Evans Seven: Biggest storylines to follow in the 2020s
The All-Decade week has come to a close here at Rivals.com and the 2020s are just a month away. In today's Evans Seven, we take a look at the biggest storylines to follow throughout the next decade.
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1. ONE-AND-DONE RULE
Rumors continue to swirl that by the time the 2022 NBA Draft arrives, high school seniors will directly enter the league without spending a year in college. Will NBA Commissioner Adam Silver push the button with the league and the NBPA so that the one-and-done rule is erased? If the one-and-done rule is eliminated, it will be interesting to see how much it changes the recruiting landscape and how it impacts the bluebloods.
2. CHANGING OF THE GUARD AT BLUEBLOOD LEVEL
Mike Krzyzewski turns 73 in February, Roy Williams turns 70 in August, talk continues to swirl around Bill Self’s longevity at Kansas and John Calipari will be 70 by the time the next decade completes. Ten years from now, Tom Izzo will be 74 and Jim Boeheim will be 85.
We could be entering a period of significant turnover at the most notable programs in college basketball. These jobs open up maybe once every decade or two, and by the time 2030 rolls around, it seems safe to say that the bluest of the blueblood programs will all have found a new head coach. Will these transitions be fluid or will the on-court product dip? Will programs look from within for their hire or try to catch a headline-grabbing, big fish?
3. WHICH PROSPECT WILL DOMINATE?
We already have a general sense as to who will dominate the early portion of the next decade. In the 2020 class, Evan Mobley, Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green will grab a lot of attention. In the 2021 class, the focus will be on Jonathan Kuminga, Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith. Emoni Bates is the name to watch in the 2022 class. He is currently viewed as one of the best high school prospects in recent memory, but will that reputation stick as time passes? Anthony Davis, Zion Williamson and Ben Simmons were some of the top names to know of the past decade. Who will dominate the next 10 years?
4. WHICH COACHES LEAVE FOR THE NBA?
This past decade, we saw Billy Donovan leave Florida, John Beilein leave Michigan, and, don’t forget, Brad Stevens leave his Butler program for the Boston Celtics. Will Tony Bennett pique the interest of an NBA franchise? Will Chris Beard be someone to keep an eye on? What about Mike Hopkins’ outgoing personality or Bill Self’s winning pedigree catching a franchise's attention?
5. WHICH PROGRAM BECOMES THE 2020 VERSION OF VILLANOVA AND VIRGINIA?
Both Villanova and Virginia had storied pasts prior to the 2010s, but Jay Wright and Tony Bennett have taken things to a different level on the Main Line and in Charlottesville. These programs are no longer just quality high-majors but also can be viewed as a blueblood. What programs are next in line to be elevated to that status? Gonzaga and Texas Tech are getting to that point already. Florida and Ohio State could get back to their winning ways of the prior decade. Will Auburn and Memphis ride their momentum to next-level success over the next decade?
6. CONFERENCE RECONFIGURATION ON THE HORIZON
Just a decade ago, Cincinnati, Louisville and Pitt were members of the Big East, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas A&M were settled in the Big 12, and the American Athletic Conference did not exist. More change is on the horizon. The television contracts for every power league will be up in the next four years, which might open the door for more conference realignment. Don’t forget, it wasn’t too long ago that the Pac-12 was oh-so-close to adding four teams from the Big 12. Could the power conferences break entirely away from the NCAA? What would happen to March Madness? How will that impact recruiting?
7. NAME, IMAGE AND LIKENESS
The state of California got the ball rolling and several other states followed. By the year 2023, college athletes will be able to benefit from their own name, image, and likeness. Will this move add more incentive for high school prospects to suit up for a power conference program? Will forward-thinking mid-major coaches find hidden incentives that might persuade a particular prospect to eschew the higher levels because of what a local community could offer? It is only a matter of time before some find a way to circuitously go around provisions in place, finding new ways to cheat the system. Regardless, name, image and likeness will leave a giant mark on the 2020s.