This year’s NCAA Final Four teams are all being impacted in varying degrees by the ’08 NBA Draft.
National champions Kansas just learned that their entire starting five and sixth man from the title game aren’t coming back, as underclassmen Mario Chalmers, Darrell Arthur and Brandon Rush have announced their intention to remain in the Draft. With seniors Russell Robinson, Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun also out, that leaves junior-to-be PG Sherron Collins and sophomore 7-footer Cole Aldrich (who drew more than a few “Who the f*** is THAT?!?” reactions during the Big Dance) to run the show for a team that will rely heavily on incoming freshmen Trevis Releford (Okla.), Tyshawn Taylor (N.J.) and Quintrell Thomas (N.J.), all Top-100 recruits.
Memphis is of course losing underclassmen Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts, plus senior Joey Dorsey, but are at least getting early entrants Robert Dozier and Antonio Anderson back to provide support for incoming frosh superstar Tyreke Evans.
UCLA is losing Lottery pick locks Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook, but Josh Shipp is coming back. At the moment Luc Richard Mbah a Moute hasn’t declared his intentions, however that may not even matter in the long run because UCLA is bringing in the nation’s best recruiting class. Led by Gatorade National Player of the Year Jrue Holiday, it also includes All-Americans Drew Gordon, Malcolm Lee and five-star recruits J’Mison Morgan and Jerime Anderson.
Finally, North Carolina learned earlier today that Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green will all be coming back to school, bolstering Tyler Hansbrough‘s supporting cast to go along with Class of ’08 All-American signees Ed Davis and Tyler Zeller in the frontcourt and Larry Drew in the backcourt. With the crew they have coming back along with the newcomers, the Tar Heels have to be the front-runner for the ’09 championship.