CBB Teams Getting a Boost in 2019-20 from Players You've Forgotten About
As NBA draft decisions are announced and undecided recruits make their college choices, it's easy to overlook talented players who are still in college yet outside of the spotlight.
But these standouts can have an enormous impact next year.
In most cases, these players spent the 2018-19 season watching from the sideline because of NCAA transfer rules. Others missed the recent campaign due to injury.
While power-conference schools were the primary focus, two other programs have high-profile names set to lead the roster in 2019-20.
Iowa State Cyclones
Iowa State won the Big 12 conference tournament and earned a No. 6 seed for March Madness in large part because of redshirt senior Marial Shayok. The Virginia transfer averaged a team-high 18.7 points, but his presence also helped a potential key player for 2019-20.
Shayok was a roommate of Prentiss Nixon, who tallied 14.4 points per game across 2016-17 and 2017-18 at Colorado State. He was unavailable in 2018-19 due to transfer rules.
Given that production, Nixon would be expected to contribute immediately. But if starting guard Talen Horton-Tucker stays in the NBA draft, the Cyclones may have little choice but to force Nixon into a featured role.
Marquette Golden Eagles
Depending on whether Markus Howard pursues the NBA, Marquette may be considered a top national championship contender. That's partly because Koby McEwen will be available.
A transfer from Utah State, he collected 15 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists in two years at the Mountain West program. McEwen―who knocked down 36.7 percent of his three-pointer attempts―will definitely join forwards Sam and Joey Hauser next season.
Plus, Marquette only had one senior in the 2018-19 rotation, and guard Greg Elliott will return from a thumb injury. McEwen's arrival will either further bolster the lineup or help atone for Howard's departure.
During the 2016-17 season, Kam McGusty netted 10.9 points per game and secured a place on the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team.
The emergence of Trae Young, however, decreased McGusty's role as a sophomore and led him to Miami.
After missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2015, the Hurricanes must replace two impactful seniors: do-everything forward Anthony Lawrence II and Florida Gulf Coast transfer Zach Johnson. McGusty should slide into the starting lineup as a wing.
And if the Oklahoma transfer regains his freshman form, McGusty and returning guard Chris Lykes could propel Miami back into March Madness.
Minnesota Golden Gophers
Minnesota was already eager for Marcus Carr to be eligible, and Isaiah Washington's outgoing transfer has only intensified the excitement.
Washington's departure coincides with Dupree McBrayer graduating, so the Golden Gophers are losing 5.8 assists per game in the backcourt. Carr can replace much of that production, considering he averaged four assists as a freshman at Pitt.
Payton Willis can handle the rest.
In two seasons with Vanderbilt, he offered 5.1 points and 1.6 assists per game. Willis will provide much-needed depth behind Carr, a potential All-Big Ten player.
Nevada Wolf Pack
Eric Musselman built a pipeline for transfers at Nevada, and the team should continue benefiting even after he left to coach Arkansas.
Jalen Harris, who averaged 15.3 points at Louisiana Tech in 2017-18, highlights the newest class of transfers for the Wolf Pack.
The biggest name, however, is actually rejoining the team. Lindsey Drew averaged 8.1 points and 4.3 assists for the Sweet 16 team in 2017-18, but Achilles and hip injuries sidelined him for 2018-19.
Nevada's eight-man rotation had six seniors, so the Wolf Pack will be counting on Harris and Drew to hold pivotal roles.
New Mexico Lobos
Kansas transfer Carlton Bragg bolstered the roster last season, and New Mexico is about to have a couple of reinforcements join him.
JaQuan Lyle is expected to return from an Achiiles injury that prevented him from making his program debut. Lyle averaged 11.3 points, 4.4 assists and 4.0 rebounds in two seasons with Ohio State.
The Lobos will also welcome Zane Martin to the lineup. In 2017-18 at Towson, the guard averaged 19.8 points and earned second-team All-Colonial Athletic Conference honors. Martin also posted 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game that season.
Washington won't be able to feature Quade Green immediately, but the Kentucky transfer should be worth the wait.
Because he decided to leave in December 2018, the point guard will be eligible after sitting out 12 months. So, the Huskies can insert Green into the lineup midway through the 2019-20 season.
Once available, Green will boost a backcourt that must replace Pac-12 Player of the Year Jaylen Nowell, Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Matisse Thybulle and their third-leading scorer David Crisp.
Green's floor spacing should be a terrific complement to incoming 5-star center Isaiah Stewart. In 43 games at Kentucky, Green averaged nine points at a 38.5 three-point clip and dished 2.6 assists.