Reviewing offseason changes around Big 12 basketball teams
With the college basketball offseason in full swing, and teams preparing for their overseas trips to play exhibition games, it’s time to take a look at all of the roster changes.
In the Big 12, the early predictions for next season have Kansas winning another conference title, West Virginia giving KU the biggest challenge and Texas emerging as a sleeper pick following a strong recruiting class.
Here’s a look at all of the incoming and outgoing players in the Big 12:
In: Billy Preston, Marcus Garrett, Malik Newman, Jack Whitman, Sam Cunliffe (eligible to play in December)
Out: Frank Mason III, Landen Lucas, Josh Jackson, Carlton Bragg, Dwight Coleby
In three of the past five seasons, the school that lost the national player of the year didn’t make it to the NCAA Tournament in the following year. Of course, the Jayhawks will feel the losses of Frank Mason III and Josh Jackson, but it’s pretty remarkable they remain odds-on favorites to capture another Big 12 title.
Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman is expected to contend for the team’s leading scorer, while freshman Billy Preston, one of the conference's three McDonald's All-Americans, will compete for a spot in the starting lineup. But the best news of the offseason for KU was the return of senior Devonte Graham and a now-healthy Udoka Azubuike.
In: Tristan Clark, Leonard Allen
Out: Johnathan Motley, Ishamil Wainright, Al Freeman
After reaching a No. 1 ranking in the middle of the season and exiting in the Sweet 16, Baylor will attempt to reload following the loss of standout forward Johnathan Motley, who wasn’t picked in the NBA Draft.
Coach Scott Drew can still rely on point guard Manu Lecomte and center Jo Lual-Acuil Jr., and the incoming recruiting class includes four-star forward Tristan Clark, who led his high school to the state championship game. But like most programs who lose one of the top players in the country, it’s hard to avoid a step back in the following season.
In: Lindell Wigginton, Terrence Lewis, Hans Brase, Jeff Beverly
Out: Monte Morris, Deonte Burton, Naz Mitrou-Long, Matt Thomas, Merrill Holden, Darrell Bowie
Many of Iowa State's familiar faces from the past few years have finally graduated, and the Cyclones lost their top four scorers. Perhaps no team in the Big 12 lost more talent once the season ended.
Coach Steve Prohm will enter rebuilding mode with five-star point guard Lindell Wigginton, who was teammates with KU’s Billy Preston at Oak Hill Academy, and four-star forward Terrence Lewis out of Milwaukee. Graduate transfer Hans Brase, from Princeton, played against the Jayhawks in the World University Games for Germany (six points and six rebounds).
In: Levi Stockard III, Nigel Shadd, Mike McGuirl, Makol Mawien, Amaad Wainright, Mawdo Sallah
Out: Wesley Iwundu, D.J. Johnson, Carlbe Ervin II, Isaiah Maurice
Despite losing leading scorer Wesley Iwundu, Kansas State returns four of its top six scorers from last season. It didn’t help that Isaiah Maurice was dismissed from the team earlier this month, but the Wildcats have a foundation to keep progressing from last year’s NCAA Tournament squad.
Among the newcomers, there’s three transfers and three players from high school. Levi Stockard, a 6-foot-8 forward, led Vashon High to its second straight Class 4 Missouri state title. Amaad Wainright, younger brother of Baylor’s Ish Wainright, averaged 14 points at a junior college in Texas.
In: Trae Young, Brady Manek, Hannes Polla, Ty Lazenby
Out: Jordan Woodard, Darrion Strong-Moore
In a fierce recruiting battle, the Sooners beat out a few blue bloods, including Kansas, for hometown point guard Trae Young. He’s surrounded by a strong group of guards including Kameron McGusty, Rashard Odomes and Christian James.
Oklahoma will likely go as far as Young can take them after he averaged 44 points per game at nearby Norman North High. Jordan Woodard is the toughest loss (14.6 points per game), but the fact that the Sooners return so much of their team can only help them try to return to the NCAA Tournament.
In: Zack Dawson, Kendall Smith, Yankuba Sima (December)
Out: Phil Forte III, Leyton Hammonds, Jawun Evans
After building momentum last season, winning nine of their final 12 games in the conference and suffering a one-point loss to Michigan in the NCAA Tournament, the Cowboys will be rebuilding after coach Brad Underwood departed for Illinois.
Oklahoma State lost three of its top four scorers, including second-round NBA draft pick Jawun Evans, and will learn to play under its new coach, Mike Boynton. Among the newcomers, the Cowboys picked up two transfers, Kendall Smith (CSUN) and Yankuba Sima (St. John’s), and four-star guard Zack Dawson.
In: Kevin Samuel, RJ Nembhard, Lat Mayen, Shawn Olden, Ahmed Hamdy
Out: Brandon Parrish, Michael Williams, Karviar Shepherd, Chris Washburn
Under first-year coach Jamie Dixon, the Horned Frogs made a strong push at the end of last season, including a Big 12 Tournament win over Kansas, and won the NIT. If that wasn’t already a good sign, TCU brings back its top six scorers from last year.
TCU will have to replace some depth with the loss of a few seniors, but there’s a solid group of newcomers that should compete for playing time. Ahmed Hamdy is a graduate transfer from VCU where he averaged five points per game.
In: Mo Bamba, Matt Coleman, Jericho Sims, Jase Febres, Royce Hamm Jr., Dylan Osetkowski
Out: Shaquille Cleare, Kendal Yancy, Jarrett Allen, Tevin Mack
One of the popular picks to surprise teams next winter after Shaka Smart secured a strong recruiting class, highlighted by Mo Bamba, a top-five player in the nation, and Matt Coleman, a true point guard that the team lacked last season. Bamba was in the news this week when his brother accused him of accepting cash and gifts, though Texas released a statement saying, "the NCAA has not informed us of any pending issues or eligibility concerns at this time."
The Longhorns lost some of their inside presence when Shaquille Cleare graduated and Jarrett Allen went to the NBA. But they received good news when Andrew Jones announced he would return for another season. He averaged 11.4 points last season, the school’s top returning scorer.
In: Malik Ondigo, Jarett Culver, Daniel Mading, Zhaire Smith, Tommy Hamilton IV, Brandone Francis, Davide Moretti, Josh Webster, Hyron Edwards
Out: Anthony Livingston, Aaron Ross, Devon Thomas, Matthew Temple
Texas Tech returns its only double-digit scorers from last season, Keenan Evans and Zach Smith, but coach Chris Beard will infuse a large group of newcomers to the rotation. That includes Depaul transfer Tommy Hamilton IV and Florida transfer Brandone Francis, who both sat out all of last season. Hamilton averaged 8.6 points and 5.5 boards in his junior year at Depaul.
The Red Raiders lost several close games in last year’s 18-14 campaign and should receive a boost from their mix of returners and newcomers. Newcomer Davide Moretti starred in Italy, playing for the u18 and u20 national teams.
In: Brandon Knapper, Derek Culver, Teddy Allen, D’Angelo Hunter, Wesley Harris
Out: Tarik Phillip, Nathan Adrian, Teyvon Myers, Brandon Watkins, Elijah Macon
It wasn’t unexpected, but West Virginia received good news in the offseason when Jevon Carter announced he was going to return for his senior season. He briefly tested the waters for the NBA Draft. That meant the Mountaineers return their top two scorers, including Esa Ahmad, and a perfect fit for their full-court pressure defense.
West Virginia lost three key contributors: Tarik Phillip, Nathan Adrian and Elijah Macon, but there’s confidence younger players and the newcomers can step up into key positions. However, the Mountaineers’ top incoming recruit, Derek Culver, hasn’t arrived on campus yet. Coach Bob Huggins said he’s awaiting a test score to determine his eligibility.