- Fran Fraschilla, College Basketball
With the number of players at top programs who are leaving early for the NBA, and with the epidemic of transfers at an all-time high, depth is a luxury in college basketball.
While finding playing time for everyone on a deep team can be problematic for a coach, most coaches would much rather solve that puzzle than be short-handed. The following five teams will be among the nation's best heading into the 2014-15 season, in part because they have outstanding talent and the depth to withstand injuries and poor play from early-season starters.
Here's my ranking of the nation's five deepest teams.
There is little argument that the Wildcats have the deepest and most talented team in the country. Since there wasn't the mass exodus from Lexington to the NBA that we thought there would be, John Calipari will enjoy the fruits of two years' worth of recruiting labor. He'll have a myriad of options to play both big and small.
In addition to welcoming another outstanding recruiting class made up of four McDonald's All-Americans, the Wildcats lost only Julius Randle and James Young to the draft from last season's seven-man freshmen class (taking nothing away from the talents of Randle and Young). Calipari's front line will potentially have six future first-round picks. Two starters return (Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson) along with key role players (Marcus Lee and Alex Poythress), while freshmen Karl Towns Jr. and Trey Lyles will have an immediate impact inside. Towns will likely be a top-three pick next June.
Lastly, while Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison return for their sophomore seasons in the backcourt after finishing their freshmen campaigns on an upswing, they will be pressed for time by Chicago point guard dynamo Tyler Ulis and outstanding shooter Devin Booker, son of former Missouri great Melvin Booker.