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Here's a brief look at the last five seasons of Nebraska men's basketball.
LINCOLN — Summer is over, college football is back and basketball isn’t far behind.
The 2022-23 college hoops season begins 10 weeks after Nebraska kicks off in Ireland. And after a long offseason, The World-Herald dug through each Big Ten program’s transactions to reset the rosters.
One emerging theme: New stars. Fifteen of the conference’s top 20 scorers from last season either entered the draft, graduated or transferred.
Who might they be? Let’s dive in.
Teams listed in order of last year’s standings:
OUT: Johnny Davis (draft), Brad Davison (grad), Chris Vogt (grad), Lorne Bowman (transfer), Ben Carlson (Utah), Matthew Mors (South Dakota State)
IN: Max Klesmit (Wofford), Kamari McGee (Green Bay), Connor Essegian (three-star guard)
BACK: Jahcobi Neath, Jordan Davis, Tyler Wahl, Steven Crowl, Carter Gilmore, Chucky Hepburn, Markus Ilver, Chris Hodges, Isaac Lindsey
OUTLOOK: Wisconsin returns nine players from last year’s regular season co-champs. It’ll need all that experience to make up for losing Johnny Davis and Brad Davison.
Davis, last year’s Big Ten Player of the year, took nearly one third (31.8%) of all the Badgers’ shots in 2021, often dragging the offense to competence. Davison made 78 of the team’s 213 3-pointers (37%). No one else made 40.
Greg Gard’s Badgers will always defend and take care of the ball — they’ve ranked top-35 in defensive efficiency and top-13 in turnover percentage the last four seasons — the question is who scores. Tyler Wahl, who averaged 11.4 points last season, jumps to mind. So does Wofford transfer Max Klesmit (14.9 ppg last season). After that, someone needs to raise their game. Is Omaha native Chucky Hepburn ready to assume a heavier scoring load? Maybe junior big man Steven Crowl commands more touches. And we know Jordan Davis, Johnny’s younger bother, has good scoring genes.
OUT: Kofi Cockburn (draft), Jacob Grandison (transfer — Kentucky) Trent Frazier (grad), Alfonso Plummer (grad), Andre Curbelo (transfer — St. John’s), Omar Payne (transfer — Jacksonville), Brandin Podziemski (transfer — Santa Clara), Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk (transfer — South Carolina), Da’Monte Williams (grad)
IN: Terrence Shannon Jr. (transfer — Texas Tech, Matthew Mayer (transfer — Baylor), Sky Clark (four-star PG, No. 29), Jayden Epps (four-star PG, No. 72), Ty Rodgers (four-star PF, No. 51), Sincere Harris (four-star SG), Zacharie Perrin (center from France)
BACK: Austin Hutcherson, Coleman Hawkins, R.J. Melendez, Luke Goode, Dain Danija, Brandon Lieb,
OUTLOOK: Few programs face a transition as abrupt as the Illini’s. Kofi Cockburn, the giant around which Brad Underwood’s program has revolved, is gone. So are stalwarts Trent Frazier, Jacob Grandison and Da’Monte Williams, who played a combined 376 games in Champaign. Second-leading scorer Alfonso Plummer graduated, and point-guard-of-the-future Andre Curbelo transferred to St. John’s.
New-look Illinois, bolstered by Baylor transfer Matthew Mayer and Texas Tech transfer Terrence Shannon Jr., is built to play faster and with more athletic pop than the Cockburn-led teams, which ranked 258th, 112th, and 316th in average possession length the last three seasons. But the Illini need freshman point guard Sky Clark, the No. 29 player in his class, to learn quickly. And they need Coleman Hawkins, who flashed potential behind Cockburn last season, to deliver on the offseason buzz he has generated. Watch for a leap from sophomore R.J. Melendez, too.
Who scores? Returners are mostly unproven on offense. Doesn’t mean they can’t do it, just means we need to see it. Should be a good defense. Bigs??? Could (will) play small.
OUT: Jaden Ivey (draft), Trevion Williams (draft), Sasha Stefanovic (grad), Eric Hunter (grad) Isaiah Thompson (transfer — Florida Gulf Coast),
IN: Camden Heide (four-star wing), Fletcher Loyer, (four-star guard), Braden Smith (three-star guard) Will Berg (unrated center from Sweden) David Jenkins (transfer — Utah)
BACK: Brandon Newman, Mason Gillis, Caleb Furst, Ethan Morton, Zach Edey, Trey Kaufman-Renn, Brian Waddell, Matt Frost
OUTLOOK: Zach Edey posted the ninth-highest usage rate in the country last season while playing with Jaden Ivey and Trevion Williams. Now both Ivey and Williams are NBA-bound, leaving Edey to command even more touches. How much responsibility can he shoulder? He’s never played more than 19 minutes per game in two seasons.
After Edey, junior guard Brandon Newman has the chance to prove himself as a lead guard with Ivey gone. Mason Gillis and Caleb Furst return as capable floor-spacers, and the Boilermakers boast the last three Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year honorees in Furst, redshirt freshman Trey Kaufman-Renn and four-star freshman Fletcher Loyer.
Coach Matt Painter, still armed with plenty of talent and shooting, will again command a dangerous offense. The defense, which ranked outside of the top-40 for the first time since 2014-15, must improve.
OUT: Keegan Murray (draft), Jordan Bohannon (grad), Joe Toussaint (transfer — West Virginia)
IN: Dasonte Bowen (three-star PG), Josh Dix (three-star SG)
BACK: Kris Murray, Patrick McCaffrey, Tony Perkins, Payton Sandfort, Ahron Ulis, Filip Rebraca, Connor McCaffrey, Josh Ogundele, Riley Mulvey, Luc Laketa
OUTLOOK: Keegan Murray spoiled the Hawkeyes with his seamless transition to superstardom last season. It’d be unfair to ask the same of his brother, Kris, or sophomore guard Payton Sandfort.
But both Kris Murray (9.7 ppg) and Sandfort (5 ppg) flashed potential as scorers last season, and Fran McCaffrey hasn’t coached an offense that ranked worse than 43rd nationally since 2012-13. McCaffrey’s Hawkeyes also return 10 players from last year’s roster, which makes it easier to stomach losses like Keegan Murray and Jordan Bohannon.
The nonconference schedule has more bite this season — the Hawkeyes play Duke, Seton Hall, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and one of Cal or TCU — but 20 wins looks doable. McCaffrey is aiming to hit that benchmark for the fifth straight season.
OUT: Malaki Branham (draft), E.J. Liddell (draft), Kyle Young (grad), Meechie Johnson (transfer — South Carolina), Jamari Wheeler (grad), Justin Ahrens (grad), Jimmy Sotos (grad), Cedric Russell (Grad), Joey Brunk (grad),
IN: Isaac Likekele (transfer — Oklahoma State), Sean McNeil (transfer — West Virginia), Tanner Holden (transfer — Wright St), Roddy Gayle Jr. (four-star guard — No. 46), Bruce Thornton (four-star guard — No.47), Felix Opara (four-star center — No. 62), Brice Sensabaugh (four-star SF — No. 65), Bowen Hardman (3-star guard)
BACK: Eugene Brown III, Justice Sueing, Zed Key, Seth Towns, Kalen Etzler
OUTLOOK: The Buckeyes will lean hard on Justice Sueing, Zed Key, Eugene Brown and Seth Towns (entering year seven!), the only returners who have logged minutes at Ohio State before this season. Transfers Isaac Likekele (Oklahoma State), Sean McNeil (West Virginia) and Tanner Holden (Wright State) can help bridge the experience gap, but OSU needs production from its talented freshman class.
Chris Holtmann’s 2022 recruiting class ranked eighth nationally, per 247 sports, and included four top-100 players: four-star guard Roddy Gayle Jr. (No. 46), four-star guard Bruce Thornton (No. 47), four-star center Felix Opara (No. 62) and four-star forward Brice Sensabaugh (No. 65). Is there a Malaki Branham (or two) in their midst?
OUT: Ron Harper JR. (draft), Geo Baker (frad), Jaden Jones (draft) Ralph Gonzales Agee (grad)
IN: Cam Spencer (transfer — Loyola Maryland), Antonio Chol (three-star PF), Derek Simpon (three-star PG), Antwone Woolfolk (three-star PF)
BACK: Paul Mulcahy, Aundre Hyatt, Dean Reiber, Caleb McConnell, Clifford Omoruyi, Mawot Mag, Jalen Miller, Oskar Palmquist
OUTLOOK: Losing Ron Harper Jr. and Geo Baker is a steep challenge for a program that already makes scoring look difficult. But the Scarlet Knights will remain a pest to play.
Caleb McConnell, the Big Ten’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, is back to mire opposing ball handlers’ in misery. Rim protector Clifford Omoruyi, who ranked sixth among Big Ten players in blocks per game last year, returns as well. And Paul Mulcahy, who finished second among Big Ten players in assists per game (5.3), can grease the offense’s gears.
But Rutgers needs scorers. Loyola Maryland transfer Cam Spencer averaged 18.9 points per game in the Patriot League last season, but playing in the Big Ten is a big adjustment. And no perimeter player besides Harper or Baker averaged double figures last year. Are Mulcahy (9 ppg) or McConnell (7.1 ppg) capable of a scoring jump?
Rutgers might need one if it wants to make a third straight NCAA tournament.
OUT: Max Christie (draft), Gabe Brown (grad)
IN: Jaxon Kohler (four-star PF — No. 58), Tre Holloman (four-star PG — No. 78), Carson Cooper (unrated center from IMG Academy)
BACK: A.J. Hoggard, Tyson Walker, Malik Hall, Marcus Bingham, Julius Marble II, Jaden Akins, Mady Sissoko, Pierre Brooks, Joey Hauser, Keon Coleman
OUTLOOK: Don’t count out Tom Izzo with ten returners. The Spartans may have lost two of their top three scorers in Gabe Brown and Max Christie, but they return six of their top nine rotation players, and MSU is due for a deep NCAA Tournament run.
Sparty hasn’t advanced to the Sweet 16 since 2018-19, which ties the longest such drought since Izzo was hired. Four-star power forward Jaxon Kohler (No. 58) and four-star point guard Tre Holloman (No. 78) join the cause this year, and Malik Hall could develop into a star this season.
Looking for a sleepy Big Ten contender? MSU could be it.
OUT: Caleb Houstan (draft), Moussa Diabate (draft), DeVante’ Joces (grad), Frankie Collins (transfer — ASU), Eli Brooks (grad), Brandon Johns (grad), Zeb Jackson (transfer — VCU), Adrien Nunez (grad) Jaron Faulds (grad)
IN: Jaelin Liewellyn (transfer — Princeton), Tarris Reed (four-star C — No. 35), Jett Howard (four-star SF — No. 42), Dug McDaniel (four-star PG — No. 81 5-11), Gregg Glenn (four-star PF, No. 120) Joey Baker (Duke)
BACK: Hunter Dickinson, Kobe Bufkin, Terrance Williams II, Jace Howard, Isaiah Barnes, Youssef Khayat, Will Tschetter
OUTLOOK: Hunter Dickinson’s return alone puts Michigan in the championship conversation. After Dickinson, however, the Wolverines are counting on several unproven (if talented) contributors.
Princeton transfer Jaelin Liewellyn represents Juwan Howard’s third mid-major portal pluck in as many years. The first two — Mike Smith and DeVante’ Jones — produced mixed results. Returners Terrance Williams, Kobe Bufkin, Jace Howard, Isaiah Barnes, Youssef Khayat and Will Tschetter played 838 combined minutes last season (Dickinson played 1,034 himself), and Duke transfer Joey Baker has never played more than 12 minutes per game during his career.
Even if Baker’s role increases, Michigan will once again count on early production from its freshman class, which includes four top-120 recruits: four-star center Tarris Reed (No. 35), four-star forward Jett Howard (No. 42), four-star point guard Dug McDaniel (No. 81) and four-star forward Gregg Glenn (No. 120).
OUT: Rob Phinisee (transfer — Cincinnati), Michael Durr (transfer — UCF), Parker Stewart (transfer — UT-Martin), Khristian Lander (transfer — WKU)
IN: Jalen Hood-Schifino (five-star G, No. 23), Malik Reneau (four-star PF, No, 29), Kaleb Banks (four-star PF, No. 89), CJ Gunn (three-star SG, No. 174).
BACK: Trayce Jackson-Davis, Xavier Johnson, Jordan Geronimo, Race Thompson, Tamar Bates, Trey Galloway, Miller Kopp, Anthony Leal,
OUTLOOK: Indiana will enter the season as the Big Ten favorite.
The Hoosiers return eight of their top 11 rotation players, including its top three scorers in Race Thompson, Xavier Johnson and, most importantly, Trayce Jackson-Davis, who will likely split votes with Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson for preseason player of the year. The Hoosiers produced a top-25 defense last season with essentially the same roster. And they’ve added a top-10 recruiting class led by top-100 prospects Jalen-Hood Schifino (No. 23), Malik Reneau (No. 29) and Kaleb Banks (No. 89).
The biggest question in Bloomington is spacing. Coach Mike Woodson liked playing Jackson-Davis and Thompson together last season, and IU shot 32.7% from 3-point range around that combo. That was with Parker Stewart, a 39.3% shooter who transferred to UT-Martin this offseason. Johnson (38.3%) and Miller Kopp (36.1%) were the only other Hoosiers to crack 32%.
IU boasts the best combination of talent and experience in the conference. But it needs improved shooting to maximize that potential.
OUT: Pete Nance (transfer — North Carolina), Ryan Young (transfer — Duke), Ryan Greer (grad), Elyjah Williams (grad), Casey Simmons (transfer — Yale)
IN: Tydus Verhoeven (transfer — UTEP), Luke Hunger (three-star PF), Nick Martinelli (three-star forward), Blake Smith (unrated guard from Blue Pell, Pa.)
BACK: Boo Buie, Chase Audige, Ty Berry, Robbie Beran, Julian Roper II, Brooks Barnhizer, Matthew Nicholson, Roy Dixon,
OUTLOOK: Good news: Wildcats coach Chris Collins returns five of his top eight players from last season. Bad: His best one, Pete Nance, transferred to North Carolina. And Ryan Young, a natural Nance replacement, left for Duke.
That leaves a lot of production for top returners Boo Buie, Chase Audige and Ty Berry to account for. Tyus Verhoeven, a three-year starter at UTEP who averaged 6.6 points per game last year, was Northwestern’s lone portal add. And freshmen Luke Hunger, Nick Martinelli and Blake Smith compose a small recruiting class.
After five straight losing seasons Collins is betting on internal improvement. Buie and Audige can create. Berry and Robbie Berran are quality rotation players. Julian Roper II played a role as a freshman and should be better as a sophomore.
Still, losing Nance and Young will be hard to overcome. Their new homes prove how good they were. And with three years left on the extension Collins signed after guiding NW to the NCAA Tournament, he needs to show progress.
OUT: Fatts Russell (grad), Eric Ayala (grad), Qudus Wahab (transfer — Georgetown), Xavier Green (grad), Simon Wright (grad), Marcus Dockery (transfer — Howard)
IN: Donald Carey (transfer — Georgetown), Jahmir Young (transfer — Charlotte), Patrick Emilien (transfer — St. Francis), Jahari Long (transfer — Seton Hall), Ike Cornish (four-star guard — No. 77) Noah Batchelor (three-star SF), Caelum Swanton-Rodger (Canada, freshman)
BACK: Donta Scott, Julian Reese, Ian Martinez, Hakim Hart, Pavlo Dziuba, Arnaud Revaz
OUTLOOK: New coach alert. Kevin Willard, whose Seton Hall teams took pride in defense and rebounding, will fit nicely in the Big Ten.
He also retained promising front-court players despite the coaching change. Donta Scott averaged 12.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game last season. And former four-star prospect Julian Reese showed flashes of athleticism and a promising face-up game as a freshman.
The Terrapins return starter Hakim Hart and bench spark plug Ian Martinez, too — Martinez is a former top-60 recruit. And Willard added transfers Donald Carey (Georgetown), Jahari Long (Seton Hall) and Jahmir Young (Charlotte) to the mix.
Carey scored 13.5 points per game in the Big East last season. Young tallied 19.6 per game at Charlotte, and Long is a former three-star recruit.
Willard needed five seasons to turn Seton Hall into a consistent winner. Retools are harder in the Big Ten, but Willard’s new backyard is filled with prep talent. If the Terps show promise early during his tenure, he’ll attract talent.
OUT: Sam Sessoms (grad), John Harrar (grad), Greg Lee (grad), Jaheam Cornwall (grad), Jalanni White (grad), Jevonnie Scott (left program)
IN: Michael Henn (transfer — Denver), Camryn Wynter (transfer — Drexel), Andre Funk (transfer — Bucknell), Kebba Nije (four-star center), Jameel Brown (three-star guard), Kanye Ciary (tjree-star point guard), Evan Mahaffey (three-star forward), Demetrius Liley (three-star center)
BACK: Jalen Pickett, Seth Lundy, Myles Dread, Dallion Johnson, Caleb Dorsey
OUTLOOK: Coach Micah Shrewsberry begins Year 2 armed with six seniors and the program’s highest-rated recruiting class since 2016. That’s a start.
Seniors Jalen Pickett (13.3 ppg) and Seth Lundy (11.9 ppg) led the team in scoring last season. And super senior Myles Dread, who spent his summer recovering from shoulder surgery, is a good defender who shot 40.3% from 3-point range last season.
Denver transfer Michael Henn, a seventh-year senior, brings more valuable experience (and a 35.5% 3-point shooting stroke) to Happy Valley. Camryn Winter averaged double figures in all four seasons at Drexel, and grad transfer Andre Funk scored 17.6 per game at Bucknell last season.
Add four-star center Kebba Nije, the second-highest-rated recruit in school history and replacement for John Harrar, and Penn State fans have reason for (tepid) optimism.
The Nittany Lions established themselves as a physical, defense-focused team in Shrewsberry’s first season. His goals for the second: maintain that identity and groom the Lions’ newfound talent.
OUT: Bryce McGowens (draft), Trey McGowens (draft), Lat Mayen (grad), Kobe Webster (grad), Alonzo Verge (grad), Eduardo Andre (transfer — Fresno State), Keon Edwards (transfer — Milwaukee), Trevor Lakes (transfer — Southern Indiana)
IN: Sam Griesel (transfer — North Dakota State) Emmanuel Bandoumel (transfer — SMU), Juwan Gary (transfer — Alabama), Ramel Lloyd (four-star guard), Jamarques Lawrence (star-star guard, Blaise Keita (No. 1 juco center)
BACK: C.J. Wilcher, Derrick Walker, Keisei Tominaga, Wilhelm Breidenbach, Quaran McPherson (out for 2022-23 season), Oleg Kojenets, Denim Dawson.
OUTLOOK: Fred Hoiberg’s fourth Nebraska team is built to wear the Big Ten’s bruises. North Dakota State transfer Sam Griesel (6-foot-6), SMU transfer Emmanuel Bandoumel (6-foot-4) and four-star freshman Ramel Lloyd Jr. (6-foot-6) add size to the backcourt, and junior college big man Blaise Keita and Alabama transfer Juwan Gary play with a mean streak.
The Huskers lose leading scorers Bryce McGowens and Alonzo Verge, however, and while NU won’t always miss their shot selection, it will miss their shot creation. Verge and McGowens could create scoring chances out of nothing. This year’s Huskers might need more help from their coach.
But that’s Hoiberg’s specialty, and the 2022-23 Huskers should play the best defense of his tenure. The chemistry should be improved, too.
How many wins is that worth? To be determined. But NU should at least be more competitive this season.
OUT: Payton Willis (grad), Eric Curry (grad), Eylijah Stephens (grad), Sean Sutherlin (grad), Luke Loewe (grad), Charlie Daniels (grad), Danny Ogele (grad) Abdoulaye Thiam (still in portal)
IN: Dawson Garcia (transfer — North Carolina), Ta’Lon Cooper (transfer — Morehead State), Taurus Samuels (transfer — Dartmouth), Kadyn Betts (four-star SF) Pharrel Payne (three-star PF), JAden Henley (three-star SF), Josh Ola-Joseph (three-star PF), Braeden Carrington (three-star SG)
BACK: Jamison Battle, Treyton Thompson, Will Ramberg, Isaiah Ihnen, Jackson Purcell, Parker Fox
OUTLOOK: Second-year coach Ben Johnson went back to the portal to replenish his roster around top scorer Jamison Battle (17.6 points per game). He found North Carolina transfer Dawson Garcia, Morehead State transfer Ta’Lon Cooper and Dartmouth transfer Taurus Samuels
Garcia, enrolling at his third school in as many seasons, averaged 11.5 points and 6.2 rebounds during one year apiece at Marquette and UNC. He shot 36.2% from 3, too. Cooper led the Ohio Valley Conference with 5.9 assists per game last season, and Samuels scored 9.4 points per game at Dartmouth while committing just 19 turnovers all season.
Johnson also bolstered Minnesota’s youth by adding five true freshmen this offseason. Pueblo, Co. product Kadyn Betts, rated as a four-star prospect by On3, reclassified so he could join the program early.
The Gophers are still a long way from contending, but nabbing Garcia from the portal and Betts on the recruiting trail are promising early wins for Johnson. Next step: improve on the 4-16 Big Ten record from a year ago, and carry that momentum back onto the recruiting trail
Notables: A win over No. 23 Ohio State snapped a 24-game losing streak to ranked teams and gave Hoiberg his first win over a Top 25 opponent, season ended with first-round loss to Northwestern at the Big Ten tournament
Notables: Season ended with first-round loss to Penn State in the Big Ten tournament
Notables: Hoiberg's first season as Huskers' coach, Cam Mack records first triple-double in Nebraska men's basketball history, season ended with first-round loss to Indiana in the Big Ten tournament, COVID-19 caused cancellation of postseason tournaments
NBA draft: Isaiah Roby, 2nd round (No. 45 overall)
Notables: Miles' final season as Huskers coach, reached quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament, season ended with loss to TCU in the second round of the NIT
Notables: Season ended with first-round NIT loss to Mississippi State
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