Florida is the pick of the SEC East because the Gators return all five starters, the only school in the loaded division that doesn't take a hit.
But if the development of Patric Young continues on the Under-18 National Team in San Antonio, then the Gators will be a top-10 team.
The 6-foot-9, 222-pound forward has been a major hit so far during practices as the team gets ready to host the international tournament.
"He's playing really, really well," said Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt, an assistant coach along with Buffalo's Reggie Witherspoon to head coach Jeff Capel of Oklahoma.
Hewitt said Young is making an impact in all aspects of the game.
"He's making plays, rebounding and running the floor well," Hewitt said. "Offensively, he's looking good. He gives tremendous effort every time -- great effort -- and he'll help Florida even if he doesn't score a ton of buckets. He's going to help them. He'll defend, set screens and do all those things without scoring points."
Duke-bound guard Kyrie Irving is the other headline player so far on the team. Irving is projected to be a starting guard with Nolan Smith on next season's projected No. 1 team. Irving will replace Jon Scheyer in the starting lineup along with Liberty transfer Seth Curry.
Irving has been the playmaker on the squad and has also been defending and shooting the ball.
"He's got a chance to be a real special player," said Capel, who played for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. "He's got a great feel for the game -- the ability to pass, score and change speeds. He's going to be a real good one."
Capel is convinced that Irving will be the true point guard for the Blue Devils, something he said they've been lacking.
"They haven't had that in a while," he said. "Not taking away from anyone else, but Kyrie is something they haven't had. He's a true, elite-level point guard. He'll fit in great. It will be helpful for him to have older guys like Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith. He'll have the Plumlee brothers [Mason and Miles] and Andre Dawkins. He brings the intangible."
The one player on the team with college experience is Washington's Abdul Gaddy. He was expected to be a major impact player for the Huskies this past season but was much more of a role player for Washington in its run to the Sweet 16. Having Gaddy on this team should help his development.
"His maturity first and foremost helps this team," Capel said.
"He truly understands how hard you have to work," Capel said. "He has a clue on it. So many of these players come from great high school programs but don't have a reference point of what it's like. Abdul does and he's done a really good job of showing them. He really has stood out."
• Utah athletic director Chris Hill said he intends on keeping the Utah-BYU rivalry going for years to come. But BYU coach Dave Rose said he's not sure where and how often the game will be played once Utah moves to the Pac-10.
"It's been a great rivalry, but it changes a bit," Rose said. "The game has usually had a lot on the line. That's what made it so special."
Rose is right, although it opens up some interesting possibilities if the Cougars and Utes were to play in a bowl game or the NCAA tournament, which they will be free to do after 2012.
Rose said the natural reaction to how Utah's move to the Pac-10 will affect BYU's recruiting is "I don't know." He said the "BCS-thing" is much more about football. He doesn't see there being a hit in recruiting when they have equal access to the NCAA tournament.
• Jimmer Fredette's homecoming game against Vermont is now set for BYU. The Cougars were holding off on securing the game on Dec. 8 in Glen Falls, N.Y., until Fredette confirmed he was withdrawing from the NBA draft.
• Georgetown's hiring of Robert Kirby off Mississippi State's staff is a clear sign the Hoyas intend on being a player in the South. Georgetown secured Greg Monroe out of Louisiana. Kirby had been one of the primary recruiting assistants for Rick Stansbury. Georgetown is a national brand, but Kirby's Southern contacts will help expand the reach.