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Aaron Torres’ Take

Meet Jaden McDaniels: A Top 10 Prospect Whose”Dream School” is Kentucky

Meet Jaden McDaniels: A Top 10 Prospect Whose”Dream School” is Kentucky

As things stand right now, Kentucky could be headed for a historically great recruiting class in 2019. The Wildcats have already secured the services of the top two point guards in the class Ashton Hagans and . The Wildcats also are the perceived co-favorite for the nation’s No. 1 player James Wiseman, and are also heavily involved for a handful of other five-star prospects including No. 2 Vernon Carey, No. 5 Matthew Hurt, No. 10 Scottie Lewis and No. 11 Jalen Lecque. Oh, and then there’s four-star D.J. Jeffries who is also committed to the Cats.

So yeah, it’s good to be John Calipari right now, but it isn’t an exaggeration to say the rich could conceivably get richer this summer, thanks to the fastest-rising recruit in America.

Meet Jaden McDaniels, a wing from Seattle who has been the talk of the recruiting world this spring. Considered just a four-star prospect a few months ago, he is now a Top 10 prospect in America according to 247 Sports.

Not bad. But here’s the catch: According to recruiting expert Corey Evans, McDaniels has already heard from virtually every program in America, but he is still waiting for one. That’s Kentucky, which Evans described as McDaniels’ “dream school.”

Evans joined the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast this week and shared some details on him:

“Jaden McDaniels was at USA Basketball Under-18 this past week, didn’t make it. But he has been the face of spring 2018. His older brother is Jalen McDaniels, likely a two-and-done guy at San Diego State. He’s entering his sophomore year this coming year.

But [Jalen] is a 6’9 small forward that Kansas just offered, Oregon offered, UCLA offered, Arizona offered, Oklahoma and Texas are also the favorites there as well. He can be the No. 1 player in America… And his dream school is Kentucky. I really want to see if Kentucky will jump in and offer him. I know they have D.J. Jeffries coming but, this kid is different. He’s really different. His rate of progression is astronomical. His basketball ceiling for growth further is stupendous.

And he’s someone where, if Kentucky were to offer, that could change the ball-game.”

Those are some incredibly strong words on a player who has absolutely turned heads this summer, averaging 20 points and nine rebounds on the Nike EYBL circuit. According to Evans he’s already measured at 6’9 without shoes with a 6’11 wingspan is a guy that both college coaches and NBA scouts are certainly intrigued by. Evans compared him to a more polished version of former Florida State star and lottery pick Jonathan Isaac.

The question of course, is what’s next. As Evans’ mentioned, the Wildcats already have a wing committed in the class of 2019 with D.J. Jeffries. Still, rarely has having one player committed ever stopped Calipari, and it will be interesting to see if he actively pursues McDaniels going forward.

One thing is for sure: The fast-rising senior will be waiting for his call.

To listen to the rest of the interview Evans, where the recruiting guru breaks down Team USA basketball camp, Tyrese Maxey and the future of Cole Anthony, download the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast, by clicking here.

Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E51: Corey Evans on USA Basketball Trials, Scottie Lewis and Tyrese Maxey

A new episode of the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast is live, as Aaron is joined by‘s Corey Evans to recap a wild first half of the summer in college recruiting. Corey brings a wealth of knowledge as always, but first things start off as Nick Coffey joins the show to break down everything in the sports world. The guys discuss:
Inevitable NBA Finals talkThe guys veer off into an NBA Finals conversation after a disappointing Game 3 from the Cavs. Nick discusses why he hates Kevin Durant and Aaron compares KD to the fake tough guy at the bar. Also, how can anyone possibly hate LeBron James at this point in his career?
The Bizarre LaGerald Vick SagaThe former Kansas Jayhawk was seen in Louisville this week and it sent the city into a frenzy. Nick explains why it was a false alarm, and why Vick won’t be coming to play for Chris Mack.
Next up, Aaron welcomes‘s Corey Evans to the show. The two take a deep dive in recruiting talk, discussing:
Scottie Lewis’ Comment on KentuckyCorey made national headlines when New Jersey high school star Scottie Lewis said he’d go to Kentucky if “all he cared about was basketball.” Corey explained what he thought of the quote and why it may have been taken out of context.
Corey’s Reaction to Team USA TrialsCorey talks about Tyrese Maxey, who he believes was the best player at camp. What does he do well and what kind of impact will he have at Kentucky? Also, who were the players who stood out who will be on college campuses next season?
Other Recruiting NuggetsWhat’s the latest on New York City star Cole Anthony? How would the removal of the one-and-done rule change recruiting? And also, who is the rising star who could become a recruiting target for Kentucky? Tune in to find out!
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

Sponsorship Note:

Sign on to sponsor the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast by June 15th to take advantage of a special discount. Contact to learn more.

Top high school players discuss how removing the one and done would change their college decision

Top high school players discuss how removing the one and done would change their college decision

It’s no secret that as things stand, the biggest story in college basketball right now actually has nothing to do with college basketball at all. It is the future of the “one and done” rule, the NBA bylaw which states that players must be one year removed from high school before being allowed to enter the NBA Draft. As anyone reading this article knows, the rule has been in place for over a decade, sending some of the best players in all of basketball (Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, John Wall, Kyrie Irving) to college for at least one season.

Still, it appears as though the rule will quietly be altered over the next few years. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has openly discussed the possibility of removing the rule for well over a calendar year now, and the FBI’s probe into college basketball seems to have been the final push needed to get things changed. The fact that Condoleezza Rice’s commission also referenced the need to end the one-and-done rule makes it seems like a matter of “when” not “if” the rule will be changed, and quietly the NBA has slowly implementing little rules changes to help ease the transition when it happens. One of those changes is to “certify” more events this summer than usual, allowing NBA scouts into high school gyms to evaluate players.

One of those events was this weekend’s Pangos All-American Camp, a noted West Coast event which in the past has drawn everyone from James Harden and Russell Westbrook to Ben Simmons, Davis, Wall and countless others. For the first time ever NBA scouts were allowed in the gym, giving the event an entirely different feel this weekend.

With so many of the top high school players in America in the building as well it, also felt like a good time to gauge their temperature on a potential rule change. It made sense to focus mostly on the top players in the high school class of 2020 (players who just finished their sophomore years of high school) since it appears as though that may be the first group of high school players allowed to enter the professional ranks.

So after speaking with some of the top high school players what did we find out? Virtually all of them know about the potential rule change. And yes, virtually all would consider a jump to the professional ranks if offered the opportunity.

The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E50: Way Too Early Top 25’s with Rob Dauster

The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast is back to celebrate a significant milestone — Episode No. 50. Just a few days after the NBA Draft deadline, Torres takes a deeper dive into the Top 25 of the 2018-19 college basketball season.  Rob Dauster from NBC Sports joins Aaron’s show to discuss it all, but first, the return of 790 KRD’s Nick Coffey. Nick and Aaron jump around college hoops discussing:
The Top 25The guys debate Aaron’s Top 25, which can be found here. The guys explain why Kentucky is not ranked too high at No. 2 and why this could be a special season at UK with the return of PJ Washington to go along with a loaded freshman class. Also, Nick joins Aaron on the “Duke is overrated” train.
Movement at LouisvilleNick breaks down a big weekend for the Cards. He shares his thoughts on the addition of a grad transfer from Richmond and why Louisville simply needs bodies going into next season. Nick answers this question: is Aaron wrong to have Louisville ranked in the Top 25 going into the preseason?
Coaching ScuttlebuttThe guys react to the news that John Beilein is a candidate with the Detroit Pistons — he can’t possibly go, can he? And Bruce Pearl gets a contract extension proving the idea that he would be fired last season was completely overblown.
Next up Aaron welcomes in Rob Dauster for the national perspective on next year’s Top 25 after the deadline. The guys break it all down starting with….
Overall Reaction to the Draft DeadlineRob and Aaron discuss all the moving and shaking at the end, including decisions by big names like PJ Washington to return to school. Rob explains why last Wednesday was a great day for college basketball overall.
Is Nevada Ranked Too High? The Wolfpack seem to be a media darling, with Aaron having Nevada ranked at No. 4 coming into next season (this after hosting Wolfpack head coach Eric Musselman on the show last week). Rob explains why the ranking is fair, but does worry how the Wolfpack will figure out a way to make all their new pieces work.
Is Duke Overrated? Finally the guys discuss Duke and Rob explains why — like Aaron — he has concerns coming into next season. Are the Blue Devils destined to disappoint once again?
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

Sponsorship Note:

Sign on to sponsor the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast by June 15th to take advantage of a special discount. Contact to learn more.

A New Name to Keep an Eye on In Recruiting: 2020 PG Jalen Cone

A New Name to Keep an Eye on In Recruiting: 2020 PG Jalen Cone

They say “Kentucky basketball never stops” and when John Calipari is your head coach, recruiting never stops either. At this point it’s pretty clear that the focus is on the 2019 class, and the potential to produce a monster recruiting haul with the likes of James Wiseman and Vernon Carey possibly joining Tyrese Maxey and D.J. Jeffries in Lexington.

However, it’s never too early to look at the 2020 class and it’s never too early to look at a new name that has emerged for the Wildcats. North Carolina point guard Jalen Cone told KSR at the Pangos All-American camp this weekend that he has heard from a number of different programs in recent weeks, including the Kentucky Wildcats.

“Kentucky, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, NC State, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Ole Miss, Wichita State and North Carolina,” Cone said of which schools he’s heard from recently. He added that he hasn’t received actual scholarship offers from all those schools, although Ole Miss and Virginia Tech were amongst those who have.

The Wildcats still haven’t offered a scholarship and the reality is that it probably won’t be coming any time soon. Because of their stature in the recruiting world the Wildcats don’t need to get offers out early and the reality is, it doesn’t really make sense for them to anyway since Kentucky’s roster is so fluid from year-to-year. Heck, Kentucky is a LONG way from knowing what their 2019 recruiting class will look like, making it next to impossible to try and figure out what their needs will be in 2020. Getting out early offers is something that makes more sense at other schools (like say Ole Miss) where they have more three and four-year players and they have a better idea of what their roster will look like in the bigger picture.

Still, Cone said it would “be a dream come true” to receive an offer from the Wildcats. Like so many other players, Kentucky’s ability to produce NBA players is what intrigues him about the school.

“That’s a program that brings in five-stars,” Cone said. “And the four-stars they bring in are capable of being five-stars. They just produce NBA players, and I feel like Coach Cal and their staff do a great job of producing players that get to the league, especially point guards.”

The staff has even told Cone, who stands at just 5’10, that he reminds them of a certain former Wildcat.

“I know that Tyler Ulis, he’s about my size,” Cone said. “Seeing that is what has me really believing in that program.”

What’s most interesting (at least to me) is what Kentucky’s interest means in the “big picture” here. Cone has been a fast-riser this spring, reaching No. 73 in his current class according to 247 Sports. Still, a kid ranked No. 73 in his class doesn’t generally scream “Kentucky target.” There are a handful of surface-level reasons that Kentucky would get involved early, including the fact that Cone is from Joel Justus’ backyard of North Carolina. Justus always has a beat on what’s going on in North Carolina – as well as all over the country – most notably helping convince Bam Adebayo to come to Kentucky.

Still, UK’s interest does make me think a few different things. One, is this the classic case of UK seeing something in an under-valued recruit that others don’t yet see? For all the success John Calipari and his staff have had through the years landing the “best of the best” (John Wall, Anthony Davis, De’Aaron Fox etc.) they don’t get nearly enough credit for taking undervalued recruits like Willie Cauley-Stein, Devin Booker and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and turning them into pros. As Cone said himself, the staff has a unique ability to turn four-stars into five-stars.

Also, could this be Kentucky casting a wider net than usual in the 2020 recruiting class in anticipation that by then high school players could be allowed to go to the NBA/G-League straight out of high school? Considering that those have been the rumblings for months it seems at least possible. Especially since the Pangos All-American event (the place where Cone spoke with KSR) was officially NBA-sanctioned, allowing NBA scouts and front office personnel to attend for the first time.

Regardless, there is a long way to go with this recruitment. Cone said he plans to visit a bunch of schools throughout June and Kentucky will be one of them.

Whether it ever leads to a scholarship offer, let alone Cone actually becoming a Wildcat, remains to be seen.

In the meantime, enjoy this mix-tape of Cone, compared to another North Carolina point guard – and former Kentucky recruit – Dennis Smith Jr. And remember, Cone just finished his sophomore year of high school – and will only get better from here.

The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E49: Nevada Head Coach Eric Musselman

It’s a jam-packed Aaron Torres Sports Podcast, as Aaron has a full recap of the NBA Draft deadline and winners and losers — and is then joined by Nevada coach Eric Musselman, a coach whose team will begin the season ranked No. 1. Starting with the draft deadline, Aaron breaks it all down, including:
What P.J. Washington’s Return means for KentuckyAaron calls Washington’s return the final piece of the puzzle for the Wildcats, and a move that makes them a bonafide national title contender. He also explains why the Wildcats have no true weakness heading into 2019, and should be considered a title favorite. Also, Aaron dives into Reid Travis and why Kentucky doesn’t necessarily need him.
How is Nevada a Top Five Team? Before welcoming on Coach Muss, Aaron shares why he has them in the Top 5. He breaks down their roster and explains why they are a title contender, even though they play in the Mountain West..
Why Duke is Ranked so LowMost college basketball pundits believe Duke is one of the most talented teams in the country.  Torres isn’t buying the combination of Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish.
Next Aaron welcomes the guest he’s waited a lifetime for: Nevada head coach Eric Musselman! Hop aboard the Muss Bus, as the coach of the Wolfpack discusses…
Where he was when Cody and Caleb Martin told him they’d returnCoach Muss takes listeners behind the scenes of where he was when he found out his two stars would return. What was his reaction and how did he celebrate?
How he will handle coaching a completely different team next season: Muss talks about the unique challenges facing his team. Last year they had no depth; now they legit go 12 or 13 deep. He explains why his background in the NBA makes him believe he’ll be able to keep everyone happy.
Story Time with Coach MussCoach Muss shares some incredible stories from his time coaching in the G-League, CBA and USBL. He talks about the time he had to insert a suspended player in the lineup, and the time his team found out at a McDonald’s that their game-time changed.
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

Sponsorship Note:

Sign on to sponsor the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast by June 15th to take advantage of a special discount. Contact to learn more.

Way Too Early College Basketball Top 25 for the 2018-2019 season

As weird as it sounds, last night (or was it this morning?) was one of the most important days of the 2018-2019 college basketball season. The deadline to withdraw from the NBA Draft was midnight eastern, meaning that today we have a pretty good idea of what virtually every team will look like in college basketball season next year. Sure, there are still a handful of big puzzle pieces that have to be figured out (the transfers of Reid Travis and Mustapha Heron for example) but for the most part we basically know what every team will look like come the start of the season.

Therefore, what better day to release KSR’s “Way Too Early Top 25” for next season than today? I’ve done one for years when I worked at Fox Sports, and it only made sense to continue the tradition here.

Before we get into the picks, there’s one thing worth noting: I choose my teams a bit differently than some.  I don’t base my rankings solely on raw basketball talent – since rarely does raw talent alone win in college basketball. Instead, I value teams that bring back veterans to go along with star freshmen or All-Americans. Some teams we’ll have ranked higher here than most. Others will be a bit lower.

Regardless, it’s time to get to the Top 25 for 2018-2019. Here is our ranking:

1) Gonzaga Bulldogs

Key Returnees: Killian Tillie, Rui Hachimura, Zach Norvell, Josh Perkins, Corey Kispert
Key Departures: Jonathan Williams III
Key Additions: Brandon Clarke (transfer), Joel Ayayi, Filip Petrušev

I haven’t seen another national poll with Gonzaga at No. 1 (most do have them in the top five however), but the Zags are here for a few reasons. For starters, they return four starters off a 32-win team that made the second weekend of the tournament for the fourth straight year. And had it not been for an injury to Killian Tillie, they probably would have blown past Florida State to the Elite Eight and maybe beyond. They’re also the only school – as best I can tell – who had two legitimate first round draft picks (Tillie and Rui Hachimura) choose to skip the draft and return to school. They also return a wing in Zach Norvell who averaged 13 points per game last year, and their only significant loss (Jonathan Williams III) might be addition by subtraction. He’ll be replaced by San Jose State transfer Brandon Clarke, who is a more versatile player who will likely make them even more dynamic offensively.

Some do still have concerns about the Zags point guard play, but they have the size, athleticism, talent and experience to hang with – and beat anyone – in college basketball. Two years after playing for a national championship, they are my favorite to win it all in 2018-2019.

2) Kentucky Wildcats

Key Returnees: Quade Green, P.J. Washington, Nick Richards, Jemarl Baker
Key Departures: Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Hamidou Diallo, Wenyen Gabriel, Jarred Vanderbilt
Key Additions: Immanuel Quickley, Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, E.J. Montgomery, Ashton Hagans

Please understand that having Kentucky at No. 2 isn’t an “I write for KSR” thing. It’s an “I really like the makeup of this team going into next year” thing. And while the losses of Jarred Vanderbilt and Wenyen Gabriel did sting on Wednesday, I do believe that the return of P.J. Washington trumps it all. Washington was the final piece of the puzzle for the 2019 Wildcats, a player who provides that physical low-post presence and scorer that the team would’ve lacked without him, and with him this team enters 2018-2019 with no true weakness. They have size, toughness, shooting, versatility and most importantly, a veteran presence on this team. We all know that John Calipari does his best work when he’s got second and third-year players to go along with a star-studded freshman class, and he will certainly have that entering next season.

To me, this is by far Kentucky’s best team since 2015, and by far its most genuine threat to cut down the nets since then as well. If this team somehow adds Reid Travis to the fold they will be the unquestioned No. 1 going into the season, but with Washington back I don’t think they necessarily need to add him to complete for a title either. The Wildcats are one of the handful of favorites to win it all in 2019.

3) Kansas Jayhawks

Key Returnees: Udoka Azibuke, Silvio de Souza, Marcus Garrett
Key Departures: Devonte Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk, Malik Newman, LaGerald Vick
Key Additions: Dedric Lawson (transfer), K.J. Lawson (transfer), Charlie Moore (transfer), Quentin Grimes, Devon Dodson, David McCormick

The pieces may be different from last year, but weirdly this roster may be deeper and more versatile than last year’s Final Four club. The name to watch here is Dedric Lawson, a 6’9 transfer who averaged 19 and 9 at Memphis two seasons ago. Ask folks around Kansas, and they believe that he – and not Devonte Graham or Malik Newman – was the best player in the program last year.

Other names to watch are point guard Charlie Moore (who averaged 12 points per game at Cal two years ago) and Quentin Grimes, arguably the best pure scorer in high school basketball last year. With them, Kansas is again in line to win roughly their 2,438th straight Big 12 title. And if they win that 2,438th straight Big 12 title, then they are certainly worth of a Top 5 ranking here.

4) Nevada Wolfpack

Key Returnees: Caleb Martin, Cody Martin, Jordan Caroline, Lindsey Drew
Key Departures: Kendall Stephens
Key Additions: Tre’Shawn Thurman (transfer), Corey Henson (transfer), Jazz Johnson (transfer), Nisre Zouzoua (transfer), Trey Porter (transfer), Ehab Amin (transfer), Jordan Brown

A lot of you went bonkers when I said on Twitter over the weekend that if the Martin twins returned, Nevada was a Top 5 team heading into the preseason. A lot of you guys wondered, “How can a team from the Mountain West which doesn’t play elite competition possibly be a Top 5 team?”

Well, here’s how. First of all, this was a Top 25 team all year last year, that won 29 games, went to the Sweet 16 and was one possession away from going to the Elite Eight. They now return three players (the Martin twins and Jordan Caroline) who averaged at least 16 points per game last year, and four starters overall. And please don’t tell me those numbers were “only” put up against Mountain West teams. The Martin twins began their careers at NC State, meaning that they’re good enough to play for and against anyone in college basketball.

Now, that same Sweet 16 team that returns four starters (including three who averaged 16 points per game) has depth, thanks to the addition of a McDonald’s All-American (Jordan Brown) and several high-level transfers. Did I mention that Nevada isn’t coached by some 36-year-old trying to move up the coaching ladder, but a guy who used to coach in the NBA and is one of the most respected minds in basketball? Well they are, in Eric Musselman.

Still wondering how Nevada is ranked in the Top 5 heading into the preseason? That’s how.

5) Virginia Cavaliers

Key Returnees: DeAndre Hunter, Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy, Mamadi Diakite, Jack Salt
Key Departures: Devon Hall, Isaiah Wilkins, Nigel Johnson
Key Additions: Kody Stattmann, Francisco Caffaro

I’m guessing many of you are surprised to see me rank Virginia this high after I’ve been so critical of Tony Bennett throughout the years. Well, ultimately I think there are two different things at play here. Bennett can be a slightly overrated coach who can’t adjust in March, and also be a guy who has a system which is innately designed to rack up wins during the regular season.

So when I look at Virginia, what I see is that they are a club which returns its top three scorers off a team that won 31 games last year, an ACC title and earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. Which also means that it’s very likely that next season they will again win around 30+ games, compete for an ACC regular season title and compete for a No. 1 seed.

If you do all that, you should be Top 5 in the preseason. Even if it will likely end with a crippling, first weekend loss in the NCAA Tournament.

6) North Carolina Tar Heels

Key Returnees: Luke Maye, Cam Johnson, Kenny Williams, Sterling Manley, Garrison Brooks
Key Departures: Joel Berry, Theo Pinson
Key Additions: Nassir Little, Coby White, Rechon Black

Truth be told, I like the Tar Heels more than most. Whatever you think about Luke Maye (and I know how plenty of people reading this feel) he averaged 17 and 10 last year and will return to college basketball as one of the most accomplished players in the sport. Cam Johnson was a double-figure scorer who will only get better, and Nassir Little is their first truly elite recruit since Harrison Barnes signed in 2011. Big guys like Sterling Manley and Garrison Brooks will only get better.

To me, the Tar Heels are one of the more underrated teams heading into the 2018-2019 season. If they can get their point guard play right, they’re a true national championship contender.


The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E48: Previewing the NBA Draft Deadline

The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast is back, as college basketball goes crazy heading into the NBA Draft deadline. Players are coming and going — but what does it mean for the 2018-2019 season? Aaron and Nick Coffey spend 45 minutes breaking it all down, starting with:
Donte DiVencenzio Goes ProAfter killing it at the NBA Draft Combine, the Final Four Most Outstanding Player has decided to stay in the draft. What will Villanova look like without him? And are the Wildcats still legit title contenders?
Deadline Day at KentuckyThe guys next look at what lies ahead at Kentucky, with PJ Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt all weighing their college futures. How good can the Wildcats be if they get all three, or even Washington and Vanderbilt back? Also, are fans undervaluing just how good these guys are? The guys debate.
Top CBB Storylines around the Decision DeadlineWhy UCLA and Auburn were both big winners on Tuesday, and why Nevada — yes, Nevada — is a Top 5 team if they return all their players. Also, Auburn leading scorer Mustapha Heron has removed his name from the draft decided to transfer. Aaron explains why his beloved UConn Huskies could be a real option for him.
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

Sponsorship Note:

Sign on to sponsor the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast by June 15th to take advantage of a special discount. Contact to learn more.

The Biggest NBA Draft Decisions that Remain Across College Basketball

While you were enjoying a Memorial Day Weekend sitting by the pool, eating hot dogs and drinking cold beverages, your favorite college basketball coach was worried sick…. while also probably sitting by the pool, eating hot dogs and drinking cold beverages. That’s because as many of you know, Wednesday is the deadline for players to withdraw from the NBA Draft (assuming they haven’t hired an agent), meaning that a handful of college basketball’s biggest programs will be shaken up – for better or worse – by the end of this week. It also means that by Wednesday at midnight, we should have a pretty clear picture of what the 2018-2019 college basketball season should look like.

(FYI, because I love you, I will be posting my post NBA Draft Deadline, college basketball Top 25 here at KSR when the deadline passes on Wednesday).

For some programs the good news has already come, with players such as North Carolina’s Luke Maye and West Virginia’s Sogaba Konate announcing they would return to school next season. However there are still several programs who will wait until the final minutes to see whether they get back key players or not.

So who are the biggest “stay or go” draft decisions left, and how could that impact the 2018-2019 college basketball season? Let’s take a look.

The SEC Drops the Ball in Scheduling Next Year’s SEC-Big 12 Challenge

If you’ve followed my work here at KSR or other places over the last year, you know that there might not be a bigger SEC basketball honk than I am. Now to be clear, I never intended it to be this way. But it all started at this time last year, when I made a seemingly harmless comment about how I thought the SEC would be vastly improved in basketball in 2018, and how I believed that half the league (at least seven teams) would make the 2018 NCAA Tournament. It was an opinion that was largely laughed out of the room by virtually every prominent national media member (seriously, you can read their responses here).

Of course, like most things related to college basketball I was once again right. The SEC had what was unquestionably the best basketball season in recent conference history, with a record eight teams making the NCAA Tournament and six winning at least one NCAA Tournament game. Add in the fact that even the “bad” teams picked up marquee out of conference wins (LSU beat eventual Final Four club Michigan, last-place Vanderbilt beat tourney team TCU) and it’s clear that basketball in this conference has never been as healthy as it was last year. And the good news is, it shouldn’t slow down heading into next season either. While some teams will fall, the league as a whole will be strong at the top. Virtually every preseason poll has at least five SEC teams (Kentucky, Tennessee, Auburn, LSU and Mississippi State) somewhere in their Top 25. Things might not quite hit their 2018 levels a season from now. But it will be pretty darn close.