The 5 Biggest College Basketball Rebuilding Projects in 2013-14 Season
Recruiting a large class, getting them time to grow together and then hoping they win big in their senior year is usually a good recipe for success. It's the year after that really tests a coach.
The five teams on this list all made the NCAA tournament in 2013. And out of the 25 starters on these rosters, one starter returns next season.
For three of these teams, the adjustment period could take some time. At the other two, the expectation is to reload and keep winning.
Head Coach Larry Eustachy took over a ready-made roster a year ago with a starting lineup of all seniors.
Former coach Tim Miles had set up 2012-13 as an all-in season and there wasn't much of a plan in place yet for the following season.
The Rams return only two players who were in the rotation—guards Jon Octeus and Daniel Bejarano. They should get some immediate help in the post from former Navy big man J.J. Avila who averaged 15.9 points and 7.2 rebounds as a sophomore.
Eustachy also signed a project JUCO big man and two high school guards.
Jim Larranaga deserves some patience after the season the Hurricanes had last year and he's going to need it. Badly.
Rion Brown is the only player Miami returns who played more than 10 minutes per game last season. Brown averaged 6.4 points in 22.2 minutes.
Next season should serve as a bridge year and a chance for Miami's five freshmen to get some experience. Then the 'Canes might be ready in 2014-15 to make another run at the tournament when Kansas State transfer Angel Rodriguez will be eligible to play.
If Rodriguez applies for a hardship waiver from the NCAA and is allowed to play next season, that would at least give Larranaga two players with experience. Still, it should be viewed as a rebuilding year.
Valparaiso had the most experienced team in the country last season according to KenPom.com.
The Crusaders had six seniors in their rotation, including all five starters. Bryce Drew signed five high school players to replace that class and he has spent the last few years bringing in transfers to make sure his 2013-14 team would not be without experience.
Valpo will have three seniors who should move from the bench and into the starting lineup next season in LaVonte Dority, Bobby Capobianco and Jordan Coleman. All were transfers.
Drew also added Alabama transfer Moussa Gueye. Gueye graduated and will be eligible right away. Finally, Drew added point guard Keith Carter from Saint Louis, who transferred at the end of the fall semester last year. Those five could end up as the starting lineup which would give Valpo four senior starters.
Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo, Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls helped save the Indiana program. Now it's up to the next group to keep it going.
Tom Crean has to replace his four leading scorers and the only major contributors he returns are point guard Yogi Ferrell and sixth man Will Sheehey. Crean also lost their second-leading scorer off the bench Remy Abell, who is transferring to Xavier.
Crean did sign six freshmen, led by power forward Noah Vonleh. For the Hoosiers to be a top 25 team, Vonleh will need to be an impact player right away.
Graduate four starters. Lose the fifth to the NBA. Expectations are a Final Four. Wait, what?
Bill Self might have the most difficult coaching job he's had at Kansas but a lot of coaches would not mind the task of coaching Andrew Wiggins.
The team Self has is similar to his 2005-06 squad that had to replace Wayne Simien, Aaron Miles, Keith Langford, Michael Lee and J.R. Giddens. Until this 2013 class led by Wiggins, the class of Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers, Julian Wright and Micah Downs had been his best.
That team, which had freshmen and sophomores playing most of the minutes, had the luxury of semi-tempered expectations. The Jayhawks started slow—3-4 through seven games—then won the Big 12 regular season, the Big 12 tournament and lost in the opening round of the NCAA tournament to Bradley.
This team has two returning players who should become starters, Perry Ellis and Naadir Tharpe. Other than those two, the Jayhawks will be relying mostly on freshmen and Memphis transfer Tarik Black.
When that class is considered better than the one that helped land Self his first national championship, the expectations should be high.