The national championship game was absolutely atrocious. The two teams couldn’t get the ball in the basket at all and were in foul trouble from the start. It was a sad ending to a really great college basketball season. I’m already looking to next season. This year had some senior studs in Frank Mason, Josh Hart, Monte Morris, and plenty of others. But who are next year’s seniors that will dominate college hoops? (Side note: I’m basing this list off of who I think will stay and leave. These guys are definitely staying in my mind.)
Marcus Foster had a great freshman year at Kansas State, but he decided he needed a change of scenery. He transferred to Creighton and the team started off really hot this year. When Mo Watson went down, the team immediately started to decline. Next year, with Watson gone and Patton likely heading to the NBA, Foster will be relied on heavily by Creighton.
EC Matthews led a Rhode Island team that had a lot of expectations coming into the season. They luckily won the A-10 and snuck in as an 11-seed. After a disappointing season overall for the Rams, Matthews will be looking to bounce back in his senior year.
Thomas Welsh has never missed a mid-range jumper in his life. Does he really deserve a spot on this list? I’m not sure. What I do know is that from 15 feet or so, Welsh will not miss a shot. That’s a fact.
Graham is the only person on this list I’m really concerned is leaving, but I just can’t see why he’d leave. He is projected to be outside the top 45 in most mock drafts, if he’s drafted at all.
If Devonte’ stays, he is built to do what Frank Mason did this year. Maybe that’s a lot of pressure to put on the kid, but they play very similarly. Both have sweet strokes from the outside, and can be very ball dominant. Graham didn’t have to do much this year due to Mason being the main ball handler, but he’s more than capable of orchestrating an offense.
Graham can also score in bunches. He’s got a really quick first step and can penetrate into the middle of the defense to wreak havoc upon opposing defenses. His first step is even more lethal because his ability to shoot from the perimeter forces defenders to stay up on him.
If Graham chooses to stay, he will be one of the best players in the nation and lead Kansas to another Big 12 regular season Championship.
Joel Berry II
I think this one goes without saying. Berry just led the Tar Heels to a national title. He won Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. And he’s almost certainly coming back for his senior campaign. Without Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, Nate Britt and probably Justin Jackson, Berry will have even more of a workload for UNC.
Surrounded by Luke Maye and Theo Pinson, who shouldn’t be allowed to touch a basketball after last night, Berry will have to score a lot more than he did this year. This is going to be interesting because even though the Tar Heels went with Joel Berry this year, they did see him lead the team in scoring night in and night out. The leading scorer was Justin Jackson, who is likely a lottery pick in this year’s draft.
A player like Berry can score in many ways, whether it be a beautiful floater or spot up treys. A year with him having to put the ball in the basket often is a great thing for college basketball.
Notre Dame Duo- Matt Farrell and Bonzie Colson
Matt Farrell had a breakout year, as some geniuses (me) predicted he would. He thrived running the Notre Dame offense in his junior year. He doesn’t make poor decisions, he can score from the perimeter or he can penetrate, and he is a good defender. Jack Henk- I mean Matt Farrell is an all around great college point guard.
Bonzie “The Golden God” Colson also saw an increased role for the Fighting Irish this year and he thrived. He was a double-double machine despite being about 6’5”, largely due to his roughly 9 foot wingspan. Bonz could post up or even stretch the floor a little bit last year, and it’ll only get better in his senior year.
With two great college players becoming seniors, Notre Dame should be another really good ACC program next year. Farrell and Bonzie should make Mike Brey’s job in South Bend a little easier. The Fighting Irish will miss Steve Vasturia, VJ Beachem and Matt Ryan (shooters, shoot), but Farrell and Colson are more than capable of making up for any loss.
Williams-Goss isn’t a normal Gonzaga player. He is a former 5-star recruit that played for the Washington Huskies for two years before transferring to Gonzaga. Obviously that decision worked out well for him because he led Gonzaga all the way to the national championship game. The Bulldogs may have even won that game if Nigel didn’t roll an ankle and Stevie Wonder wasn’t officiating the game.
NWG’s game is really difficult to match up with and another year certainly won’t help opposing teams. He’s simply too big for other guards, as we saw when he made Nate Britt and Joel Berry guard him in the post. He even went off ball when Justin Jackson or Theo Pinson were put on him and he was capable of getting the ball off screens and taking the Tar Heel duo off the dribble to create.
If Willaims-Goss is a problem for the Tar Heels, imagine the issue that he is going to be for the WCC with another year to get even better.
Grayson was supposed to be the man this year for Duke. But due to ankle injuries and that nasty tripping habit he has, he was inconsistent throughout the year.
Grayson’s game is getting to the rim and drawing contact. He’s a fairly streaky shooter, but overall he shouldn’t be left alone. Some of Duke’s best wins this season came from Grayson getting hot.
The Blue Devils may be losing Kennard, and they are definitely losing Matt Jones, Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, and Amile Jefferson. They will probably have Frank Jackson back, as well as a a bunch of top recruits. This leaves Grayson Allen as all of the experience for the Blue Devils. If he can figure out how to be consistent and maybe stop tripping people for fun, Grayson could be the player that a lot of people thought he’d be this year.