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2015-2016 College Basketball Way-Too Early Preseason Top 25

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PLEASE NOTE: We have since updated our Preseason Top 25.

The updated rankings, which reflect decisions made by the likes of Buddy Hield, Yogi Ferrell, Caris LeVert, Kyle Wiltjer and Derryck Thornton, can be found here.

1. North Carolina

  • Who’s back: Everyone. Marcus Paige, Brice Johnson, Justin Jackson, Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks.
  • Who’s gone: Desmond Hubert.
  • Who they’re getting: Luke Maye
  • Why they’re here: Marcus Paige is going to be healthy, the Tar Heels return their entire front line and Joel Berry and Justin Jackson will have a full offseason to turn into the complimentary players they showed flashes of being at the end of the season.

2. Iowa State

  • Who’s back: Georges Niang, Monte’ Morris*, Naz Long, Jameel McKay, Matt Thomas, Fred Hoiberg*
  • Who’s gone: Bryce Dejean-Jones
  • Who they’re getting: Hallice Cooke, Deonte Burton, Chieck Diallo*
  • Why they’re here: Assuming that Hoiberg is back in Ames next season, it looks like he’s going to have the best team of his coaching career. Morris and Niang will be back with Burton, a Marquette transfer, getting eligible in December and McKay back to control the paint. Even if they miss on Diallo, the Cyclones are looking at being a top five team.

3. Maryland

  • Who’s back: Melo Trimble, Jake Layman*, Jared Nickens, Michal Cevosky
  • Who’s gone: Dez Wells, Richaud Pack
  • Who they’re getting: Robert Carter, Diamond Stone, Jaylen Brantley
  • Why they’re here: Getting Trimble to announce that he will be coming back to school is huge, as would the return of Layman, because the Terps are going to have plenty of firepower up front. Georgia Tech transfer Carter and top ten recruit Stone will headline one of the better front lines in the Big Ten.

4. Kentucky

  • Who’s back: Tyler Ulis*, Marcus Lee*, Alex Poythress*, Dakari Johnson*
  • Who’s gone: Karl Towns*, Willie Cauley-Stein*, Aaron Harrison*, Andrew Harrison*, Trey Lyles*, Devin Booker*
  • Who they’re getting: Isaiah Briscoe, Skal Labissiere*, Charles Matthews
  • Why they’re here: So much of Kentucky’s 2015-2016 team is in the air. Who is returning to school? Who is going pro? Will they get any of the McDonald’s All-Americans that have yet to commit to a school? Will Labissiere be eligible? We’ll have a much better idea by the end of the month.

5. Virginia

  • Who’s back: Malcolm Brogdon, Anthony Gill, Mike Tobey, London Perrantes
  • Who’s gone: Darion Atkins, Justin Anderson*
  • Who they’re getting: Jarred Reuter
  • Why they’re here: The Cavs return essentially their entire roster from the 2015-2016 team with the notable exception of Anderson. Without him, they really struggled to score at times. If Anderson does actually return to school, UVA would probably shoot up as high as No. 2.

6. Kansas

  • Who’s back: Perry Ellis*, Frank Mason, Devonte’ Graham, Wayne Selden*, Brannen Greene*, Svi Mykhailiuk
  • Who’s gone: Kelly Oubre, Cliff Alexander*
  • Who they’re getting: Carlton Bragg
  • Why they’re here: Bill Self. Beyond that, there’s not a lot that I love about this team next season beyond Bill Self. Mason and Graham will be a very good back court, and getting Selden back will be a key. How much does Mykhailiuk develop, and will Bragg turn into a low-post hoss?

7. Villanova

  • Who’s back: Ryan Arcidiacono, Josh Hart, Daniel Ochefu
  • Who’s gone: JayVaughn Pinkston, Darrun Hilliard
  • Who they’re getting: Jalen Brunson, Tim Delaney, Donte Divincenczo
  • Why they’re here: Losing Hilliard and Pinkston is really going to hurt, but there are two things that make be feel really good about this Villanova team: Hart is going to be an all-Big East player this season, and Brunson is the real deal.

8. Baylor

  • Who’s back: Rico Gathers*, Taurean Prince*, Jonathan Motley, Lester Medford
  • Who’s gone: Kenny Chery, Royce O’Neale
  • Who they’re getting: King McClure, Jake Lindsey, Wendell Mitchell, Joseph Acuil
  • Why they’re here: Assuming that Gathers and Prince return, the Bears will have one of the best front lines in the country. The big issue for them is going to be their ball-handling. Can Lester Medford handle full time point guard duties?

9. Michigan State

  • Who’s back: Denzel Valentine, Lourawls Nairn, Bryn Forbes
  • Who’s gone: Travis Trice, Branden Dawson
  • Who they’re getting: Eron Harris, Deyonta Davis, Matt McQuaid
  • Why they’re here: West Virginia transfer Harris is going to have a chance to be a very, very good player in this back court. They need Nairn to take a significant step forward, particularly offensively, but Valentine may end up being the Big Ten Player of the Year.

10. Arizona

  • Who’s back: Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Elliott Pitts, Dusan Ristic, Gabe York
  • Who’s gone: Stanley Johnson*, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson*, Brandon Ashley, T.J. McConnell, Kaleb Tarczewski*
  • Who they’re getting: Justin Simon, Ray Smith, Chance Comanche, Allonzo Trier, Ryan Anderson
  • Why they’re here: Sean Miller is once again bringing in a loaded class, which he’ll need as the Wildcats will likely end up losing their entire starting lineup from a season ago. There will likely be a learning curve here, but there is enough talent — on the roster and the coaching staff — to make some noise.

11. Georgia

  • Who’s back: Charles Mann, Kenny Gaines, Yante Maten, J.J. Frazier
  • Who’s gone: Marcus Thornton, Nemanja Djurisic
  • Who they’re getting: Jaylen Brown*, William Jackson, William Ogbeide, E’Torrion Wilridge
  • Why they’re here: If they don’t get Brown — which is probably more likely than them landing him — we’re looking at a top 20-25 team.

12. N.C. State

  • Who’s back: Trevor Lacey, Cat Barber, BeeJay Anya, Kyle Washington
  • Who’s gone: Ralston Turner, Desmond Lee
  • Who they’re getting: Terry Henderson
  • Why they’re here: The Wolfpack have enough talent on their roster to compete for an ACC title next season.

13. Xavier

  • Who’s back: Trevon Bluiett, Jalen Reynolds, Myles Davis
  • Who’s gone: Dee Davis, Matt Stainbrook
  • Who they’re getting: Kaiser Gates
  • Why they’re here: We’re expecting Bluiett and Reynolds to take a big step forward.

14. Duke

  • Who’s back: Matt Jones, Grayson Allen, Marshall Plumlee, Amile Jefferson
  • Who’s gone: Tyus Jones*, Jahlil Okafor*, Justise Winslow*
  • Who they’re getting: Brandon Ingram*, Luke Kennard, Chase Jeter, Sean Obi
  • Why they’re here: If Jones comes back, they’ll be a top ten team. If they don’t end up getting Ingram, they’re probably closer to No. 25.

15. Louisville

  • Who’s back: Quentin Snider, Shaqquan Aaron, Mangok Mathiang
  • Who’s gone: Terry Rozier, Montrezl Harrell, Wayne Blackshear
  • Who they’re getting: Trey Lewis*, Donovan Mitchell, Ray Spalding, Deng Adel
  • Why they’re here: Part of it is loving their freshmen class, part of it is faith in Rick Pitino and part of it is the assumption that they have more additions coming.

16. Cal

  • Who’s back: Ty Wallace*, Jabari Bird*, Jordan Mathews, Kameron Rooks
  • Who’s gone: David Kravish
  • Who they’re getting: Ivan Raab*, Caleb Swanigan*, Stephen Domingo, Davon Dillard

17. UCLA

  • Who’s back: Bryce Alford, Tony Parker, Isaac Hamilton*, Thomas Welsh
  • Who’s gone: Kevon Looney, Norman Powell
  • Who they’re getting: Jonah Bolden, Prince Ali, Aaron Holiday, Alex Olesinki

18. Georgetown

  • Who’s back: Isaac Copeland*, L.J. Peak, Tre Campbell, Paul White
  • Who’s gone: D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Josh Smith, Mikael Hopkins
  • Who they’re getting: Marcus Derrickson, Jessie Govan, Kaleb Johnson

19. Wisconsin

  • Who’s back: Nigel Hayes, Bronson Koenig
  • Who’s gone: Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker*, Josh Gasser, Traevon Jackson, Duje Dukan
  • Who they’re getting: Brevin Pritzl, Charlie Thomas, Alex Illikainen, Jahlil Iverson

20. Marquette

  • Who’s back: Duane Wilson, Sandy Cohen, Jajuan Johnson, Luke Fischer
  • Who’s gone: Juan Anderson, Matt Carlino, Derrick Wilson
  • Who they’re getting: Henry Ellenson, Matt Heldt, Traci Carter, Haanif Cheatham, Sacar Anim

21. Notre Dame

  • Who’s back: Zach Auguste, Demetrius Jackson, Steve Vasturia, Bonzie Colson
  • Who’s gone: Jerian Grant, Pat Connaughton
  • Who they’re getting: Rex Pflueger, Elijah Burns, Matt Ryan

22. Gonzaga

  • Who’s back: Kyle Wiltjer*, Przemek Karnowski, Domas Sabonis, Josh Perkins
  • Who’s gone: Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell, Byron Wesley
  • Who they’re getting: None as of right now (Jesse Wade will be on his LDS mission)

23. Vanderbilt

  • Who’s back: Damian Jones, Riley LaChance, Wade Baldwin
  • Who’s gone: James Siakam
  • Who they’re getting: Camron Justice, D’jery Baptiste, Samir Sehic, Joseph Toye

24. Oregon

  • Who’s back: Dillon Brooks, Jordan Bell, Dwayne Benjamin, Elgin Cook
  • Who’s gone: Joseph Young
  • Who they’re getting: Tyler Dorsey, Kendall Small, Trevor Manuel

25. Butler

  • Who’s back: Kellen Dunham, Roosevelt Jones, Andrew Charbacsz, Kelan Martin
  • Who’s gone: Alex Barlow, Kameron Woods
  • Who they’re getting: Nate Fowler, Sean McDermott

Washington announces addition of former Utah commit

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 8:  Coach Lorenzo Romar of the Washington Huskies directs his players in the first half of the game against the San Diego State Aztecs at the Viejas Arena on December 8, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kent C. Horner/Getty Images)
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Monday afternoon the Washington basketball program announced the addition of a 6-foot-6 guard who at one point in time was poised to play against the Huskies in the Pac-12.

Harold Baruti, who committed to Utah in mid-May, has joined Lorenzo Romar’s program. Baruti’s addition gives Washington another option on the perimeter, which is a positive for a team that uses a lot of players in their uptempo system. A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Baruti attended Mountain Mission School in Grundy, Virginia.

Baruti de-committed from Utah just over two weeks ago, with the Salt Lake Tribune reporting at the time that his application for admission was submitted after the school’s deadline for international students.

As a result Utah loses a perimeter newcomer and Washington gains one, moving the Huskies’ 2016 recruiting class up to four. McDonald’s All-American guard Markelle Fultz leads the class, with Baruti, wing Carlos Johnson and center Sam Timmins being the other new arrivals in Seattle.

Bruce Pearl shares heartfelt comments on former Tennessee colleague Pat Summitt

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As news of Pat Summitt’s declining health continues to travel around the country, her peers in the college coaching community are beginning to speak out on the legacy that she created.

On Monday morning, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl discussed his former colleague.

“She created a brand called the Lady Vols,” Pearl said during Monday’s SEC coaches teleconference. “Enough said. You say ‘Lady Vol,’ and Pat created a brand that said it all.”

Pearl knows Summitt’s role in building Tennessee well. He spent six seasons as the head coach of Tennessee’s men’s basketball program, with his tenure coming to an end just a year before Summitt’s career came to an end.

The most famous picture of Pearl features him covered in orange body paint attending a Lady Vols game.

“Pat Summitt saw things in people that they did not see in themselves,” Pearl added. “Pat Summitt never apologized to any one of her players for expecting the most out of them, demanding it and getting it.”

“She was a great friend. She was as loyal as they came. If you were a friend of Pat Summitt’s, she was always there for you. She’s a great mother, and she had the ability to get the most out of her ladies. As much as anybody. She was the most accomplished person in her field and the humblest woman I know. She was the best at what she did, but she was always reading, writing, asking questions, watching tape, watching the Olympics, watching European basketball. She wanted to be on the cutting edge and was always trying to get better.

Nation’s No. 2 prospect transfers to Seattle-area high school

Father Tolton Catholic's Michael Porter, Jr. (1) celebrates after sinking a basket and drawing a foul during the first half of the Missouri Class 3 boys high school championship basketball game against the Barstow Saturday, March 12, 2016, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Michael Porter Jr., the No. 2 prospect in the Class of 2017, and his younger brother Jontay, a four-star prospect in the Class of 2018, announced over the weekend that they will be playing the remainder of their respective high school careers at Nathan Hale HS in Seattle.

The Porters were previously at Father Tilton in Columbia, Missouri. They’re transferring to the Pacific Northwest because their father, Michael Porter Sr., accepted a job as an assistant coach on Lorenzo Romar’s staff at Washington. Porter Sr. was previously an assistant on Missouri’s women’s team.

Why is this relevant?

Well, Nathan Hale isn’t exactly known for being a basketball powerhouse. The team went 3-18 last season. But the program also hired a new head coach for next season — former UW star Brandon Roy. The expectation, ever since Romar hired Porter Sr., has been that Michael would end up enrolling with the Huskies for his one-and-done season; Jontay is already committed to Washington.

And if the familial connection wasn’t enough, the Porters have moved to a city with a strong basketball tradition and, instead of playing for Garfield HS (Roy, Tony Wroten) or Rainier Beach (Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson, Terrence Williams), they wound up at the school being coached by a former UW superstar.

Michael’s top five includes Washington, Missouri, Indiana, Oklahoma and Virginia.

Geno Auriemma and other Huskies pulling for Summitt

Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma listens to a question during a news conference at the women's Final Four in the NCAA college basketball tournament Monday, April 4, 2016, in Indianapolis. Connecticut will play Syracuse in the championship game on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
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NEW YORK (AP) The update on Pat Summitt’s health caught Geno Auriemma by surprise. It’s simply the news nobody wanted to hear, especially her former rival who built UConn trying to model off her success coaching Tennessee.

Summitt’s family said Sunday that the last few days have been difficult for the former Tennessee women’s basketball coach as her Alzheimer’s disease progresses. Auriemma, who had been traveling all day back from Europe, heard the update at the Phoenix Mercury-New York Liberty game.

“It’s sad to see her family go through this,” Auriemma told The Associated Press. “It’s really difficult.”

Auriemma credited Summitt for raising the bar for himself and countless other coaches.

“She was the one that everyone tried to emulate. That was the program everyone tried to be,” he said.

He remembered when they first played in 1995 when Summitt agreed to come up and play the Huskies on national television.

“I don’t think anyone was surprised she wanted to play in that game,” Auriemma said. “That’s what she did. We try to do that. Play everybody anytime, anywhere. That’s how she built her program to where it is.”

Amid reports of Summitt’s failing health over the weekend, her family issued a statement asking for prayers and saying that the 64-year-old Summitt is surrounded by the people who mean the most to her. It also asked for privacy.

The statement was posted on the Pat Summitt Foundation’s website and was issued by Erin Freeman, a spokeswoman for the Summitt family.

“She’s meant so much to the game and the sport. I’ve always had wonderful interactions with her when I was a broadcaster,” Rebecca Lobo said. “I was completely unaware until I saw the stuff this morning. It made me really sad.”

For all the talk of the rivalry that UConn and Tennessee had from that first game in 1995 to the last in 2007, the Huskies all respected Summitt.

“You can’t say enough about her,” Diana Taurasi said after the Mercury’s OT win. “If it wasn’t for her, we probably wouldn’t be playing in Madison Square Garden. Connecticut never would have been Connecticut. She made people take notice of the sport at a time when it probably wasn’t easy. She forced the hand. She was the one.

“It’s really sad for her family and her friends, her ex-teammates. Her basketball family is hurting right now. Everyone is.”

Swin Cash was emotional after Sunday’s game talking about the legendary coach who recruited her in high school. Cash said her college choice came down to Connecticut and Tennessee. She chose the Huskies.

“Out of my class, I was the only one that had that decision,” Cash said choking up at times. “It was probably one of the hardest things I ever had to do was call her up and tell her I wasn’t coming. I respected what she stood for so much.”

Cash recalled that every time after turning down Tennessee whenever she saw Summitt, the coach would ask how her mother and grandmother were doing.

“I continue to pray for her. It doesn’t matter how many times we beat Tennessee or they beat us, my level of respect for coach Summitt was right up there,” Cash said. “She was one of the best ever to do it, being the trail blazer that she was.”

Cash smiled remembering a story how Summitt came and spoke at Cash’s athletic awards banquet when she was in 10th grade.

“She walked in, and everyone was like that’s Pat Summitt,” Cash said. “I was like I know, she’s been recruiting me. It was just the presence she had when she walked into a room.”

Taurasi echoed that sentiment recalling the first time she saw Summitt in person.

“I was playing in an AAU tournament in Coco Beach, and she walked in the gym,” she said. “I grew up watching SEC basketball as it was the only thing on CBS. To see her walk in a gym, you truly understand it was serious.”

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Nebraska to lose Andrew White to grad transfer

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A month after Andrew White announced his intention to return to school after declaring for the NBA Draft, Nebraska’s leading returning scorer has requested a release and intends to transfer out of Tim Miles’ program.

White will be a fifth-year senior and a graduate transfer, eligible immediately at whatever program takes him.

“I spoke with Andrew [Saturday] evening in which he asked me how he can proceed with a release from Nebraska,” Miles said in a statement. “There have been discussions with Andrew and his father about Andrew’s place in our program for months, and this is his decision. Even though I am extremely disappointed, he will be given a complete release as the logistics are handled this week. We will move on. I am truly excited about our team and next season.”

Nebraska went 16-18 last season and is already losing leading scorer Shavon Shields. White, a 6-foot-6 wing and former top 50 recruit who began his career at Kansas, averaged 16.6 points last season. A 2016 honorable mention all-Big Ten member, he’ll immediately become one of the most sought-after transfers on the market.