With June fast approaching, the top teams in college basketball are dealing with the inevitability of losing key players to the NBA draft. In many cases, this becomes a common occurrence, and plugging in the next potential star is routine.
Here are five players with big shoes to fill, as their former, or prospective, teammates are off to the NBA. If they play as expected, their teams will likely be right where they were before -- at the top of the polls.
Ben McLemore, 6-foot-5, Freshman, Kansas Jayhawks
The Jayhawks go into next season needing to replace the two players, in Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor, who keyed their run to the national championship game. While it won't be easy, coach Bill Self has been down this road many times before.
The newcomer who is expected to have the biggest impact on Kansas' fortunes next season is redshirt freshman McLemore, an explosive wing player who should be able to provide scoring punch immediately. Although ineligible to play this season for academic reasons, he has practiced with the team since the start of the spring semester.
While there are elements of McLemore's offensive package that need to be polished -- like his ballhandling and deep shooting -- the opportunity to work on them for half a season will pay huge dividends in the fall. And there's little doubt that his intensity level, which was at times questioned when he was a high school star, should be sky-high with half a season under Self. It wouldn't surprise me if he's the Jayhawks' leading scorer.
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