Connect with us

Joey's Draft Stuff

What if Players Were Required to Stay All 4 Years

What if Players Were Required to Stay All 4 Years

The NBA has repeatedly switched its stance on how many years removed from high school you have to be for you to be draft eligible.

Players were required to be four years removed from high school from when the league was created until Daryl Dawkins broke the barrier in 1975 and again until Kevin Garnett in 1995.

But what if players still were required to be four years removed from high school to be draft eligible? How would that affect college basketball? Let’s find out!

For the sake of this exercise, we have to assume a couple of things
I – Players that left early would have stayed at the same college and not transferred
II – Players would not have gone to alternative options (G-League, Overtime Elite, Overseas)
III – Injuries don’t exist, this is an alternate world so we are assuming everyone’s healthy

Enjoy the rankings and exercise, it’s impossible to say who would be where in the rankings, and most of it is just semantics.

Honorable Mentions

Creighton Bluejays (still believe in them)

Marquette Golden Eagles

Iowa State Cyclones

Wisconsin Badgers (Johnny Davis is a sore subject)

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

25. LSU Tigers

Record: 12-9

KenPom Ranking: 128

New Team

PG: Cam Hayes (Jr.)
SG: Cam Thomas (Sr.)
SF: Tari Eason (Jr.)
PF: Derek Fountain (Jr.)
C: KJ Williams (Sr.)
Notable Bench Players: Adam Miller (So.)

LSU is not a very good team as of today but they’d be adding two legitimate NBA talents. Cam Thomas led the SEC in scoring as a freshman so as a senior he would be one of the best scorers in the country. Tari Eason would be a fantastic defensive wing next to Cam Thomas’s offensive power.

Thomas and Eason make LSU a formidable team but they still are far off some of the other college basketball powerhouses that would be formed with this rule. If LSU was even a top 70 program in the country today, they’d be ranked much higher.

24. Iowa Hawkeyes

Record: 13-8

KenPom Ranking: 35

New Team

PG: Tony Perkins (Jr.)
SG: Patrick McCaffery (Jr.)
SF: Kris Murray (Jr.)
PF: Keegan Murray (Jr.)
C: Filip Rebraca (Sr.)
Notable Bench Players: N/A

Iowa was a pretty good team last season getting a five seed in the tournament and finishing as #16 in the AP Poll. From there, Iowa would return the #4 overall pick while everyone gets a year better. This Iowa team would by no means be sexy but they would be a tough team that could give anybody a fight on any given night.

23. Georgia Bulldogs

Record: 14-7

KenPom Ranking: 103

New Team

PG: Anthony Edwards (Sr.)
SG: Terry Roberts (So.)
SF: Kario Oquendo (So.)
PF: Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe (Jr.)
C: Frank Anselem (Jr.)
Notable Bench Players: N/A

I’ll keep this one simple. In this alternate world I belive senior Anthony Edwards would be the best college basketball player in the country. Having a player that talented in college basketball would be HUGE, it does not matter how good the rest of the team is. On top of that, there are multiple talented players on Georgia’s roster today.

22. UConn Huskies

Record: 16-6

KenPom Ranking: 6

New Team

PG: James Bouknight (Sr.)
SG: Jordan Hawkins (So.)
SF: Andre Jackson (Jr.)
PF: Alex Karaban (Fr.)
C: Adama Sanogo (Jr.)
Notable Bench Players: Donovan Clingan (Fr.), Tristen Newton (Sr.)

This team has a little bit of everything. Bouknight and Hawkins are one of the best backcourts in the country offering scoring from all 3 levels, Andre Jackson is an incredible do it all glue guy, and Sanogo/Clingan give the dominant presence that every college basketball team needs.

21. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Record: 12-9

KenPom Ranking: 33

New Team

PG: Avery Anderson (Sr.)
SG: Cade Cunningham (Jr.)
SF: Bryce Thompson (Jr.)
PF: Kalib Boone (Sr.)
C: Moussa Cisse (Jr.)
Notable Bench Players: N/A

Oklahoma State is currently a bubble team and they would be adding a former #1 pick to the mix. Anderson, Thompson, and Cisse are all good players and Cade Cunningham would only elevate their skills that much more. Cade beat national champion-winning Baylor with a team far worse than this in 2021.

20. Houston Cougars

Record: 20-2

KenPom Ranking: 2

New Team

PG: Jamal Shead (Jr.)
SG: Marcus Sasser (Sr.)
SF: Tramon Mark (Jr.)
PF: J’Wan Roberts (Jr.)
C: Jarace Walker (Fr.)
Notable Bench Players: Terrance Arceneaux (Fr.), Emanuel Sharp (Fr.)

The only team on this list with no additions in this alternate universe. Houston is a top 3 team in college basketball and it is crazy to think that this rule change would push them all the way down to 20. Marcus Sasser is still one of the best shooting guards in the country but the freshman trio or Walker, Arceneaux, and Sharp just aren’t ready to compete in a much older college basketball scene.

19. Texas Longhorns

Record: 17-4

KenPom Ranking: 10

New Team

PG: Tyrese Hunter (So.)
SG: Marcus Carr (Sr.)
SF: Dillon Mitchell (Fr.)
PF: Greg Brown (Jr.)
C: Kai Jones (Sr.)
Notable Bench Players: Timmy Allen (Sr.), Sir’Jabari Rice (Sr.), Arterio Morris (Fr.),

Wow, this team is fun! Tyrese Hunter and Marcus Carr are already a dynamic scoring backcourt but it is the frontcourt additions that make this team exciting. Neither Greg Brown nor Kai Jones were “great” college basketball players but now they’ve aged two years and are upper classmen. This team has offense in the backcourt with defense and versatility in the frontcourt. One of my favorite teams in the country.

18. Memphis Tigers

Record: 17-5

KenPom Ranking: 36

New Team

PG: Kendric Davis (Sr.)
SG: Josh Minott (So.)
SF: Precious Achiuwa (Sr.)
PF: Jalen Duren (So.)
C: James Wiseman (Sr.)
Notable Bench Players: DeAndre Williams (Sr.)

One word, versatility. Minott, Achiuwa, Duren, and Wiseman create hell for any opposing offense. The length and defensive ability of this lineup is unreal and makes them a massive candidate for upsets. At this point, Wiseman has developed into a college basketball monster and one of the best bigs in the country. This is an older team but the future is bright with sophomores Josh Minott and Jalen Duren.

17. Florida State Seminoles

Record: 7-15

KenPom Ranking: 158

New Team

PG: Scottie Barnes (Jr.)
SG: Darin Green (So.)
SF: Matt Cleveland (So.)
PF: Patrick Williams (Sr.)
C: Cameron Corhen (Fr.)
Notable Bench Players: Cam’Ron Fletcher (Jr.), Baba Miller (Fr.), Caleb Mills (Sr.), Jalen Warley (So.)

One of the hardest rankings. How far can Scottie Barnes and Patrick Williams carry a not-so-good Florida State team? Similar to Memphis this team is versatile defensively and Scottie would be an absolute force offensively. This is one of the rankings that may be wrong, if Scottie Barnes plays badly any of Memphis, Texas, UConn, or Oklahoma State could give them a run for their money.

Also worth noting this is a young team with only Patrick Williams and Caleb Mills graduating following this season. This Florida State team will be all the more of a contender next season.

16. Ohio State Buckeyes

Record: 11-10

KenPom Ranking: 27

New Team

PG: Bruce Thorton (Fr.)
SG: Malaki Branham (So.)
SF: Brice Sensabaugh (Fr.)
PF: EJ Liddell (Sr.)
C: Zed Key (Jr.)
Notable Bench Players: Sean McNeil (Sr.)

Man, this team can score the ball. The wing duo of Branham and Sensabaugh is one of the most potent offensive duos in the country. EJ Liddell gives Ohio State versatility and allows them to have the option of going small or playing more traditionally with Zed Key. This team does not have much national title upside but they can give any team a scare.

15. Baylor Bears

Record: 16-5

KenPom Ranking: 14

New Team

PG: Adam Flagler (Sr.)
SG: LJ Cryer (Jr.)
SF: Keyonte George (Fr.)
PF: Kendall Brown (So.)
C: Jeremy Sochan (So.)
Notable Bench Players: Flo Thamba (Sr.), Jalen Bridges (Jr.), Langston Love (Fr.)

The Baylor vs USC (spoiler they’re next) debate in my head was fierce so switch them if you would like.

This team is full of just really good college players. Outside of frontcourt shooting, this team has no holes and gels together really nicely. On top of that they are really young with 5 of the top 8 players being underclassmen. Next year and the year after, this team is on national title watch.

14. USC Trojans

Record: 15-6

KenPom Ranking: 42

New Team

PG: Boogie Ellis (Sr.)
SG: Kobe Johnson (So.)
SF: Drew Peterson (Sr.)
PF: Evan Mobley (Jr.)
C: Onyeka Okongwu (Sr.)
Notable Bench Players: Isaiah Mobley (Sr.), Tre White (Fr.)

I introduce you to one of the best two defensive frontcourts in the country (Auburn, not sure who’s better). Evan Mobley and Onyeka Okongwu is a fun offensive pairing but more importantly, it is an incredible defensive pairing. Evan Mobley is already one of the best defensive players in the NBA so I can not imagine the havoc he would wreck on college basketball.

On top of those two, Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson are no bums who complement the frontcourt well. Along with those four, Isaiah Mobley, Kobe Johnson, and Tre White, USC is one of the best teams in the country that plays everyone well.

13. North Carolina Tar Heels

Record: 15-6

KenPom Ranking: 31

New Team

PG: Cole Anthony (Sr.)
SG: Caleb Love (Jr.)
SF: Leaky Black (Sr.)
PF: Day’Ron Sharpe (Jr.)
C: Armando Bacot (Sr.)
Notable Bench Players: RJ Davis (Jr.), Pete Nance (Sr.), Puff Johnson (Jr.)

This is the same team as currently but they get two upgrades in the form of Cole Anthony and Day’Ron Sharpe. I could not rank UNC much higher because they have a very similar team in real life and are not ranked at all. Black, Bacot, and Sharpe are an incredible defensive frontcourt with size.

Cole Anthony and Caleb Love as a backcourt is 100%, not a disaster waiting to happen and instead a greatttt idea. With the loaded starting lineup is a good bench but again, this team would probably disappoint.

12. Purdue Boilermakers

Record: 21-1

KenPom Ranking: 4

New Team

PG: Jaden Ivey (Jr.)
SG: Fletcher Loyer (Fr.)
SF: Ethan Morton (Jr.)
PF: Caleb Furst (So.)
C: Zach Edey (Jr.)
Notable Bench Players: Braden Smith (Fr.)

Although I don’t agree, Purdue is the #1 team in the country and they are gaining a top-five pick in the draft. Zach Edey has fully broken out and now he and Ivey are going full Kobe and Shaq on college basketball. No notable seniors on this roster means Purdue is one of the favorites not only to win this year’s title but also next years.

11. UCLA Bears

Record: 17-4

KenPom Ranking: 3

New Team

PG: Tyger Cambell (Sr.)
SG: Johnny Juzang (Sr.)
SF: Jaylen Clark (Jr.)
PF: Jaime Jaquez (Sr.)
C: Adem Bona (Fr.)
Notable Bench Players: Peyton Watson (So.), Amari Bailey (Fr.), David Singleton (Sr.)

The additions of Johnny Juzang and Peyton Watson are helpful but most of this ranking is because of what they are today. Jaime Jacquez is one of the best players in college basketball and his supporting cast is legitimate. Peyton Watson was not a very good player as a freshman but as a sophomore, he is a much more valuable player.

10. Tennessee Volunteers

Record: 18-3

KenPom Ranking: 1

New Team

PG: Jaden Springer (Jr.)
SG: Keon Johnson (Jr.)
SF: Julian Phillips (Fr.)
PF: Olivier Nkamhoua (Sr.)
C: Uros Plavsic (Sr.)
Notable Bench Players: Kennedy Chandler (So.), Santiago Vescovi (Sr.), Josiah-Jordan James (Sr.)

This Tennessee team may not look like a top-10 team on paper but they are just a bunch of really good basketball players. The guard depth on this team is unreal with Jaden Springer leading the way during his junior year. This team is tough and a lockdown defensively, underated on paper but Tennessee could make a final 4 run.

9. Kansas Jayhawks

Record: 17-4

KenPom Ranking: 9

New Team

PG: Dajuan Harris (Jr.)
SG: Christian Braun (Sr.)
SF: Gradey Dick (Fr.)
PF: Jalen Wilson (Sr.)
C: KJ Adams (Soph.)
Notable Bench Players: Kevin McCullar (Sr.)

The defending national champions only lose Ochai Agbaji while everyone on their team gets a year better. This team has the best coach in the country, shooting, and is versatile defensively. The shooting between Braun and Dick is enough to put fear in the heart of any team. Jalen Wilson is a star and Dajuan Harris is a very solid college point guard.

8. Alabama Crimson Tide

Record: 18-3

KenPom Ranking: 5

New Team

PG: Mark Sears (Sr.)
SG: Josh Primo (Jr.)
SF: Keon Ellis (Jr.)
PF: Brandon Miller (Fr.)
C: Noah Clowney (Fr.)
Notable Bench Players: Jaden Bradley (Fr.), Jahvon Quinerly (Sr.), Chales Bediako (So.)

As if this team needed any more shooting. Brandon Miller is the best freshman in the country and is surrounded by depth and shooting. Josh Primo (in this alternate universe he is not a bad person) and Keon Ellis give the team offensive versatility. This team is ready to compete today but next year it will morph into its prime with stars becoming a year older.

7. Michigan Wolverines

Record: 11-10

KenPom Ranking: 68

New Team

PG: Franz Wagner (Sr.)
SG: Caleb Houstan (So.)
SF: Jett Howard (Fr.)
PF: Moussa Diabate (So.)
C: Hunter Dickinson (Jr.)
Notable Bench Players: Kobe Bufkin (So.), Terrance Williams (Jr.)

Franz Wagner is a top 3 player in college basketball who can lead this team to new levels. Houstan, Howard, Diabate, and Dickinson are about as good of a 2-5 in college basketball. Although they are 7, the ceiling of this team is a national title.

6. Arkansas Razorbacks

Record: 14-7

KenPom Ranking: 21

New Team

PG: Nick Smith (Fr.)
SG: Ricky Council (Jr.)
SF: Moses Moody (Jr.)
PF: Trevon Brazile (So.)
C: Jaylin Williams (Jr.)
Notable Bench Players: Anthony Black (Fr.), Jordan Walsh (Fr.), Davonte Davis (Jr.)

Nick Smith being “injured” right now is questionable but for the sake of this, I will play him. This team not only adds NBA players but gets Nick Smith and Trevon Brazile healthy. This team is so talented that Anthony Black, Jordan Walsh, and Jaylin Williams come off the bench. Similar to Alabama, this team is really good already but they will hit their prime next year as none of their top 8 players are seniors.

5. Auburn Tigers

Record: 16-5

KenPom Ranking: 29

New Team

PG: Sharife Cooper (Jr.)
SG: KD Johnson (Jr.)
SF: Isaac Okoro (Sr.)
PF: Jabari Smith (So.)
C: Walker Kessler (Jr.)
Notable Bench Players: Wendell Green (Jr.), JT Thor (Jr.), Johni Broome (Jr.)

Last year’s Auburn team was incredible and we get to see that team a year older plus three NBA players in Isaac Okoro, Shariffe Cooper, and JT Thor. This team is INCREDIBLE defensively but ironically isn’t great as an outside shooting team outside of Jabari Smith. Kessler is the best shot blocker in the country and they have guard depth that is necessary to make a run in March.

4. Arizona Wildcats

Record: 19-3

KenPom Ranking: 12

New Team

PG: Dalen Terry (Jr.)
SG: Josh Green (Sr.)
SF: Bennedict Mathurin (Jr.)
PF: Azuolas Tubelis (Jr.)
C: Christian Koloko (Sr.)
Notable Bench Players: Zeke Nnaji (Sr.), Nico Mannion (Sr.), Oumar Ballo (Jr.), Kerr Kriisa (Jr.), Courtney Ramey (Jr.)

Now we get to the 1 seeds and the championship or bust teams. All ten of Arizona’s best players are upperclassmen which gives this team a mature edge over the rest of the country. Bennedict Mathurin has now taken over more of an initiator role while he is surrounded by good all-around players. Josh Green as a senior is exactly what a title contender needs from the guard position and Christian Koloko follows a phenomenal junior season with an even better senior year.

3. Duke Blue Devils

Record: 15-6

KenPom Ranking: 28

New Team

PG: Trevor Keels (So.)
SG: Cassius Stanley (Sr.)
SF: AJ Griffin (So.)
PF: Paolo Banchero (So.)
C: Mark Williams (Jr.)
Notable Bench Players: Kyle Filipowski (Fr.), Dariq Whitehad (Fr.), Wendell Moore (Sr.), Dereck Lively (Fr.), Jeremy Roach (Jr.), Tyrese Proctor (Fr.), Jalen Johnson (Jr.), Vernon Carey (Sr.)

A team full of NBA players locks this team in as a top 3 team. Paolo Banchero is the country’s best underclassman and AJ Griffin has morphed into a really good starter. Paolo, Mark Williams, Filipowski, and Dereck Lively lock down a great front court but Duke’s issues come in the backcourt. Trevor Keels and Cassius Stanley are good players but don’t scream excellence especially compared to the next two teams. This Duke team is extremely young though and will compete for the title in the next 3 years.

2. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Record: 18-4

KenPom Ranking: 16

New Team

PG: Nolan Hickman (So.)
SG: Jalen Suggs (Jr.)
SF: Julian Strawther (Jr.)
PF: Chet Holmgren (So.)
C: Drew Timme (Sr.)
Notable Bench Players: Rasir Bolton (Sr.)

Gonzaga is good today, they were better last season, and, they get to add Jalen Suggs to that team. Suggs and Chet were former high school teammates so a connection already exists between the two. Julian Strawther and Drew Timme are incredible players that would play a much bigger role on nearly every other team in the country. This team is well-rounded with stars that will win games but there is a reason they are 2, not 1.

1. Kentucky Wildcats

Record: 14-7

KenPom Ranking: 34

New Team

PG: Cason Wallace (Fr.)
SG: Tyrese Maxey (Sr.)
SF: Shaedon Sharpe (So.)
PF: Isaiah Jackson (Jr.)
C: Oscar Tshiebwe (Sr.)
Notable Bench Players: BJ Boston (Sr.), TyTy Washington (So.), Chris Livingston (Fr.), Sahvir Wheeler (Sr.)

This team just makes too much sense on every level. Wallace, Maxey, and Sharpe form an incredible backcourt with TyTy and Sahvir Wheeler coming off the bench. The reigning national player of the year is planted in the frontcourt along with versatile forward Isaiah Jackson. Off the bench, senior BJ Boston is in line for 6th man of the year. This team has everything and it is a national title or disappointment for Coach Cal and the Wildcats.


Must See

Join the Newsletter!

More in Joey's Draft Stuff

Would you like to get Notifications for new articles? OK No thanks