Previewing the ACC/Big Ten Challenge

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I’ve always loved the concept of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Two of the best conferences in the country teeing off against one another for bragging rights over a two day span. When it comes to college hoops in December, it doesn’t get much better than that.

I’ve said this before, and I will say it again, but the ACC and the Big Ten have gotten this thing down to a science. The games are played over the course of three days, with ten of those games taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Big XII and the Pac-10 tried a similar arrangement, but their “challenge” took place over the span of a month and couldn’t be found on TV anywhere. Essentially, it was a bunch of relatively meaningless non-conference games.

The SEC and the Big East tried their hand at a conference competition. But they only hold four games, and usually half of the teams involved come from the bottom of their respective leagues.

If there is one thing you are going to take out of the 2010 its that there really are not all that many great matchups. A couple of the games will be downright unwatchable.

That said, we do get to see some good measuring stick games, if you will. Duke goes up against another top five opponent, Purdue gets a shot at bouncing back from a weekend loss, while UNC, NC State, and Florida State all get a chance to prove themselves, and the ACC, a worthy conference on a national stage.

Courtesy of your favorite college basketball blogsquad, here is a completely, unnecessarily in depth preview of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge:

Monday, Nov. 29th

7:00 pm: Virginia (3-3) @ No. 17 Minnesota (6-0) (ESPN 2): UVa started the season out with a couple of promising victories in a row, but then proceeded to get drubbed by Stanford and Washington before losing to Wichita State in the 5th place game of the Maui Invitational. Minnesota, on the other hand, is playing as well as anyone in the country after rolling through the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament. If the Cavs are going to have a chance, it will be because the Gophers may be without two starters on Monday. Al Nolen is battling a foot injury and there is no word yet on whether Devoe Joseph, who was suspended for the Puerto Rico trip, will be playing.

Rob’s Prediction: Minnesota has a front line that is as big and talented as any in the Big Ten, if not the country. Mike Scott is a good player, but he doesn’t have a shot when against the likes of Trevor Mbakwe, Ralph Sampson, and Colton Iverson. Minnesota 75, Virginia 49.

Mike’s Prediction: Few teams are off to better starts than the Gophers, who’ve beaten UNC, West Virginia and mid-majors powers Wofford and Siena. There’s no reason to think Tubby Smith’s team stumbles at home against a re-building Cavalier squad, who can’t match the Gophers’ frontline of Trevor Mbakwe, Ralph Sampson III and Colton Iverson. Minnesota, 73, Virginia 57.

Tuesday, Nov. 30th

7:00 pm: Georgia Tech @ Northwestern (ESPN 2): The Yellowjackets come into this game looking like they’ve righted the ship after an embarrassing road loss to Kennesaw State. They knocked off UTEP in the Legends Classic before playing Syracuse, who is ranked tenth in the country but has been struggling a bit themselves, to an 80-76 loss. Brian Oliver and Iman Shumpert form a talented, athletic back court for Paul Hewitt. Having said that, the Jackets aren’t exactly the best defensive team in the country, and patient defense is what is going to beat Northwestern. The Wildcats, led by John Shurna, Drew Crawford, and Michael Thompson, play an efficient, Princeton-style offense. While NU is undefeated coming in, their only credible win is against Creighton.

Rob’s Prediction: I am envisioning endless back door cuts and down screens for threes. Tech is talented, but they aren’t disciplined. Northwestern 71, Georgia Tech 65.

Mike’s Prediction: The Wildcats feature one of the nation’s most efficient scoring offenses, while Tech has a fairly solid defense. The key words being “fairly solid.” Northwestern hasn’t lost in this event since 2008, and isn’t about to start. Northwestern 66, Georgia Tech 58.

7:00 pm: Iowa @ Wake Forest (ESPN U): Yuck, yuck, and more yuck. Wake Forest has been abysmal early in the season, losing to Stetson, Winthrop, and VCU by 21. And they are now playing without Melvin Tabb or Tony Chennault. Iowa hasn’t been much better, as they have lost to South Dakota State, Xavier, and Long Beach State. You may be glad you don’t have ESPNU for this one.

Rob’s Prediction: That I won’t be watching a second of this game. I have a feeling this will come to fruition. Iowa 75, Wake Forest 71.

Mike’s Prediction: The winner? Eh. I know who’ll lose – anyone who watches. It’s fitting that that ACC’s worst team plays host to the Big Ten’s cellar dweller from the last few years. Now we’ll learn just who really stinks. Guess I’ll take the Hawkeyes. Wake’s already lost to Stetson, VCU and Winthrop at home. Iowa’s about that good. One redeeming factor? Both teams like to run when possible, so we’ll avoid a slugfest. Iowa 70, Wake Forest 67.

7:30 pm: No. 3 Ohio State (5-0) @ Florida State (5-1) (ESPN): The Seminoles have arguably the best defensive player in the country on their roster in Chris Singleton. The problem? Singleton can’t score, and neither can the rest of the Seminoles roster. The Florida team that Ohio State put 93 points on in an 18 point win? The Seminoles managed 51 points and 14 turnovers. The Buckeyes look like one of the few teams that will be dominant throughout the season. Jared Sullinger is a load on the block, and he may not even be their best front court scorer. Fellow freshman DeShaun Thomas has really been playing well early in the season. With the perimeter talent that the Buckeyes boast, and if Aaron Craft is really as good at the point as he has seemed early in the season, this will be a tough matchup for the ‘Noles to win.

Rob’s Prediction: Ohio State is too good this year. They have too much inside, they have too much talent on their perimeter, and they actually seem to have a point guard this year. Florida State is really good defensively, but if Singleton is the guy that shot 2-12 against Florida and not the guy that was averaging 17.4 ppg before that, the Noles will be in trouble. Ohio State 70, Florida State 58.

Mike’s Prediction: Few teams feature a more intimidating defense than FSU, which has the athletes to pressure Ohio State’s deep, balanced roster and make life miserable for freshman center Jared Sullinger. But scoring’s an issue, as shown during Sunday’s 55-51 loss to Florida. Then there’s this nugget: The Buckeyes drilled Florida on Nov. 16. Ohio State 69, Florida State 61

9:00 pm: Michigan (3-2) @ Clemson (5-1) (ESPN 2): We all predicted that it would be a long season in Ann Arbor, and after Michigan’s 0-2 performance at the Legends Classic, it looks like that prediction may come to fruition. The Wolverines have not developed the way most John Beilein teams do and while they have a talented scorer in Darius Morris, its about time that Morris began passing the ball; he’s had a bad habit of dribbling the air out of it. Clemson, on the other hand, is a team that looks like it has some promise. They have an underrated back court in Demontez Stitt, Andre Young, Tanner Smith, and Noel Johnson to go with the expected big, athletic front court players. This Tigers beat Wofford and Seton Hall, but their most impressive performance of the season may actually be their one point loss to Old Dominion.

Rob’s Prediction: While its difficult to put a ton of faith into a team with a first year head coach like Clemson and Brad Brownell, its even more difficult to bet on this Michigan team. Clemson 75, Michigan 63.

Mike’s Prediction: The Tigers’ lone loss is to Old Dominion, a far tougher foe than the in-transition Wolverines, who are coming off back-to-back losses. Make it three in a row. Clemson 70, Michigan 64.

9:30 pm: No. 25 UNC (4-2) @ No. 19 Illinois (6-1) (ESPN): Illinois has flown a bit under the radar this season. They did lose to Pitt in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, but they also beat a better-than-advertised Maryland team. Their issue isn’t on the perimeter, where Demetri McCamey heads up a talented group. Its in the front court, as Mike Tisdale and Mike Davis don’t exactly provide a ton of muscle. Good thing for the Illini that UNC doesn’t have much beef up front either. For the Heels, this is going to be another chance to prove their mettle. UNC once again started the season off poorly, with losses to Vanderbilt and Minnesota in Puerto Rico. Is Harrison Barnes as good as he was supposed to be? Can Larry Drew or Kendall Marshall step up and be a point guard?

Rob’s Prediction: As much as I want to see this UNC team succeed, I just don’t think they have it in them — yet. Larry Drew’s line against the College of Charleston on Sunday was 1 point, 1 assists, 1 turnover, and 27 minutes. Illinois 79, UNC 70.

Mike’s Prediction: The Tar Heels avoided a .500 record thanks to a late run against College of Charleston Sunday night. They won’t have any such wiggle room against the Illini, who’ll be able to out-run and out-gun UNC. Two things to watch: Illinois should make UNC’s guard uneasy (cue the Orange Krush!) because the Heels have turnover issues; and see if Carolina can force Illinois into settling for taking jump shots. The Illini’s frontcourt is soft and if the shots aren’t falling, it could stay close. Illinois 79, North Carolina 68.

Wednesday, Dec. 1st

7:15 pm: Indiana (6-0) @ Boston College (4-2) (ESPN U): Indiana hasn’t played anyone this season, but the Hoosiers are 6-0, which is a good sign considering the kind of issues this program has had recently. Christian Watford has looked impressive on the block early on and while Mo Creek still isn’t quite 100% coming off of a knee injury last season, Verdell Jones has upped his scoring (as well as his turnovers) in Creek’s absence. BC has been all over the map early in the season. They lost to Yale, then bounced back to beat both Texas A&M and Cal — who both beat Temple — in the Old Spice Classic. Reggie Jackson is one of the best guards in the ACC, and when he has production around him, the Eagles look like they can be pretty good.

Rob’s Prediction: This is one of the tougher games to pick. I actually kind of like both teams, as weird as that sounds. I think Indiana wins this, however. Christian Watford is a load on the block, and unlike Reggie Jackson, he has a supporting cast. Indiana 71, Boston College 68.

Mike’s Predicition: The Hoosiers’ perfect start came against cupcakes. That’s not B.C., which is taking care of the ball and making a ton of its twos. Still, the Eagles are perplexing. They’ve beaten Texas A&M and Cal, but lost to Yale. At home. Indiana would be smart to feed Christian Watford, stretch the defense and hope for a fairly fast game. Indiana 78, Boston College, 76.

7:15 pm: NC State (4-1) @ Wisconsin (4-2) (ESPN 2): The obvious question mark in this game is going to be Tracy Smith, who injured his knee in the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands. If Smith is ready to go, the Wolfpack might have a shot in this game. He provides a legitimate low post scoring threat, and is one of the only guys on Sidney Lowe’s roster that can create a shot for himself. If not, its tough to see NC State having the patience and the discipline to score on a very good defensive team like Wisconsin. For the Badgers, we all know about Jon Leuer, but make sure you keep an eye on their back court of Jordan Taylor and John Gasser.

Rob’s Prediction: NC State might actually have a shot of knocking off Wisconsin in the Kohl Center if they had Tracy Smith. The Badgers have been beatable this year, but the Wolfpack, coming in with a bunch of freshmen and unproven upperclassmen, don’t have a shot without their best player. Wisconsin 59, NC State 49.

Mike’s Prediction: There’s only one thing to know about this game: The Badgers are at home, where they win more than 90 percent of their games under coach Bo Ryan, including a victory against Duke last season. Bo don’t lose at home. (Also, it helps to have Jon Leuer ‘cause he’s pretty good.) Wisconsin 65, N.C. State 60.

7:30 pm: No. 8 Purdue (5-1) @ Virginia Tech (4-1): This game had a lot more intrigue when the schedule for the Challenge was announced. Now, with Robbie Hummel out for the season, Virginia Tech looking very average, and the Boilermakers coming off of a loss to a Richmond team that was beaten by Iona, this looks like a potential 8-9 matchup instead of a potential Sweet 16 matchup. This game will be won by the team that can stop their opponent’s star. Kevin Anderson lit Purdue up for 28 points in the Spider’s win, and Virginia Tech has a better lead guard in Malcolm Delaney. Similarly, Tech lacks muscle inside, and Purdue has one of the best big men in the country in JaJuan Johnson.

Rob’s Prediction: The Boilermakers may not have a third scoring option right now, but that doesn’t change what they can do defensively. Virginia Tech has looked far from impressive on the offensive end of the floor this season. I can’t see them figuring out the Boilermakers. Purdue 57, Virginia Tech 53.

Mike’s Prediction: Here’s one for you defense fans. Two of the nation’s most efficient – and physical – defenses meet in Blacksburg. The Boilermakers are coming off their first loss (a 65-54 setback to Richmond), while the Hokies struggled against UNLV on Sunday. I don’t expect this to be pretty. First one to 62 wins. Virginia Tech 62, Purdue 61.

9:15 pm: Maryland @ Penn State (ESPN 2): The Terps may be coming off of an 0-2 trip to NYC for the Coaches vs. Cancer, but they looked much better than that against Pitt and Illinois. Jordan Williams is a hoss on the block, Cliff Tucker is emerging as a star on the perimeter, and the law of averages says that one of Terrell Stoglin, Pe’Shon Howard, and Adrian Bowie will play well. For Penn State, it is a one man show with Talor Battle. If his teammates step up around him — Jeff Brooks, David Jackson, and company — the Nittany Lions have a shot at this thing. The key for PSU will be handling Maryland’s pressure, which has been effective against some good competition this season.

Rob’s Prediction: Mike will tell you that Penn State has the best player in this game, and I will call his bluff and reraise all-in with Jordan Williams. The Maryland big man is a beast in the paint, rebounding the ball with the best of them and showing a solid repertoire of post moves. Maryland 81, Penn State 68.

Mike’s Prediction: The Nittany Lions have the matchup’s best player (Talor Battle) and the home court edge. But I like the Terps, who’ve already hung with Pitt and Illinois. Plus, Maryland’s usually good for a win in this event. Not that it matters for the ACC, who’ll lose the overall “title” for the second straight year. Maryland 75, Penn State 71.

9:30 pm: No. 2 Michigan State @ No. 1 Duke: Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Main Event. (Read that line as if it was said by Michael Buffer.) Duke, as well all know by now, is loaded. They have talent up and down their lineup, enough that their second five could probably win a handful of games in the ACC. The Spartans were considered by many to be the second best team in the country during the preseason, but after the typical Michigan State slow start — struggling against South Carolina and Chaminade before losing to UConn — many have questioned whether or not the Spartans were overrated coming into the season. In my opinion? No, they were not. Michigan State made uncharacteristic mistakes down the stretch in their loss to UConn and Chaminade beat Oklahoma. Kalin Lucas looked terrific against Washington, Draymond Green is Draymond Green, and Durrell Summers was impressive in shaking off a bad night to knock down two huge threes late in a win over Washington. Regardless, this game should be expected to live up to its billing.

Rob’s Prediction: Until further notice, I’m picking Duke to win every game they play. Simple as that. Duke 84, Michigan State 79.

Mike’s Prediction: I fawned over the Devils’ performance against K-State last week (yes, I was one of those guys), and with good reason. They shot well, forced a ton of turnovers, got to the boards and Kyrie Irving was unguardable. That last part’s key, given how UConn’s Kemba Walker sliced and diced the Spartans at the Maui Invitational. Michigan State will likely fare better against the freshman Irving, but the Devils are in midseason form and MSU isn’t. Duke 78, Michigan State 68.

John Petty Jr. returns to Alabama for senior season

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama guard John Petty Jr. is staying in school instead of entering the NBA draft.

The Crimson Tide junior announced his decision to return for his senior season Monday on Twitter, proclaiming: “I’m back.”

Petty, the Tide’s top 3-point shooter, averaged 14.5 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds rebounds last season. He was second on the team in assists.

Petty made 85 3-pointers in 29 games, shooting at a 44% clip.

Alabama coach Nate Oats called him “one of the best, if not the best, shooters in the country.”

“He’s made it clear that it’s his goal to become a first round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and we’re going to work with him to make sure he’s in the best position to reach that goal,” Oats said.

Fellow Tide guard Kira Lewis Jr. is regarded as a likely first-round draft pick.

McKinley Wright IV returns to Colorado

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McKinley Wright IV will be back for season No. 4 with the Colorado Buffaloes.

The point guard tested the NBA draft process before announcing a return for his senior year. It’s a big boost for a Buffaloes team that’s coming off a 21-11 mark in 2019-20 and was potentially looking at an NCAA Tournament bid before the season was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wright was an All-Pac-12 first team selection a season ago, along with an all-defensive team pick. He and athletic forward Tyler Bey declared for the draft in late March. Bey remains in the draft.

“We’ve got unfinished business,” said Wright, who averaged 14.4 points and 5.0 assists per game last season.

Midway through the season, the Buffaloes were looking like a lock for their first NCAA Tournament appearance since ’15-16. Then, the team hit a five-game skid, including a loss to Washington State in the Pac-12 tournament. Simply put, they hit a defensive rut they just couldn’t shake out of, Wright said. It drove him to work that much harder in the offseason.

“This is my last go-around and I’ve got big dreams,” the 6-footer from Minnesota said. “I want to take CU to a place they haven’t been in a while. We want to go back to the tournament and win high-level games.”

The feedback from NBA scouts was reaffirming for Wright. He said they appreciated his transition game, movement away from the ball and his defensive intangibles. They also gave Wright areas he needed to shore up such as assist-to-turnover ratio and shooting the 3-pointer with more consistency.

He took it to heart while training in Arizona during the pandemic. He recently returned to Boulder, Colorado, where he’s going through quarantine before joining his teammates for workouts.

“The work I put in and the time I spent in the gym compared to all my other offseasons, it’s a big gap,” Wright said. “Last offseason, I thought I worked hard. But it was nothing compared to the time and different type of mindset I put myself in this year.”

Another motivating factor for his return was this: a chance to be the first in his family to earn his college degree. He’s majoring in ethnic studies with a minor in communications.

“My grandparents are excited about that. My parents are excited about that,” Wright said. “I’m excited about that as well.”

Wright also has an opportunity to take over the top spot on the school’s all-time assists list. His 501 career assists trail only Jay Humphries, who had 562 from 1980-84. Wright also ranks 13th all-time with 1,370 career points.

NOTES: Colorado announced the death of 95-year-old fan Betty Hoover, who along with her twin sister, Peggy Coppom, became fixtures at Buffs sporting events and were season ticket holders since 1958. Wright used to run into them not only on the court, but at the local bank. “I’ve never met anyone as loving and supporting and caring as those two,” Wright said. “They hold a special place in my heart. It sucks that Betty won’t be at any games this year. Maybe we can do something, put her name on our jersey. They’re two of the biggest fans in CU history.”

Jared Butler returns to Baylor

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Baylor got some huge news on Monday as potential All-American Jared Butler announced that he will be returning to school for his junior season, joining MaCio Teague is pulling his name out of the 2020 NBA Draft to get the band back together.

Butler was Baylor’s leading scorer a season ago, averaging 16.0 points and 3.1 assists for a team that went 26-4, spent a portion of the season as the No. 1 team in the country and was in line to receive a 1-seed had the 2020 NCAA Tournament taken place.

With Butler and Teague coming back to school, the Bears will return four starters from last season’s squad. Starting center Freddie Gillespie is gone, as is backup guard Devonte Bandoo, but those are holes that can be filled. Tristan Clark, who was Baylor’s best player during the 2018-19 season before suffering a knee injury that lingered through last year, will be back, and there is more than enough talent in the program to replace the scoring pop of Bandoo. Matthew Mayer will be in line for more minutes, while transfer Adam Flagler will be eligible this season.

Baylor will enter this season as a consensus top three team in the country. They will receive plenty of votes as the No. 1 team in the sport, making them not only a very real contender for the Big 12 regular season crown but one of the favorites to win the national title.

Preseason Top 25 | Mock Draft 3.0 | Early Entry Tracker

As MaCio Teague returns, Baylor now awaits Jared Butler’s NBA draft decision

Butler is the key.

Baylor was one of college basketball’s best defensive teams last year. They finished fourth nationally in KenPom’s defensive efficiency metric, a ranking that dropped after they Bears lost two of their last three games to TCU and West Virginia. Where they struggled was on the offensive end of the floor. The Bears would go through droughts were points were at a premium and their best offense was a missed shot. Butler’s intrigue for NBA teams was his ability to shoot and to create space in isolation. He’s the one guy on the roster that can create something out of nothing for himself.

And now he is back to try and lead Baylor to a Final Four.

College Basketball Preseason Top 25

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Today, we are unveiling the NBC Sports college basketball preseason top 25.

As always, there are plenty of caveats here.

For starters, we are still in the process of figuring out who will and will not be returning to school and where the myriad transfers are going to end up this year.

Given the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the way recruiting and the predraft process will work, it is hard to know how and where these guys will end up, which is why every college basketball preseason top 25 published right now is going to have plenty of assumptions, projections and moving parts.

So with that in mind, here is the current iteration of NBC Sports college basketball preseason top 25:

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL PRESEASON TOP 25

1. VILLANOVA

  • GONE: Saddiq Bey
  • COMING BACK: Collin Gillespie, Justin Moore, Jermaine Samuels, Bryan Antoine, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Cole Swider, Brandon Slater, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Caleb Daniels, Eric Dixon
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Collin Gillespie, Justin Moore, Bryan Antoine, Jermaine Samuels, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl

With the exception of Saddiq Bey, Villanova returns everyone from a team that won a share of the Big East regular season title last season while adding Tulane transfer Caleb Daniels (16.9 ppg) and a healthy Bryan Antoine. There is enough talent on this roster that I think they are the clear No. 1 team in the country right now. And while Bey was their best player, I don’t think that they will have much trouble replacing him. Villanova has a roster full of talented wings and perimeter weapons. Bey was the best of the bunch, but Antoine’s healthy, Daniels is really good and the likes of Justin Moore, Jermaine Samuels and Cole Swider return as well. Throw in Jeremiah Robinsin-Earl and this roster is loaded.

RELATED: College basketball preseason top 25 (link)

2. BAYLOR

  • GONE: Freddie Gillespie, Devonte Bandoo
  • COMING BACK: Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, Davion Mitchell, Mark Vital, Tristan Clark, Matthew Mayer, Jordan Turner, Flo Thamba
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Adam Flagler, L.J. Cryer, Dain Dainja, Zach Loveday, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, Davion Mitchell, Mark Vital, Tristan Clark

The Bears get all three of their guards back now that Jared Butler has opted to return to school, and with Mark Vital returning, they’ll once again have two of the best defenders in college basketball on the roster (Davion Mitchell). They’re coming off of a 26-4 season, and there are plenty of bench options at Scott Drew’s disposal — Matthew Mayer, Jordan Turner, Adam Flagler — but the big question is going to be at the five. Which Tristan Clark are we going to get next season?

3. GONZAGA

  • GONE: Filip Petrusev, Admon Gilder, Ryan Wooldridge, Killian Tillie
  • COMING BACK: Joel Ayayi, Drew Timme, Anton Watson, Martynas Arlauskas, Pavel Zakharov
  • WAIT AND SEE: Jalen Suggs, Corey Kispert
  • NEW FACES: Oumar Ballo, Aaron Cook, Julian Strawther, Dominick Harris
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Jalen Suggs, Joel Ayayi, Corey Kispert, Drew Timme, Oumar Ballo

The Zags should once again be a powerhouse next season, but they are still waiting on a couple of draft decisions. Their star freshman guard is Jalen Suggs, who would be a perfect fit next to Joel Ayayi and Corey Kispert on Gonzaga’s perimeter if both return to school. As much as I like Ayayi as a player, I’m not sure he’s going to be drafted this year. Kispert doesn’t have much else that he can prove at the college level and has a real chance to be a early-to-mid second round pick. Gonzaga’s frontcourt is going to be absolutely loaded even without Filip Petrusev because Drew Timme and Oumar Ballo both have WCC Player of the Year upside. Throw in a healthy Anton Watson, and the Zags should be loaded again.

Mock Draft | Early Entry Tracker

4. VIRGINIA

  • GONE: Mamadi Diakite, Braxton Key
  • COMING BACK: Kihei Clark, Jay Huff, Casey Morsell, Tomas Woldetensae, Kody Stattman, Justin McCoy
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Sam Hauser, Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Carson McCorkle, Reece Beekman
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Kihei Clark, Casey Morsell, Tomas Woldetensae, Sam Hauser, Jay Huff

The Cavaliers should be much better offensively with Sam Hauser replacing Mamadi Diakite in the starting lineup, and while Diakite is a significantly better defender than Hauser, it’s hard to imagine Virginia ever being a bad defensive team, especially when Hauser has had a year to learn the system. Kihei Clark and Jay Huff are both back, and I would expect Casey Morsell to take a step forward this season. Throw in a strong freshman class, and UVA should be competing for an ACC title once again.

RELATED: 2020 NBA Mock Draft

5. KANSAS

  • GONE: Udoka Azubuike, Devon Dotson, Isaiah Moss
  • COMING BACK: Marcus Garrett, Ochai Agbaji, David McCormack, Christian Braun, Tristan Enaruna, Jalen Wilson, Mitch Lightfoot, DaJuan Harris, Silvio De Sousa
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Bryce Thompson, Tyon Grant-Foster, Gethro Muscadin, Latrell Jossell
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Marcus Garrett, Bryce Thompson, Ochai Agbaji, Tristan Enaruna, David McCormack

When it comes to the amount of talent on the Kansas roster, there are certainly enough weapons here. They are incredibly loaded on the wing — Marcus Garrett, Bryce Thompson, Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun, Tyon Grant-Foster, Tristan Enaruna, Jalen Wilson, sheesh — and David McCormack showed enough flashes last season that I expect him to be able to do an adequate job replacing Udoka Azubuike. Assuming Self (correctly) plays small-ball again, they should be really, really good. The problem? Other than Garrett, there is not a point guard on the roster that has played a second of college basketball. The best Jayhawk teams have had a killer at that position, and I’m not sure Garrett qualifies as such.

NBA DRAFT PROSPECT PROFILES

RELATED: College basketball preseason top 25

6. DUKE

  • GONE: Tre Jones, Vernon Carey Jr., Cassius Stanley, Jack White, Alex O’Connell, Javin DeLaurier
  • COMING BACK: Wendell Moore, Matthew Hurt, Jordan Goldwire, Joey Baker
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Jalen Johnson, Jeremy Roach, D.J. Steward, Mark Williams, Jaemyn Brakefield, Henry Coleman, Patrick Tape
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Jeremy Roach, D.J. Steward, Wendell Moore, Jalen Johnson, Mark Williams

The Blue Devils lose quite a bit of talent off of last season’s roster if as Tre Jones, Vernon Carey and Cassius Stanley all headed to the pros. But with six top 50 prospects coming into the program — headlined by a potential lottery pick in Jalen Johnson as well as point guard Jeremy Roach and scoring guard D.J. Steward — there will be quite a bit of talent on display. A starting lineup that includes those three freshmen and Wendell Moore will be fun. Duke is going to be very young, however, and a frontline that includes a bunch of freshmen and a grad transfer from Columbia is less than ideal.

7. IOWA

  • GONE: Bakari Evelyn, Ryan Kreiner, Cordell Pemsl
  • COMING BACK: Luka Garza, C.J. Frederick, Joe Weiskamp, Joe Toussaint, Jordan Bohannon, Connor McCaffery, Jack Nunge
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Tony Perkins, Ahron Ulis, Patrick McCaffery
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Joe Toussaint, C.J. Frederick, Joe Weiskamp, Jack Nunge, Luka Garza

Luka Garza will be back for his senior season, which is a helluva way for Fran McCaffery to anchor a roster that looks as good as anyone in the Big Ten. I think Joe Toussaint has a chance to be one of the breakout stars in college basketball next year, which is a pretty good sign for a team that also returns the preseason Player of the Year — yes, I’m taking the liberty of locking Luka into that award — along with talents like Joe Weiskamp and C.J. Frederick.

8. TENNESSEE

  • GONE: Lamonte Turner, Jordan Bowden
  • COMING BACK: John Fulkerson, Santiago Vescovi, Josiah Jordan-James, Olivier Nkamhoua, Drew Pemper
  • WAIT AND SEE: Yves Pons
  • NEW FACES: Keon Johnson, Jaden Springer, Corey Walker, Victor Bailey, E.J. Anosike, Malachi Wideman
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Santiago Vescovi, Josiah Jordan-James, Keon Johnson, Yves Pons, John Fulkerson

Last season, one of the biggest issues with Tennessee was a lack of firepower on their perimeter. This year, they will be adding five-star guards Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer to Josiah Jordan-James and Santiago Vescovi. They’ll have weapons, and that’s before you add in John Fulkerson, who was one of the best bigs in the SEC down the stretch of the season. Yves Pons will be the best defender in college basketball if he pulls out of the draft. If Vescovi can handle full-time point guard duties better with an offseason under his belt, the Vols are going to be the favorite to win the SEC.

9. ILLINOIS

  • GONE: Andres Feliz, Kipper Nichols, Alan Griffin
  • COMING BACK: Ayo Dosunmu, Kofi Cockburn, Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Da’Monte Williams, Trent Frazier
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Andre Curbelo, Adam Miller, Coleman Hawkins, Brandon Lieb
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Trent Frazier, Ayo Dosunmu, Da’Monte Williams, Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Kofi Cockburn

Illinois has a chance to be very, very good this coming season. The big news came with just days left before the deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the draft, when Ayo Dosunmu announced that he would be returning to school for his junior season. Dosunmu is one of the best big-shot makers in the sport and will likely see his name on a preseason All-American team. With Trent Frazier and Giorgi Bezhanishvili coming back and a couple of talented freshmen guards — Andrew Curbelo, Adam Miller — enrolling, Brad Underwood has a terrific core. With Kofi Cockburn also deciding to return, the Illini will have a real shot at winning the Big Ten title and getting to a Final Four.

10. TEXAS TECH

  • GONE: Jahmi’us Ramsey, Chris Clarke, Davide Moretti, T.J. Holyfield, Russel Tchewa
  • COMING BACK: Kyler Edwards, Terrance Shannon Jr., Kevin McCullar, Avery Benson
  • WAIT AND SEE: Mac McClung, Jamarius Burton
  • NEW FACES: Nimari Burnett, Micah Peavy, Marcus Santos-Silva, Joel Ntambwe, Chibuzo Agbo, Esahia Nzyiwe
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Kyler Edwards, Nimari Burnett, Terrance Shannon, Joel Ntambwe, Marcus Santos-Silva

The Red Raiders should have a roster that is a much better fit for the way that Chris Beard wants to play. Kyler Edwards and Nimari Burnett are both built in the mold of a classic Texas Tech lead guard, while Terrance Shannon will be on quite a few of the breakout sophomore lists you’ll find. The two major questions with this group is whether or not Edwards can takeover full-time point guard duties, and if VCU transfer Marcus Santos-Silva or Joel Ntambwe can handle the five spot better than T.J. Holyfield did this past season. There are enough talented perimeter weapons for me to buy-in, but without an anchor at the five a la Tariq Owens, their ceiling is somewhat limited.

11. HOUSTON

  • GONE: Nate Hinton, Chris Harris
  • COMING BACK: Quentin Grimes, Caleb Mills, Marcus Sasser, DeJon Jarreau, Fabian White, Justin Forham, Brison Gresham, Cedrick Alley
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Tramon Mark, Jamal Shead, Kiyron Powell
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Marcus Sasser, Caleb Mills, DeJon Jarreau, Quentin Grimes, Brison Gresham

We all know that Kelvin Sampson can coach, and he will be bringing back a roster where his top six scorers were all underclassmen from a team that finished top 15 on KenPom. They are going to be loaded in the backcourt — Kansas transfer Quentin Grimes might end up being their third or fourth best guard — and there will be some veterans in their frontcourt. The Cougars look to be the favorite in the American despite the fact that Nate Hinton left school a year earlier than expected.

12. WISCONSIN

  • GONE: Brevin Pritzl
  • COMING BACK: D’Mitrik Trice, Brad Davison, Nate Reuvers, Micah Potter, Aleem Ford, Tyler Wahl, Trevor Anderson
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Ben Carlson, Lorne Bowman, Johnny Davis, Jordan Davis, Steve Crowl
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: D’Mitrik Trice, Brad Davison, Aleem Ford, Nate Reuvers, Micah Potter

After winning a share of last year’s Big Ten regular season title, the Badgers are on track to essentially return everyone of note. Their frontline of Aleem Ford, Nate Reuvers and Micah Potter will be as good as anyone in the Big Ten, D’Mitrik Trice has developed into a solid shot-maker and Tyler Wahl is waiting in the wings as a super-sub. Throw in Brad Davison, and the Badgers will compete for the league title once again.

13. NORTH CAROLINA

  • GONE: Cole Anthony, Brandon Robinson, Jeremiah Francis
  • COMING BACK: Garrison Brooks, Armando Bacot, Leaky Black, Andrew Platek, Anthony Harris
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Caleb Love, Walker Kessler, R.J. Davis, Day’Ron Sharpe, Puff Johnson
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Caleb Love, Anthony Harris, Leaky Black, Armando Bacot, Garrison Brooks

The Tar Heels lost Cole Anthony, but with Caleb Love entering the program, they will once again be led by a five-star lead guard perfectly suited to running Roy Williams’ system. The Tar Heels will also have arguably the best frontline in college basketball, as Garrison Brooks and Armando Bacot will be joined by five-stars Day’Ron Sharpe and Walker Kessler. The key to this team is going to be on the wings, where Leaky Black, Anthony Harris, Puff Johnson, R.J. Davis and Andrew Platek will be asked to carry the load. If I had more confidence in that group the Tar Heels would be ranked much higher.

RELATED: Coaching Carousel
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14. FLORIDA STATE

  • GONE: Trent Forrest, Devin Vassell, Patrick Williams, Dominik Olejniczak
  • COMING BACK: M.J. Walker, Balsa Koprivica, Anthony Polite, Malik Osborne, Raiquan Gray, Wyatt Wilkes, Nathanael Jack
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Scottie Barnes, Sardaar Calhoun
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Anthony Polite, M.J. Walker, Scottie Barnes, Raiquan Gray, Balsa Koprivica

Florida State is a tough one to project because it’s hard to know exactly what is going to happen with Patrick Williams and Devin Vassell gone to the draft. Both are projected to go somewhere in the first round. With Scottie Barnes coming in and M.J. Walker returning, Florida State still has some dangerous weapons. The Seminoles are a machine at this point, and I’m betting thatwsc the system will continue to work. And even if both Vassell and Williams had decided to come back, it doesn’t answer the most pressing question of Leonard Hamilton’s team: How do they replace Trent Forrest at the point?

15. MICHIGAN STATE

  • GONE: Cassius Winston
  • COMING BACK: Rocket Watts, Aaren Henry, Gabe Brown, Malik Hall, Marcus Bingham, Julius Marble, Thomas Kithier, Foster Loyer
  • WAIT AND SEE: Josh Langford
  • NEW FACES: Joey Hauser, Mady Sissoko, A.J. Hoggard
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Rocket Watts, Josh Langford, Aaron Henry, Joey Hauser, Marcus Bingham

Rocket Watts showed down the stretch of last season that he was ready to take over the reins offensively, and with Joey Hauser getting eligible, he should have a second scoring threat on the floor with him. That will allow Aaron Henry to play his jack-of-all-trades role, and with Gabe Brown, Malik Hall and Marcus Bingham all, in theory, taking a step forward, there’s plenty of weaponry, even if a number of those pieces are young and unproven. Losing Xavier Tillman, an anchor and a leader, is a massive blow.

16. KENTUCKY

  • GONE: Immanuel Quickley, Nate Sestina, Tyrese Maxey, Nick Richards, Ashton Hagans, Johnny Juzang, E.J. Montgomery
  • COMING BACK: Keion Brooks, Dontaie Allen
  • WAIT AND SEE: Olivier Sarr
  • NEW FACES: B.J. Boston, Terrence Clarke, Devin Askew, Isaiah Jackson, Lance Ware, Cam’Ron Fletcher, Davion Mintz
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Devin Askew, Terrence Clarke, B.J. Boston, Keion Brooks, Isaiah Jackson

Tyrese Maxey, Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley and Nick Richards are all heading to the NBA. E.J. Montgomery declared as well. Nate Sestina graduated. Johnny Juzang transferredwest. What that leaves is another loaded recruiting class and Keion Brooks. I love the combination of Terrence Clarke and Brandon Boston on the wings, and Devin Askew should be able to step in and handle point guard duties along with Davion Mintz. This will be another season for the Wildcats where they have talent but not necessarily a great fit on their roster. The key to their season is going to be whether or not they can get Olivier Sarr a waiver to be eligible immediately.

17. WEST VIRGINIA

  • GONE: Jermaine Haley, Chase Harler
  • COMING BACK: Oscar Tshiebwe, Derek Culver, Miles McBride, Emmitt Matthews, Gabe Osabuohien, Jalen Bridges, Sean McNeil
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Isaiah Cottrell, Taj Thweatt, Kedrian Johnson , Jalen Bridges
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Miles McBride, Kedrian Johnson, Emmitt Matthews, Derek Culver, Oscar Tshiebwe

The Mountaineers are going to be exactly what they were last season: Big, physical, overpowering defensively and on the glass and able to win games when Miles McBride and Emmitt Matthews are able to made enough shots to keep defenses from collapsing.

18. CREIGHTON

  • GONE:  Ty-Shon Alexander, Kelvin Jones, Davion Mintz
  • COMING BACK: Mitchell Ballock, Damien Jefferson, Christian Bishop, Denzel Mahoney, Jacob Epperson, Shereef Mitchell
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Antwaan Jones, Ryan Kalkbrenner
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Marcus Zegarowski, Mitchell Ballock, Damien Jefferson, Denzel Mahoney, Christian Bishop

Creighton’s ranking depended on what their talented backcourt of Ty-Shon Alexander and Marcus Zegarowski decided to do. With both of them back, I had the Bluejays as a top four team. Without Alexander, they’re more of a back-end top 25 team. The other question is going to be what happens at the five spot. Christian Bishop was adequate in his minutes last season, and with four-star recruit Ryan Kalkbrenner and a (hopefully) healthy Jacob Epperson in the mix, there will be options to answer that question.

19. RUTGERS

  • GONE: Akwasi Yeboah, Shaq Carter
  • COMING BACK: Geo Baker, Ron Harper, Myles Johnson, Montez Mathis, Caleb McConnell, Jacob Young, Mamadou Doucoure, Paul Mulcahy
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Cliff Omoruyi, Dean Reiber, Oskar Palmquist, Mawot Mag
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Geo Baker, Montez Mathis, Caleb McConnell, Ron Harper Jr., Myles Johnson

The Scarlet Knights return basically everyone from a team that would have made the program’s first NCAA tournament since 1991. In total, eight of their top nine players are returning, and only Akwasi Yeboah (9.8 ppg) is gone.

20. MICHIGAN

  • GONE: Zavier Simpson, Jon Teske
  • COMING BACK: Isaiah Livers, Eli Brooks, Brandon Johns, Adrian Nunez
  • WAIT AND SEE: Chaundee Brown
  • NEW FACES: Hunter Dickinson, Mike Smith Terrance Williams, Zeb Jackson, Jace Howard
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Mike Smith, Eli Brooks, Isaiah Livers, Franz Wagner, Hunter Dickinson

The Wolverines are going to have one of the better frontlines in college basketball in 2020-21, as they seem likely to return Isaiah Livers in addition to Franz Wagner. Throw in a recruiting class that includes Hunter Dickinson, and the Wolverines will be loaded. Their guards are old, but there are some questions about the upside of Columbia grad transfer Mike Smith and Eli Brooks. Can Wake Forest transfer Chaundee Brown get eligible?

21. TEXAS

  • GONE: None
  • COMING BACK: Matt Coleman, Courtney Ramey, Andrew Jones, Kai Jones, Jericho Sims, Jase Febres, Kamaka Hepa, Royce Hamm, Donovan Williams, Gerald Lidell, Will Baker
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Greg Brown
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Matt Coleman, Courtney Ramey, Andrew Jones, Greg Brown, Jericho Sims

The Longhorns bring back all 12 players from last year’s team, including 11 of whom started at least one game last season. Plus, they add top ten recruit Greg Brown to a team that won five of their last six regular season games. That’s a good thing! Keeping everyone happy on a roster this deep when there are 13 guys available for just five spots on the floor and 200 combined minutes a night? That’s not going to be easy to deal with.

22. LOUISVILLE

  • GONE: Jordan Nwora, Dwayne Sutton, Steve Enoch, Fresh Kimble, Ryan McMahon, Darius Perry
  • COMING BACK: David Johnson, Samuell Williamson, Malik Williams, Josh Nickelberry, Aidan Ighiehon, Jaelyn Withers
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Carlik Jones, Charles Minlend, D’Andre Davis, J.J. Traynor
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Carlik Jones, David Johnson, Charles Minlend, Samuell Williamson, Malik Williams

The Cardinals are going to build around sophomores David Johnson and Samuell Williamson as well as senior Malik Williams this season. The addition of Radford grad transfer Carlik Jones should help out quite a bit as well. Johnson and Williamson have both shown flashes of having star potential. The addition of San Francisco grad transfer Charles Minlend should help add some depth on the perimeter.

23. ARIZONA STATE

  • GONE: Rob Edwards, Romello White, Mickey Mitchell
  • COMING BACK: Remy Martin, Alonzo Verge, Kimani Lawrence, Taeshon Cherry, Jaelen House, Khalid Thomas, Jalen Graham
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES:  Josh Christopher, Marcus Bagley, Holland Woods
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Remy Martin, Alonzo Verge, Josh Christopher, Taeshon Cherry, Jalen Graham

This ranking is dependent on Remy Martin making the decision to return to school for the 2020-21 season, but if they do, the Sun Devils have a chance to be really, really good. Losing Romello White is going to hurt, but Alonzo Verge had a breakout season, and they added Josh Christopher, a five-star prospect from California.

24. RICHMOND

  • GONE: None
  • COMING BACK: Jacob Gilyard, Grant Golden, Blake Francis, Nick Sherod, Nathan Cayo, Andre Gustavson, Jake Wojcik, Tyler Burton
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Isaiah Wilson
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Jacob Gilyard, Blake Francis, Nick Sherod, Nathan Cayo, Grant Golden

Chris Mooney did not have a senior on the roster of a team that finished 24-7 overall and 14-4 in the Atlantic 10. With Obi Toppin gone, the Spiders will likely be the class of the conference heading into next season. Jacob Gilyard has a chance to be Atlantic 10 Player of the Year.

25. MEMPHIS

  • GONE: James Wiseman, Precious Achiuwa, Tyler Harris
  • COMING BACK: D.J. Jeffries, Lester Quinones, Boogie Ellis, Damian Baugh, Alex Lomax, Isaiah Maurice
  • WAIT AND SEE: Landers Nolley II, DeAndre Williams
  • NEW FACES: Moussa Cisse, Isaiah Stokes
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Alex Lomax, Boogie Ellis, Lester Quinones, D.J. Jeffries, Moussa Cisse

Moussa Cisse is the piece that Memphis had been missing. I explain why here.

SIX THAT JUST MISSED THE COLLEGE BASKETBALL PRESEASON TOP 25

UCLA

  • GONE: Daishen Nix, Prince Ali, Alex Olesinski
  • COMING BACK: Chris Smith, Jalen Hill, Cody Riley, Jaime Jaquez, Tyger Campbell, Jake Kyman, Jules Bernard, David Singleton
  • WAIT AND SEE: Chris Smith
  • NEW FACES: Daishen Nix, Jaylen Clark
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Tyger Campbell, Johnny Juzang, Chris Smith, Jaime Jaquez, Jalen Hill

OREGON

  • GONE: Payton Pritchard, Anthony Mathis, Shakur Juiston, C.J. Walker
  • COMING BACK: Will Richardson, Chris Duarte, C.J. Walker, Francis Okoro, Chandler Lawson, Addison Patterson, N’Faly Dante
  • WAIT AND SEE: L.J. Figueroa
  • NEW FACES: Amauri Hardy, Jalen Terry, Eric Williams, Eugene Omoruyi
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Will Richardson, Chris Duarte, Amauri Hardy, Eric Williams, Eugene Omoruyi

OHIO STATE

  • GONE: Kaleb Wesson, Luther Muhammad, Andrew Wesson, D.J. Carton, Alonzo Gaffney
  • COMING BACK: Duane Washington, Luther Muhammad, C.J. Walker, Kyle Young, E.J. Liddell, Justin Ahrens, Alonzo Gaffney, Ibrahima Diallo
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Seth Towns, Eugene Brown, Zed Kay, Justice Suenig, Abel Porter
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: C.J. Walker, Duane Washington, Seth Towns, E.J. Liddell, Kyle Young

INDIANA

  • GONE: De’Ron Davis, Devonte Green, Justin Smith
  • COMING BACK: Trayce Jackson-Davis, Joey Brunk, Al Durham, Rob Phinisee, Jerome Hunter, Race Thompson
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: Khristian Lander, Trey Galloway, Jordan Geronimo, Anthony Leal
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Khristian Lander, Rob Phinisee, Al Durham, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Joey Brunk

UCONN

  • GONE: Christian Vital, Alterique Gilbert, Sid Wilson
  • COMING BACK: James Bouknight, Josh Carlton, Akok Akok, Jalen Gaffney, Tyler Polley, Brendan Adams, Isaiah Whaley
  • WAIT AND SEE: None
  • NEW FACES: R.J. Cole, Andre Jackson, Javonte Brown-Ferguson, Richie Springs, Adama Sanogo
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: R.J. Cole, James Bouknight, Andre Jackson, Akok Akok, Josh Carlton

LSU

  • GONE: Emmitt Williams, Skylar Mays, Marlon Taylor
  • COMING BACK: Charles Manning Jr., James Bishop
  • WAIT AND SEE: Trendon Watford, Darius Days, Javonte Smart
  • NEW FACES: Cam Thomas, Josh Leblanc, Jalen Cook, Shareef O’Neal, Mwani Wilkinson, Bradley Ezewiro
  • PROJECTED STARTERS: Javonte Smart, Cam Thomas, Charles Manning, Josh LeBlanc, Darius Days

Arizona State’s Martin to return for senior season

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TEMPE, Ariz. (–Arizona State guard Remy Martin is withdrawing from the NBA draft and will return for his senior season in the desert.

“I’m blessed to have the opportunity to coach Remy Martin for one more season,” Sun Devils coach Bobby Hurley said in a statement Sunday. “Remy will be one of the best players in college basketball this year and will be on a mission to lead Arizona State basketball in its pursuit of championships.”

A 6-foot guard, Martin is the Pac-12’s leading returning scorer after averaging 19.1 points in 2019-20. He also averaged 4.1 assists per game and helped put the Sun Devils in position to reach the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year before the season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Martin’s return should put Arizona State among the favorites to win the Pac-12 next season.

Martin joins fellow guard Alonzo Verge Jr. in returning to the Sun Devils after testing the NBA waters. Big man Romello White declared for the draft and later entered the transfer portal.

Hurley has signed one of the program’s best recruiting classes for next season, headed by five-star guard Josh Christopher.