The college basketball season just recently ended, which means it’s time for everyone to give their WAY-too-early preseason rankings for the 2019-20 season.
The Kentucky Wildcats have already lost PJ Washington, Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro to the NBA Draft. They also lost Reid Travis due to graduation. That’s four of the five starters from this year’s team. Oh, and Jemarl Baker is transferring out of the program.
However, we do know that Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley are both returning to Lexington for their sophomore seasons. We also know that Coach Cal is bringing in another haul from the recruiting trail with five-stars Kahlil Whitney, Tyrese Maxey and Keion Brooks, as well as four-star and Kentucky native Dontaie Allen. Last, but certainly not least, UK is also adding Bucknell grad transfer Nate Sestina.
EJ Montgomery has declared for the NBA Draft with the intention of keeping his name in only if he’s a first round pick. That seems extremely unlikely at this point, but stranger things have happened. We’ve also yet to hear a decision on whether or not we’ll see Junior Nick Richards.
So, Kentucky is going to be loaded with talent again next season, but there are some obvious holes and a lot of questions yet to be answered. Regardless, Rob Dauster from NBC Sports took a stab at ranking the teams for next season. And he was high on the Cats.
Kentucky comes in at No. 3, per the course of preseason college basketball rankings. Also, Dauster predicts that next year’s starting lineup will be Tyrese Maxey, Ashton Hagans, Kahlil Whitney, Keion Brooks, and EJ Montgomery. He predicted that Richards would be back as well.
Michigan State and Michigan were the only two teams who came in ahead of UK. The reigning national champion Virginia Cavaliers came in at No. 5 and Louisville actually cracked the top 1o at No. 8. Duke was ranked No. 7, while the SEC only had two other teams that cracked the list with Auburn and Tennessee coming in at Nos. 21 and 22, respectively.
Obviously, it’s way too early to know what half of these rosters will even look like for next season, much less rank the teams. But it’s always fun to imagine what we have to look forward to next year.
You can see the full rankings here.