{{ timeAgo('2020-01-03 05:33:27 -0600') }} basketball Edit

Evans Seven: Storylines to watch in 2020

John Calipari will keep bringing top talent to Lexington.
John Calipari will keep bringing top talent to Lexington. (Jeff Drummond/Cats Illustrated)

We will see plenty of change over the next 365 days that should impact the sport and recruiting world as we know it. In this weeks’ The Evans Seven, we predict seven events to take place in the coming months led by Duke and Kentucky’s continued dominance over the recruiting world, more overseas departures and Memphis’ celebratory night in June.

MORE: The race for No. 1

2020 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Position

1. DUKE, KENTUCKY WILL FINISH WITH TOP CLASSES IN SPRING AND FALL

Nothing news breaking here. Outside of Memphis’ impressive 2019 class, everyone else has failed to supplant Duke and Kentucky within the team rankings in recent years. That will not change this spring, nor will it change during the early signing period in November.

The two bluebloods sit with the best 2020 class and unless North Carolina lands someone in the mold of Ziaire Williams, the two will again enroll the nation’s top two classes in the fall.

By November, the two will boast the top classes in the 2021 class as well. The Blue Devils already hold the commitment from top-10 wing AJ Griffin, and are in a good spot with Max Christie and Pat Baldwin. Paolo Banchero is another Duke target but Kentucky might be ahead, as it is with five-star guard Jaden Hardy. Expect for each to sign at least two five-stars in November.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH DUKE FANS AT DEVILSILLUSTRATED.COM

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH KENTUCKY FANS AT CATSILLUSTRATED.COM

2. THE ONE-AND-DONE WILL BE NO LONGER

A year ago, the belief was that Adam Silver was on the precipice of nullifying the one-and-done rule and thus, allowing for high school standouts to jump straight to the NBA. There has been some push back in recent months but the idea remains that would have Silver allow for such an avenue to be take, though it might now not take place until 2023.

Recent decisions made by RJ Hampton and LaMelo Ball in selecting the NBL over college, the fight for Makur Maker’s NBA Draft eligibility and Marjon Beauchamp already deciding on skipping college for a 12-month training program could push Silver to make the move on erasing such a regulation before 2021 arrives.

3. ANOTHER COLLEGE COACH WILL MAKE THE JUMP

Bill Self
Bill Self

We are seeing various NFL front offices pursue college coaches for its head coaching vacancies. Expect for that to be the case this summer on the NBA front. John Beilein surprised many by making the leap last year and it is anyone’s guess who could be the next to do so.

Tom Izzo has all but passed over such an opportunity, as has Coach K and John Calipari. However, all it takes is for one NBA front office to put the college game into a tizzy. Is it Bill Self’s time to leave his comfortable Kansas abode for the league as talk continues to swirl of a marriage between the KU boss and the San Antonio Spurs? Others such as Chris Holtmann, Sean Miller, Tony Bennett and Chris Beard have also had their names thrown into the rumor mill as potential NBA head coaching hires, too.

4. ANOTHER GROUP OF SENIORS WILL SKIP COLLEGE

Until Silver does away with the one-and-done rule, some of the elite within the high school realm will continue to take a closer look at playing overseas instead of attending college. Prospects have begun to comprehend that college isn’t made for everyone and that immediately starting their professional careers following their high school graduation is not such a bad thing.

The Hampton and Ball ventures in the NBL, despite minor injuries, has been a success, which will lead to a handful of others from the 2020 class to make such a leap. The NBL has also been rather adamant about adding more an US-born talent to its league members thanks to the Next Stars program. Maker, Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs, Karim Mane, Josh Hall, Isaiah Todd and Marjon Beauchamp are just a few of the names that have been tossed around as potential professional candidates for next fall.

5. MEMPHIS WILL PRODUCE THE MOST LOTTERY PICKS IN JUNE

Granted James Wiseman has already left the program, but we will still count him still as a Memphis product. Wiseman, along with Precious Achiuwa, will give Penny Hardaway the Tigers the most NBA lottery selections in June.

We have become accustomed to seeing Duke and Kentucky dominate NBA Draft night and while each will still have its fair share of stars picked, Memphis will be the most talked about to begin the evening. Neither blue blood boasts a clear-cut lottery selection and with a handful of international talent and others coming from Georgia, Iowa State and Washington that are slated for early selections, it says here that the Tigers will dominate the beginning of June’s draft.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH MEMPHIS FANS AT TIGERSPORTSREPORT.COM

6. A NON-POWER LEAGUE MEMBER WILL REACH THE FINAL FOUR

It feels like one of those years that a dark horse will make a run to the Final Four. For anyone that watched the Maui Invitational, it was not difficult to envision Dayton, led by All-American candidate Obi Toppin, making such a run again in March.

With the talent throughout the sport down, we may see another Loyola Chicago or George Mason break through. Who that might be this year is not easy to pin-point, but look for a hot shot-making team with veteran leadership. Maybe it is Liberty that defends at a solid clip and sits amongst the top-20 in 3-point field goal percentage. Northern Iowa has just one defeat to the hands of WVU and is no stranger to March success. Also, the Southern Conference has its fair share of candidates led by ETSU, Furman and UNC-Greensboro.

7. AT LEAST TWO MORE PROGRAMS WILL BE CHARGED WITH MAJOR VIOLATIONS

Many are waiting for the next shoe to drop within the industry. Following the FBI’s involvement within the sport that led to the arrest of 10 men, four of which were acting high-major assistant coaches, the belief was big change was on the way.

Think again. All four programs ensnarled within the sting finished with top-25 recruiting classes last spring and outside of Kansas receiving a notice of allegation for three level-1 violations, it has been a wait-and-see approach on whether anything will actually come from the Sept. 26, 2017 date that left a black eye on college basketball.

However, by the time Jan. 1, 2021 arrives, at least two more programs will be hit for their past transgressions, leaving many to wonder what the real penalties will be and if it will actually affect these programs.