SI's Preseason All-Americas
F FRANCISCO GARCIA, 6'7", JR., LOUISVILLE
F HAKIM WARRICK, 6'8", SR., SYRACUSE
November 22, 2004
F WAYNE SIMIEN, 6'9", SR., KANSAS
G RASHAD MCCANTS, 6'4", JR., NORTH CAROLINA
G CHRIS PAUL, 6'0", SOPH., WAKE FOREST
F JOEY GRAHAM, 6'7", SR., OKLAHOMA STATE
F LAWRENCE ROBERTS, 6'9", SR., MISSISSIPPI STATE
F RYAN GOMES, 6'7", SR., PROVIDENCE
G DERON WILLIAMS, 6'3", JR., ILLINOIS
G RAYMOND FELTON, 6'1", JR., NORTH CAROLINA
JOE CRAWFORD, G, KENTUCKY Athleticism will enable the 6'4" Crawford to make the biggest impact of four blue-chip arrivals.
RUDY GAY, F, CONNECTICUT Long, lean and fast, the 6'9" Gay's high-flying game will fit perfectly into the Huskies' system.
DANIEL GIBSON, G, TEXAS His explosiveness has been compared with T.J. Ford's, but the 6'2" Gibson also plays ball hawking defense.
JUAN PALACIOS, C, LOUISVILLE He's the best big man Rick Pitino has ever signed for the Cardinals, and the coach compares the 6'8" Palacios's inside-outside abilities with those of Jamal Mashburn.
MARVIN WILLIAMS, F, NORTH CAROLINA
The 6'9" wingman will come off the bench to open the season, but with his polished offensive game it won't be long before he starts.
Circle These Dates
DEC. 18 KENTUCKY AT LOUISVILLE
The Wildcats look for payback against their former coach, Rick Pitino, whose Cardinals pulled off a 65--56 upset last season at Rupp.
JAN. 1 GEORGIA TECH AT KANSAS
Rematch of Elite Eight OT thriller features a battle of point guards (Jack versus Miles).
JAN. 15 NORTH CAROLINA AT WAKE FOREST
The Deacons face a huge test in the only regular-season meeting between the ACC's best.
FEB. 1 ILLINOIS AT MICHIGAN STATE
The Spartans look to avenge last year's 24point drubbing in Champaign.
FEB. 26 ARIZONA AT WASHINGTON
Two fast-paced teams will race to the finish in a game that could determine the Pac-10 title.
NORTHWESTERN With the addition of transfers Tim Doyle (from St. John's) and Michael Thompson (Duke), the Wildcats have a shot at earning their first NCAA tournament berth.
ORAL ROBERTS Four starters are back from a surprising 17--11 team, including sophomores Caleb Green (pictured) and Ken Tutt, who combined for 37.8 points per game last season.
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS Senior guard Darren Brooks, the Missouri Valley's Player of the Year, returns from a team that went 17--1 in conference play.
TOLEDO The Rockets have all five starters back from a 20--11 team, including MAC Player of the Year Keith Triplett (19.6 points per game).
WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE The Panthers return four starters from a 20--11 team and will get tournament ready with games against heavyweights Wisconsin, Kansas and Purdue.
Coaches on the Rise
MIKE ANDERSON, 44, UAB After reaching the Sweet 16 with an upset of Kentucky, he is on many schools' short lists.
JEFF CAPEL, 29, VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH Youngest coach in Division I, the former Duke guard is 41--18 in two seasons and should soon be jumping to a big-time program.
MICK CRONIN, 33, MURRAY STATE A former assistant to Bob Huggins and Rick Pitino, he led the Racers to a 28--6 record and an NCAA berth in his first year.
TRAVIS FORD, 34, EASTERN KENTUCKY In four years the former Kentucky guard has turned the once moribund Colonels into one of the top teams in the Ohio Valley Conference.
BOBBY GONZALEZ, 41, MANHATTAN This mover and shaker was a candidate for the Miami job after the Jaspers' NCAA first-round upset of Florida.
KARL HOBBS, 43, GEORGE WASHINGTON The former UConn assistant has brought a high-energy attack to GW and has the best team in the Atlantic 10.
Under the Radar
NICK BILLINGS, Sr., C, BINGHAMTON The 7-foot Alaska native was fifth in the nation in blocks (3.5 per game) and last summer caught the attention of NBA scouts during workouts against elite collegians.
DANNY GRANGER, Sr., F, NEW MEXICO An inside force at 6'8", he led the Mountain West in scoring (19.5) and the Lobos in rebounds (9.0), steals (3.2) and blocks (1.4).
JUAN MENDEZ, Sr., F, NIAGARA The 6'8" power forward does it all for the Purple Eagles, averaging 20.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks last season.
FILIBERTO RIVERA, Sr., G, UTEP A crafty 6'2" point, he's a former Junior College Player of the Year who led the Miners to a 24--8 record last season, averaging 11.2 points and 4.8 assists.
JULIAN SENSLEY, Jr., F, HAWAII The 6'9" former blue-chip recruit is at his third* Division I school, but he's a terrific talent with NBA ability and should improve last season's numbers: 12.3 points, 7.3 rebounds.
TONY BETHEL, Jr., G, N.C. STATE (FROM GEORGETOWN)
The 6'2" combo guard will team with All-America Julius Hodge to form a dynamite backcourt.
TAJ GRAY, Jr., F, OKLAHOMA, (FROM REDLANDS [OKLA.] CC)
The athletic 6'9" Gray, who averaged 18.1 points last season, can dominate in the paint.
DENNIS LATIMORE, Sr., F, NOTRE DAME (FROM ARIZONA)
The 6'9" banger will give the Irish an immediate boost as their starting power forward.
ED NELSON, Jr., F, CONNECTICUT (FROM GEORGIA TECH)
The 6'8" former ACC Freshman of the Year averaged 8.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in two seasons with the Yellow Jackets.
PATRICK SPARKS, Jr., G, KENTUCKY (FROM W. KENTUCKY)
The 6'1" point guard led the Sun Belt in assists (5.9 per game) in 2002--03 and is an excellent three-point shooter.