The roster management season is officially over in college basketball.
With five-star big Jalen Duren announcing his commitment to Memphis on Friday, all rosters are set throughout the NCAA. That means it’s time to enter the talking season on the hardwood. No more guessing about the roster because now all programs are ready to ride with what is available on campus. This means preseason top 25s now have some value since we know what players will be participating in college basketball for the 2021-22 season.
Soon after the Duren news, Gary Parrish of CBS Sports dropped his top 25 on the internet for anyone to consume. Kentucky was much lower than expected at No. 13 overall.
“John Calipari has solved Kentucky’s point guard problems by enrolling five-star prospect TyTy Washington and Georgia transfer Sahvir Wheeler,” writes Parrish. “Combine that with the return of Davion Mintz and Keion Brooks, and the additions of transfers Kellan Grady (Davidson), Oscar Tshiebwe (West Virginia) and CJ Frederick (Iowa), and the Wildcats look like a team set to have the biggest year-over-year turnaround in the sport.”
Not surprisingly, Parrish has Gonzaga as the preseason No. 1 team followed by UCLA, Texas, Kansas, and Villanova. Kentucky was the third highest-ranked team in the SEC following No. 9 Arkansas and No. 11 Alabama. Both Tennessee and Auburn also made an appearance at No. 20 and No. 22 respectively. This feels like a low mark for the Wildcats, but that can be expected following a brutal 9-16 season.
These preseason rankings are always good preseason fodder and not much more than that. The Wildcats will get the chance to prove the team is overvalued or undervalued when the Champions Classic arrives against No. 7 Duke in November. Remember, this could be the last time Kentucky faces Mike Krzyzewski in a head-to-head matchup before assistant Jon Scheyer takes over in Durham after the year.
A turnaround is coming for Kentucky basketball, but the Wildcats and their transfer-heavy roster still have to prove that the team has true national championship potential this winter.