Texas A&M's Robert Williams to Kansas for Malik Newman:

If college basketball had a trading deadline, what deals would get made?

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We’re getting down to the stretch run for college basketball teams, and if anything has become obvious this season, it’s that all of the best teams in the country are flawed. 

Let’s pretend, for a second, that trades were allowed in college basketball. If they were, here are eight trades that would benefit some of the national title contenders this season. 

The major caveat here: These trades have to benefit both teams, and they have to be trades that, in theory, would be accepted. So, for example, no matter how much I want to pretend to send Jawun Evans to Duke, it would never happen with Oklahoma State now in the mix for a tournament berth. The same can be said for someone like Alec Peters of Valparaiso or Jack Gibbs of Davidson. 

Oklahoma’s Jordan Woodard to Duke for Marques Bolden: Marques Bolden has totally disappeared from Duke’s rotation. He’s played a total of four minutes in the last three games, since the Blue Devils have made the change to playing small ball full-time. What Duke is lacking is a point guard, and Oklahoma, who is currently sitting at 8-14 on the season, has a senior in Jordan Woodard with Final Four experience that spent last season divvying up shots between Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins, who has some point guard tendencies in his own right. Why wouldn’t Oklahoma give up Woodard in a lost season for the chance to let Lon Kruger mold a guy with Bolden’s talent? And why wouldn’t Duke shed Bolden, who isn’t getting minutes this season and who has been recruited over for next year?

Oklahoma’s Khadeem Lattin to Villanova for Tim Delany: Lattin is an active, 6-foot-9 forward that blocks some shots and gets some rebounds and thrives playing a role, which is exactly what the junior would do for Villanova, who needs some help on the inside. The Sooners would get back Delany, a former four-star prospect and redshirt freshman that has seen his minutes limited as he fights through some hip issues.

Illinois’ Malcolm Hill to Kentucky for Sacha Killeya-Jones: Kentucky badly needs a source of offense in the half court, and Hill has been one of the best scorers in college basketball for the last two seasons. He’s big enough that he can play the four in a small-ball lineup and at least be as effective defensively as Derek Willis has been. He would also provide a much bigger offensive boost for a team that has become totally predictable on that end of the floor. In return, Illinois would be getting a big man with terrific upside that hasn’t been able to get off the bench this season for the Wildcats and who may have been recruited over by head coach John Calipari for next season.

Texas A&M’s Robert Williams to Kansas for Malik Newman: The Jayhawks have a shot to win a national title this season. They have the nation’s best back court in Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham and they have one of the nation’s best wings in Justin Jackson. They’ve been really good playing small-ball this season, but their biggest issue is a lack of size inside. It’s Landen Lucas, an undersized Carlton Bragg Jr. and … well, that’s about it. Williams, a freaky-athletic, 6-foot-9 forward that’s averaging 11.0 points, 6.8 boards and 2.5 blocks in 23 minutes for Texas A&M, is the perfect fit. He’s a potential one-and-done, and with the Aggies currently sitting at 4-6 in the SEC, why wouldn’t they give him up to get Malik Newman, who was a top ten player in the Class of 2015? They Jayhawks can afford to lose Newman to make a run at this year’s title, as Graham is only a junior and they still have a good shot at landing Trae Young for next season.

TUCSON, AZ - JANUARY 29:  Markelle Fultz #20 of the Washington Huskies handles the ball during the second half of the college basketball game against the Arizona Wildcats at McKale Center on January 29, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Huskies 77-66.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Markelle Fultz (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Washington’s Markelle Fultz to Creighton for Kaleb Joseph, Kobe Paras: Washington is currently sitting second-to-last in a Big 12 that is not very good at the bottom. Their season is over, and Markelle Fultz, who may be the single-most talented player in college basketball, is stuck on a team that will be lucky to end up in the CBI. Creighton is without their starting point guard after Mo Watson tore his ACL, which has turned what was once a high-powered, fast-break offense into one that is matchup-oriented and inconsistent. Fultz would be a great fit on the floor with the likes of Marcus Foster and Justin Patton, while Washington would get, in return, a former top 75 point guard that started as a freshman at Syracuse in Kaleb Joseph and an athletic, 6-foot-6 wing in Paras that originally was committed to UCLA. Both redshirted this season, and we saw what redshirts at Creighton had done for Foster, Patton and Watson. Adding talent and depth would be nice for when Michael Porter Jr. shows up next season.

Northern Iowa’s Jeremy Morgan to UCLA for Prince Ali: UCLA stinks defensively. Jeremy Morgan is a good defender, a 6-foot-6 wing that averages 1.5 steals and 2.0 blocks. He’s also a guy that can knock down a three – he was shooting 40.4 percent this season before a recent 5-for-26 slump – which means that the Bruins would be adding a very good perimeter defender to their rotation without costing themselves the floor spacing that makes their offense so lethal. In exchange, UNI would be getting a former top 30 recruit that struggled to find minutes as a freshman and has missed this season due to injury.

Grand Canyon’s Dewayne Russell to West Virginia for James Bolden: Russell is averaging 22.5 points and 5.0 assists for Grand Canyon this season, who is not eligible for the NCAA tournament. He put up 42 on Louisville earlier this year. GCU would get back Bolden, a redshirt freshman guard that was a three-star prospect and who will star in the WAC for the next three years, when the Antelopes will be able to get to the dance.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 11: Malcolm Hill #21 of the Illinois Fighting Illini takes the ball up court against the Purdue Boilermakers in the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 11, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Purdue defeated Illinois 89-58. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Malcolm Hill (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Temple’s Obi Enechionyia to Michigan State for Matt McQuaid, Kyle Ahrens: Temple had a hot start to the season but has slowed down in AAC play, leaving them open to making some moves. Michigan State could use a mobile, stretch-four big man that can defend the rim and hit threes. Enechionyia is 6-foot-10, shoots 37.8 percent from three while attempting six per game and blocks 1.7 shots per night. Adding that piece while giving up a pair of young role players seems like a match.

Pitt’s Jamel Artis to South Carolina for TeMarcus Blanton, Sedee Keita: South Carolina badly needs help offensively. Badly. They’re 150th in offensive efficiency, according to KenPom, and on Tuesday night, they posted a first half that saw them shoot 3-for-30. They went to four overtimes at home against Alabama because they couldn’t crack 30 percent shooting from the floor. Pitt is 1-9 in the ACC this season and loaded with upperclassmen. Their season is done. Why not move a senior like Artis, who is averaging better than 20 points, for a couple of talented youngsters? The Gamecocks have a chance to make a run this season, and you may not find a better 1-2-3 punch than Artis, Sindarius Thornwell and P.J. Dozier.

Louisville’s Ray Spalding to Iowa for Peter Jok: The Cardinals need to add perimeter shooting, and Jok may be the best perimeter scorer in the Big Ten. He’s also the only senior on a young Iowa team that doesn’t seem like they’re going to be making a run this season. Spalding is a 6-foot-9 sophomore with a 7-foot-4 wingspan and NBA potential. He’s also the fourth big man in Louisville’s rotation.

Bluiett back to Xavier for senior season

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Xavier lost one significant piece to the professional ranks this spring, but will return another.

Trevon Bluiett, the team’s leading scorer last year, announced via social media that he will be back to play his senior season with the Musketeers.

Chris Mack will return the bulk of a roster that struggled February only to make a run to the Elite Eight, but getting Bluiett for a final season makes the Musketeers especially dangerous. The 6-foot-6 Bluiett scored a team-high 18.5 points per game last year while also putting up 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per night. He shot 37.1 percent from 3-point range, the second-best mark on the team. His return, even with point guard Edmond Sumner going pro amid his ACL tear recovery, makes Xavier one of the top teams in the Big East heading into the 2017-18 season.

Bluiett himself is enough to keep Xavier relevant in the league, but when he’s coupled with the likes of returners JP Macura, Sean O’Mara and Quentin Goodwin, plus a recruiting class featuring two four-star prospects, it’s not difficult to see a path for Mack’s group to a place where they can compete with the likes of Villanova and Seton Hall atop the league.

Welsh and Holiday returning to UCLA

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UCLA sustained some major, though expected, attrition from its roster this spring. On Tuesday, the Bruins announced a pair of significant contributors that will be back.

Thomas Welsh and Aaron Holiday will both return next season to the UCLA program, according to the school.

Welsh, a 7-foot center, averaged 10.8 points and 8.7 rebounds as a senior last year for the Bruins. He shot 58.5 percent from the floor and blocked 1.2 shots per game, and decided to declare for the NBA Draft without an agent before ultimately deciding to return to Westwood.

“Thomas has worked hard all spring,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said in a statement. “We supported him testing the NBA waters and are excited to have him returning for his senior year. He simply continues to develop each and every season.

“Thomas will be one of the top centers in college basketball next year and, undoubtedly, has a great chance to be a first-round pick in next season’s draft.”

The 6-foot-1 Holiday averaged 12.3 points and 4.4 assists last season while sharing a backcourt with Lonzo Ball, whose departure, along with those of TJ Leaf, Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton will leave UCLA with a very different look next season. The positive results, however, may not fluctuate too significantly with Welsh and Holiday coming back to play alongside two five-star recruits, Kris Wilkes and Jaylen Hands, as well as Lonzo’s younger brother LiAngelo.

West Virginia’s Macon forgoing final year

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West Virginia’s attempt to dethrone Kansas atop the Big 12 took a bit of a hit Tuesday.

Elijah Macon, a 6-foot-9 forward, announced his decision to forego a fifth year in Morgantown in order to pursue a professional career.

“First things first I would like to say thank you Bob Huggins and Erik Martin for believing in a young 15-year-old boy growing up from the Southside of Columbus, OH losing my mother and still having you guys push me to be the man I have become,” Macon said according to the school. “I can do nothing but thank you for all you and Mountaineer Nation (have) done for me. Unfortunately, I will not be returning for my senior season at WVU and instead sign with a(n) agent and play professional basketball. Thank you guys for all the love and support!”

Macon wasn’t a major contributor for the Mountaineers last season, averaging 6.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in 16 minutes per game, but he was an experienced and tough player who was well-versed in Huggins’ style and demands. Given the pace that the newly-fashioned Press Virginia plays at, depth is also paramount for them as a program.

Macon’s departure, though, may have been expected or at least partly anticipated by West Virginia. The Mountaineers signed five players in its most recent recruiting class, putting them one over their allotment of 13, so something had to give. West VIrginia will stay have interior depth, anchored by junior Esa Ahmad, so the loss of Macon is one they likely can weather, even if it may take some time to acclimate the newcomers.

“Elijah is in the process of completing classes during this summer school period that ends June 2 and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in August,” Huggins said in a statement released by the school. “I respect his decision to become a professional basketball player and to go make money to support his family. He had a great four years with us, and we wish him nothing but the best.”

Key returning to Alabama for sophomore season

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Alabama’s top scorer is returning to school.

Braxton Key has withdrawn his name from the NBA draft and will be back with the Tide for his sophomore season, the school announced Tuesday.

“I spoke to coach Avery (Johnson) just over a week ago and informed him of my decision to withdraw my name from the NBA Draft and return to the University of Alabama for my sophomore season,” Key said in a statement. “I made that official when I sent my paperwork to the NBA league office Monday morning. I want to express my appreciation to my teammates, Coach Johnson and the entire coaching staff for giving me their full support while I went through this process.

“I am excited for the future of the Alabama basketball program and looking forward to getting to work as we prepare for next season. Roll Tide and Buckle Up!”

The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 12 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while shooting 43.3 percent from the field as a freshman. He gives Alabama four returning starts to pair with one of the country’s highest-regarded recruiting classes, headlined by five-star guard Collin Sexton. The Tide will also have an eligible Daniel Giddens, who previously transferred in from Ohio State.

Key didn’t seem likely to stay in the NBA draft, especially after he wasn’t invited to the combine, but his ultimate decision is a huge one for Avery Johnson as he looks to break through in his third season in Tuscaloosa with his first NCAA tournament appearance. 

Report: Justin Jackson to return to Maryland

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Maryland forward Justin Jackson is expected to return to school for his sophomore season, according to a report from FanRag Sports.

Jackson is an intriguing talent, a 6-foot-7 combo-forward with a 7-foot-3 wingspan that shoots 44 percent from three. But he’s also still developing his offensive game and consistency on the defensive end of the floor, which is why he was projected as a second round pick in this year’s draft.

With Jackson back in the fold, Maryland is a borderline top 25 team. They lost Melo Trimble to the professional ranks, but that’s something that Mark Turgeon has prepared for. With a sophomore class that also includes highly-regarded point guard Anthony Cowan and sharp-shooter Kevin Huerter, the Terps have a promising season ahead of them.