Chet Holmgren, the consensus No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2021, committed to Gonzaga on Monday, ensuring Mark Few’s program will be a legitimate national-title contender for the sixth consecutive season.
It really is amazing.
The Zags never even made the NCAA Tournament until 1995 — and they made it just twice before the turn of the century. Now they’ve played in 22 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, made six straight Sweet Sixteens, and advanced to two of the past four national championship games. Yes, they’re losing three starters — Corey Kispert, Jalen Suggs and Joel Ayayi — from this past season’s team that lost to Baylor in the championship game. But it’s still impossible to intelligently argue Gonzaga won’t operate at, or at least near, the top of the sport again thanks to the expected return of Drew Timme and Andrew Nembhard, and the arrival of a recruiting class highlighted by two five-star prospects who double as the two highest-rated recruits in program history.
Holmgren is one of them.
Five-star guard Hunter Sallis is the other.
If you’ve been keeping up with the 2021-22 CBS Sports Preseason Top 25 And 1, you should know that Holmgren has always been projected as an addition to Gonzaga’s roster. So his formal commitment changes nothing for the Zags, who are still No. 2 in Version 5.0 of the Top 25 And 1.
UCLA remains No. 1.
That ranking is based on every meaningful player who helped the Bruins make the Final Four, and finish 13th at KenPom, returning to Westwood for at least one more year of college. Obviously, Johnny Juzang has a decision to make about the NBA Draft. But if he comes back, and picks up right where he left off, UCLA — which is adding five-star prospect Peyton Watson and Rutgers transfer Myles Johnson to its experienced core — should have a real chance to win what would be the 12th national title in school history.
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Top 25 And 1 rankings
Every meaningful player who helped the Bruins make the Final Four is currently projected back on campus – among them NCAA Tournament star Johnny Juzang. UCLA will add five-star prospect Peyton Watson and should have all of the pieces necessary to win a national title.
The Zags are losing a lot – most notably Jalen Suggs, Corey Kispert and Joel Ayayi. But with Drew Timme and Andrew Nembhard expected back, and the arrival of five-star prospects Chet Holmgren and Hunter Sallis, Mark Few’s program should again dominate the West Coast Conference and have a real chance to win the first national championship in school history.
The return of Collin Gillispie and Jermaine Samuels means the Wildcats will return four of the top five scorers from a team that won the Big East title by multiple games. So Jay Wright will have the pieces necessary to compete for his third national championship.
The Crimson Tide should return four of the top seven scorers from a team that won the SEC regular-season title and SEC Tournament – most notably Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly. The addition of five-star point guard JD Davison and four-star big Charles Bediako gives Nate Oats a chance at back-to-back conference championships.
Ohio State is expected to return seven of the top eight scorers from a team that earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament – most notably Duane Washington, E.J. Liddell, Justice Sueing and Kyle Young. Malaki Branham, a consensus top-30 prospect in the Class of 2021, is an incoming recruit who should make an immediate impact.
Duke is the only program expected to add three five-star prospects from the Class of 2021 – among them Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin, both of whom project as one-and-done top-10 NBA Draft picks. So even with Matthew Hurt and DJ Steward both leaving school early, Mike Krzyzewski should have enough talent to take the Blue Devils back to the top of the sport.
The Bears are expected to lose Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler to the NBA Draft. But if Baylor keeps a core of Adam Flagler, Matthew Mayer and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, and enrolls its top-10 recruiting class highlighted by five-star wing Kendall Brown, Scott Drew can make a run at another national title.
Kansas is projected to return four starters from a team that went 9-2 in its final 11 games and advanced in the NCAA Tournament. The recent addition of Joseph Yesufu, a transfer who averaged 12.8 points at Drake this season, will enhance the Jayhawks’ shot-making ability.
The Razorbacks are losing a lot – including projected first-round pick Moses Moody. But JD Notae should return as a double-digit scorer, and Eric Musselman is adding at least four experienced double-digit scorers via the transfer market, mostly notably Chris Lykes (Miami) and Au’Diese Toney (Pitt).
This ranking is tied to the idea that Franz Wagner will enter the NBA Draft while Hunter Dickinson returns for his sophomore season at Michigan, where he’ll likely be the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year. Eli Brooks’ decision to play another season for the Wolverines provides Juwan Howard with an additional experienced piece to pair with the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class featuring five star prospects Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate.
The Boilermakers have no seniors and zero obvious NBA prospects, meaning everybody who matters should return from a team that received a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The star is Trevion Williams, who averaged 15.5 points and 9.1 rebounds as a junior.
As long as Kelvin Sampson remains the coach, Houston will likely be a mainstay in the Top 25 And 1. The early loss of Quentin Grimes will hurt, but probably not too much with Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark set to return and be joined by Texas Tech transfer Kyler Edwards.
Mark Turgeon has used the transfer market to add a quality guard (Fatts Russell) and big (Qudus Wahab). That should be enough to offset the loss of Darryl Morsell and get the Terrapins to the Big Dance for the sixth time in a span of seven NCAA Tournaments.
The Seminoles should be good again despite the fact that they’re likely losing four of their top five scorers – among them projected lottery pick Scottie Barnes. A veteran core of Anthony Polite and Malik Osborne will be joined by a top-five recruiting class highlighted by former Houston standout Caleb Mills and five-star wing Matthew Cleveland.
John Fulkerson’s decision to return for another season means Tennessee should bring back five of the top eight scorers from a team that earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. That experienced core will pair nicely with a recruiting class highlighted by one of the best point guards in the Class of 2021 (Kennedy Chandler) and another newcomer who just averaged 11.7 points while shooting 44.2% from 3-point range at Auburn (Justin Powell).
The expected return of Armando Bacot and Caleb Love will give first-year coach Hubert Davis a chance to keep the Tar Heels nationally relevant. The arrival of Oklahoma transfer Brady Manek should help offset the loss of Garrison Brooks and Day’Ron Sharpe.
The expected return of Keion Brooks, Dontaie Allen and Jacob Toppin gives John Calipari a core of three players who averaged at least 14 minutes per game this season. He’ll fill out the roster with a top-five recruiting class and at least two impactful transfers – namely Kellan Grady (Davidson) and Oscar Tshiebwe (West Virginia).
Dan Hurley has rebuilt UConn to the point where it should be a consistent challenger to Villanova in the Big East. Even the early loss of James Bouknight, a projected first-round NBA Draft pick, shouldn’t change that (especially with Tyler Polley set to return for a fifth season).
Aaron Henry is following Joshua Langford and Rocket Watts out the door. But the arrival of five-star guard Max Christie and Northeastern transfer Tyson Walker should have Tom Izzo in his 24th straight NCAA Tournament.
All five starters from a team that won the Atlantic 10 regular-season title and Atlantic 10 Tournament are expected back – most notably Kyle Lofton, who averaged 14.4 points and 5.5 assists as a junior. Wake Forest transfer Quadry Adams will provide depth.
Trey Murphy is expected to remain in the NBA Draft, which means Virginia will likely lose its top three scorers. But Kihei Clark will provide Tony Bennett with an experienced point guard capable of keeping the Cavaliers near the top of the ACC, and the addition of East Carolina transfer Jayden Gardner could be a big boost.
Auburn’s frontcourt of Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler might end up being the best frontcourt in the SEC. That’s two five-star high school prospects joining a roster returning two double-digit scorers.
Andy Enfield should have the Trojans back in the NCAA Tournament – as long as Isaiah Mobley doesn’t join his brother, Evan Mobley, in the NBA Draft. A top-15 recruiting class highlighted by Reese Dixon-Waters and Memphis transfer Boogie Ellis will help offset the departures.
Dana Altman is among the best at reloading his roster each offseason via the transfer market. So it’s safe to assume he’ll find enough good pieces to supplement a core of Will Richardson and Eric Williams, both of whom averaged double-figures this season.
The Orange have three players in the transfer portal – among them Kadary Richmond, a talented freshman guard with size. But the top three scorers from a Sweet 16 team should be back, including Buddy Boeheim, who averaged 22.3 points in the NCAA Tournament.
The top four scorers from a team that made the NCAA Tournament are expected to return – among them Keve Aluma, who averaged 15.2 points and 7.9 rebounds this season. They’ll be joined by a pair of transfers (USF’s Michael Durr and Wofford’s Storm Murphy) who should help Virginia Tech compete for the ACC title.
Coach: Mick Cronin
2020-21 record: 22-10
Notable players expected to leave: Chris Smith
Notable players expected to return: Johnny Juzang, Jaime Jaquez, Jules Bernard, Tyger Campbell, Cody Riley, David Singleton, Jake Kyman, Mac Etienne, Jaylen Clark, Kenneth Nwuba
Expected additions: Peyton Watson, Will McClendon, Myles Johnson
Coach: Mark Few
2020-21 record: 31-1
Notable players expected to leave: Corey Kispert, Jalen Suggs, Joel Ayayi, Aaron Cook, Oumar Ballo, Pavel Zakharov
Notable players expected to return: Drew Timme, Andrew Nembhard, Anton Watson, Julian Strawther, Dominick Harris, Ben Gregg
Expected additions: Chet Holmgren, Hunter Sallis, Kaden Perry
Coach: Jay Wright
2020-21 record: 18-7
Notable players expected to leave: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Cole Swider
Notable players expected to return: Collin Gillespie, Justin Moore, Caleb Daniels, Brandon Slater, Eric Dixon, Bryan Antoine, Chris Arcidiacono, Trey Patterson
Expected additions: Jordan Longino, Nnanna Njoku, Angelo Brizzi
Coach: Nate Oats
Notable players expected to leave: Herb Jones, John Petty, Alex Reese, Jordan Bruner
Notable players expected to return: Jaden Shackelford, Jahvon Quinerly, Joshua Primo, Keon Ellis, Juwan Gary, James Rojas, Darius Miles, Keon Ambrose-Hylton
Expected additions: Noah Gurley, JD Davison, Charles Bediako, Jusaun Holt, Nimari Burnett, Alex Tchikou
5. OHIO STATE
Coach: Chris Holtmann
2020-21 record: 21-10
Notable players expected to leave: CJ Walker, Musa Jallow, Jimmy Sotos
Notable players expected to return: Duane Washington, E.J. Liddell, Justice Sueing, Kyle Young, Justin Ahrens, Zed Key, Seth Towns, Meechie Johnson, Eugene Brown
Expected additions: Malaki Branham, Kalen Etzler, Jamari Wheeler, Joey Brunk
Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
2020-21 record: 13-11
Notable players expected to leave: Matthew Hurt, DJ Steward, Jordan Goldwire, Jaemyn Brakefield, Patrick Tape
Notable players expected to return: Wendell Moore, Jeremy Roach, Mark Williams, Joey Baker, Henry Coleman
Expected additions: Paolo Banchero, AJ Griffin, Trevor Keels, Theo John, Jaylen Blakes
Coach: Scott Drew
2020-21 record: 28-2
Notable players expected to leave: Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell, MaCio Teague, Mark Vital
Notable players expected to return: Adam Flagler, Matthew Mayer, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchouwa, L.J. Cryer, Flo Thamba, Zach Loveday, Jordan Turner
Expected additions: Kendall Brown, Langston Love, Jeremy Sochan
Coach: Bill Self
2020-21 record: 21-9
Notable players expected to leave: Marcus Garret, Bryce Thompson, Tyon Grant-Foster, Tristan Enaruna, Gethro Muscadin
Notable players expected to return: Ochai Agbaji, David McCormack, Jalen Wilson, Christian Braun, Bryce Thompson, Mitch Lightfoot, Dajuan Harris, Chris Teahan
Expected additions: Joseph Yesufu, Cam Martin, Zach Clemence, KJ Adams, Bobby Pettiford, Sydney Curry
Coach: Eric Musselman
2020-21 record: 25-7
Notable players expected to leave: Moses Moody, Justin Smith, Jalen Tate, Desi Sills, Vance Jackson, Ethan Henderson
Notable players expected to return: JD Notae, Davonte Davis, Connor Vanover, Jaylin Williams, Khalen Robinson
Expected additions: Au’Diese Toney, Chris Lykes, Stanley Umode, Kamani Johnson, Chance Moore, Akol Mawein
Coach: Juwan Howard
2020-21 record: 23-5
Notable players expected to leave: Isaiah Livers, Franz Wagner, Mike Smith, Chaundee Brown, Austin Davis
Notable players expected to return: Hunter Dickinson, Eli Brooks, Brandon Johns, Terrence Williams, Zeb Jackson, Jace Howard
Expected additions: Caleb Houston, Moussa Diabate, Kobe Bufkin, Frankie Collins, Isaiah Barnes, Will Tschetter
Coach: Matt Painter
2020-21 record: 18-10
Notable players expected to leave: Aaron Wheeler, Emmanuel Dowuona
Notable players expected to return: Trevion Williams, Jaden Ivey, Sasha Stefanovic, Zach Edey, Eric Hunter Jr., Brandon Newman, Mason Gillis, Isaiah Thompson, Ethan Morton.
Expected additions: Trey Kaufman, Caleb Furst
Coach: Kelvin Sampson
2020-21 record: 28-4
Notable players expected to leave: Quentin Grimes, Dejon Jarreau, Justin Gorham, Bryson Gresham, Cameron Tyson
Notable players expected to return: Marcus Sasser, Tramon Mark, Fabian White, Reggie Chaney, Jamal Shead, Kiyron Powell, J’Wan Roberts
Expected additions: Kyler Edwards, Ja’Vier Francis, Taze Moore, Ramon Walker, Robbie Armbrester, Josh Carlton
Coach: Mark Turgeon
2020-21 record: 17-14
Notable players expected to leave: Darryl Morsell, Galin Smith, Chol Marial, Aquan Smart, Reese Mona, Jairus Hamilton
Notable players expected to return: Eric Ayala, Aaron Wiggins, Donta Scott, Hakim Hart, James Graham III, Marcus Dockery
Expected additions: Qudus Wahab, Fatts Russell, Julian Reese, Ike Cornish
14. FLORIDA STATE
Coach: Leonard Hamilton
2020-21 record: 18-7
Notable players expected to leave: MJ Walker, RaiQuan Gray, Scottie Barnes, Balsa Koprivica, RayQuan Evans, Nathaniel Jack, Tanor Ngom
Notable players expected to return: Anthony Polite, Malik Osborne, Sardaar Calhoun, Wyatt Wilkes, Quincy Ballard
Expected additions: Caleb Mills, Matthew Cleveland, Jalen Warley, John Butler, Naheem McLeod
Coach: Rick Barnes
2020-21 record: 18-9
Notable players expected to leave: Jaden Springer, Keon Johnson, Yves Pons, EJ Anosiki, Davonte Gaines, Drew Pember
Notable players expected to return: Victor Bailey, John Fulkerson, Santiago Vescovi, Josiah-Jordan James, Olivier Nkamhoua, Uros Plavsic
Expected additions: Kennedy Chandler, Justin Powell, Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, Jahmai Mashack, Quentin Diboundje
16. NORTH CAROLINA
Coach: Hubert Davis
2020-21 record: 18-11
Notable players expected to leave: Garrison Brooks, Day’Ron Sharpe, Walker Kessler, Andrew Playtek, Sterling Manley
Notable players expected to return: Armando Bacot, Caleb Love, R.J. Davis, Kerwin Walton, Leaky Black, Anthony Harris, Puff Johnson.
Expected additions: Brady Manek, Dontrez Styles, D’Marco Dunn, Justin McKoy
Coach: John Caliipari
2020-21 record: 9-16
Notable players expected to leave: Brandon Boston, Olivier Sarr, Terrence Clarke, Isaiah Jackson, Devin Askew, Cam’Ron Fletcher
Notable players expected to return: Davion Mintz, Keion Brooks, Dontaie Allen, Jacob Toppin, Lance Ware
Expected additions: Kellan Grady, Oscar Tshiebwe, Daimion Colliins, Bryce Hopkins, Nolan Hickman
Coach: Dan Hurley
2020-21 record: 15-8
Notable players expected to leave: James Bouknight, Brendan Adams, Josh Carlton
Notable players expected to return: R.J. Cole, Tyrese Martin, Isaiah Whaley, Tyler Polley, Adama Sanogo, Jalen Gaffney, Andre Jackson, Akok Akok, Richie Springs
Expected additions: Rahsool Diggins, Jordan Hawkins, Samson Johnson
19. MICHIGAN STATE
Coach: Tom Izzo
2020-21 record: 15-13
Notable players expected to leave: Aaron Henry, Joshua Langford, Rocket Watts, Thomas Kithier
Notable players expected to return: Joey Hauser, Gabe Brown, Malik Hall, Foster Loyer, Julius Marble, Marcus Bingham, AJ Hoggard, Mady Sissoko
Expected additions: Tyson Walker, Max Christie, Jaden Akins, Pierre Brooks
20. ST. BONAVENTURE
Coach: Mark Schmidt
2020-21 record: 16-5
Notable players expected to leave: Alejandro Vasquez, Jalen Shaw, Jermaine Taggart
Notable players expected to return: Kyle Lofton, Jaren Holmes, Jalen Adaway, Dominick Welch, Osun Osunniyi, Alpha Okoli, Eddie Creal
Expected additions: Justin Ndjock, Quadry Adams, Abdoul Karim, Coulibaly, Oluwasegun Durosinmi
Coach: Tony Bennett
2020-21 record: 18-17
Notable players expected to leave: Sam Hauser, Jay Huff, Trey Murphy, Tomas Woldentensae, Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Casey Morsell, Justin McKoy
Notable players expected to return: Kihei Clark, Reece Beekman, Kody Stattman, Kadin Shedrick, Francisco Caffaro, Carson McCorkle, Chase Coleman, Malachi Poindexter
Expected additions: Armaan Franklin, Jayden Gardner, Taine Murray
Coach: Bruce Pearl
2020-21 record: 13-14
Notable players expected to leave: Sharife Cooper, Justin Powell, Jamal Johnson, Javon Franklin
Notable players expected to return: Allen Flanigan, Jaylin Williams, JT Thor, Devan Cambridge, Dylan Cardwell, Chris Moore, Babatunde Akingbola
Expected additions: Walker Kessler, Jabari Smith, Zeb Jasper, Wendell Green, Trey Alexander
Coach: Andy Enfield
2020-21 record: 25-8
Notable players expected to leave: Evan Mobley, Tahj Eaddy, Isaiah White, Noah Baumann
Notable players expected to return: Isaiah Mobley, Drew Peterson, Ethan Anderson, Chevez Goodwin, Max Agbonkpolo, Reese Waters
Expected additions: Boogie Ellis, Malik Thomas, Harrison Hornery, Kobe Johnson, KJ Allen
Coach: Dana Altman
2020-21 record: 21-7
Notable players expected to leave: Eugene Omoruyi, Chris Duarte, LJ Figueroa, Chandler Lawson, Amauri Hardy, Will Johnson
Notable players expected to return: Will Richardson, Eric Williams, N’Faly Dante, Aaron Estrada, Jalen Terry, Franck Kepnang, Lok Wur
Expected additions: Nathan Bittle
Coach: Jim Boeheim
2020-21 record: 18-10
Notable players expected to leave: Marek Dolezaj, Kadary Richmond, Robert Braswell, Bourama Sidibe, John Bol Ajak
Notable players expected to return: Buddy Boeheim, Quincy Guerrier, Alan Griffin, Joseph Girard, Woody Newton, Jesse Edwards, Frank Anselem
Expected additions: Benny Williams, Cole Swider, Jimmy Boeheim
26. VIRGINIA TECH
Coach: Mike Young
2020-21 record: 15-7
Notable players expected to leave: Jalen Cone, Wabissa Bede, Joe Bamisile, Cordell Pemsl
Notable players expected to return: Keve Aluma, Tyrece Radford, Nahiem Alleyne, Justyn Mutts, Hunter Cattoor, David N’Guessan, Darius Maddox, John Ojiako
Expected additions: Michael Durr, Storm Murphy, Sean Pedulla