Tuesday 19th June 2018,
The Hoop Doctors

2010-2011 Early NCAA Preseason Rankings

October 4, 2010 – Allen Moll

Now that the Summer off-season for college basketball is just about over and freshman recruits are arriving on campus, it’s about that time to start to get into NCAA basketball. Just like every year, the 2010-2011 season is filled with more questions than answers.

Will the return of Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith, Mason Plumlee, along with the arrival of potential one-and-done freshman Kyrie Irving, offset the graduation of 3 seniors from the 2010 National Champion Blue Devils? Can Purdue’s veteran squad led by Robbie Hummel, JuJuan Johnson, and E’Twuan Moore remain healthy enough to challenge for trophy? Can coach Tom Izzo overcome an offseason filled with distractions to lead a revamped Michigan State squad to another Final Four? Or will this be the year that a Big East team breaks through like Villanova, who returns a roster filled with multi-talented guards(Fisher, Stokes, Cheek, and Wayns) to go along with hard working blue collar big men like former Top 10 recruit Mouph Yarou, Antonio Pena, and highly touted freshman forward JayVaughn Pinkston, who draws instant comparisons to NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley?

Here is my early NCAA Preseason Top 25 Rankings:

Ranking Team Conference ’09-’10 Record Best Player


Duke ACC 33-5 Kyle Singler(Sr)
While it’s hard to imagine a 30+ win team, that marched to a National Championship, then lost 3 starters to graduation could actually get better, but that may very well be the case.  By essentially replacing Scheyer, Zoubek, and Thomas with freshman phenom Kyrie Irving and the Plumlee brothers in the starting line-up, there is no doubting the Blue Devils got more athletic.  Add in Steph Curry’s little brother Seth, who tranfered from Liberty,an older and wiser Nolan Smith, and of course Kyle Singler returning for his senior season, and Coach K may once again be cutting down the nets come March.


Michigan State Big Ten 28-8 Kalin Lucas(Sr)
After an off-season filled with intrigue and controversy, Coach Izzo is back with a reloaded Spartan squad which should once again be the class of the Big Ten Conference.  Izzo made the right choice to return to East Lansing, especially considering he has POY candidate Kalin Lucas back at 100% after that devastating Achillies injury last March.  After losing Raymar Morgan to graduation and Chris Allen being dismissed from the program, the Spartans look to reload with a stellar crop of freshmen led by 5 star recruits Adrien Payne and Keith Appling.  Look for Appling to get immediate playing time with the unfortunate recent injury to Korie Lucious.  They are once again an absolute lock to go deep in the Tourney.


Purdue Big Ten 29-6 Robbie Hummel(Sr)
If it wasn’t for the unfortunate injuries to Robbie Hummel and Lewis Jackson late last season, we possibly could have been talking about Matt Painter’s squad making a run at back-to-back National Titles.  In addition, losing key contributors like Chris Kramer and Keaton Grant will hurt, but they return one of the most veteran laden, tournament tested rosters in the nation led by Hummel, Jackson, E’Twaun Moore, and one of the country’s best big men in JaJuan Johnson.  Look for the Boilermakers to once again make it a photo-finish with the Spartans for the Big Ten crown.  


Villanova Big East 25-8 Corey Fisher(Sr)
One would think that losing 2 starters, including 1st Team All American Scottie Reynolds, plus your leading scorer off the bench(Taylor King) would cripple a program, especially in the always competitive Big East Conference.  But don’t feel bad for coach Jay Wright since his Wildcats may prove to be even better this time around because of the tremendous job he does on the recruiting front.  Last season, talented Top 20 freshmen Malik Wayns, Mouph Yarou, and Dominic Cheek gained valuable experience in preparation for taking on a bigger role this season.  They will undoubtedly look to senior back-court mates Corey “Mr 105 points” Fisher and Corey Stokes for scoring and the intense and powerful play of Yarou, senior Antonio Pena, and freshman Jayvaughn Pinkston for a much improved inside presence.  The key to how far the Wildcats go come March will be their defense.


Kentucky SEC 35-3 Brandon Knight(Fr)
With an incoming roster once again filled with McDonald’s All Americans and Top 20 recruits, John Calipari has the most talented incoming roster in the country, but do they have enough experience to win a championship?  National HS POY Brandon Knight and Turkish phenom Enes Kantner will do their best Wall and Cousins impersonations, with a talented crop of elite level players led by Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, and Stacy Poole giving the Wildcats a better supporting cast than last season.  Recent eligibility issues may force Kantner to sit out all or part of the season, but the remaining roster is talented enough to win the SEC and make a run at the Final Four.


Kansas Big 12 33-3 Marcus Morris(Jr)
Despite last season being cut short by the upstart Northern Iowa Panthers in the Tourney and losing 3 starters(Aldrich, Collins, Henry) to either the NBA or graduation, the Jayhawks return a talented roster ripe for making another run at a National Title.  Despite lacking star power, the Jayhawks have as talented and deep of a roster as any in the nation led by POY candidate Marcus Morris, PG Brady Morningstar, and play-making swingman Tyshawn Taylor.  Coach Self is surely crossing his fingers that prized Top 5 recruit Josh Selby will be ruled eligible at some point this season, as he has one-and-done potential as a slashing, high scoring, floor general, who plays with a chip on his shoulder.  Getting Selby cleared is essential, since without him, they may be a step behind top teams mentioned above.


Baylor Big 12 28-8 LaceDarius Dunn(Sr)
The Bears are in the midst of a resurgence, remarkably making it deeper in March than their more established Big 12 counterparts Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.  They will have to do it this year without NBA Lottery pick Ekpe Udoh and the graduated Tweety Carter.  The Bears do boast having one of the best shooters and scorers in the country in LaceDarius Dunn, along with a talented group of players like highly skilled forward Quincy Acy and some stellar incoming freshmen in Stargell Love and the 6’11 Perry Jones, who already has NBA scouts salivating. 


Kansas State Big 12 29-8 Jacob Pullen(Sr)
The Wildcats will once again look to ride the wave of the “Fear the Beard” campaign of that of guard Jacob Pullen, who is one of the best senior players in the country.  Highly touted sophomore Wally Judge along with incoming JC transfer Freddy Asprilla, all 6’11 and 280 lbs of him, will look to replace the production of Denis Clemente(graduated) and Dominique Sutton(transfer out).  Curtis Kelly, Jamar Samuels, and Rodney McGruder surely will need to step their game up if they expect to again go deep come March.  Coach Frank Martin always gets the most out of his players and should have his squad in the hunt for the Big 12 Title.


Ohio State Big 10 29-8 William Buford(Jr)
Although this can be considered a rebuilding year for the Buckeyes, they will have the luxury of re-tooling with a Top 5 recruiting class, led by elite level big man Jared Sullinger.  Of course, junior swingman William Buford takes over the role of National POY Evan Turner, but Sullinger should be the focal point, as he looks to be the next great Ohio St big man after Oden, Koustas, and Mullens.  Other top tier freshmen like Deshaun Thomas, Jordan Sibert, and Lenzelle Smith Jr look to provide immediate help alongside returning upperclassmen David Lighty and Buford.  Similar to Kentucky, the Buckeyes success will be determined by how soon the “youngins” develop. 


Syracuse Big East 30-5 Kris Joseph(Jr)
Coach Boeheim has done it again.  He brings in another star studded recruiting class to help offset the loss of 3 starters, including NBA Lottery pick Wes Johnson.  Look for junior Kris Joseph to become one of the better players in the country and garner some All American consideration.  The Cuse still have dominating big man Rick Jackson, Scoop Jardine, and last year’s surprise freshman Brandon Triche, but surely the coaching staff will look to ride the talents of the 7 foot, 275 lb Fab Melo, who is coach Boeheim’s most prized recruit since Carmelo Anthony in ’02.  Melo is raw, but will be a nightmare match-up from the onset.  Other top freshmen like Dion Waiters, CJ Fair, and the shot-blocking Baye Moussa-Keita look to help keep the Orange among the elite squads in the Big East.


Tennessee SEC 28-9 Scotty Hopson(Jr)
Despite future sanctions on admitted recruiting violations, the Vols this season will again have a talented roster led by former McDonald’s All American Scotty Hopson.  After a tumultuous season marred by drug arrests, suspensions, and leading scorer Tyler Smith being dismissed from the program, coach Pearl looks to turn over the roster and continue to be a force in the SEC.  Led by a mix of talented veterans like Melvin Goins, Brian Williams, and Cameron Tatum, the Vols look to incorporate highly touted freshmen Tobias Harris, Jordan McRae, and Trae Golden into their rotation which could challenge for an SEC crown.


North Carolina ACC 20-17 Harrison Barnes(Fr)
While some may say that a team which didn’t even make the NCAA Tournament last season doesn’t deserve a preseason Top 25 nod, the Tarheels’ ’09-’10 season was an aberration, but we’re talking about the Tarheels.  The legendary UNC program couldn’t have been that bad, could they?  The answer is probably not, but even so, coach Williams hit the recruiting trail hard to nab three 5 star recruits, led by the nation’s #1 player Harrison Barnes.  Some say Barnes in NBA ready right now, so he should help improve the Tarheels from Day 1.  Other Top 20 recruits Reggie Bullock and Kendall Marshall will add depth to a roster that features the ever improving John Henson, a healthy Tyler Zeller, and sophomore swingman Dexter Strickland.  With a bit of luck, the Tarheels should be back in the National Title discussion, but all that really matters on Tobacco Road is besting Duke. 


Pittsburgh Big East 25-9 Ashton Gibbs(Jr)
I don’t know why Jaime Dixon isn’t in the national Coach of the Year discussion every season since despite never really bringing in a nationally ranked recruiting class, he has them contending annually in the Big East.  This year should be no different as everyone is focusing on Nova or Syracuse, the Panthers should be sneaky good.  PG Ashton Gibbs came into his own last season, while Brad Wanamaker was quietly one of the most productive players in the nation.  Former transfer Jermaine Dixon returns, along with the talented Gilbert Brown, and super soph Dante Taylor.  Highly touted freshman SF JJ Moore should provide an immediate spark up front.  Don’t be surprised if Pitt makes a run in the Big East Tourney.


Memphis Conf USA 24-10 Will Barton(Fr)
After a tough year rebuilding, Memphis should once again be back in the national picture and the class of Conference USA.  Second year coach Josh Pastner has definitely learned how to recruit from his mentor John Calipari, as he brings in a Top 5 class led by four Top 100 ranked players.  The cream of the crop is the newly cleared Will Barton, who projects as a possible one-and-doner as the nation’s #1 rated freshman shooting guard.  McDonald’s players Joe Jackson and Jelan Kendrick, along with elite level PF Tarick Black round out an impressive incoming crop.  Junior Wesley Witherspoon and senior Will Coleman look to anchor the starting line-up as Memphis looks to get back into the NCAA Tournament.


Texas Big 12 24-10 Jordan Hamilton(So)
Similar to UNC, the Longhorns just had a bad year, but coach Rick Barnes has done his best to assure they don’t have another.  He also hit the recruiting trail hard to nab two Top 20 prospects that can bring immediate help to the program.  McDonald’s players PF Tristian Thompson, the #10 ranked prospect in the nation, along with elite PG prospect Corey Joseph should start alongside hold-overs J’Covan Brown, Gary Johnson, and super soph Jordan Hamilton, who seems poised to take that next step to becoming one of the nation’s top scorers.  Barring any injuries, Texas should be back as a contender in the Big 12. 


Gonzaga WCC 27-7 Elias Harris(So)
No longer a secret, the Zags continue to be one of the best programs out West.  With last year’s leading scorer Matt Bouldin graduated, Steven Gray and Elias Harris look to take over the reigns of the program.  Alongside Harris up front, 7 foot junior Robert Sacre has a nasty streak and can be a beast to defend.  Alongside Gray in the backcourt, junior Demetri Goodson will be looked upon to pick up the slack offensively. The Zags look to hold off Portland and St. Mary’s to win yet another WAC crown.


Washington Pac-10 26-10 Isaiah Thomas(Jr)
Even though the Huskies have lost out on a number of elite level recruits to Kentucky in recent years, coach Lorenzo Romar still has as potent of a line-up as any in the PAC-10.  Led by their super talented PG Isaiah Thomas and super soph Abdul Gaddy in the backcourt and upperclassmen Justin Holliday and Matt Bryan-Amaning up front, the Huskies will move on without the graduated Quincy Pondexter.  They get some help from Top 20 recruit SF Terrence Ross and 7’1 Center and Juco transfer Aziz N’Diaye.  Along with Arizona, Washington is a team on the rise in the PAC-10.


Missouri Big 12 23-11 Tony Mitchell(Fr)
Boosted by a stellar recruiting class, is this the year that coach Mike Anderson’s squad finally becomes a Top 10 team and finishes higher than Big 12 rivals Texas, Kansas, and K State?  Maybe so, since the Tigers return virtually everyone except JT Tiller from last year’s team that made it to the 2nd round of the NCAA’s.  In the backcourt, leading scorers Kim English and Marcus Denmon are back as are talented big men Justin Safford and Lawrence Bowers, but the real reason for optimism is the influx of youth highlighted by two Top 20 recruits, PF Tony Mitchell and elecrifying PG Phil Pressey.  Pressey will make an immediate impact while Mitchell is currently academically ineligible, but hopes to be cleared by December.  The frontcourt gets some added depth from junior transfer Ricardo Ratliffe, who is one of the best players to come via the Juco route this season.  If Mitchell can somehow get cleared, the Tigers could be the surprise story of the Big 12 this year.


Georgetown Big East 23-11 Austin Freeman(Sr)
After sustaining one of the biggest upsets in the NCAA Tournament last season at the hands of Ohio, Coach John Thompson III’s group will look to clear their heads and have a more consistent season than their ’09-’10 campaign.  At times they either looked like world-beaters or they couldn’t beat anyone.  Infortunately they will have do it this time without talented center Greg Monroe, who left early for the NBA, as prized prospect Nate Lubick takes over guarding the painted area for this season.  Lubick is still raw, but projects nicely as the next great G-Town big man.  The good news for Hoya fans is that they do return a potent core of wing players in PG Chris Wright, G Jason Clark, and leading scorer Austin Freeman, who should garner some All American consideration as a senior.  Julian Vaughn and Jerrelle Benimon return up front and get some help from Nigerian born center prospect Moses Abraham.  The Hoyas should be good, but not great, as they should make yet another appearance in March Madness. 


Wisconsin Big 10 24-9 Jon Leuer(Sr)
Every season no one is talking about the Badgers, and every year underrated coach Bo Ryan gets maximum effort out of his players and has them “dancing” come March.  This year is surely no different as they will be led by PG Jordan Taylor and F Jon Leuer, who is one of the best players in college basketball that you’ve never heard of.  At 6’10 and 230 lbs, he has the potential to be a double-double machine and move on to the professional ranks at season’s end.  Coach Ryan will have to replace the toughness of the graduated Trevon Hughes and Brian Bohannon if he hopes to make his 10th straight Tourney appearance.


Butler Horizon 32-4 Matt Howard(Sr)
Coach Brad Stevens is loving all of the attention thrusted on his mid-najor Bulldogs squad, so much so that he signed a long term extension to remain the school’s coach for the foresee-able future.  While Stevens has proven to be one of the best young coaches in America, he will need to recruit with the big boys in order to keep Butler among the nation’s elite.  He is starting to do just that by bringing in a pair of 3 star forwards Kameron Woods and Roosevelt Jones to help offset the losses of Gordon Hayward and PG Michael Nored from last season’s national runner-up squad.  This year, their hopes lie firmly upon the play of former Horizon League POY Matt Howard(if he can stay out of foul trouble) and former USA Basketball member Shelvin Mack.  Can Butler make it back to the championship game?  It will be tougher this time around.


Virginia Tech ACC 25-9 Malcolm Delaney(Sr)
After seeing their bubble get burst on Selection Sunday the past 3 seasons, coach Seth Greenberg should breathe a little easier come March, since his Hokies are clearly the 3rd best team in the ACC this season.  Bolstered by the return of one of the nation’s top scorers in Malcolm Delaney, and key seniors Dorenzo Hudson, Jeff Allen, and JT Thompson, the Hokies could be sleepers to go along way come Tourney time.  Add in the commitments of 2 very capable freshmen in SF Jarelle Eddie and PG Tyrone Garland and the Hokies could suprise this year in the ACC.


Florida SEC 21-13 Chandler Parsons(Sr)
Last year the Gators made it back to the NCAA Tounament for the first time since winning their 2nd half of back-to-back National Titles now 3 seasons ago.  Coach Billy Donovan has re-tooled his roster to have a talented and senior laden group that should be capable of making it farther than just the 1st Round this year.  Led by a veteran frontcourt with the likes of “Mr Big Shot” Chandler Parsons, a returning Alex Tyus, and Vernon Macklin and a dynamic backcourt duo of former McDonald’s player Kenny Boynton and the dimunitive sparkplug Erving Walker, the Gators are stacked.  The real coup this Summer came when Donovan got a commit from Top 10 HS player Patric Young, who has already been compared to that of Dwight Howard, but with a better offensive game.  He also brings in another Top 100 player in SF Casey Praither, who should see alot of playing time off the bench.  Don’t look now, but you may start seeing that annoying Gator chomp once again on ESPN this season.


NC State ACC 20-16 CJ Leslie(Fr)
It’s no secret that coach Sidney Lowe’s job may be on the line this season.  He surely knows it, since he hit a home run on the recruiting front by bringing in a trio of exciting and talented players led by star PF/SF CJ Leslie, electrifying PG Ryan Harrow, and Class of ’09 holdover Lorenzo Brown.  All three will pay instant dividends as probable starters alongside returning All SEC big man Tracy Smith, who led the team in scoring and rebounding last season.  The incoming trio is so good that reportedly a number of players have already transfered out of the program for fear of losing playing time.  Can coach Lowe ride lightning in a bottle right into the NCAA Tourney.  I’m not sure, but Leslie will be fun to watch.


Temple A-10 29-6 Lavoy Allen(Jr)
Coach Fran Dunphy is quietly one of the best coaches in America.  After all, he is riding a personal best 5 straight years in the “Big Dance” and has led the Owls to 3 straight A-10 crowns after succeeding coaching legend Jon Chaney at Temple.  Dunphy again has a talented roster led by intruiging big man Lavoy Allen, who is an NBA player in waiting, and one of the best passing big men in the country.  Junior sharpshooter Juan Fernandez took the team on his back late last season and can be a lights out 3 point shooter.  Junior Ramone Moore takes over for the graduated Ryan Brooks in the backcourt as super soph Rahlir Jefferson looks to make a big jump towards being a big time player in the A-10.  With Xavier possibly slipping a bit, Temple could run away with the conference.   


Be sure to check out our newly updated 2011 Mock Draft – First Edition featuring a number of game-changing players that factor into making these squads  Top 25 worthy.

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