After an eventful 2021 College Basketball season capping off in Indianapolis, the Baylor Bears came out on top after a dominant championship win versus the highly favored Gonzaga Bulldogs. As the nations best keep making their decisions as to what their next step will be, we focus on the teams and players who I believe will come out on top next season.
In 2022 we will see a very different atmosphere as fans will be back in the arenas which makes a massive difference for inter-conference games. With that being said, the transfer portal has been very active with many surprising names entering.
In recent news, Michigan State star and one of the top players in the transfer portal, Rocket Watts, recently announced his commitment to Mississippi State. This addition is making out to have Mississippi State be one of the best teams in the SEC next season. Along with the addition of Rocket Watts is forward Garrison Brooks, who is a transfer from the University of North Carolina. Watts, Brooks (who scored 1,300 points and had 800 rebounds in four years at UNC), and returning player and SEC second-team D.J Stewart who averaged 16.4 PPG last season is foreshadowing to be a scary trio in Starkville.
Another team that stands out to me is the UCLA Bruins, who no one expected to make an impact in 2021. Going from the first four in last year’s tournament to the Final Four and losing on a heartbreaking half-court buzzer-beater by Jalen Suggs to end their magical run. Returning almost every starter including March Madness star Johnny Juzang and point guard Tyger Campbell, and adding Rutgers forward transfer Myles Johnson, I can see this team making an impact in the Pac-12 and making a long run in the 2022 NCAA tournament.
Two teams who have made a big impact on their teams in the transfer portal are the Indiana Hoosiers and the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
The Hoosiers had a rough end of the 2021 season losing their last 6 games and missing the NCAA tournament. Firing coach Archie Miller after four disappointing seasons, the Hoosiers hired alumni Mike Woodson. Woodson’s impact so far has made Hoosier fans excited for the 2022 season. With the loss of two guards Armaan Franklin and Al Durham, the Hoosiers returned forward Race Thompson, guard Khristen Lander, guard Parker Stewart. Also, adding Northwestern forward Miller Kopp who will make a big impact behind the three-point line, Pitt guard Xavier Johnson and USF center Michael Durr from the transfer portal. Incoming freshmen include ESPN top 50 and five-star commit Tamar Bates and four-star center Logan Duncomb. The Hoosiers look to turn things around in the Mike Woodson era and bring back Hoosier basketball like it was in the past.
Next, the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Mark Few who came off an impressive 2021 campaign. Few added the number one recruit in the country Chet Holgrem, Kentucky de-commit Nolan Hickman, and five-star Hunter Sallis. With returning starters including Andrew Nembhard, Drew Timme, and key bench players Mark Few and the Bulldogs look to make a similar run in 2022.
Photo: Cheryl Myers