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2020 Prospects: Immediate Impact Next Season

By Samad Hines, The Grind, 06/03/20, 1:15PM EDT

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Kentucky

Kentucky: Head Coach John Calipari does it once again with this year’s recruiting class, getting some of the top prospects in the class to bring their talents to Lexington to start their college basketball career. Top 2020 prospects like Terrence Clarke and B.J. Boston headline this year’s Kentucky recruiting class and should make immediate impacts right away with their abilities to score the ball. Both Boston Jr. and Clarke are projected lottery picks for the 2021 NBA Draft and as they should be. Both sit at a similar height, can score the ball in a variety of ways, and hold that next level skill NBA scouts will be drooling over next season. Devin Askew should receive minutes at the point guard spot with Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley off to the NBA. Askew reclassified to the 2020 class after at first being apart of the 2021 class and should be the starting point guard next season for the Wildcats. Askew is a tough point guard who could impact both ends of the floor both offensively and defensively. Both incoming freshmen forwards Lance Ware and Isaiah Jackson could also receive quality minutes in the front court with the lost of both Nick Richards and E.J. Montgomery who departed to the NBA.

Duke

Duke: Like Kentucky, Coach K and his staff consistently bring in some of the best talent in high school basketball year after year. Key guys like Tre Jones, Cassius Stanley, and Vernon Carey Jr. have left Durham for the NBA, which means some of these incoming freshmen will be receiving more minutes than others. Incoming point guard Jeremy Roach should replace Tre Jones at the point guard position next season at Duke right away and should bring the same intensity Jones bought to the table for Coach K for two seasons. Other top prospects like D.J. Steward and Jalen Johnson will also get much playing time in a Duke uniform early in their freshman campaign. Steward is an elite shot maker from anywhere on the floor while Johnson will impact both ends of the floor with his skillset. Both Henry Coleman and Mark Williams will also be receiving minutes in the front court, especially with the lost of Carey Jr down inside the paint. Coleman is a versatile forward who is able to guard every position on the floor and Williams should be the rim protector and glass cleaner down low for the Blue Devils.

USC

With the lost of Onyeka Okongwu, who has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft, his former AAU teammate and incoming freshman Evan Mobley should fall right in his place. Mobley, a 7-foot-0 center with extremely long arms and an incredible wingspan, should start at the center position next season for the Trojans. Evan has already been considered a future lottery pick for the 2021 NBA Draft. He is an interior intimidator down low defensively, an outstanding rebounder, very mobile for his size, and plays with a great motor that NBA scouts should admire during his time at USC. Evan’s father is an assistant coach on the USC staff plus his older brother, Isaiah Mobley, will be a sophomore and an experienced player on next year’s USC roster. Isaiah, Evan, and Onyeka all played for the Compton Magic (CA) in the summer of 2018 in the Adidas Gauntlet.

Florida State

Florida State: The Seminoles are receiving one of the most unique prospect in the class of 2020 and that prospect is Scottie Barnes, a native of Florida. Florida State, over the last couple of years, has never really landed a big time prospect like Barnes, but that certainly changed when Scottie decided to commit to Leonard Hamilton and his staff. Scottie is a 6-foot-9 forward with the ability to stuff every category on the stat sheet. With his size, he is able to defend every position on the floor. Barnes is a fierce competitor who can also play the point guard position at times as well with his elite vision and passing skills at 6-foot-9. Let us not be surprised if Scottie gets to run the point guard position during some possessions next season. His motor, versatility on both ends, elite defense, and toughness should open the eyes of NBA personnel next season. Barnes will make a case to receive the ACC Freshman of the Year award next season.

Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State: The Oklahoma State Cowboys could be one of college basketball’s top-25 teams in the country next season and could make a run for the Big-12 conference title. Oklahoma State will be receiving one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2020 class in point guard Cade Cunningham, who ended his high school career ranked as the number one point guard in the class according to ESPN. Cunningham should be the head of the snake next season for the Cowboys and could already have a starting point guard position once the season begins. He is a 6-foot-7 point guard with amazing passing skills, accurate vision, holds incredible size and upside, and is one of the best defenders in the 2020 class. Cade has already been considered a top-5 lottery pick in the 2021 NBA Draft next summer. Cade’s older brother is also part of the coaching staff at Oklahoma State. Shooting guard Donovan Williams, out of Lincoln, Nebraska, could potential make an immediate impact next season as well in Stillwater. Williams holds nice size and is able to score the ball in a variety of ways, which could help carry the scoring load for the Cowboys throughout the season.

North Carolina

North Carolina: North Carolina had one of their worst season’s during their 2019-2020 campaign under hall of fame head coach Roy Williams and did not have much guard depth due to injuries, including star point guard Cole Anthony, who has declared for the NBA Draft. Next season will be extremely different, as the Tar Heels have a top-5 recruiting class coming into to Chapel Hill next season. A plethora of top tier freshmen will be starting their college careers in a North Carolina uniform and some will make immediate impacts more than others. Point guard Caleb Love should be the standout immediate impact out of all. Love is an athletic scoring point guard with nice size and should replace Cole Anthony to run the Tar Heels offense. Other guys like point guard R.J. Davis and shooting guards Puff Johnson, younger brother of former Tar Heel Cam Johnson, and Kerwin Walton should receive quality minutes. Davis is an incredible shifty scoring guard who will give instant offense when on the floor as Walton and Johnson will help spread the defense with their elite perimeter shooting. The frontcourt duo of freshmen Day’Ron Sharpe and Walker Kessler will help secure the load down low for Roy Williams. Sharpe is a rim running and mobile big man who will help on the boards as Kessler is a stretch five at 7-foot-0 plus and holds a nice skilled versatile game.

Michigan State

Michigan State: Tom Izzo is one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time, and after coaching for more than a decade, he is still able to reel in top tier talent to his Michgian State program. His recruiting class coming into this 2020-2021 college basketball season includes big man Mady Sissoko and point guard A.J. Hoggard, two prospects who have a high chance to make impacts early on to start their college careers. The 6-foot-8 plus big man, Mady Sissoko, will most likely be in the starting lineup right away to fill the paint presence down low for the Spartans. Sissoko is a rebounding machine with an incredible motor who can also be a rim protector on the defensive end. Hoggard, on the other hand, should receive some quality minutes at the guard position with the lost of college basketball star Cassius Winston and the lack of depth in the backcourt that the Michigan State Spartans hold so far coming into the 2020-2021 season.

Arizona State

Arizona State: Arizona State might only be receiving two incoming freshmen in their 2020 recruiting class for next season but these two freshmen will be super impactful for Bobby Hurley and the Sun Devils next season. Arizona State is receiving shooting guard Josh Christopher and forward Marcus Bagley, younger brother of former Duke standout Marvin Bagley III. Christopher and Bagley should both make their impacts right away next season as both are unique scorers and hold positional size. Christopher’s older brother, Caleb Christopher, is already on the Sun Devils roster and will be a sophomore next season. Josh comes in as one of the best scorers in the 2020 class and could be a potential one-and-done for the Sun Devils. He is 6-foot-5 guard who will be able to score on all levels and is a fierce competitor. For Bagley, he is a 6-foot-8 forward with a college ready body and could receive quality minutes with his ability to score the ball as well. With these two on the roster, I would not be surprised if Arizona State makes major noise in the PAC-12 conference competing for the title.

LSU

LSU: The LSU Tigers lose a bunch of their key scorers from last seasons 21-10 overall team and Will Wade and his staff will certainly have to re-up on their roster for the 2020-2021 season. Javonte Smart, Skylar Mays, Trendon Watford, and Emmit Williams could all possibly be playing in the NBA next season and a few key freshmen coming into Baton Rouge could make their impacts right away. Shooting guard Cameron Thomas, Oak Hill Academy’s all-time leading scorer, should be the most impactful freshman in the SEC and the country. Thomas is an incredible scorer who can score in a plethora of ways and on all three levels and will be on NBA scout’s radar. Thomas will be in the run for SEC Freshman of the Year and SEC Player of the Year. Forward Mwani Wilkinson will also receive heavy minutes next season for the Tigers. Wilkinson is a versatile 6-foot-6 forward with an outstanding motor, college ready body, and a high flying explosvie athlete. Eric Gaines, freshman point guard coming in from Atlanta, Georgia, could get several key minutes at the point guard position for Will Wade. Gaines is an athletic freak at the point guard position with a slim body frame and will be able to make plays running the offense for the LSU Tigers next season.

Tennessee

Tennessee: Rick Barnes and his staff have made Tennessee a consistent threat in the SEC over the last few years and should continue that trend heading into the 2020-2021 season. The Volunteers 2020 recruiting class ranks top five according to ESPN and a couple a freshmen should make their impacts right away in their first year next season. Rick Barnes was able to snag combo guard Jaden Springer, a top-25 prospect out of Charlotte, North Carolina. The IMG Academy product should receive heavy duty minutes immediately for Tennessee. Springer is a 6-foot-5 tough versatile scoring guard who will be able to play both point guard and the two-guard position. He is one of the best defenders in the class of 2020 and shows great body control when finishing at the rim. Jaden could be a potential one-and-done for the Volunteers. Shooting guard Keon Johnson, who is from the state of Tennessee and attended The Webb School in Bell Buckle, should also receive major play as a freshman next season. Johnson plays with an incredible motor and hustle, a nice on-ball defender, and could help put points on the board for the Volunteers next season with his scoring ability.

Virginia

Virginia: The Cavaliers captured the last NCAA Men’s Basketbal Championship back in 2019 and head coach Tony Bennett and his staff are still getting the job done with recruiting. Their 2020 recruiting class might not rank as high as a Kentucky or Duke, but they should have a few impactful freshmen to assist their squad for next season. Incoming freshman forward Jabri Addur-Rahim, son of former NBA player and current NBA G-League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim, should make the most impact of all freshman next season at Virginia. Jabri sits a 6-foot-7 and is one of the elite scorers in the entire 2020 class. He is able to score on all three levels of the floor and could lead the Cavaliers in scoring next season as a freshman. Virginia did not have that go-to scorer in their offense last season and Jabri could fill that position next season. Point guard Reece Beekman, a freshman out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, should receive minutes at the point guard position behind Kihei Clark next season. Beekman won himself four straight Louisiana state titles back in high school, so losing is no option for him. He is 6-foot-2 facilitating point guard who has the vision and skillset to create scoring opportunities for his teammates. Should fit right in Tony Bennett’s offense.

Illinois

Illinois: Brad Underwood and his staff had themselves a very nice season last season during the 2019-2020 campaign and could be in the same position, or even better, next season. The Illini are receiving a solid recruiting class coming into to Champaign next fall and who could make themselves immediate impacts. Shooting guard Adam Miller, who went to high school in the state of Illinois at Morgan Park High School, could take the place of now former Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu, who left for the NBA Draft. Dosunmu, who also attended Morgan Park High School in Chicago, Illinois, certainly helped get Miller to Illinois with their relationship. Miller is a 6-foot-4 combo guard who should certainly receive early minutes and will help put points on the board for Illinois. Incoming freshman point guard Andre Curbelo should definitely receive high quality minutes as well with Miller. Some could still say Curbelo is very underrated. He is a unique and fundamentally sounded point guard who could end up starting at the point guard position next season for the Illini. Andre makes excellent choices when the ball is in his hands and rarely turns the ball over when handling the rock.

Kansas

Kansas: Kansas hall of fame head coach Bill Self might not have one of the best recruiting classes he has ever had coming in for next season but there is one freshman that should be make his impact from day one. Shooting guard Bryce Thompson, freshman out of Washington, Oklahoma, could potentially make his way in the starting lineup for Kansas next season. With last season’s starting point guard Devon Dotson heading for the NBA, that gives Thompson a chance to compete for the starting guard position that is now open. The Jayhawks do not have a pure point guard returning to their roster and key returns like Marcus Garrett and Ochai Agbaji will play major minutes in the guard slots next season for Bill Self. Thompson could have minutes at both the point guard and shooting guard position and he certainly holds the versatility to do so. Bryce holds good size at 6-foot-4, an outstanding scoring guard, will spread the offense with his perimeter shooting, and holds a C.J. McCollum type of game. Bryce should certainly be in the run for Big-12 Freshman of the Year next season for Kansas.

Additions:

Texas Tech – Nimari Burnett and Micah Peavy

Xavier – Dwon Odom

Texas – Greg Brown

Marquette – Dawson Garcia and Justin Lewis

Florida – Samson Ruzhentsev

Miami – Earl Timberlake Jr.

Michigan – Hunter Dickinson, Zeb Jackson, and Terrence Williams

Arkansas – Moses Moody and K.K. Robinson

South Florida – Caleb Murphy

Samad_Hines Samad Hines Samad_Hines

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