Michigan State

Cassius Winston of Michigan State.

Last week I had to turn in my ballot for the Associated Press Top 25 men's basketball preseason poll. The AP will announce the preseason Top 25 on Monday, so let's break down my preseason ballot.

1. Michigan State tops my ballot. The Spartans return Cassius Winston (18.8 ppg), Aaron Henry (6.1 ppg) and Xavier Tillman (10 ppg) from a Final Four team, as well as Joshua Langford (15 ppg), who was sidelined most of last season.

2. Kentucky returns Ashton Hagans (7.7 ppg), Nick Richards (4 ppg) and EJ Montgmery (3.8 ppg) from an Elite Eight team and has added Bucknell grad transfer Nate Sestina and highly touted freshmen Tyrese Maxey, Kahlil Whitney and Keion Brooks.

3. Louisville returns Jordan Nwora (17 ppg), Steven Enoch (9.4 ppg), Dwayne Sutton (10 ppg) and Malik Williams (7.7 ppg) from an NCAA Tournament team and has added St. Joe's grad transfer Lamarr Kimble and highly touted freshman Samuell Williamson.

4. Florida returns Andrew Nembhard (8 ppg), Noah Locke (9.4 ppg) and Keyontae Johnson (8.1 ppg) from a team that lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament and has added Virginia Tech grad transfer Kerry Blackshear and highly touted freshmen Scottie Lewis and Tre Mann.

5. Kansas returns Devon Dotson (12.3 ppg) and Udoka Azubuike (13.4 ppg) from a team that lost in the second round of the NCAAs, plus brings back Silvio De Souza, who had to sit out last season. Kansas has also added Iowa grad transfer Isaiah Moss. 

6. UVa returns Mamadi Diakite (7.4 ppg), Kihei Clark (4.5 ppg) and Braxton Key (5.7 ppg) from the NCAA championship team and has added JUCO transfer Tomas Woldetensae.

7. Duke returns Tre Jones (9.4 ppg) from an Elite Eight team and has added highly touted freshmen Vernon Carey, Matthew Hurt and Wendell Moore.

8. Maryland returns Anthony Cowan (15.6 ppg), Eric Ayala (8.6 ppg), Jalen Smith (11.7 ppg) and Darryl Morsell (8.5 ppg) from a team that lost in the second round of the NCAAs.

9. Gonzaga returns Corey Kispert (8.0 ppg) and Filip Petrusev (6.5 ppg) from an Elite Eight team, as well as Killian Tillie (6.2 ppg), who was sidelined most of last season. The Zags addded grad transfers Admon Gilder from Texas A&M and Ryan Woolridge from North Texas.

10. North Carolina returns Garrison Brooks (7.9 ppg) from a Sweet 16 team and has added highly touted freshmen Cole Anthony and Armando Bacot and grad transfers Christian Keeling from Charleston Southern and Justin Pierce from William and Mary.

11. Seton Hall returns Myles Powell (23.1 ppg), Myles Cale (10.2 ppg), Sandro Mamukelashvili (8.9 ppg) and Quincy McKnight (9.4 ppg) from an NCAA Tournament team and has gained the services of FSU transfer Ike Obiagu.

12. Villanova returns Collin Gillespie (10.9 ppg), Jermaine Samuels (6.4 ppg) and Saddiq Bey (8.2 ppg) from a team that lost in the second round of the NCAAAs and has added highly touted freshmen Bryan Antoine and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.

13. Memphis returns Tyler Harris (10.8 ppg) from an NIT team and has added highly touted freshmen James Wiseman and Precious Achiuwa. Memphis also gains the services of Louisville transfer James Thomas.

14. Baylor returns Mark Vital (7.2 ppg), Mario Kegler (10.5 ppg) and Jared Butler (10.2 ppg) from a team that lost in the second round of the NCAAs, as well as Tristan Clark (14.6 ppg), who missed much of the season with an injury. Baylor also has gained the services of transfers Davion Mitchell from Auburn and MaCio Teague from UNC Asheville.

15. Oregon returns Payton Pritchard (12.9 ppg) and Francis Okoro (3.1 ppg) from a Sweet 16 team and has added grad transfer Anthony Mathis from New Mexico and JUCO transfer Chris Duarte.

16. Utah State returns Sam Merrill (20.9 ppg), Neemias Queta (11.8 ppg), Brock Miller (8.1 ppg) and Abel Porter (5.5 ppg) from an NCAA Tournament team.

17. Colorado returns Tyler Bey (13.6 ppg), McKinley Wright (13 ppg), Shane Gatling (9.7 ppg), D'Shawn Schwartz (9.2 ppg) and Lucas Siewert (8.9 ppg) from an NIT team.

18. Texas Tech returns Davide Moretti (11.5 ppg) from the NCAA title game team and adds grad transfers Chris Clarke from Virginia Tech and TJ Holyfield from Stephen F. Austin.

19. Saint Mary's returns Jordan Ford (21.1 ppg), Malik Fitts (15.2 ppg), Tanner Krebs (8.9 ppg) and Tommy Kuhse (6.2 ppg) from an NCAA Tournament team and will have the services of Seattle transfer Aaron Menzies.

20. VCU returns Marcus Evans (13.6 ppg), Di'Riante Jenkins (11.3 ppg), Marcus Santos-Silva (10 ppg) and Issac Vann (10.8 ppg) from an NCAA Tournament team.

21. LSU returns Skylar Mays (13.4 ppg), Javonte Smart (11.1 ppg) and Marlon Taylor (6.7 ppg) from a Sweet 16 team and has added highly touted freshman Trendon Watford and JUCO transfer Charles Manning.

22. Ohio State returns Kaleb Wesson (14.6 ppg), Andre Wesson (8.6 ppg) and Luther Muhammad (7.6 ppg) from a team that lost in the second round of the NCAAs and gains the services of FSU transfer C.J. Walker.

23. Xavier returns Naji Marshall (14.7 ppg), Quentin Goodin (11 ppg), Tyrique Jones (11.3 ppg) and Paul Scruggs (12.3 ppg) from an NIT team and has added grad transfer Jason Carter from Ohio U.

24. Liberty returns Caleb Homesely (12.4 pppg), Scottie James (12.6 ppg), Elijah Cuffee (7.6 ppg) and Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz (7.2 ppg) from a team that lost in the second round of the NCAAs.

25. For this last spot, I looked hard at Washington, Purdue, Auburn, Vermont, Harvard, Arizona, Marquette and Houston. But in the end, I decided to put Davidson at No. 25. Davidson returns Kellan Grady (17.3 ppg), Jon Gudmundsson (16.9 ppg), Luke Frampton (10.3 ppg), Luka Brajkovic (11.1 ppg) and KiShawn Pritchett (6.9 ppg) from an NIT team.

I also had to turn in a preseason All-America team. I went with Cassius Winston, Markus Howard, Myles Powell, Jarron Cumberland and Kerry Blackshear.

Contact Mark Berman at mark.berman@roanoke.com or 981-3125. Follow him on Twitter: @BermanRoanoke.

 

Mark Berman covers Virginia Tech men’s basketball and many other teams at the university. He also helps cover other colleges, including Radford, VMI, Roanoke, Washington and Lee and Ferrum.

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