NCAAM Teams
Myron Medcalf, ESPN Staff Writer 156d

Another year brings the spotlight back on Grayson Allen and others

Men's College Basketball, Kansas Jayhawks

With the list of NBA entrants finalized, the top recruits signed and the most impactful transfers attached to their new programs, we know how the rosters of most college basketball teams will look in 2017-18.

But now we have questions.

The players who returned to lead their teams next season must show the college basketball world they're built for the demands of next season.

Here's a list of the players in college basketball with the most to prove:

Grayson Allen, Duke Blue Devils
What if? What if Grayson Allen hadn't tripped a player from Elon a few days before Christmas and drawn a one-game suspension? What if he had avoided the drama and scrutiny of a 2016-17 campaign for a Duke squad that never found the mojo most people anticipated entering last season. The preseason Wooden Award favorite's numbers fell in every significant category.

Allen will never outrun the boos or the tweets or vicious comments on social media -- a backlash he created when he tripped multiple players. But he's a senior who can lead another talented group in Durham to the ACC title and a trip to the Final Four. Mike Krzyzewski needs Allen to return to an offensive potency that helped him earn first team all-ACC honors in 2015-16. No player in America will face more pressure in 2017-18.

Joel Berry II, North Carolina Tar Heels
The veteran point guard encountered an interesting stretch after he led North Carolina to Roy Williams' third national title in April and earned Most Outstanding Player honors. First, he thought about turning pro but quickly withdrew his name from the NBA draft nearly a month before the deadline, a smart move. Then, UNC seemed prepared to defend its title.

But Tony Bradley's decision to stay in the draft shifted the national outlook on North Carolina. The Tar Heels lack the frontcourt monsters who anchored their title run. And they're missing a 6-foot-8 wing named Justin Jackson.

Berry now guides a crew, however, with an abundance of capable guards -- a unit enhanced by Pitt grad transfer Cameron Johnson (11.9 PPG, 42 percent from the 3-point line) -- and young big men. He entered last season as the point guard for a program most expected to compete for the national title. Now, he's the point guard and top player for a squad many believe will fall in the rankings next season. Will he prove the doubters wrong?

Devonte' Graham, Kansas Jayhawks
When Frank Mason III, the Wooden Award winner last season, played for Kansas, the Jayhawks committed turnovers on 16.9 percent of their possessions and 24.1 percent of their possessions when he was on the bench, per hooplens.com. They made just 50.8 percent of their free throws and scored 0.95 points per possession with Mason sidelined, too.

You won't find a player who made a greater impact for a contender in 2017-18. Now, Graham will accept the role of catalyst for a Kansas team that could establish a new record with 14 consecutive conference titles while competing for Bill Self's second national title.

"Frank obviously had an unbelievable year, but Devonte' deferred to Frank quite a bit and to be able to be the face of [our] team next year really excites him," Self told the Lawrence Journal-World after Graham announced his return.

Is Graham ready for the role? The senior clearly possesses the ability to carry Kansas with the help of a strong roster and erase any memories of his 0-for-7 performance against Oregon in the Elite Eight.

Deng Adel, Louisville Cardinals
The standout wing withdrew from the NBA draft and returned to a loaded Cardinals squad that's moving forward without former star Donovan Mitchell, a projected lottery pick. Rick Pitino expects Adel to fill Mitchell's role for the ACC contender.

Adel returns to tweak his game and lead Louisville deep into the NCAA tournament. That's the goal. Adel finished Louisville's second-round loss to Michigan with 16 points (6-for-11), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a steal. The 6-foot-7 junior could end next season as an All-American if his jump shot improves (35.2 percent on jump shots inside the arc, per hoop-math) and he delivers the consistency we witnessed in the last month of the season.

Johnathan Williams, Gonzaga Bulldogs
Surrounded by one of America's best frontcourts -- a group backed by Przemek Karnowski and projected lottery pick Zach Collins -- Williams unveiled a versatile game (10.2 PPG, 40 percent from the 3-point line), and he finished 4-for-7 from the field in the national title loss to North Carolina.

After the season, he waited until the NBA draft withdrawal deadline to announce his return to Spokane, where he'll enter next season as the most pivotal player on Gonzaga's roster. Williams will face the defensive pressure Karnowski and Collins endured last year.

Without those two, Williams will get more touches, a chance to win all-West Coast Conference first-team honors and an opportunity to lead Gonzaga deep into the NCAA tournament.

It's a new day for Williams, though. Karnowski and Collins created space for the other four players on the floor for Gonzaga. Williams must prove he can create shots and dominate when necessary without the help of two pro-caliber big men next to him.

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