PG: Jrue Holliday, UCLA. Rivals.com lists him Holliday as the top point guard while Scout.com ranks him as the top shooting guard. The jury is out on how much he’ll play at the 1, it’s no secret that Darren Collison struggles against big guards.
SG: Demar DeRozan, USC. DeRozan has all the tools to dominate. Is his 6’7”, 200-pound frame enough to withstand the rigors of conference play?
SF: Al Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest. A consensus top 10 recruit, Aminu presents mismatches allowing him to rent space in the paint against smaller defenders and race to the hoop past bigger ones.
PF: Greg Monroe, Georgetown. To prepare for the college game and dog-eat-dog mentality of the Big East, Monroe beefed up 25 pounds. Skilled and able to rebound, Monroe will certainly learn how to become an elite defender within JT3’s system.
C: BJ Mullens, Ohio State. The odds-on #1 pick in next year’s draft, Mullens is the latest in Ohio State’s giant factory. He instantly makes the Buckeyes relevant in the Big Ten and is a mortal lock for a double-double average.
1. Willie Warren, SG, Oklahoma. Last season, Oklahoma lacked a perimeter presence to match that of Blake Griffin and Longar Longar. This season, Warren and an improved Tony Crocker will bring the backcourt on par with the frontcourt. If Warren performs (and Griffin stays healthy), Oklahoma will take the Big 12.
2. Tyreke Evans, SG, Memphis. Among the nation’s most touted recruits, Evans has a NBA-ready body with prototypical two-guard size. Not to mention, his 6’11” wingspan (real height: 6’6”) is sure to disrupt passing lanes. With their two top scorers gone, Evans will be expected to light up, but he’ll have to learn how to be unselfish to win.
3. Chris Singleton, SF, Florida State. Considered the 3rd-best small forward in the recruiting class by Rivals.com, Singleton has great size, can shoot the rock, rebound and plays aggressively around the rim.
4. Scotty Hopson, SG/SF, Tennessee. Exit Lofton. Enter Hopson. They’re not the same type of player. Hopson’s athleticism and skill level are superb, and Bruce Pearl will be sure to work on his shot.
5. Devin Ebanks, F, West Virginia. When Ebanks was being recruited, Bob Huggins was envisioning a pairing with Joe Alexander, who of course is now in the NBA. He’s an explosive forward who’ll benefit from the backcourt of Joe Mazzulla and Alex Ruoff.
6. Samardo Samuels, PF, Louisville. To compete in the Big East, you need bigs who can ball. Rick Pitino won’t expect Samuels to have David Padgett’s basketball IQ, but he will expect him to work hard in the blocks against the likes of Harangody, Thabeet and Monroe.
7. DeAndre Liggins, PG, Kentucky. With Ramel Bradley, Joe Crawford and Derek Jasper out of the program, the consensus top 30 recruit has a chance to shine like none other. Liggins is a stat-sheet stuffer with the intangibles to boot.
Liggins: Could be the key to Patrick Patterson dominating the SEC
Credit: USA Today
8. JaMychal Green, PF, Alabama. Anchor. That’s the word Davidson head coach Bob McKillop used to describe Green. He will have a learning curve playing in the SEC, but it’s not as steep as one would imagine. Green’s a great replacement for Richard Hendrix.
9. Luke Babbitt, F, Nevada. Babbitt can score. How much? He holds the Nevada high school scoring record with nearly 3,000 points. Inside or outside, Babbitt brings it.
10. Klay Thompson, SG, Washington State. The son of Mychal Thompson, Klay has crazy range and fits nicely into Tony Bennett’s system. If he’s not a strong defensive player now, he’ll at least pick up team defense by March. In the meanwhile, his coaches would be happy if he fills some of the scoring void left by outgoing guards Kyle Weaver and Derrick Low.