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SEC 2019-20 Very Early College Basketball Predictions

By Jack Williams


The SEC has been getting stronger and stronger with each year pass. From to to bottom this may be the strongest we’ve seen this conference in years. Looking at the SEC and the quality of coaches that it has we can clearly see that this is a conference where every team is going to have to come to play every night. By the end of the 2019-2020 season we may see at least 10 teams from this conference in the NCAA tournament, easily. Team like Ole Miss, Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas have dramatically improved.

To be honest with you, it’s very hard to predict this conference this year for many reasons. One, all of these new rules that have been put in place allowing nearly everybody to put their names in the draft, which has made predictions a little complicated. So as a disclaimer there could be players returning to a team that we have no clue about. There could be players to transfer before the season begins. On top of that there are several teams who still have at least 1 scholarship to fill as of June 3rd 2019, and they are Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt. Kentucky has three (3) more scholarships to fill but adding one player won’t affect them at all. They are already very good. Texas A&M and LSU both have two (20 more scholarships to fill and so they could jump significantly depends on who they get. In addition underclassmen have until May 29 to withdraw their names from the NBA Draft, and players invited to the NBA Combine can still decide to return to school if they don’t get drafted on June 20. So unlike previous years we will definitely do an updated prediction before the season begins in November 2019.

But with that said, most teams have filled their 13 scholarships and we got a hint of how strong their rosters are going to look like.

This is how we rank the SEC based on the information that we have now:

1. Kentucky

Off the Roster:

Graduated: Reid Travis F

Transferred: Quade Green (G, Washington)

Turned PRO: Tyler Herro G Keldon Johnson G PJ Washington F

On Roster:

Key Players Returning: Ashton Hagans PG, EJ Montgomery PF, Immanuel Quickley PG, Nick Richards C,

Key Transfer(s): Nate Sestina (PF, Bucknell)

Key Freshmen: Tyrese Maxey SG, Kahlil Whitney SF, Keion Brooks, Jr. SF, Dontaie Allen SF

Kentucky is never short on talent. Hopefully, combo guard Tyrese Maxey helps this team move the ball a little better than they did the previous season. Kentucky was ranked 6th in the SEC last season in assists per game. But I love the game of Kahlil Whitney. He plays big like a pro. I could see him playing at the three and four positions. Kentucky will once again be a force to recon with.

Projected Starting 5:

Ashton Hagans PG

Tyrese Maxey (SG, Top 25)

Kahlil Whitney (SF, Top 50)

EJ Montgomery PF

Nate Sestina (PF, Bucknell)

2. Ole Miss

Off the Roster:

Graduated: Terence Davis G Bruce Stevens F D.C. Davis G

Transferred: Dominik Olejniczak C, Florida State

On Roster:

Key Players Returning: Breein Tyree PG, Devontae Shuler PG, Blake Hinson SG, KJ Buffen SF, Luis Rodriguez SG, and Franco Miller, Jr., PG, RS

Key Transfer(s): Bryce Williams SG, Daytona State and Khadim Sy PF (Daytona State)

Key Freshmen: Antavion Collum SF, Austin Crowley PG, Sammy Hunter PF, and Rodney Howard C

A Kernit Davis team is always dangerous. Ole Miss should get back their top two (2) scorers from last season in Breein Tyree and Devontae Shuler. Three out of five starters are returning from a team that finished 10-8 (7th Place) in the SEC last season. This team only gets better with top 50 All-American Antavion Collum on board. Expect KJ Buffen to play a bigger role in 2019-2020. And the bench just got deeper with the additions of JUCO transfers Bryce Williams and Khadim Sy, two (2) players from Daytona State, and freshmen Austin Crowley and Sammy Hunter. This team has nowhere to go but up!

Projected Starting 5:

Breein Tyree PG

Devontae Shuler PG

Blake Hinson SG

Antavion Collum SF (Top 50)

KJ Buffen SF

3. Arkansas

Off the Roster:

Transferred: Keyshawn Embery-Simpson G, Tulsa

Turned PRO: Daniel Gafford F

On Roster:

Key Players Returning: Jalen Harris PG Isaiah Joe SG Mason Jones SF Adrio Bailey PF Jonathan Holmes PG Desi Sills SG Reggie Chaney PF Gabe Osabuohien PF Ethan Henderson PF Khalil Garland SG

Key Transfer(s): Jeantal Cylla PF, UNC Wilmington Isaiah Moss SG (Iowa) Jimmy Whitt Jr. SG (SMU)

Key Freshmen: Justice Hill PG

This team doesn't have a five star or one-and-done player on it. But there is a bunch of hard nose players who'll get at it every night. This is an Eric Musselman type of team. This is a veteran team. Eric Musselman has added not just on graduate transfer, but three (30 - and each and every one of them are very talented and contributes on both ends of the floor. Jeantal Cylla, Wilmington Isaiah Moss, and Jimmy Whitt Jr. have turned this team into major contenders for the top spot in the SEC.

Projected Starting 5:

Jalen Harris PG

Isaiah Joe SG

Mason Jones SF

Adrio Bailey PF

Jeantal Cylla PF, UNC Wilmington

4. Mississippi State

Off the Roster:

Graduated: Aric Holman F and Quinndary Weatherspoon G

On Roster:

Key Players Returning: Lamar Peters PG, Tyson Carter PG, Nick Weatherspoon SG, Abdul Ado C, Reggie Perry SF, KeyShawn Feazell PF, Robert Woodard SG, and E.J. Datcher C

Key Transfer(s): Prince Oduro PF, Siena Jethro Tshisumpa Mbiya (C, San Jacinto-Central)

Key Freshmen: Elias King SG, Iverson Molinar PG, and Devin Butts SG

Mississippi State will be returning several players from the previous season , which includes two (2) of their top scorers, Lamar Petersand Tyson Carter. Expect scoring for this team to remain solid and rebounding to improve with the additions of Siena transfer Prince Oduro and JUCO transfer Jethro Tshisumpa Mbiya, who is also an excellent rim protector. There is no question whether or not this is going make it tournament. The question is whether or not coach Ben Howland get this team past the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009?

Projected Starting 5:

Lamar Peters PG

Nick Weatherspoon SG

Reggie Perry SF

Prince Oduro PF (Siena)

Abdul Ado C

5. Florida

Off the Roster:

Graduated: Kevarrius Hayes C KeVaughn Allen G Jalen Hudson G Mak Krause G

Transferred: Keith Stone F (Miami), Mike Okauru G, and Deaundrae Ballard G (South Alabama)

On Roster:

Key Players Returning: Noah Locke SG, Andrew Nembhard PG, Keyontae Johnson SF, Dontay Bassett PF, Isaiah Stokes F, and Gorjok Gak C

Key Freshmen: Tre Mann PG, Scottie Lewis SF, Omar Payne C #55 Scottie Lewis SF, and Jacques Glover

Florida has a top 10 recruiting class, according to 247sports.com. Scottie Lewis is a pure athlete! He's able to score at will. He could shoot, dribble, pass, and is quick to get to the rim. He's going to be playing next another freshman point guard who is just as athletic as he is in Tre Mann. Both of these guys are monsters. It's going to be interesting to see if Coach White start the both of them with freshman center Omar Payne.

Projected Starting 5:

Andrew Nembhard PG

Tre Mann PG (Top 25)

Noah Locke SG

Scottie Lewis SF (Top 10)

Omar Payne C (Top 100)

6. Auburn

Off the Roster:

Graduated: Bryce Brown G, Malik Dunbar G,Horace Spencer F, and Cole Blackstock F

Turned PRO: Jared Harper G and Chuma Okeke PF

On Roster:

Key Players Returning: Samir Doughty SG Anfernee McLemore PF Austin Wiley C J'Von McCormick SG Danjel Purifoy PF

Key Transfer(s): Jamal Johnson (SG, Memphis)

Key Freshmen: Tyrell Jones PG, Isaac Okoro SF, Jaylin Williams PF, Babatunde Akingbola C, Allen Flanigan SF, and Will Macoy G

Auburn should lose a lot a players to the pros and to graduation. Bryce Brown, Jared Harper, Chuma Okeke, Horace Spencer, and Malik Dunbar are all gone. With all of them gone, Auburn is going to have to depend heavily on their freshmen coming in. However, this team has some very good freshmen coming in like Tyrell Jones, Isaac Okoro, Jaylin Williams, and Babatunde Akingbola. Coach Pearl will need Austin Wiley to play a bigger role on the team and Samir Doughty and Anfernee McLemore more than likely be in the starting lineup and be a mentor for the young players. Auburn should still make it to the tournament without their top players returning for next season.

Projected Starting 5: ​

Tyrell Jones PG.

Samir Doughty SG

Isaac Okoro SF

Austin Wiley C

Anfernee McLemore PF

7. LSU

Off the Roster:

Graduated: Kavell Bigby-Williams F

Turned PRO: Naz Reid F Tremont Waters G

On Roster:

Key Players Returning: Skylar Mays PG, Javonte Smart PG, Marlon Taylor SF, Emmitt Williams PF, Aundre Hyatt (SG), Darius Days F (PF), and Marshall Graves SG

Key Transfer(s): Courtese Cooper (C, Triton ) and Charles Manning, Jr. (SG, Florida South Western State)

Key Freshmen: James Bishop and Trendon Watford

LSU is definitely an NCAA bound team in 2020. Again the SEC is difficult to predict this year. This is a team that could easily find themselves at the top of the SEC. Top 25 power forward Trendon Watford is a beast down low and he is capable of handling the ball like a guard. Watch out for LSU!

Projected Starting 5:

Skylar Mays PG

Javonte Smart PG

Marlon Taylor SF

Emmitt Williams PF

Trendon Watford PF (Top 25)

8. Alabama

Off the Roster:

Graduated: Donta Hall F, Riley Norris G, Avery Johnson Jr. G, Lawson Schaffer G

Transferred: Dazon Ingram G Raymond Hawkins (C ), and Tevin Mack

On Roster:

Key Players Returning: Kira Lewis Jr. G, John Petty G, Herbert Jones G, Alex Reese PF, Galin Smith PF, and Javian Davis-Fleming PF

Key Transfer(s): James Bolden PG (West Virginia)

Key Freshmen: Jaylen Forbes SG ,Jaden Shackelford PG,Juwan Gary SF, and Raymond Hawkins C

The fact that Tevin Mack had decided to transfer has changed a lot Alabama should have several key players returning from the 2018-2019 season in Kira Lewis Jr., John Petty, Herbert Jones, Alex Reese, and Galin Smith. This small but quick team is just right for coach Nate Oats Run and Gun coaching style. So it isn't a mystery why coach Oats added another point guard, James Bolden, to the roster. Bolden transferred from West Virginia as a grad transfer. Let's just hope that Bolden is 100%. He only played in 18 games last season due to ankle sprain early in the season. Bolden averages 12.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game in his final season at West Virginia.

Projected Starting 5:

Kira Lewis Jr. PG

Herbert Jones PG

John Petty SG

Juwan Gary (SF, Top 100)

Alex Reese PF

9. Georgia

Off the Roster:

Graduated: Mike Edwards F, Christian Harrison G, William Jackson II G, E'Torrion Wilridge F, and Derek Ogbeide F

Transferred: Teshaun Hightower G and Tulane Christian Harrison G

On Roster:

Key Players Returning: Nicolas Claxton PF Rayshaun Hammonds PF, Tyree Crump SG, Tye Fagan SG, Amanze Ngumezi PF, and Jordan Harris SG

Key Transfer,(s): Donnell 'Red' Gresham, Jr, Northeastern

Key Freshmen: Anthony Edwards SG, Christian Brown SF, Jaykwon Walton SG, Toumani Camara SF, and Sahvir Wheeler PG

If you were to look back at Coach Crean's Indiana teams you will find that they were very good offensively and average defensively. That's because coach Crean is an offensive minded coach. This team that Coach Crean has currently constructed is designed to fit that up-tempo style that he likes to run. Georgia had problems at the point guard position last season. To address this problem Coach Crean added Northeastern's graduate transfer Donnell Gresham, who is a big bodied point guard who can see the floor and bully his way to hole. Playing alongside of him in the back Court is top 10 ranked freshman Anthony Edwards, who will probably be in line for player of the year before it’s all over with. He's a high flying beast who can score at will. He is definitely a One-and-Done. He fits perfectly into the Crean system because he like to run. This is a dangerous Georgia team. They could easily bully their way to the top of the SEC if any of these teams get caught slipping.

Projected Starting 5:

Donnell 'Red' Gresham, Jr, PG,

Northeastern Anthony Edwards SG,

Christian Brown SF

Nicolas Claxton PF

Rayshaun Hammonds PF

10. Tennessee

Off the Roster:

Graduated: Kyle Alexander F and Admiral Schofield G

Turned PRO: Jordan Bone G and Grant Williams PF

On Roster:

Key Players Returning: D.J. Burns (C , RS) Lamonte Turner PG Jordan Bowden SG Zach Kent(C, RS) Yves Pons SF John Fulkerson PF Jalen Johnson SG

Key Freshmen: Josiah Jordan-James (PG, Ranked 15) Drew Pember (PF) Davonte Gaines (SF) O. Robinson-Nkamhoua PF

Kyle Alexander, Admiral Schofield, Jordan Bone, and Grant Williams are all gone. But there will still be some very good pieces available for Tennessee to remain competitive. This is still a NCAA Tournament potential team. Freshman shooting guard Josiah Jordan-James is big bodied guard who plays like a point guard. He is 6'7" with great court vision. He can also defend. He could see the floor better than any other point guard out there. We'll probably see him taking the ball up the court al lot on this team. This is still a good Tennessee Team.

Projected Starting 5:

Lamonte Turner PG

Josiah Jordan-James (Top 25)

Jordan Bowden SG

Yves Pons SF

Zach Kent(C, RS)

11. Texas A&M

Off the Roster:

Graduated: Christian Mekowulu F, Chris Collins G, and Frank Byers G

Transferred: Brandon Mahan G, John Walker III F

On Roster:

Key Players Returning: TJ Starks PG Wendell Mitchell SG Savion Flagg SG Jay Jay Chandler SG Josh Nebo PF Mark French PG

Key Transfer(s): Quenton Jackson SG (Central Florida )

Key Freshmen: Emanuel Miller SF, Cashius McNeilly PG, Andre Gordon PG, and Yavuz Gultekin SF

This is a very small Texas A&M team, perhaps the smallest team in the SEC. But Coach Buzz Williams is an offensive minded coach who likes to see his team run. This team is built for a Buzz Williams coaching style. Emmanual Miller is a great defensive player. Expect scoring to improve with this small team and defense and rebounding to lack a little due to lack of size. This Texas A&M team could do some damage. Be careful!

Projected Starting 5:

TJ Starks PG

Wendell Mitchell SG

Savion Flagg SG

Jay Jay Chandler SG

Josh Nebo PF

12. South Carolina

Off the Roster:

Graduated: Chris Silva F, Tre Campbell G, and Hassani Gravett G

Transferred: Felipe Haase (Mercer)

On Roster:

Key Players Returning: A.J. Lawson SG Justin Minaya SF Keyshawn Bryant SF Maik Kotsar PF Alanzo Frink PF T.J. Moss PG Jermaine Couisnard SG

Key Transfer(s): Jair Bolden PG (George Wash.)

Key Freshmen: Wildens Leveque PF, Trae Hannibal PG, Trey Anderson SF, and Jalyn McCreary SF

Hopefully this team could stay healthly. Justin Minaya suffered knee injury in practice. T.J. Moss was hurt also with an ankle sprain. This team is small and may have to play an uptempo game. Can Jai Bolden help at the point guard position? This team wasn't very good moving the ball last season.

Projected Starting 5:

Jair Bolden PG

George Wash. A.J. Lawson SG

Justin Minaya SF

Keyshawn Bryant SF

Maik Kotsar PF

13. Missouri

Off the Roster:

Graduated: Jordan Geist G, Kevin Puryear F, and Adam Wolf F

Transferred: Ronnie Suggs G

Turned PRO: Jontay Porter PF

On Roster:

Key Players Returning: Mark Smith PG, Jeremiah Tilmon PF, Javon Pickett SG, Xavier Pinson PG, Torrence Watson SG, Reed Nikko PF, Mitchell Smith PF, and Parker Braun PF

Key Transfer(s): Dru Smith SG, Evansville

Key Freshmen: Parker Braun PF Tray Jackson PF, #79 Mario McKinney PG Kobe Brown SF

The lack of a front court kept Missouri from advancing in the SEC last season. Missouri will be without a real star now that Jontay Porter has decided to stay in the pros. With Evansville's transfer guard Dru Smith joining the team Missouri should improve in scoring and the ball should move a little better. Missouri was ranked 312th nationally and 14th in the SEC in assists per game last season. This team should do well next season with the addition of Freshman Power Forward Tray Jackson. Jackson plays big around the rim and should complement Smith on the scoring end.

Projected Starting 5:

Dru Smith SG

Missouri Mark Smith PG

Javon Pickett SG

Tray Jackson PF, (Top 100)

Jeremiah Tilmon PF

14. Vanderbilt

Off the Roster:

Graduated: Joe Toye G

Transferred: Matt Ryan F Yanni Wetzell F, San Diego State

Turned PRO: Simisola Shittu F Darius Garland G

On Roster:

Key Players Returning: Saben Lee PG, Aaron Nesmith SF, Clevon Brown PF, Ejike Obinna PF, Maxwell Evans PG, and Matthew Moyer PF

Key Freshmen: Jordan Wright SG, Dylan Disu SF, Kenyon Martin Jr., and Scotty Pippen PG

This team has a new coach in Jerry Stackhouse. Fortunately for Coach Stackhouse the top two (2) scorers Saben Lee and Aaron Nesmith should be returning. Red shirt Ejike Obinna and last year's reserve player Clevon Brown should be expected to play a bigger roles. However, this team doesn't have the personnel to push to the top of the SEC.

Projected Starting 5:

Saben Lee PG

Jordan Wright SG

Aaron Nesmith SF

Clevon Brown PF

Ejike Obinna PF