NCAA Basketball Recruiting: Players in 2014 Class Set to Replace Current Stars
As members of the recruiting class of 2014 decide where they will go to college a year from now, we can already anticipate how they will fit into their future programs.
Many of the top recruits will be counted on to immediately fill the void for a departing star player.
While that might sound like a daunting test to some, these players are looking forward to stepping in and making their own impact on college hoops.
Here are some of the top recruits who will replace this year’s collegiate stars.
Joe Burton Will Replace Oklahoma State's Markel Brown
Oklahoma State’s Markel Brown is an exceptional open court player who possesses so many weapons by which he can hurt you.
As he runs the floor, Brown is a fantastic finisher, ready to thrown down a SportsCenter highlight dunk.
He is also more than capable of knocking down mid- and long-range jumpers.
Because of his outstanding bounce, Brown can play either of the perimeter positions as well. This will be on display in his senior season in Stillwater.
Incoming small forward Joe Burton should step right in, however, and fill that void.
Burton will give the Cowboys more size (6’6”) on the wing.
He, like Brown, is a versatile scorer who can get hot and score points in bunches.
Lourawls Nairn Will Replace Michigan State's Keith Appling
Michigan State’s point guard Keith Appling combines an excellent ability to score the ball with solid playmaking.
In the 2012-13 season, he was the Spartans' leading scorer (13.6 PPG) and assists leader (3.5 APG).
As he returns for his senior season, Appling should be ready to lead this MSU squad in an outstanding Big Ten season and a deep run in the 2014 NCAA tournament.
After he leaves, Lourawls Nairn should be up to the challenge of running the show in East Lansing.
Nairn is a compact (5’10” 170 lbs) floor leader who makes everyone better around him.
He is lightning-fast with the ball and has great floor vision.
Give Nairn some time, and Spartan fans may compare him with former MSU great Mateen Cleaves.
Tyler Ulis Will Replace Kentucky's Andrew Harrison
One big reason why Kentucky is considered the favorite to win it all is it will have Andrew Harrison running the point in the 2013-14 season.
He enters his freshman year at Kentucky as one of the top point guards in the country.
Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy ranks him No. 2 behind Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart.
With Harrison’s size (6’6”, 215 lbs) and pass-first approach, he will help the Cats take full advantage of the ridiculous talent on this year’s roster.
If all goes as planned, Harrison, along with several other UK players, will enter the 2014 NBA draft.
Ulis (5’9", 150 lbs) is a great decision-maker and an excellent distributor.
He will bring a completely different vibe to the Wildcats backcourt, using his mercurial quickness and killer crossover to break down Kentucky’s challengers.
Craig Victor Will Replace Arizona's Aaron Gordon
Arizona’s Aaron Gordon brings an insane level of athleticism and energy to the Wildcats roster.
Gordon has dominated everything (such as the McDonald’s All-American game and FIBA U19 World Championship in Prague) he has participated in over recent months.
At 6’9", 225 lbs, Gordon will be an exceptional troublemaker at both ends of the court.
If he successfully transitions to play small forward, U of A could be unrivaled on the perimeter.
But, Gordon is most likely going to only spend one year in Tucson before entering the 2014 NBA draft.
When he does, Findlay Prep’s Craig Victor will be ready to rock for the Wildcats come the 2014-15 season.
Victor may not have the incomparable hops and agility that Gordon has. He will, however, bring a more polished offensive skill set and will not be outworked by anyone.
Chris McCullough Will Replace Syracuse's C.J. Fair
When Syracuse forward C.J. Fair decided to return for his senior season, a collective sigh of relief could be heard around campus.
With Fair in the Orange’s 2013-14 lineup, head coach Jim Boeheim’s squad will challenge for the ACC title in its first year in the conference.
Fair was the Cuse’s leading scorer (14.4 PPG) and rebounder (7.1 RPG) a year ago. With some extra attention to rebounding, he has a good shot at becoming a double-double guy in his final collegiate season.
After Fair leaves, Chris McCullough could be the next go-to guy on Syracuse’s frontline.
McCullough has great size (6’10”, 220 lbs), an impressive motor and excellent bounce.
While his offensive game will continue to improve, McCullough is D-1 ready in terms of rebounding and shot-blocking.
Karl Towns, Jr. Will Replace Kentucky's Julius Randle
Keep an eye on Kentucky’s Julius Randle this year.
He has a unique combination of size (6’9”, 250 lbs) and skill that will cause distressful nightmares for opposing coaches and players before they face the Wildcats this upcoming season.
Randle will be trouble to contend with for even the best power forwards in college hoops.
He is capable of scoring at will in either the post or when he faces up.
Randle will stand out even on a team as talented as this year’s UK squad.
However, like so many of the Wildcats stars, Randle will only be in Lexington for a year.
That’s why it is huge that Kentucky head coach keeps reeling in the best of the best high school players.
Following the likes of Anthony Davis and Randle might be intimidating to some incoming players.
Do not expect Karl Towns, Jr to be overwhelmed when he arrives on campus next year.
He will be the next great Kentucky frontcourt phenom.
Towns has the size of an NBA center (7’1”, 235 lbs) and the perimeter skills of a small forward.
Towns’ versatility is rare and will make him every bit of a problem for Wildcats’ opponents in 2014.
Kelly Oubre Will Replace Kansas' Andrew Wiggins
Even at a school like Kansas, players like Andrew Wiggins do not come around very often.
Wiggins has already been named CBSSports.com 2013-14 Preseason Player of the Year.
Not too shabby for a guy who has yet to play his first game at this level.
Wiggins is a multi-talented stud who can get it done in so many ways.
His one year in Lawrence will be an exciting one!
How would you like to be the player, a year from now, who has to fill Wiggins’ ridiculously large shoes on the Jayhawks’ roster?
That challenge/opportunity will fall to Findlay Prep’s Kelly Oubre.
Oubre is a fantastic outside shooter with range beyond the arc.
He has all the tools to be a dynamic wing scorer and could become a lethal on-ball defender.
While way too many comparisons with Wiggins will be made, do not be surprised when Oubre carves out his own spot in KU basketball early on in his time on campus.