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Texas basketball 2020-21: Not even Shaka can fuck this up...right?

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also, improving year on year for five straight years where you reach a pinnacle of a 73% win% is a scathing indictment on Shaka as a coach. imagine hearing this when we hired him:

"you're going to look up in 2021 and see that Shaka has just finished his fifth consecutive season with a higher winning % than the season before." 

"Holy shit, what are we, like 30-4? 32-2? are we UNDEFEATED?!?!?!"

"19-7, and back in the tourney for the first time in three years."



Edited by shadow_operative
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I think we can all agree that if he improves on the success this year with an even better year next year, that will be a major accomplishment.

Once again, I’m much more optimistic about next year than Derka. We will very likely be starting 3 senior guards, plus 3 more juniors getting big minutes. That is a ton of returning experience for college hoops. We have had good success getting value out of young bigs, so maybe that will continue.

Who knows what we will pick up from the transfer portal or who decides to take advantage of the free 5th year.

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Alright I caved and went with the pizza. So here's to you, nameless Indianapolis pizza hut employee: may your pizza making skills take you to the heavens and beyond. 

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the more i think about it, the less sense it makes for AJ to return next year. i can't imagine AJ, with everything he and his family been through (including things which precede his cancer), wanting to be a 24 year old amateur basketball player who plays for free on a really bad team. if i were advising AJ I would absolutely have him playing in the G League or overseas next year. i would absolutely advise him to go pro. so just for shits and grins, let's see what that looks like:


Starting five:

Courtney Ramey

Tamar Bates 

Donovan Williams

Kamaka Hepa/David Joplin

Brock Cunningham 




Emarion Ellis

Keeyan Itejere


thats it. that's our team next year if AJ leaves. even if he returns we will need to add a grad transfer (or three), and in light of all this it seems to be extremely poor roster management on Shaka's part letting Baker and Liddell go. i'm sorry, but i cannot see any way that we aren't absolutely dreadful next year with that roster and this coach. 


edit: the fact that Gerald Liddell and Will Baker would be automatic starters next year says it all. the fact that Shaka let them transfer in spite of this also says it all. 

Edited by shadow_operative
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9 minutes ago, MotownHorn said:

I feel bad for any dead horses Derka ever comes across.

what is the point of this, or any of your posts? i'm in here responding to what people are posting, and you're in here posting about me, as usual. if you were banned from talking about me and/or Rick Barnes i'm not sure you'd ever even post here. you're a child. 

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Derka, what you posted is pretty much a worst case scenario for Texas next year and it is still vastly better than the 2017 squad with Tevin Mack and Shaq Cleare as the upper class “leaders”. Losing Taylor and Barnett killed that year.

I can’t really disagree regarding Andrew Jones on whether he should come back. But I think he will. And as I’ve said before, I also think Febres will come back and would have redshirted this year if it was necessary.

Losing Will Baker hurts a little, but he would have been a liability on this year’s squad. Let’s not forget he shot 27% last year. As a 7 footer. And the only way to keep him happy would have been to take away minutes from Sims, K Jones or G Brown. Also not sure who I would want Liddell taking minutes from this year either, but I absolutely wouldn’t want him getting the 18 mpg he got as a soph (while shooting 40% FG and 48% FT).

I think Hepa will surprise some people next year. He isn’t getting many minutes this year but his efficiency is much better and his per 40 stats are all up a lot. He will get a lot of time next year and another year of maturation will do him some good. Maybe we will see a Jason Klotz / Clint Chapman type senior year out of him.

I would love to see Royce Hamm back for another year. It seems unlikely, but he would help the team so much. Of course he is averaging 11+ fouls per 4 min, so even if he came back I’m not sure we could count on him for more than 15 mph.

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Shaka posted a Happy Birthday post to Hamm on IG and Hamm neither liked nor commented on it. That in and of itself wouldn't mean much, but combined with other recent events, it is clear that Hamm is not a fan of Shaka Smart, and i cant say that I blame him. Beyond Hamm saving Shaka's job and then getting benched, i've been told first hand from some of the Barnes/Shaka players about the head games that Shaka plays with guys who aren't "his guys", and i obviously suspect that this is also going on with Hamm. i cant see him returning. 

Also, as I said about Jase, while i would definitely like for him to return, he and his family's participation in Senior Night leads me to believe that he's going to move on as well.

That said, I, like you, think that Hepa has more skills and talent than what he's been able to show tot his point. However, where we differ is that I don't have any belief in Shaka Smart to develop those talents and skills, and i remained flummoxed to this day as to why Shaka straight up refuses to play so many of his players who could either help time now or later become starters for him. Hamm, Donovan, Liddell, Yancy, Barnett, Ibeh, Holland, and so on. Hepa should have already been getting minutes and carving out a role for himself, but that's not Shaka's MO. I can't imagine Hepa suddenly being ready to play 25+ mpg in the Big XII after having played so sparsely thus far. 

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I haven’t had much of a problem with Shaka’s rotations this year. For the most part, the games in the Big 12 have been very close. A few extra minutes for Hepa or Liddell could mean the difference between winning and losing.

At least with Hepa, he seems to have a great attitude through it all. He is always on the bench cheering for guys and encouraging. And when he actually got minutes against K-State he responded with 15 pts on good efficiency.

I think we disagree on Shaka’s development of players. Sims, Coleman, Ramey have shown steady improvement in their time here. Kai Jones has improved. Even Andrew Jones has developed well if you factor in his health issues.

I’m expecting some good growth from Brock and Hepa.

Anyway there will be plenty of time to discuss it all a month from now.

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No blaming the kids. They didn't play well, but they aren't being put in a position to excel.

They would argue (and have argued) otherwise, of course, but Shaka's the only college coach they've ever known. For those fortunate enough to move on to the next level, be it Stateside or overseas, hindsight will be 20/20 and they'll learn what they missed out on during their time in Austin.

It's a shame, because this year's roster was absolutely loaded.

Here's hoping the problem gets fixed ... inmediatamente.

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Some of y'all need to step up and give Derka a mea culpa.

True, he beats a dead horse into a mushy red pulp, and his obsession with the Tennessee Volunteers is ... odd ... but he's been more right about Shaka and the current and future state of Longhorns hoops than many here.

Y'all know who you are.

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Answer to the title is yes.

Like I alluded to months ago, the small mercy is that we don't give a stupid extension because of one top-10 regular season finish (post-conference tournaments, if we're being precise). Of course, not making a move would be stupid in its own way, but at least it wouldn't tie us up for multiple years.

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4 minutes ago, Machinator said:

Answer to the title is yes.

Like I alluded to months ago, the small mercy is that we don't give a stupid extension because of one top-10 regular season finish (post-conference tournaments, if we're being precise). Of course, not making a move would be stupid in its own way, but at least it wouldn't tie us up for multiple years.

As much as I disbelieve in Shaka, I would've been thrilled if a miracle happened and the team made a run to the Final Four. An unfortunately myopic extension would be sure to follow, but it would've been worth it.

We're not basketball royalty. Deep tournament runs are rare and special things. Memories of T.J. Ford and 2003 remain vivid, and it would've been nice to complement them with a new set.

But, alas, Shaka gon' Shaka.

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11 minutes ago, Machinator said:

Answer to the title is yes.

Like I alluded to months ago, the small mercy is that we don't give a stupid extension because of one top-10 regular season finish (post-conference tournaments, if we're being precise). Of course, not making a move would be stupid in its own way, but at least it wouldn't tie us up for multiple years.

The big 12 championship ending and talent set the precipice a whole lot higher this year.  Same result with different players really pins the disappointment to a central figure. Glad there wasn’t an extension. Shaka lost pitching to a suitor too along with coaching at a lateral program— going to have to rebuild again elsewhere. How can recruits even buy into his shtick at Texas now?

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1 minute ago, Braff Zacklin said:

As much as I disbelieve in Shaka, I would've been thrilled if a miracle happened and the team made a run to the Final Four. An unfortunately myopic extension would be sure to follow, but it would've been worth it.

We're not basketball royalty. Deep tournament runs are rare and special things. Memories of T.J. Ford and 2003 remain vivid, and it would've been nice to complement them with a new set.

But, alas, Shaka gon' Shaka.

The problem is that I suspect the threshold for a substantiative extension would have been a lot lower with our admin and relatively uncaring fanbase. We have a better chance of escaping purgatory.

Obviously I would take the Final Four run over this scenario.

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How can anybody look at our returning "talent" and think "yeah, we got this"?

We are going to SUCK next year.  We could fire Shaka, hire Self or Izzo or K or Roy and it wouldn't hardly matter.  We are going to SUCK SUCK SUCK.

With Shaka, we'll just suck more.

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4 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

With Shaka, we'll just suck more.

Couldn't you say that about any year when comparing Shaka to another coach?

The best we can hope for with Shakass is to occasionally make The Final 64.  

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16 minutes ago, Machinator said:

The players deserved better. Fire Shaka.


Unprecedented for sure, Shaka:

-6 years with zero NCAA wins

-#3 losing to a #11 team shooting 29% against previously the worst team in D1.

Most people prefer  positive precedents to highlight, but this is what millionaire loser coaches do.....lots of rationalizing.

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Will need to get acquainted with some of these names 

College basketball player tracker: Ranking the 35 best available transfers and high school recruits

By Brian Bennett and Sam Vecenie



Maybe your team had a bad season in 2020-21. Or maybe it enjoyed success but will lose several key players as a result. Either way, there’s good news: It has never been easier, or at least faster, to restock the roster with talent.

Hundreds of players are already in the transfer portal, and that number will probably keep rising over the next few months. The NCAA is still expected to approve the one-time transfer waiver, meaning a player who hasn’t already transferred will be immediately eligible at his new school. There has never been more freedom of movement in college basketball. Of course, some top high school players remain on the market as well.

The hard part is keeping up with all of this. That’s why The Athletic has created our top 35 best available players tracker. We’re ranking the top uncommitted transfers and prep prospects, and we’ll constantly update this list as chess pieces come on and off the board. Note we are not including high school players we don’t expect to see in a college uniform, such as five-stars Jaden Hardy and Michael Foster. Recruits who could potentially reclassify into the Class of 2021 won’t be included until they announce such plans. We’ll change as those situations warrant. College players here are listed by the class in which they’ll participate in the 2021-22 season.

Without further ado …

1. Chet Holmgren, 7-foot big/wing, Minnehaha Academy, Minneapolis 

With all the proven, experienced players available, we lead off with a high schooler? Yeah, because he’s not just any high schooler. Holmgren might be the top prep player in the country regardless of class. (He ranked No. 2 in our most recent edition of The Athletic 40, and that might have been too low.) A 7-footer with a guard’s skills, a 3-point touch and elite shot-blocking ability, he’s a unicorn who could quickly change any team’s fortunes. His recruitment has been hard to read, but Gonzaga and Ohio State have been among the teams most frequently linked to Holmgren.

2. Patrick Baldwin Jr., 6-9 wing/forward, Hamilton High, Sussex, Wis.

Baldwin is one of the best teenage shooting prospects to come around in a long time. His game is smooth and polished, which is why he has been consistently ranked as a top-five player in the class since he was a sophomore. His feel for the game is superb, and at this size he can play on the wing or in the frontcourt. He’s going to average a ton of points and knock down a crazy number of shots because he has such an easy, well-balanced release. He’s a likely lottery pick. His father is the coach at Milwaukee, which is seen as the favorite. But Duke is also in the mix.

3. Hunter Sallis, 6-5 combo guard, Millard North High, Omaha, Neb.

At 6-5 with the ability to play either guard spot, Hallis is an explosive finisher, a shot-maker and a deft passer. He has drawn comparisons to Tyrese Halliburton because of his all-around skill set. He needs to add strength and certainly hasn’t faced the same competition as others on this list. But given the direction the game is headed, his skill set is in high demand. Gonzaga appears to be the leader for his services, and if the Zags land both him and Holmgren, look out.

4. Marcus Carr, 6-2 guard, senior, Minnesota

Transfer portal watchers jump out of their seats when they see a name such as Carr pop up. He is the premier lead guard transfer on the market, a point guard who has already made the All-Big Ten team and was on the 20-name late-season watch list for the Wooden Award. He is a superb playmaker who can get his own shot and create for his teammates. He was top 10 in the country in assists per game last year at 6.5, then this year upped his scoring to 19.4 points per game as Minnesota needed a lead scoring threat. He’s a clutch shot-maker and a tough-nosed point guard who would make just about any team better. Carr plans to enter the NBA Draft without an agent and use the transfer market as a backup plan.

Kessler is a former five-star prospect. (Bob Donnan / USA Today)
5. Walker Kessler, 7-1 center, sophomore, North Carolina

The former five-star recruit surprised a lot of people when he decided to join a crowded frontcourt in Chapel Hill. Perhaps then it shouldn’t be a big surprise he’s leaving after one year of limited playing time. Kessler averaged just 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds with the Tar Heels but showed off his skills late in the season, especially with 20 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in 24 minutes during a comeback win over Florida State. He’ll play more than 8.8 minutes per game at his next stop, and his production could soar.

6. TyTy Washington, 6-3 point guard, Compass Prep, Chandler, Ariz.

Washington decommitted from Creighton earlier this month and has drawn interest from Kansas, Arizona, Oregon and UCLA, among others. He has improved his stock considerably since the summer with his fearlessness in traffic, playmaking and finishing skills. He should be a good defender with his size and mentality. Compass Prep was ranked as the No. 1 high school team in the country this year, largely on the back of Washington running the show. The only question is his range on the perimeter shot, but he should be a multi-year collegiate starter if he lasts in college that long.

7. Tre Mitchell, 6-9 big, junior, UMass

Mitchell was supposed to be the recruit who put the Minutemen back on the map, and he certainly did his part. He was the Atlantic 10 rookie of the year in 2020, and he put up these eye-popping numbers as a sophomore: 18.8 points, 7.2 assists, 1.5 blocks, 1.2 steals and 37.5 percent 3-point accuracy. He added the 3-point ball to his repertoire, but mostly he’s an ambidextrous finisher around the basket who excels on the block. Has the upside of an all-league high-major player.

8. Earl Timberlake, 6-6 forward, sophomore, Miami (Fla.)

Timberlake was seen as a potential one-and-done entering his freshman season at Miami following a standout career at Maryland powerhouse DeMatha. However, he never looked right physically as he struggled through an ankle injury to start the year, then a shoulder injury ended his season after only seven games. When he is right, he’s a power lefty wing who is probably best as a four-man in college. He can get his own bucket, finish at the rim, rebound, and defend well. He needs to get the shoulder healthy, though, because he needs a strong offseason working on his jumper after connecting on just 28.6 percent behind the arc at Miami.

9. Trevor Keels, 6-4 combo guard, Paul VI Catholic High, Fairfax, Va.

Keels’ final four — Duke, Kentucky , Villanova and Virginia — reads like an actual Final Four, so that should tell you how valued he is. Strong and long for a guard, he also brings a competitive nature and a good feel for the game. He’s set to announce his college choice on April 4. Villanova looks like the team to beat.

10. Efton Reid, 7-0 center, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.

Reid has been in the range of a four/five-star recruit for a couple of years. Offensively, he has a lot of the skills teams look for out of modern bigs. He can be a stretch big with great hands who shoots from distance, but also posts inside and finishes over both shoulders. His footwork around the basket has a lot of potential too. He also has some potential as a passer on post kick-outs. His size gives him some rim protection skill. Having said that, he’s not a particularly high-level athlete away from the rim, and the team he signs with will need to work with him there. It’s worth noting he is draft-eligible in 2021, but he should probably go to school unless he’s comfortable being a second-round pick. (His upside is beyond that.) A number of schools are involved, including LSU, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Virginia.

11. Justin Powell, 6-6 guard, sophomore, Auburn

Powell was one of the freshman darlings of the early season after breakout performances against Saint Joseph’s, Texas Southern, Memphis, and South Alabama. However, he struggled against Gonzaga, and scored 18 points in his final four games before missing nearly the entire 2021 portion of the calendar because of concussion issues. He’s one of the tougher evaluations for coaches in the transfer portal this spring. Is he a potential difference-making, all-league player? Is he just a floor-spacing starter with solid ball skills? Or is he more the three-star prospect whose recruitment didn’t really heat up until his senior year in high school? Powell is from Prospect, Ky., and Kentucky needs shooters, so Wildcats fans will be watching this one closely.

12. Kellan Grady, 6-4 guard, super senior, Davidson

This is a big one. Long on NBA radars after a breakout freshman season, Grady enters the transfer portal on the back of four straight seasons averaging at least 17 points per game, and three straight All-Atlantic 10 seasons — including a first-team berth in 2021. He’s more off guard than lead, but he’s a smooth shooter who can space the floor and create on his own at just about any level. This is one of the clearest high-major kids in the portal, a starter almost wherever he goes. It wouldn’t be stunning to see him as an all-league guy wherever he ends up, making him a real difference-maker in the portal. He’s also mighty impressive off the court.

Burnett left Lubbock early, but he has real skills. (Michael C. Johnson / USA Today)
13. Nimari Burnett, 6-5 guard, sophomore, Texas Tech

Burnett was the first McDonald’s All-American to sign with Texas Tech, but he lasted all of 12 games in Lubbock and didn’t make much of an impact. He was buried in the rotation and shot just 28 percent from the floor while missing 19 of 23 3-point attempts. The attributes that made him a blue-chipper — powerful frame, good vision — are still there. It’s just going to take another team to unlock it.

14. Charles Bediako, 6-11 center, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.

Bediako and Reid, teammates at IMG, are more of an eye-of-the-beholder situation. If you’re looking for more of an NBA prospect, Bediako is the guy. If you’re looking for more of a polished offensive player who can help you immediately in college, Reid is the guy. Given that this is a college list, we ranked Reid higher, but don’t sleep on Bediako. He’s a terrific defensive prospect due to his mobility and length around the rim. But it’s going to take some time in college. Alabama is seen as the most likely suitor, but Michigan is also in the mix.

15. Tyson Walker, 6-0 guard, junior, Northeastern

Walker was the consummate scoring guard at Northeastern, a threat to put the ball in the bucket every time he touched it. He’s a terrific pull-up shooter, having hit at a 47.9 effective field goal percentage on such shots per Synergy this year on his way to averaging 18.8 points. But he’s much more than that. He’s also a pretty smart passer who was tops in the Colonial Athletic Association this season in assist rate. And he won the CAA Defensive Player of the Year award. Walker is a no-brainer high-major prospect who could easily start at point at a lot of places.

16. Brandin Podziemski, 6-5 wing, St. John’s Northwestern Academies, Delafield, Wis.

Podziemski is the late riser of this recruiting class. He put up video game numbers in Wisconsin, averaging 35 points, 10 rebounds and six assists per game, while shooting 60 percent from the field and well over 40 percent from 3. He’s a monster shooter, but has a ton of feel. He parlayed that performance into Wisconsin Mr. Basketball this year, and has received a lot of offers, including Illinois, Kentucky, Miami, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. Not half bad for a kid who was ranked outside of the national top 250 when his senior year started.

17. Myreon Jones, 6-3 guard, senior, Penn State

Jones ranked third in the Big Ten this season in 3s made per game (2.4) and shot 39.5 percent from deep. He was even better in conference play, connecting on 41 percent on 3s. That alone should make him a hot commodity and a guy new Nittany Lions coach Micah Shrewsberry needs to re-recruit. He also owns 48 Big Ten starts, so whatever team he plays for next season will benefit from his experience and toughness.

18. Wesley Cardet, 6-6 wing, West Oaks Academy, Orlando

Cardet is a Team Breakdown kid with offers from a plethora of high-majors. It’s a who’s who of schools in the South, but it extends beyond that. Possessing a college-ready frame, Cardet is a powerful wing who plays a guard-based perimeter game that can attack with strength and force off the bounce in addition to knocking down shots from 3. He was also known to be an extremely high-level defender in high school. This is the kind of player whom college teams are always hunting for. It’s unclear where he’ll end up, but he should be a priority for a number of schools.

19. Xavier Johnson, 6-3 guard, senior, Pittsburgh

Johnson had a stellar freshman season that put him on the radar of NBA teams, but he hasn’t quite been able to build upon that success over the last two years. He has gotten better as a scorer, possessing better footwork and finishing ability around the rim and improved shooting mechanics. But he’s still not quite trustworthy from distance, and he still makes horrible decisions at times with the ball. Johnson is a tough guard out of the DMV area, and plenty of high-major teams could use a starting guard like him due to his ability to get separation and make plays for both himself and teammates. He averaged more than 14 points and 5.7 assists this year. He’ll be very popular.

20. Bobby Pettiford, 6-1 guard, South Granville School, Durham, N.C.

Pettiford just went back onto the market last week after Louisville fired assistant coach Dino Gaudio. That’s who recruited him, so Pettiford decided to look around. Pettiford is a terrific athlete with real speed and bounce at his size, and he has a nose for the bucket. He’s also a hard-nosed defender who doesn’t give an inch at the point of attack. Don’t be surprised to see schools in the South look at him.

21. Jamison Battle, 6-7 wing, junior, George Washington

Battle is one of the premier shooters on the market. He averaged 17.3 points per game this year, but the team also weirdly iced him out at times and didn’t look his way. At 6-7, he can shoot over the top of defenders. And if you put him on a better team, he’s probably going to get even more clean looks from the corners and wings. There is some concern about his foot speed on defense, but it’s hard to look past Battle as a top option if you’re trying to find a three/four shooter with size. He has said he’s looking to go somewhere where he can win after George Washington struggled to get out of the A-10 basement.

22. Fatts Russell, 5-11 point guard, super senior, Rhode Island

Russell has been pretty much synonymous with Rhode Island since he made key plays as a freshman in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, so it was a bit surprising to see his name in the portal. He was a first-team All-Atlantic 10 and all-defensive team selection in 2020 when he averaged 18.8 points, 4.6 assists and 2.9 steals while shooting a career-best 35.7 percent from deep. His numbers went down this season, but he was still a third-team all-league pick. Russell has played in 119 games with 83 starts; the red flags are that he is a high-usage guy with a shaky shot. His career field goal percentage is just 35.6 percent.

Toney improved as a shooter during his time at Pitt. (Charles LeClaire / USA Today)
23. Au’diese Toney, 6-6 wing, senior, Pittsburgh

High-major programs are lining up to court Toney, who averaged 14.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists while playing 35 minutes a night in the ACC. He also showed improvement on his shot, connecting on 34 percent of his 3s after being under 30 percent in his first two seasons. He was never really featured in the offense and was known as a strong defender. The departure of Toney and Johnson within a 48-hour period dealt a blow to Jeff Capel’s rebuilding efforts.

24. A.J. Bramah, 6-7 forward, junior, Robert Morris

In 2019-20, Bramah was the best player on a Robert Morris team that won the NEC tournament and was set to return to the NCAA Tournament if not for the cancellation of the season. Then in 2020-21, he came back for his sophomore season and averaged 21 points and 10.3 rebounds in a tougher conference after the Colonials moved up to the Horizon League. He decided to leave in February, though, and looks like he’ll be looking more at the high mid-major level this year, as his final three are Nevada, St. Bonaventure and Western Kentucky. He’d star at all three of those places.

25. Seth Lundy, 6-6 wing, junior, Penn State

Solidly built at 220 pounds, Lundy can finish through contact and is aggressive attacking the rim. He averaged 10.1 points and 4.2 rebounds and had a couple of wow performances: 26 points at Ohio State and 31 points and eight boards in a regular-season-ending win at Maryland. If he can unlock an inconsistent outside shot — and his 79 percent career free-throw mark suggests more is possible — he could be a real asset.

26. C.J. Felder, 6-7 wing/forward, junior, Boston College

Felder had a solid two seasons at Boston College, but those around the program believe he has more upside than anyone who has departed with the changeover. Why? At 6-foot-7 with long arms and a strong 225-pound frame, Felder oozes upside and he works really hard. He entered college extremely raw and needed time to develop. He has started hitting some 3s in addition to being a solid cutter, a strong rebounder and a ridiculous shot-blocker for his size. He’s a definite high-major guy if he wants to be, and should develop into a good starter.

27. Jay Heath, 6-3 guard, junior, Boston College

Heath is a walking bucket who has finished in the top 20 of scoring in each of his two seasons in the ACC. He can get to his pull-up with ease and knock down shots from distance while still creating. He could stand to improve as a playmaker for his teammates, though, as he’d be best off playing some point. Originally from Washington D.C., he should expect teams in that area in need of a combo guard to blow up his phone, given his proven high-major scoring prowess.

28. Marvin Johnson, 6-6 wing, super senior, Eastern Illinois

A former junior college player out of Coffeyville CC, Johnson blossomed into a tremendous all-around player at Eastern Illinois over the last two years. He’s a strong driver and playmaker, he defends well and he can score. He averaged nearly 15 points, five rebounds and five assists on his way to first-team All-OVC honors. Arkansas is recruiting him, but he might end up more in the high-mid-major realm. The key for Johnson will be showing he can consistently knock down shots to open up the floor.

29. Tyler Kolek, 6-3 guard, sophomore, George Mason

Kolek won the Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year award after averaging 11 points and shooting 36 percent from 3 on high volume. A former New England Preparatory Scholastic Athletic Council player of the year, this smooth-shooting lefty should draw interest from some of the New England schools to come home.

30. Phlandrous Fleming, 6-4 guard, super senior, Charleston Southern

This one is all about toughness and experience. Fleming is an undersized wing who has been remarkably productive on bad Charleston Southern teams the last two years. This year he averaged 20.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 steals. He’s tough and physical, capable of pulling up from distance as well as driving with power to the rim. Additionally, Fleming is a two-time Big South Defensive Player of the Year, using that strength and quickness to hound opponents. He’s probably more of a role player offensively at the high-major level, but his defensive prowess gives him a real chance to be an impact starter in the right spot.

Durham can play a role for a high-major team. (Aaron Doster / USA Today)
31. Al Durham Jr., 6-4 guard, super senior, Indiana

This is a pure 3-and-D threat if he stays at the high-major level. A three-year starter at Indiana, Durham has a proven track record that he can knock down shots and do so while playing well within a strong team concept. He seems to go about things the right way. He’s best off-ball, but he can also play at the two as a secondary playmaker next to a lead guard. You don’t want him driving to the rim, but he makes good decisions, defends well within the scheme and hits shots. It’s easy to find a fit for those guys.

32. Austin Butler, 6-6 wing, super senior, Holy Cross

As one of the authors here is from Pittsburgh, we have a soft spot in our heart for the Latrobe-born Butler. The 6-6 wing morphed into a monster wing this year for Holy Cross, dropping 16 points and grabbing nine rebounds per game while shooting an absurd 45.8 percent from 3. I’d be fascinated to see him at the high-major level, as I think his mix of shooting and toughness could help someone as a role player.

33. David Collins, 6-4 guard, super senior, South Florida

Collins started 96 games in four years for the Bulls and averaged double digits in scoring every season. He never really made the leap to superstar after scoring 15.7 points, 3.1 assists and 2.1 steals as a sophomore, and his shooting stroke has come and gone. But he has been a rock-solid starter in the AAC for a long time, and a lot of teams could use somebody like that.

34. Greg Parham, 6-4 guard, super senior, VMI

Teams looking for a bucket-getter would be wise to call (or Zoom with) Parham. He finished third in the Southern Conference in scoring (18.4 points per game) and led the league in 3-point percentage (43.5, which was the eighth-best in the country). He wasn’t just a gunner either, as he chipped in four assists per game. He did enjoy a high-usage rate, but at his size he should be able to get his shot off at the high-major level, if he chooses to go that route.

35. John Harrar, 6-9 forward, super senior, Penn State

There’s no secret what Harrar brings to the table. He’s a banger and a rebounder, especially on the offensive glass where his 16.1 rate ranked top 10 in the country. The 240-pounder averaged 8.8 rebounds in the Big Ten this season and had 17-point showings against Wisconsin and Michigan State. As a frontcourt depth piece, he’s extremely attractive. Don’t be surprised if he stays in the Big Ten, where his skill set would come in particularly handy.


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