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Rivals Roundtable: Looking ahead to 2022-23 season

Gradey Dick (right)
Gradey Dick (right) (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

The 2022-23 college basketball season is less than a month away and Rivals is starting to take a peek ahead at the best time of year. Today in our Friday discussion, national analysts Rob Cassidy and Travis Graf answer a three-pack of questions related to the upcoming campaign.

MORE: Rivals Hoops Podcast | Ranking the Contenders: Kaden Cooper

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2023 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2024 Rankings: Top 125 | Team

2025 Rankings: Top 40

Transfer Portal: Latest news

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1. WHICH FRESHMAN THAT WE RANKED OUTSIDE THE TOP 25 WILL HAVE THE BIGGEST IMPACT THIS SEASON?

CASSIDY: Bill Self rarely leans too heavily on true freshmen, but Gradey Dick’s shooting ability sets him apart and may force the veteran coach’s hand. Dick will start or, at the very least, see big minutes based on his ability to fill it from deep and he’s the kind of player that has the tools to seize the moment for a Kansas program that is perpetually in the spotlight. His range will earn him minutes, and his ability to defend multiple positions and impact games on the glass will surprise some.

GRAF: I’ll go with Kamari Lands here. He will have a chance to get as much early playing time as he wants as a true freshman, as Louisville is ultra thin in the backcourt and on the wing. His ability to knock down shots from the outside has always been his calling card and sources have told Rivals that the shot has carried over to the college game so far in practice. Lands will be called upon to be the Cardinals’ floor spacer and could ultimately start at the two or three spot from day one.

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2. WHICH SCHOOL’S 2023 CLASS SO FAR HAS SURPRISED YOU MOST?

CASSIDY: I’ll go with Pitt based on the talent the Panthers have landed amid less-than-ideal circumstances. It’s always difficult to recruit when doubt about a coaching staff’s future has taken hold. Recruits with options sometimes get cold feet when they have to wonder if their coach will be fired in the year ahead. That hasn’t happened here, though, as Jeff Capel and company have amassed the No. 2 class in the ACC despite entering the season on the hot seat.

The combination of Carlton Carrington and Jaland Lowe seem to fill in the gaps in each other’s games to some extent and could be an effective backcourt for a few years if Capel turns things around and gets the two impact prospects on campus. Obviously, keeping the three-member class together will all hinge on what happens this season, but getting this group in the fold in the first place is an impressive feat for a staff that clearly has not laid down in the face of adversity.

GRAF: I didn’t expect TJ Otzelberger to get off to this hot of a start recruiting-wise at Iowa State, but he sure did. Not even into his second season with the Cyclones, Otzelberger currently has a top-five recruiting class in 2023. The best thing about this class is that all of the pieces make sense, and so far, the pieces include a five-star Omaha Biliew, two four-stars in Milan Momcilovic and Jelani Hamilton, and a three-star in Kayden Fish. The Cyclones have three top-100 players wrapped up already and have made a statement that they’re not afraid to go against traditional powers to land prospects that they want.

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3. WHICH PROGRAM THAT MISSED THE NCAA TOURNAMENT A YEAR AGO ARE YOU MOST CONFIDENT WILL MAKE THE CUT IN 2023?

Colin Castleton
Colin Castleton

CASSIDY: This type of question has been made so much harder because of the transfer portal and the unpredictable nature of teams with totally revamped rosters, but I’ll rock with Florida and new head coach Todd Golden. I like the duo of big man Colin Castleton, who should have an all-SEC type season and Kyle Lofton, who was one of the most coveted guards in the country when he decided to transfer away from St. Bonaventure. They key will be the supporting cast, but Lofton and Castleton are an incredibly formidable and veteran inside-outside duo.

GRAF: I’m very confident in the Dayton Flyers not only making the NCAA Tournament, but making a lot of noise in it as well. They return all of their young core and have a potential breakout candidate on the national level in DaRon Holmes II. The continuity between Holmes, plus other returning starters in Toumani Camara, Malachi Smith, Kobe Elvis and RJ Blakney, all young guys, can’t be understated. Anthony Grant’s squad also has one of the more fascinating prospects in the freshman class in wing Mike Sharavjamts. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Dayton go from the NIT to a five seed or better in the NCAA Tournament within a year.