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Way-Too-Early Top 25 men's college basketball rankings 2022-23: Standouts from a summer of international tours

Jacob Toppin was a standout for Kentucky during the Wildcats' July tour of the Bahamas, and should be someone to watch as the 2022-23 season begins. Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a very quiet few weeks in the men's college basketball world. July was filled with recruiting movement, including G.G. Jackson's decision to reclassify to the 2022 class and commit to South Carolina at the end of the month. And that's about it. We've yet to see anything like last August, when elite recruits Jalen Duren and Emoni Bates opted to reclassify and commit to Memphis, turning the Tigers from a national afterthought into a preseason top-10 team.

For fellow college basketball fiends, however, we do have something to whet our appetites: foreign tours. Six of the teams ranked in our top 25 took trips in the past couple of months, playing exhibition games and giving us some insight into what they might look like this season.

It's hard to take too much away from these tours, given the level of competition and the fact that most coaches use it as an opportunity to play their entire roster and get players acclimated to one another. But there's always something to monitor, and we looked at the biggest takeaways below.

If the foreign tours are any indication, Kentucky's Jacob Toppin, Arkansas' Trevon Brazile and Alabama's Brandon Miller are three names we should be hearing much more about as the season approaches.

1. North Carolina Tar Heels

Previous: 1

Will Pete Nance be able to pick up where Brady Manek left off? For the most part, everything else on Hubert Davis' team will look similar to the end of last season. Four starters are back. The reserves who saw time in the NCAA tournament are back. And three ESPN 100 prospects are entering the fold to provide depth. But Nance is the X factor. Manek made as big an impact as any transfer in the country last season, shooting 40% from 3, putting up huge numbers in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament and bringing tons of energy to the Tar Heels. Nance should certainly be able to replicate Manek's perimeter shooting after making over 45% of his 3-point attempts last season. He also had big games against quality opposition: 20 points vs. Providence, 20 points vs. Ohio State, 21 points vs. Illinois.

Projected starting lineup:

Caleb Love (15.9 PPG)
R.J. Davis (13.5 PPG)
Leaky Black (4.9 PPG)
Pete Nance (14.6 PPG at Northwestern)
Armando Bacot (16.3 PPG)

2. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Previous: 2

Because Nolan Hickman will likely be given the first opportunity to be Gonzaga's point guard this season, it's worth taking a look at what type of player he might be as a sophomore. He showed flashes of his ability in his freshman season, with a pair of double-figure scoring games early in WCC play -- including 14 points and four assists against Santa Clara -- but otherwise had an underwhelming campaign for a five-star prospect, starting zero games and scoring six total points over the final month of the 2021-22 season.

Coming out of high school, Hickman was considered one of the best guards in the 2021 class, capable of finding teammates out of the pick-and-roll, making shots from the perimeter and getting his own looks off the bounce. And he could look more like that player this season: ESPN has him as one of the five best NBA draft prospects returning to college basketball.

Projected starting lineup:

Nolan Hickman (5.1 PPG)
Malachi Smith (19.9 PPG at Chattanooga)
Rasir Bolton (11.2 PPG)
Julian Strawther (11.8 PPG)
Drew Timme (18.4 PPG)

3. Houston Cougars

Previous: 3

Kelvin Sampson consistently has a deep stable of frontcourt players, rotating them in and out of the game in order to keep up with the physicality and elite offensive rebounding that Houston has become known for during his tenure. Evidently he didn't think the Cougars had quite enough bodies up front ahead of this season, as he added Charleston Southern transfer Darius Bowser in August. Bowser started 23 games for the Buccaneers last season, averaging 5.0 points and 2.9 rebounds. At 6-foot-9, he becomes the tallest player in the program.

Sampson can now look to returnees Reggie Chaney, J'Wan Roberts, Ja'Vier Francis and Bowser to fill in the gaps up front. Chaney and Roberts will get the majority of the minutes, but Sampson certainly won't be shorthanded.

Projected starting lineup:

Jamal Shead (10.0 PPG)
Marcus Sasser (17.7 PPG)
Tramon Mark (10.1 PPG)
Jarace Walker (No. 10 in ESPN 100)
J'Wan Roberts (3.2 PPG)

4. Kentucky Wildcats

Previous: 4

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from Kentucky's trip to the Bahamas in early August was the play -- and role -- of Jacob Toppin. He was one of just two players to log at least 20 minutes in all four games on the trip (consensus National Player of the Year Oscar Tshiebwe was the other). He also played 33 minutes in the final game against the Bahamas, when John Calipari used mostly a seven-man rotation.

The former Rhode Island transfer has always impressed with his ability in transition and around the rim, but it was his perimeter game that drew interest during the international tour. He went 8-for-15 from 3 in the four games, including a 5-for-6 performance against Carleton. If Toppin can consistently make shots from outside, he opens up new possibilities for Kentucky's frontcourt.

Projected starting lineup:

Sahvir Wheeler (10.1 PPG)
Cason Wallace (No. 20 in ESPN 100)
Antonio Reeves (20.1 PPG at Illinois State)
Jacob Toppin (6.2 PPG)
Oscar Tshiebwe (17.4 PPG)

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Jeremy Roach uses first step to fly to basket

Jeremy Roach takes one step to the basket and quickly beats his defender for 2.

5. Duke Blue Devils

Previous: 5

Is Jeremy Roach ready to be the leader of a potential Final Four team? That is going to be the biggest key to the Blue Devils' upcoming season. Roach will be surrounded by three top-10 recruits, but he has by far the most experience in a Duke uniform of anyone on the roster. If he plays the way he did in the NCAA tournament in March -- 11.8 points, 4.0 assists -- that should be more than enough for Jon Scheyer next season. Roach struggled to make shots from the perimeter during that stretch, but making the occasional 3 to keep opposing defenses honest will be imperative.

In games Roach started last season, Duke went 23-4; in games in which Roach came off the bench, the Blue Devils went 9-3. Roach will have leadership help from the incoming transfers, but this is undoubtedly going to be his team.

Projected starting lineup:

Jeremy Roach (8.6 PPG)
Dariq Whitehead (No. 2 in ESPN 100)
Jacob Grandison (9.6 PPG at Illinois)
Kyle Filipowski (No. 7 in ESPN 100)
Dereck Lively (No. 1 in ESPN 100)

6. Kansas Jayhawks

Previous: 6

With six of his top eight players from the national championship team gone, Bill Self will need some of last season's role players to step up and become major factors. Fortunately, he has a wide array of players from which to choose. Bobby Pettiford played in only 14 games due to injury, but he can be more of a playmaker at the point guard spot if Self wants to use Dajuan Harris Jr. alongside another ball handler in the backcourt. K.J. Adams played spot minutes in Big 12 play and the NCAA tournament, and brings physicality and defense to the frontcourt.

The player generating the most buzz of late, however, is 6-10 sophomore Zach Clemence. Clemence saw a number of DNPs as a freshman, but would bring a different look to Kansas down low. He's skilled and versatile, and continues to develop.

Projected starting lineup:

Dajuan Harris Jr. (5.4 PPG)
Gradey Dick (No. 14 in ESPN 100)
Kevin McCullar (10.1 PPG at Texas Tech)
Jalen Wilson (11.0 PPG)
Ernest Udeh (No. 23 in ESPN 100)

7. Creighton Bluejays

Previous: 7

The Bluejays suffered a rare personnel departure in August, with guard Rati Andronikashvili deciding to pursue professional opportunities in Europe. Andronikashvili wasn't a big producer during his time at Creighton, missing 2020-21 because of injury and averaging 1.8 points last season. But he saw a bigger role down the stretch, including 28 minutes against Providence in the Big East semifinal and at least 20 minutes in both NCAA tournament games.

Greg McDermott should still be fine in terms of perimeter depth. TCU transfer Francisco Farabello was one of the best shooters in the Big 12 during his three seasons with the Horned Frogs, and should provide solid backcourt depth along with Shereef Mitchell -- assuming he's healthy.

Projected starting lineup:

Ryan Nembhard (11.3 PPG)
Trey Alexander (7.4 PPG)
Baylor Scheierman (16.2 PPG at South Dakota State)
Arthur Kaluma (10.4 PPG)
Ryan Kalkbrenner (13.1 PPG)

8. Baylor Bears

Previous: 8

While most of the coverage of Baylor's involvement in the GLOBL JAM in Toronto centered on the outstanding play of Keyonte George, it's worth noting the impact of Jalen Bridges. The West Virginia transfer averaged 5.9 points as a freshman and 8.4 points last season, but he was a sought-after prospect in the portal and could start for the Bears this season.

Bridges was the Bears' third-leading scorer and third-leading rebounder while also making better than 36% of his 3s on 4.4 attempts per game. Scott Drew is going to have a loaded backcourt and will consistently have three guards on the court, but Bridges offers versatility and shooting ability, while BYU transfer Caleb Lohner brings toughness and rebounding to the position.

Projected starting lineup:

Keyonte George (No. 6 in ESPN 100)
Adam Flagler (13.8 PPG)
LJ Cryer (13.5 PPG)
Jalen Bridges (8.4 PPG at West Virginia)
Flo Thamba (6.2 PPG)

9. Arkansas Razorbacks

Previous: 9

If anyone was hoping to glean some rotation intel about Arkansas' 11 newcomers from the Razorbacks' four-game trip to Spain and Italy earlier this month, good luck: Eric Musselman used four different starting lineups in four games. But Nick Smith and Trevon Brazile were the standouts from the trip.

Brazile, who has been generating buzz all offseason, was consistently dominant -- including a 28-point performance against the Bakken Bears, when he shot 13-for-15 from the field. Smith led the team in scoring in three of four games, shot 43% from 3 and shouldered some of the playmaking responsibilities as well. Kamani Johnson was something of a surprise. After the former Arkansas-Little Rock transfer played sparingly last season for the Razorbacks, he led the team in rebounding in all four games.

Projected starting lineup:

Anthony Black (No. 15 in ESPN 100)
Nick Smith (No. 3 in ESPN 100)
Ricky Council IV (12.0 PPG at Wichita State)
Jordan Walsh (No. 11 in ESPN 100)
Trevon Brazile (6.6 PPG at Missouri)

10. UCLA Bruins

Previous: 10

An addition rumored for a few weeks was finally made official in early August, when UCLA announced the signing of Italian wing Abramo Canka. A talented two-way prospect who has been on the radar for a few years, Canka was cleared to join the Bruins after playing in 16 games for Lokomotiv Kuban in the Russian Superleague. He averaged 10.9 points and 3.7 rebounds during his time with them. Canka has also been in the Italian national team setup for years, most recently playing in the FIBA U20 European Championships, where he averaged 9.4 points in seven games. His outside shot has been inconsistent, but he made nearly 35% of his 3-point attempts in the competition.

It might take some time for Canka to adapt to the college game, but his ability to make plays defensively will be an asset.

Projected starting lineup:

Tyger Campbell (11.9 PPG)
Amari Bailey (No. 5 in ESPN 100)
Jaylen Clark (6.7 PPG)
Jaime Jaquez Jr. (13.9 PPG)
Adem Bona (No. 16 in ESPN 100)

11. Texas Longhorns

Previous: 11

Among Texas' incoming group of freshmen and transfers, one player to fly under the radar thus far is New Mexico State transfer Sir'Jabari Rice. For a team that struggled to consistently score at times during the second half of last season, Rice's size and shooting ability should be an asset. He's also perhaps the only Texas guard who is more comfortable off the ball than on. (Marcus Carr, Tyrese Hunter, Arterio Morris and Rowan Brumbaugh have all been the primary playmakers or ball handlers throughout their careers.)

Rice actually became much more of a combo guard last season, mostly out of necessity, leading the Aggies in assists. But he should be able to focus on scoring in Austin, after averaging double figures in each of the past three seasons -- and shooting 35.7% from 3 over that span.

Projected starting lineup:

Tyrese Hunter (11.0 PPG at Iowa State)
Marcus Carr (11.4 PPG)
Dillon Mitchell (No. 4 in ESPN 100)
Timmy Allen (12.1 PPG)
Christian Bishop (7.0 PPG)

12. Tennessee Volunteers

Previous: 12

How will Tennessee's offense change from last season to this one? The Volunteers were highly reliant on 3s in 2021-22, ranking second in the SEC in 3-point percentage and third in percentage of points from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, they ranked last in the league in 2-point shooting percentage and next to last in percentage of points off 2-pointers.

Much of that likely stems from Rick Barnes using a perimeter group of three point guards: Kennedy Chandler, Zakai Zeigler and Santiago Vescovi. Drive-and-kick was their best way of scoring -- which is why they were sixth in the country in assist rate, according to KenPom. With Chandler gone and likely to be replaced in the lineup by wing forward Julian Phillips, will the Volunteers' offense become a bit more balanced in 2022-23?

Projected starting lineup:

Zakai Zeigler (8.8 PPG)
Santiago Vescovi (13.3 PPG)
Julian Phillips (No. 13 in ESPN 100)
Josiah-Jordan James (10.3 PPG)
Olivier Nkamhoua (8.6 PPG)

13. Auburn Tigers

Previous: 13

Auburn played three games in Israel earlier this month, and it appears that, despite the loss of Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler, Bruce Pearl will still have one of the best frontcourt duos in the SEC. Incoming freshman Yohan Traore, one of the biggest stock-risers in the class of 2022 last spring and summer, continued his upward trajectory. He scored 20 points in Auburn's first two games, leading the Tigers in scoring in both. Morehead State transfer Johni Broome was a consistent force at both ends of the floor, scoring at least 17 points in all three games and also notching a double-double in the loss to the Israeli national team.

One of the offseason questions for Auburn has been wing scoring -- and freshman Chance Westry might be able to help in that department. He had 13 points and 18 points in two of the Tigers' three games.

Projected starting lineup:

Wendell Green Jr. (12.0 PPG)
K.D. Johnson (12.3 PPG)
Allen Flanigan (6.3 PPG)
Yohan Traore (No. 27 in ESPN 100)
Johni Broome (16.8 PPG at Morehead State)

14. Villanova Wildcats

Previous: 14

Who's next for Villanova? For years, the Wildcats have had players waiting in the wings, ready to step up as the go-to guys when more experienced players depart. Who will that be for Kyle Neptune this season? I don't think it's a stretch to say Cameron Whitmore will be the new coach's most productive offensive player. He was dominant at the FIBA U18 Americas Championship en route to averaging 18.7 points and shooting 45% from 3. Whitmore is just going to physically overwhelm most opponents.

In terms of the returnees, Caleb Daniels has shown the most scoring potential (he did average 16.9 points at Tulane in 2018-19 before transferring), but Brandon Slater will have to boost his production. He scored in double digits only twice in the final 10 games of 2021-22, but that came after a stretch when he scored in double digits in seven straight games and averaged 13.3 points. Consistency will be key.

Projected starting lineup:

Mark Armstrong (No. 61 in ESPN 100)
Caleb Daniels (10.2 PPG)
Brandon Slater (8.3 PPG)
Cameron Whitmore (No. 21 in ESPN 100)
Eric Dixon (9.1 PPG)

15. Indiana Hoosiers

Previous: 15

The 2022-23 ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchups had one clear headliner when they were announced back in late June: North Carolina's trip to Bloomington to face Indiana. It's going to be an early marker of Indiana's promise as the Big Ten favorite, and the head-to-head matchup between Trayce Jackson-Davis and Armando Bacot should be one of the best all season. Of Indiana's four marquee nonconference games, it's also the only one at home.

The Hoosiers travel to Xavier for the third game of the season and also face Arizona in Las Vegas and Kansas in Lawrence. We will know a lot more about the improvement of Mike Woodson's team after the 18-day, three-game stretch when the Hoosiers face North Carolina, Arizona and Kansas.

Projected starting lineup:

Xavier Johnson (12.1 PPG)
Jalen Hood-Schifino (No. 24 in ESPN 100)
Miller Kopp (6.0 PPG)
Race Thompson (11.1 PPG)
Trayce Jackson-Davis (18.3 PPG)

16. Arizona Wildcats

Previous: 16

The early July decision by five-star guard Kylan Boswell to reclassify into the 2022 class and enroll at Arizona was expected to be a boost for the Wildcats' perimeter group, which had seen Bennedict Mathurin and Dalen Terry leave for the NBA and Justin Kier use up his eligibility. But Boswell recently underwent foot surgery, and likely won't be ready to play until after the season starts.

So while Kerr Kriisa and Pelle Larsson return in the backcourt, Tommy Lloyd will need his two backcourt transfers to make an early impact. Courtney Ramey was a consistent producer at Texas, so he should slot in seamlessly. There has also been positive buzz coming out of Tucson about Campbell transfer Cedric Henderson Jr. In three years with the Fighting Camels, he averaged 13.7 points and shot 36.7% from 3.

Projected starting lineup:

Kerr Kriisa (9.7 PPG)
Pelle Larsson (7.2 PPG)
Courtney Ramey (9.4 PPG at Texas)
Azuolas Tubelis (13.9 PPG)
Oumar Ballo (6.8 PPG)

17. TCU Horned Frogs

Previous: 17

We're expecting a sizable jump from TCU this season, after it struggled for consistency and went 6-9 in its final 15 games of 2021-22. If that's going to happen, there are three key areas of improvement on the offensive end: turnovers, 3-point shooting and free throw shooting. According to KenPom, the Horned Frogs ranked No. 330 nationally in turnover percentage, No. 321 in 3-point percentage and No. 311 in free throw percentage last season. They weren't better in Big 12 play, ranking last in turnovers and next to last in both 3-point and free throw shooting.

Because TCU brings back so much from last season, it's going to be on the returnees to improve individually. The lone incoming transfer, Rondel Walker, should help slightly: in two seasons at Oklahoma State, he shot 30.7% from 3, 69.8% from the free throw line and provides another ball-handler.

Projected starting lineup:

Mike Miles (15.4 PPG)
Damion Baugh (10.6 PPG)
Chuck O'Bannon Jr. (9.5 PPG)
Emanuel Miller (10.3 PPG)
Eddie Lampkin (6.8 PPG)

18. Virginia Cavaliers

Previous: 18

Virginia wrapped up its four-game trip to Italy last week, finishing 3-1. Tony Bennett went about his roster usage in a unique way, opting to sit three different players each game and use just 10 players in the rotation. One of the surprise standouts from the trip was Kadin Shedrick, who led the team in scoring in two of his three active games -- including a 19-point, 12-rebound, 2-block performance that prompted Bennett to say, "that's the best I've seen Kadin."

Shedrick, a 6-foot-11 North Carolina native, started 19 games last season and averaged just 6.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. But he showed flashes of his potential, going for 20 points against Louisville; 13 points and 13 rebounds against Miami; and 16 points against Duke. Will he give Virginia a consistent option on the interior in 2022-23?

Projected starting lineup:

Kihei Clark (10.0 PPG)
Reece Beekman (8.2 PPG)
Armaan Franklin (11.1 PPG)
Jayden Gardner (15.3 PPG)
Kadin Shedrick (6.9 PPG)

19. Oregon Ducks

Previous: 19

It has been a busy month for Dana Altman and the Ducks, off the court and on the recruiting trail. They landed a commitment from 2023 five-star forward Kwame Evans and then brought top-10 prospect Mookie Cook back into the fold after he decommitted from Oregon shortly before the July evaluation period. The moves ensure Oregon has a five-star recruit for the third class in a row.

What about the last two five-stars? Well, Nate Bittle was a non-factor last season, averaging just 1.7 points in 23 games. Altman will hope incoming freshmen Kel'el Ware fares a bit better in his first -- and probably only -- season in Eugene. Ware is considered one of the highest-ceiling prospects in the country, and slotted at No. 11 in ESPN's first 2023 mock draft following June's NBA draft.

Projected starting lineup:

Will Richardson (14.1 PPG)
Keeshawn Barthelemy (11.1 PPG at Colorado)
Quincy Guerrier (10.1 PPG)
Kel'el Ware (No. 16 in ESPN 100)
N'Faly Dante (8.1 PPG)

20. Alabama Crimson Tide

Previous: 20

The main talking point out of Alabama's three-game trip to Spain and France was quite clear: five-star freshman Brandon Miller. One of the most naturally gifted prospects in the 2022 class, Miller finished his senior year of high school ranked in the top 10 at ESPN, but he also had some bouts of inconsistency from a production and motor standpoint against top-tier competition. That certainly wasn't an issue in Europe. Miller led the Crimson Tide in scoring in all three games, averaging 22.0 points, including a 28-point, 10-rebound performance against the Lithuania B men's national team. The left-handed wing can use his size to finish going toward the basket but is also capable of knocking down shots from the perimeter. It was also positive to see Nimari Burnett produce for Alabama; he averaged 12.3 points in the three games after missing all of last season because of a torn ACL.

Projected starting lineup:

Mark Sears (19.6 PPG at Ohio)
Jaden Bradley (No. 19 in ESPN 100)
Dominick Welch (12.3 PPG at St. Bonaventure)
Brandon Miller (No. 9 in ESPN 100)
Charles Bediako (6.7 PPG)

21. UConn Huskies

Previous: 21

With added versatility and depth at the forward positions, it will be interesting to see how Dan Hurley lines up his starting five this season. Andre Jackson and Adama Sanogo return up front, while Tristen Newton, the team's best point guard, and breakout candidate Jordan Hawkins are widely expected to start in the backcourt. But the fifth spot has a number of candidates. Virginia Tech transfer Nahiem Alleyne would add experience and shooting to the Huskies after averaging 9.7 points and shooting nearly 39% from 3 in three seasons in Blacksburg. Or, Hurley could go with a bigger lineup that features Samson Johnson or Alex Karaban alongside Sanogo. Johnson is 6-foot-10 and has continued to improve and expand his game over the past few years, while Karaban can really shoot.

Projected starting lineup:

Tristen Newton (17.7 PPG at East Carolina)
Jordan Hawkins (5.8 PPG)
Nahiem Alleyne (9.6 PPG at Virginia Tech)
Andre Jackson (6.8 PPG)
Adama Sanogo (14.8 PPG)

22. Dayton Flyers

Previous: 22

Dayton announced its nonconference schedule earlier this month, and it's again a slate that allows the Flyers several chances at résumé-boosting victories. There's a home game against SMU, road trips to UNLV and Virginia Tech, as well as a neutral-site game against Wyoming. On top of all that, Anthony Grant's team is in the Battle 4 Atlantis, where it will open against Wisconsin and then face either Kansas or NC State. On paper, Dayton is likely the third-best team in the field, meaning it could end up playing USC in the third game of that tournament.

It's a difficult stretch, but the Flyers' top-25 credentials will be tested before Atlantic 10 play -- although, as mentioned many times this offseason, beating good teams wasn't Dayton's issue last season.

Projected starting lineup:

Malachi Smith (9.3 PPG)
Kobe Elvis (8.9 PPG)
R.J. Blakney (6.5 PPG)
Toumani Camara (10.9 PPG)
DaRon Holmes II (12.8 PPG)

23. San Diego State Aztecs

Previous: 23

How much will Brian Dutcher's newcomers help the Aztecs' offense? That is going to be the key question for San Diego State this season, but it's hard to see the Aztecs not improving at that end of the floor.

Darrion Trammell was a two-time All-WAC selection who averaged 20.5 points and 5.3 assists in 2020-21 and 17.3 points and 5.0 last season, including a 39-point outing in his final game in a Seattle uniform.

Micah Parrish averaged 12.1 points last season at Oakland, finishing the season playing his best basketball. He put up 16.5 points and shot nearly 40% from 3 over his final eight games.

And then there's former TCU transfer Jaedon LeDee, who earned positive reviews before sitting out last season and should provide a more offensive complement to Nathan Mensah's elite defensive ability.

Projected starting lineup:

Lamont Butler (7.3 PPG)
Darrion Trammell (17.3 PPG at Seattle)
Matt Bradley (16.9 PPG)
Keshad Johnson (7.2 PPG)
Nathan Mensah (7.0 PPG)

24. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Previous: 24

I think the two X factors for Texas Tech this season will be a pair of newcomers: five-star recruit Elijah Fisher and former Texas transfer Jaylon Tyson. Despite reclassifying from the 2023 class, Fisher turns 19 years old in January, so he's college-ready from an age perspective. He was also one of the more impressive players at the FIBA U18 Americas Championship, averaging 13.3 points and 5.5 rebounds. He's not much of an outside shooter at this point, but surrounding him with the likes of Kerwin Walton and Kevin Obanor could minimize that issue. As for Tyson, he was a top-50 recruit coming out of high school but barely played at Texas before leaving midseason. He was a multidimensional scorer in high school, and has the potential to make an impact on the wing.

Projected starting lineup:

De'Vion Harmon (10.8 PPG at Oregon)
Kerwin Walton (3.4 PPG at North Carolina)
Elijah Fisher (five-star)
Kevin Obanor (10.0 PPG)
Fardaws Aimaq (18.9 PPG at Utah Valley)

25. Illinois Fighting Illini

Previous: 25

As one of the few true point guards on Illinois' roster, there will be pressure on incoming freshman Skyy Clark this season -- especially because he was still working back to 100% form after tearing an ACL last summer. He was fully cleared for practice in late July, however, and early reviews out of Champaign have been positive. Clark was one of the best point guards in the 2022 class before his injury, and a return to that form would be a huge boost for Brad Underwood. Outside of Clark, the point guard depth is a question mark. Jayden Epps is more of a scorer -- and a very good defender -- than distributor. Sencire Harris' physical ability is off the charts, but he isn't a pure point. It's worth noting that Ty Rodgers is a versatile forward whose court vision and passing ability were among his best attributes at the high school level.

Projected starting lineup:

Skyy Clark (No. 25 in ESPN 100)
RJ Melendez (3.8 PPG)
Terrence Shannon Jr. (10.4 PPG at Texas Tech)
Matthew Mayer (9.8 at Baylor)
Coleman Hawkins (5.9 PPG)

Dropped out: None

Next in line:

Miami Hurricanes (previous: Next in line)
Saint Louis Billikens (previous: Next in line)
Michigan Wolverines (previous: Next in line)
Xavier Musketeers (previous: Next in line)
Wyoming Cowboys (previous: Next in line)