NCAAM Teams
Jeff Borzello, ESPN Staff Writer 38d

Biggest recruiting need in 2019 for each Top 25 team

Men's College Basketball, Gonzaga Bulldogs, Kentucky Wildcats, Kansas Jayhawks, Duke Blue Devils, Nevada Wolf Pack, Tennessee Volunteers, Virginia Cavaliers, North Carolina Tar Heels, Michigan St Spartans, Villanova Wildcats, Kansas St Wildcats, Auburn Tigers, West Virginia Mountaineers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Syracuse Orange, Michigan Wolverines, Oregon Ducks, Florida St Seminoles, Clemson Tigers, Loyola (Chi) Ramblers, LSU Tigers, Mississippi St Bulldogs, TCU Horned Frogs, Butler Bulldogs, Purdue Boilermakers

This month is all about the future of a basketball program. We have the entire fall to look at next season's rosters and break down strengths and weaknesses; let's take it a step further than that, though. The teams in the way-too-early Preseason Top 25 are clearly in good shape for the next eight months, but for the next three weeks, every coach in the country will be preoccupied with the next wave of talent. It's all about recruiting.

So which of next season's teams are off to a good start in the 2019 class and which have a lot of work to do between now and the end of July?

1. Kentucky: Post player
John Calipari is already off to a strong start in 2019, nabbing five-stars Tyrese Maxey and D.J. Jeffries in the spring. And despite the talent on the roster, there's a good chance Calipari won't need to go out and get four or five guys next spring. There are enough perimeter reinforcements even if a couple of players leave early, but Kentucky likely will need frontcourt help. Reid Travis has only one season in Lexington, while PJ Washington is likely leaving for the NBA after next season. Fortunately, Kentucky's top target is No. 1 prospect James Wiseman, and the Wildcats are also after No. 2 Vernon Carey Jr. -- both centers.

2. Kansas: Frontcourt help
As the roster stands, Kansas has only one scholarship for 2019, but that's likely to change. Quentin Grimes could be a one-and-done guard, while Dedric Lawson and Udoka Azubuike also could be gone after the coming season. The Jayhawks have plenty of perimeter options, and they are in the mix for several guards -- but the more pressing need would be the frontcourt if Lawson and Azubuike both depart. Bill Self is in pursuit of several 2019 forwards, including five-star Matthew Hurt and top-30 prospect Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.

3. Duke: Probably everything
The only problem with landing the top three prospects in a given class is you might have to repeat the task the following season. That's where Mike Krzyzewski finds himself, as R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish are all one-and-done prospects. Duke is in pursuit of a couple of point guards, although Tre Jones should be fine there for a year or two. But the Blue Devils pretty much need everything else. Among their top targets are Carey, Isaiah Stewart, Bryan Antoine and Wendell Moore, as well as Cole Anthony and Josiah James at the point.

4. Gonzaga: Big man
Mark Few is likely to experience early-entry attrition after the coming season, with Rui Hachimura and Killian Tillie both on NBA radars. Zach Norvell Jr. is another player to monitor, but he'll likely be back in 2019-20. Josh Perkins and Geno Crandall will both be gone from the backcourt. The Bulldogs already have gotten started in 2019, landing point guard Brock Ravet and forward Anton Watson -- but they'll need another big man if Tillie leaves. Big things, however, are expected from incoming freshman Filip Petrusev.

5. Tennessee: Bigger wing
The Volunteers are actually set up pretty well moving forward, especially as they already landed 2019 prospects Davonte Gaines and Drew Pember, and also picked up center D.J. Burns, an ESPN 60 prospect who reclassified into 2018 last month. Moreover, guards Lamonte Turner, Jordan Bone and Jordan Bowden will all be seniors in 2019-20. Grant Williams could be gone by then, if he leaves early for the NBA, but one player sure to be gone is Admiral Schofield. And Rick Barnes could use a physical wing to help replace him -- although they could have that guy on the roster already in Yves Pons.

6. Nevada: Wing scoring
Coach Eric Musselman survived the NBA draft process this year, with Caleb and Cody Martin and Jordan Caroline all returning to school. All three will be gone after the coming season, as will point guard Lindsey Drew and three of their eligible transfers. But the Wolf Pack are well-positioned in the backcourt and down low, especially with Jordan Brown entering the program this season. Nevada will need scoring help on the wing to help replace the Martins, though. If Musselman doesn't move up the coaching ranks after this season, expect another massive influx of transfers. Nevada has six open scholarships in 2019.

7. Virginia: Creative scorers
Under Tony Bennett, Virginia has been ultra-successful following his system, both on the court and in recruiting. And it works. But the Cavaliers have been at their best when they have someone who can go outside of the offense a little bit and get points. Malcolm Brogdon a couple of years ago, De'Andre Hunter last season. There's a good chance Hunter leaves for the NBA after next season, so while the Cavaliers should still have Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy, Braxton Key & Co., a wing who can go and get his own would be a boost. Already-committed guard Casey Morsell will help.

8. North Carolina: Forward replacements
The Tar Heels' frontcourt in 2019-20 will look dramatically different than the one set to hit the floor this season. Luke Maye and Cameron Johnson will be out of eligibility, and Nassir Little is a likely one-and-done lottery pick. There's a chance the rising sophomore trio of Garrison Brooks, Sterling Manley and Brandon Huffman takes a collective step up, but Roy Williams will still need an influx of talent up front. Five-star Armando Bacot is considered a Carolina lean, while bigs Will Baker, Hurt, Carey, Wiseman and Robinson-Earl are also on the hit list.

9. Michigan State: Dynamic wing who can shoot
Tom Izzo began prepping for the future with a large 2018 class, a group that includes three ESPN 100 prospects and five four-star prospects in all. After next season, Matt McQuaid and Kyle Ahrens will be gone from the perimeter -- while Josh Langford could have a decision to make after what many are expecting will be a true breakout season. The Spartans are well-stocked across the board, but they could use some extra pop on the perimeter, even though several of the incoming freshmen are very capable shooters. Keion Brooks and Harlond Beverly are among the wing targets.

10. Villanova: Two-way wing
As usual, Jay Wright is already in good shape moving forward. Phil Booth, Eric Paschall and Albany graduate transfer Joe Cremo are all gone after this season, but the Wildcats have a four-man incoming freshman class and two 2019 prospects already on the board in Justin Moore and Eric Dixon. There are unlikely to be four -- or even one -- early entrants on the roster this season, so Nova could have a similar roster a year from now. With that said, Wright's hit list includes five-star wings Bryan Antoine, Scottie Lewis, Josh Green and others. They also could add frontcourt depth.

11. Auburn: NBA draft contingency plans
The Tigers are expected to lose leading returning scorer Bryce Brown and a couple of frontcourt depth pieces after next season. If that's the case, Bruce Pearl's roster will be fine after next season. However, they had multiple players test the NBA draft waters after last season, and Jared Harper and Austin Wiley could decide to do it after this season. Danjel Purifoy also could be in that group. The top target for Auburn in 2019 is ESPN 100 forward Isaac Okoro, while they already have center Babatunde Akingbola in the fold.

12. Kansas State: Perimeter scoring
It will be something of a rebuild on the perimeter for Bruce Weber after this season, with Kamau Stokes and Barry Brown both leaving, as well as inside-outside weapon Dean Wade. Xavier Sneed also could get a look from NBA types after impressing in the NCAA tournament last season. The Wildcats have cast a wide net in 2019, with some of their top targets including E.J. Liddell and Montavious Murphy.

13. West Virginia: Nothing ... yet
Right now, the Mountaineers are at the 13-scholarship limit for 2019, as they're expected to lose just Esa Ahmad from this season's team, and already have a commitment from Ohio point guard Miles McBride in 2019. So Bob Huggins is in solid shape. Of course, if there's attrition or some newcomers don't fit Press Virginia well, he could need reinforcements.

14. Virginia Tech: Frontcourt rebuild
Buzz Williams will be forced to bid farewell to his loaded rising senior class after this season, a group that includes double-figure scorers Justin Robinson, Kerry Blackshear Jr. and Ahmed Hill, as well as do-everything Chris Clarke. On the perimeter, Tech has some pieces in Wabissa Bede, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Jon Kabongo and Landers Nolley -- but they'll need to totally revamp the frontcourt. Some of the top known targets for the Hokies in 2019 include guard Anthony Harris and big man Qudus Wahab.

15. Oregon: Wings
It's unclear just how much of a rebuild it will be for Dana Altman after the season. Bol Bol is likely to be one-and-done, while Louis King is a potential lottery pick and Kenny Wooten Jr. has shown flashes of his ceiling. The Ducks should still be OK in the backcourt regardless, while the interior should be solid assuming Wooten returns, especially since they already have ESPN 100 Francis Okoro committed. If King goes, though, Oregon will need wings and versatile forwards in 2019. Jalen Hill and Malik Hall are among the targets. No. 1 point guard Cole Anthony is Oregon's dream scenario in the backcourt.

16. Syracuse: Tyus Battle replacement
Battle decided to return to the Orange for his junior season, but we can't expect him to do the same again next spring -- so Jim Boeheim will need to find his heir apparent. They already have a pledge from guard Brycen Goodine, but the top target on the board for the Orange is Joseph Girard. He's a big-time scorer from upstate New York, and he recently visited Syracuse. He didn't commit, though, but Syracuse is still viewed as the favorite.

17. Michigan: Backcourt depth
Given the Wolverines don't have a single rising senior on the roster, John Beilein is in great shape for the next year or two. Charles Matthews could conceivably leave early and head to the NBA draft after this season, after testing the waters this spring, but that's about it. And the Wolverines already landed Jalen Wilson as a potential Matthews replacement. But Michigan isn't resting on its laurels just yet. The Wolverines are in the mix for Girard, but they also made the final three for top-30 prospect D.J. Carton, one of the best point guards in the country.

18. Florida State: Pure point guard
After CJ Walker transferred this spring, Leonard Hamilton was left a little short-handed at the point guard position for the upcoming season. Trent Forrest led the team in assists and is a bigger playmaker in the backcourt. Hamilton also went out and landed Albany graduate transfer David Nichols, who will help bridge the gap. But the Seminoles will need another option in 2019, as they are well-stocked on the wings and already have a pledge from Zimife Nwokeji. They also seem to be in good shape for top-35 center Balsa Koprivica.

19. Loyola-Chicago: New backcourt
There a few questions surrounding the Ramblers' future, namely what happens to head coach Porter Moser if they have another successful season. Personnel-wise, though, the biggest loss from the upcoming season will be the backcourt of Clayton Custer and Marques Townes. The two were integral parts of the Final Four run, and Custer is one of the best returnees in college basketball. Moser won't be able to find another one easily. Incoming freshman Isaiah Bujdoso will get a crack, though.

20. Clemson: Backcourt reinforcements
After last season's surprising campaign from Brad Brownell's team, the Tigers return several pieces for another run at the NCAA tournament. But it's going to be something of a rebuild after next season with several pieces leaving -- including the backcourt of Shelton Mitchell and Marcquise Reed. There are enough newcomers to stave off some of the frontcourt departures, but Brownell will be hard-pressed to find replacements on the perimeter, especially at point guard. They'll fight uphill battles for in-state prospects Josiah James and Christian Brown, but Brenden Tucker and Kyle Sturdivant could be options at the point.

21. LSU: Wait-and-see approach
Will Wade had one of the best recruiting classes in the country in 2018, landing four ESPN 100 prospects, including five-star forwards Nazreon Reid and Emmitt Williams. Combined with rising sophomore Tremont Waters, though, and the Tigers could have an exodus to the NBA draft after the upcoming season. At the very least, the Baton Rouge faithful likely will have to wait out early-entry decisions well into the spring. Hard-playing 2019 forward Tyreek Smith would be a natural fit, while guard Avery Anderson III is another target.

22. Mississippi State: Future perimeter starters
Ben Howland's talent gathering of the past few years could finally pay off this season, as the Bulldogs are expected to make the jump to the NCAA tournament. Those hopes revolve heavily around the guard tandem of Quinndary Weatherspoon and Nick Weatherspoon, both of whom tested the NBA draft waters after this past season. Quinndary and second-leading scorer Aric Holman are both out of eligibility after this season, and Nick could try for the NBA again. Howland will need to bolster the perimeter. ESPN 100 wing Jaykwon Walton could be a legitimate option.

23. TCU: Frontcourt scoring
Jamie Dixon has positioned his perimeter well moving forward, bringing in Kendric Davis and Kaden Archie this fall, and already having Jaylen Fisher, Desmond Bane and RJ Nembhard for the next couple of years. But up front, the Horned Frogs need some more talent. The dream scenario would be five-star forward Trendon Watford, but Memphis and Alabama seem to have a leg up on the competition. TCU is also pursuing center Jacob Germany.

24. Butler: Limit attrition
The Bulldogs did their work early in 2019, landing guard Khalif Battle and forward John-Michael Mulloy -- on top of bringing in former Pittsburgh commit Bryce Golden in the spring for the 2018 class. Add it up, and LaVall Jordan's program is already at 13 scholarships for the 2019-20 season. Kamar Baldwin could decide to test the NBA draft waters or there could be departures via the transfer route, but as it stands, Butler is in great shape.

25. Purdue: Additional perimeter pop
The easy answer is to find a Carsen Edwards replacement, but a) that won't be easy, b) he could always decide to stick around and be a four-year legend in West Lafayette and c) the Boilermakers already have a 2019 point guard wrapped up in Isaiah Thompson. Either way, though, Matt Painter will want more perimeter production. Nojel Eastern should take a step forward, and Eric Hunter Jr. enters the program this season. They also have a commitment from 2019 Mason Gillis. Guard Brandon Newman is among the top remaining targets.

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