the addition of former Illinois forward Luke Goode.

Still, as important as the additions are, it's about the returnees too. Star Malik Reneau is back for a junior season, as is Mackenzie Mgbako after a mostly productive freshman year.

If this all comes together - and that's still a big "if" - this team is good enough to compete for a Big Ten title.

21. Michigan Wolverines

Key Returnees: Nimari Burnett, Will Tschetter,

Key Departures: Dug McDaniel (transfer), Tarris Reed Jr. (transfer), Terrence Williams II (transfer), Olivier Nkamhoua

Key Additions: Vlad Goldin (transfer), Tre Donaldson (transfer), Danny Wolf (transfer), Sam Walters (transfer), Roddy Gayle Jr. (transfer), Rubin Jones (transfer), Justin Pippin

Of all the big-name coaching hires this off-season, Dusty May may have well has had as good of a run as anybody. Over a three-day stretch in April and early May, the Wolverines went on a portal run for the ages. Roddy Gayle averaged 14 points per game this past season at rival Ohio State and Danny Wolf was one of the most coveted big men available from Yale. Sam Walters is a highly-skilled big wing coming off a Final Four run at Alabama, and Tre Donaldson is a solid, veteran guard.

And then there was maybe his most important piece yet, as 7'1 center Vlad Goldin announced he'd follow May to Ann Arbor. This squad will be a Big Ten contender in Year 1.

22. UCLA Bruins

Key Returnees: Sebastian Mack, Dylan Andrews, Lazar Stefanovic, Aday Mara, Brandon Williams, Devin Williams

Key Departures: Adem Bona, Will McClendon (transfer), Berke Buyuktuncel (transfer)

Key Additions: Skyy Clark (transfer), Kobe Johnson (transfer), Eric Dailey (transfer), Tyler Bilodeau (transfer), Dominick Harris (transfer)

So I'm buying high on UCLA. One, because I love what the Bruins have done in the portal. And two, because I just believe that Mick Cronin is too good of a coach to have awful seasons in back-to-back years.

In terms of the roster, while star Adem Bona is gone, right now just about everyone else is projected back. More importantly, the Bruins were able to add the size, athleticism and toughness that they lacked a year ago in the portal. Kobe Johnson (USC) and Eric Dailey Jr. (Oklahoma State) are two guys on the wing with skill-sets that they just simply didn't have last year. Skyy Clark is a lead ball-handler, and Dominick Harris is a dude that can get points at the guard spot.

Put simply, the portal has helped this team upgrade its athleticism and toughness quickly, and should be deemed a Big Ten contender in their first year in the league next season.

23. Florida Gators

Key Returnees: Walter Clayton Jr., Will Richard, Micah Handlogten, Alex Condon

Key Departures: Zyon Pullin, Tyrese Samuel, Riley Kugel (transfer)

Key Additions: Alijah Martin (transfer), Rueben Chinyelu (transfer), Sam Alexis (transfer), Isaiah Brown, Olivier Rioux

I'll readily admit that I was dubious of Florida's hire of Todd Golden a few off-seasons ago. But credit where it's due: Golden is coming off an NCAA Tournament run this year, and has quickly and deftly put together another excellent team in 2024-2025.

First off, there are the returnees and the Gators have some of the best in college hoops. Walter Clayton Jr. was an All-SEC guard this year, and will team with Will Richard. Unfortunately, it does look like center Micah Handlogten will take a redshirt after his nasty SEC Tournament injury.

Beyond just what returns, is what Golden has done in the portal this off-season. The biggest addition came just days ago, with Florida Atlantic guard Alijah Martin coming aboard and Rueben Chinyelu was an underrated and key contributor on Washington State's NCAA Tournament squad a season ago.

24. Illinois Fighting Illini

Key Returnees: Ty Rodgers, Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn

Key Departures: Terrence Shannon Jr., Coleman Hawkins (transfer), Marcus Domask, Dain Dainja (transfer), Luke Goode (transfer)

Key Additions: Kylan Boswell (transfer), Tre Whie (transfer), Carey Booth (transfer), Jake Davis (transfer), Ben Humrichous (transfer), Morez Johnson

While there's no way to truly replace the production of All-American Terrence Shannon Jr. and four-year program stalwart Coleman Hawkins, credit Brad Underwood, who has done about as good of a job as you can so far in the portal.

The biggest addition so far is probably former Arizona point guard Kylan Boswell. While Boswell didn't quite work at Arizona, a fresh start in his hometown will probably be a good thing for the former five-star point guard. A fresh start should also be good for Tre White, who was one of the few bright spots at Louisville last year. Ben Humrichous is a big man who should provide shooting after playing at Evansville throughout his career.

25. USC Trojans

Key Returnees: Harrison Hornery

Key Departures: Boogie Ellis, Isaiah Collier, Joshua Morgan

Key Additions: Desmond Claude (transfer), Chibuzo Agbo (transfer), Terrence Williams II, Saint Thomas (transfer), Bryce Pope (transfer), Joshua Cohen (transfer), Clark Slajchert (transfer), Matt Knowling (transfer), Rashaun Agee (transfer), Isaiah Elohim, Jalen Shelley

You knew when Eric Musselman got to USC, it wasn't going to take long for him to put together a competitive team - but to his credit, he's done it quicker and better than just about anyone could've imagined.

In total, the Trojans added six players over the course of one 72 hour April weekend. They were highlighted by former Boise State star Chibuzo Agbo and Northern Colorado's Saint Thomas. Josh Cohen (UMass) adds sizes, with Penn's Clark Slajchert adding shooting off the bench.

The star of the off-season though may have been the addition of Desmond Claude, a 17-point per game scorer last season at Xavier who could be an All-Big 12 type guard.

Just missed:

26. Louisville Cardinals

27. Texas Longhorns

28. Xavier Musketeers

29. Creighton Bluejays

30. Ole Miss Rebels

31. Providence College Friars

32. Memphis Tigers


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