By Jon Rothstein
» More Columns
1. IS UCLA BACK?
Without question. After failing to make the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons, the Bruins have reloaded after landing two of the top four prospects in the country in Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson. Ben Howland finally has a roster comparable to what he enjoyed from 2006-08, when the Bruins advanced to three consecutive Final Fours. Both Muhammad and Anderson are potentially one and done players and UCLA could still add big man Tony Parker to its stellar recruiting class. The buzz is back in Westwood and it’s palpable.
2. WHAT DOES THE ADDITION OF NERLENS NOEL MEAN FOR KENTUCKY?
That the lineage of blue chip big men that have committed to the Wildcats during the past few years continues. Think about it — Noel’s commitment means that in the last four seasons Kentucky have received letters of intent from Demarcus Cousins, Enes Kanter, Anthony Davis, and now Noel. People forget about Kanter because he was never ruled eligible by the NCAA but he still was a lottery pick in last year’s draft. By adding Noel, John Calipari ensured that the Wildcats won’t miss a beat in landing elite level big men on an annual basis.
3. WHAT’S NEXT FOR KENTUCKY?
Findlay Prep power forward Anthony Bennett who is down to the Wildcats and Florida, is likely the next piece to commit to Calipari. Kentucky is also in the mix for Friends Central forward Amile Jefferson, who is also considering NC State, Duke, and Villanova. One of the big things the Wildcats will need to address in the next month is perimeter depth. Assuming every player on the Wildcats’ roster aside from Kyle Wiltjer opts for the NBA, the only back court pieces set for Kentucky next season are guards Ryan Harrow, Archie Goodwin, and Alex Poythress.
4. WHO LOST OUT THE MOST?
It has to be Georgetown. Right up until Noel’s decision it seemed like the Hoyas were a serious player for the shot blocking big man. Had they added the elite center in the 2012 class, John Thompson III would have had a team atop the Big East standings and a potential Top Ten team nationally. Now, the Hoyas will have to piece things together next season after losing veterans Jason Clark, Henry Sims, and Hollis Thompson.
5. WHO MISSED OUT AND WON’T FEEL IT?
Syracuse. I’ve said many times throughout the past few weeks that the Orange didn’t need Noel to be a Top Five team next season and that looks like it’s holding true to form. Even without Noel, Jim Boeheim will start a front court of C.J. Fair and Rakeem Christmas and bring veteran Baye Moussa Keita off the bench along with brute freshman big man DaJuan Coleman. The Orange will be loaded — like usual.
Who was your big winner and big loser? Be heard in the comments below…