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Bossi's Best: Who can step in for departing stars next year?

RANKINGS: 2019 Rivals150 | 2019 Team rankings | 2019 Position rankings

2020 Rivals150 | 2020 Position rankings

Top 75 of 2021

Kahlil Whitney
Kahlil Whitney (https://rivals.com)

One of the toughest things to do is replace star players. In this week in Bossi’s Best, National Analyst Eric Bossi takes a look at members of the class of 2019 who can step in and fill a role similar to those of players that will be lost to either graduation or the NBA Draft.

The comparisons aren’t always perfect and it won’t be fair to expect each of these guys to produce at the same level as the guys they are replacing, but the fit and need do stand out.

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1. WASHINGTON 

Star: Noah Dickerson

Potential replacement: Isaiah Stewart

Bossi’s analysis: Dickerson has been a low-post workhorse for four years at Washington, a reliable scorer and rebounder. In Stewart, the Huskies are landing somebody that should be a bigger, better and potentially even more productive version of Dickerson. The most decorated recruit to pick the Huskies in some time, Stewart is a perfect plug-and-play replacement, and it’s hard to imagine any drop-off in production from what Dickerson has given.

2. KENTUCKY 

Star: Keldon Johnson

Potential replacement: Kahlil Whitney

Bossi’s analysis: I’m operating under the assumption here that Johnson goes pro, and if he does, then what better replacement than Whitney? Are Johnson and Whitney’s games exactly the same? No. Will Whitney be asked to provide similar scoring punch from the wing that Johnson has given the Wildcats, and will he be capable of doing so as a freshman? Absolutely. Whitney probably isn’t quite as polished as Johnson was coming into Kentucky, but he makes up for any difference in skill with crazy athleticism and looks ready to put up numbers right out of the gate.

3. VILLANOVA 

Star: Phil Booth

Potential replacement: Bryan Antoine

Bossi’s analysis: This pick could have just as easily been five-star Jeremiah Robinson-Earl to come in and pick up where Eric Paschall is going to leave off. But, with the opportunity to play next to a relatively experienced guard like Colin Gillespie, I really like Antoine’s ability to come in and replace Booth. It’s probably not fair to expect Antoine to score 18-plus a game as a freshman, but he should be one of the Big East’s most dangerous two guards the moment he arrives on campus.

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4. FLORIDA 

Star: KeVaughn Allen

Potential replacement: Scottie Lewis

Bossi’s analysis: Despite being an iffy jump-shooter, the Gators have gotten an awful lot out of Allen over the last four years. It’s my expectation that they can get just as much, if not more, from Lewis during the year or two that he’s likely to be on campus. He’ll be even more athletic, even more of a playmaker and could immediately be one of college basketball’s top wing defenders.


5. TENNESSEE

Star: Admiral Schofield

Potential replacement: Josiah James

Bossi’s analysis: I get it, James and Schofield are cut from a bit of a different cloth and don’t operate in a similar manner. But Schofield is going to leave a giant hole in Tennessee’s lineup, and James is ready to come in and fill it. He’s not as strong or hulking as Schofield, but I do expect James to be pretty beastly after a summer in the Volunteers' weight room. I also think he has leadership qualities and can be a guy Rick Barnes can move from inside to out in order to create matchup problems.

6. FLORIDA STATE 

Star: Terance Mann

Potential replacement: Patrick Williams

Bossi’s analysis: Quietly, Mann is one of the most irreplaceable players in the ACC, and he’s been a rock of consistency for the Seminoles. Maybe just as quietly, Williams is one of the best pickups in the ACC. The five-star is physically ready for elite-level college hoops. He doesn’t need a lot of shots to contribute and is a calm and steadying influence. He’s the best player-for-player replacement there is headed to the ACC next year.


7. TEXAS TECH 

Star: Jarrett Culver

Potential replacement: Jahmius Ramsey

Bossi’s analysis: The position comparison for Culver and Ramsey isn’t perfect. But Ramsey can help cover up for what the Red Raiders will lose when Culver leaves for the NBA after this season. Ramsey is more of an-in-your face, hard-charging guy in comparison to the smooth and skilled Culver. But, he’s athletic, he can score, he gets others involved, he fills out a stat sheet and he has the tools to be a big-time defensive stopper.


8. MARYLAND 

Star: Bruno Fernando

Potential replacement: Makhi Mitchell

Bossi’s analysis: All right, Mitchell isn’t the athlete Fernandez is, and he’ll do his damage in a different way. But, Fernandez is pretty unlikely to stick around for his junior season, and Mitchell is a nice piece to put next to Jalen Smith (assuming he’s back for his sophomore season) without losing too much. Mitchell has an edge to him like Fernandez. He has good hands and he can score reliably around the basket. Oh yeah, he’ll also have his more-than-capable twin borther Makhel Mitchell there to help him.

9. PURDUE 

Star: Ryan Cline

Potential replacement: Brandon Newman

Bossi’s analysis: When Cline graduates this spring, Matt Painter and the Boilermakers won’t have many shooters left, and that’s what made landing Newman so important. Maybe Newman won’t put up quite the numbers as a freshman that Cline has as a senior, but he’s one of the country’s top jump-shooters, and he should be much more ready to contribute healthy minutes in his early stages than Cline was four years ago. I’ve loved Newman’s fit and potential at Purdue ever since he committed, and he’ll do big things there.

10. KANSAS STATE 

Star: Barry Brown

Potential replacement: Dajuan Gordon

Bossi’s analysis: So, filling Brown’s shoes isn’t going to be easy. He’s been a beast in Manhattan while ascending to the top five of Kansas State’s all-time scoring list. So, no, nobody is expecting Gordon to do that. But, I see a lot of a young Brown in Gordon. Like Brown, he has the opportunity to be a big-time defender, he can get to the rim and I like his potential to develop as a jump-shooter. Gordon is a play-with-a-chip-on-his-shoulder kind of guy, and that’s exactly what Bruce Weber and the Wildcats need to try to fill the void left by one of their most productive players in school history.