We're about to enter the quiet time of the college basketball calendar. The national title game is around six weeks old, and the start of next season's practices is still four months away. It's almost hibernation time, but there is still quite a bit of unfinished business. For players testing the NBA draft waters without an agent, the deadline to withdraw their names is May 24. Summer classes begin at most schools in a couple of weeks, and the final day of the late signing period is this week.
In a couple of weeks, we'll finally be able to sit down and assess the landscape. Before then, though, there are more than a dozen key decisions left to be made that will impact the 2017-18 college basketball season, including NBA draft entrants, graduate transfers and high school prospects.
1. Caleb Swanigan, Purdue Boilermakers
If Swanigan returns, he will be the preseason favorite for the Wooden Award, and the Boilermakers will have a good chance to defend their Big Ten regular-season title. Fellow frontcourt veteran Vince Edwards has also yet to announce whether they're keeping their names in the NBA draft, but Swanigan is the big one. Without him, Purdue will fall back to the pack in the league. Swanigan is a bubble first-rounder right now, but his stock might be at its highest.
2. Tony Bradley, North Carolina Tar Heels
Roy Williams watched four Tar Heels enter their names into the NBA draft after the season. So far, Justin Jackson has signed with an agent, and Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson returned to school. Will Bradley follow suit? His per-40 production last season was impressive, and he would be poised for a breakout season with Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks no longer in Chapel Hill. Bradley's return would also mean North Carolina is a top-five team in November.
3. Mohamed Bamba, Westtown School (Pennsylvania)
Bamba is the nation's top uncommitted prospect, with Kentucky, Texas, Duke and Michigan on his final list of four. It's really between Kentucky and Texas. If he chooses Kentucky, Bamba would give the Wildcats a dominant shot-blocker inside. If he chooses Texas, it would be a massive recruiting get for Shaka Smart, and Bamba would be a season-changer for the Longhorns.
4. Deng Adel, Louisville Cardinals
The Cardinals could have been the preseason No. 1 team in the country had Donovan Mitchell returned to school. He's gone, leaving Adel as the last remaining piece for Rick Pitino. If he returns to school, Pitino has said the roster is complete. If not, the coach will have to make a renewed push for another addition. Adel is a matchup problem and could lead the team in scoring next season.
5. Cameron Johnson, Pittsburgh Panthers (graduate)
Johnson is the best remaining transfer on the market, mostly because he is immediately eligible and has two years of eligibility. He has already visited Kentucky, Ohio State, Arizona, UCLA and Oregon. Kentucky and Arizona were considered the early favorites, but there are still dominoes for both programs. UCLA and Oregon also badly need shooting on the wing.
6. D.J. Wilson and Moritz Wagner, Michigan Wolverines
The Wolverines hit their stride late in the season, but Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin are already gone from that group. John Beilein is bringing in transfers Charles Matthews (Kentucky) and Jaaron Simmons (Ohio) to help replace the perimeter punch, but Wilson and Wagner were key cogs down the stretch and could take the next step in 2017-18. The Wolverines would be a top-25 team if both return.
7. Trevon Bluiett, Xavier Musketeers
After a tremendous performance in the NCAA tournament, Bluiett was hoping to carry that momentum into the NBA draft process. Teammate Edmond Sumner already signed with an agent. If Bluiett returns, Chris Mack has one of the best pure scorers in the country and a clear-cut top-25 team. If not, Mack will have to rely more heavily on a talented incoming class.
8. Aaron Holiday and Thomas Welsh, UCLA Bruins
The Bruins were one of the biggest stories in college basketball last season, with their free-wheeling style and Lonzo Ball helping Steve Alford engineer a 16-win improvement. If Holiday and Welsh stay in the draft, UCLA will lose its top seven players from that team. The recruiting class is top five nationally, but a big drop-off would be on its way. Alford needs Holiday and Welsh back.
9. Andrew Jones, Texas Longhorns
Combine this with Bamba's looming decision, and Smart must be pacing in his office on a daily basis. The Longhorns could be poised for one of the biggest turnarounds in the country next season, after an 11-22 outing last season. Jones will be key to that. He will have fewer ball-handling responsibilities with the addition of Matt Coleman. He's not a guaranteed first-rounder yet, so Smart should feel optimistic about Jones' return.
10. Justin Jackson, Maryland Terrapins
NBA personnel were very intrigued by Jackson heading into the draft combine, because of his size and versatile skill set. He was a pleasant surprise in College Park as a freshman, and Mark Turgeon could really use him back as a sophomore, especially after the loss of Melo Trimble. Jackson could become the go-to guy for the Terrapins next season.
11. Hamidou Diallo, Kentucky Wildcats
Diallo hasn't even played a game for Kentucky yet but would give the Wildcats a boost should he return to school. The five-star recruit enrolled in January but took a redshirt for the spring semester. The Wildcats covered themselves on the wing with the addition of Kevin Knox last week, but Diallo's athleticism and ability to attack the rim from the wing is unlike anyone else's on the roster.
12. Rawle Alkins, Arizona Wildcats
Of the three wings who saw extended playing time for Arizona last season, the best of the bunch was Allonzo Trier. He's the only one who has said he's coming back to Tucson. Kobi Simmons already signed with an agent, leaving Alkins. Alkins reportedly impressed at the combine last week. If he stays in the draft and Cameron Johnson goes elsewhere, look for Sean Miller to attempt to woo five-star wing Brian Bowen.
13. Brian Bowen, La Lumiere (Indiana)
Bowen seemed likely to decide among Arizona, Michigan State and Creighton for most of the high school season, but DePaul and Oregon are in the mix now. Given Oregon's NBA departures, Bowen would give Dana Altman another bona fide wing scorer alongside Elijah Brown. Bowen going to DePaul would be a huge statement for Dave Leitao.
14. M.J. Walker, Jonesboro High School (Georgia)
Walker has really ramped up his recruitment lately. The five-star wing has taken visits to Virginia Tech, Ohio State and UCLA in recent weeks, and Florida State and Georgia Tech have been involved for months. He's a big-time perimeter scorer who could be the missing piece for any of his remaining schools.
15. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Kansas Jayhawks
Bill Self has made waves in the transfer market over the past few weeks, but most of the additions are for the 2018-19 season. The Jayhawks still don't have a ton of knockdown perimeter shooters, which is where Mykhailiuk would help if he returns. If not, Self will rely more heavily on LaGerald Vick and Arizona State transfer Sam Cunliffe.
16. Mark Alstork, Wright State Raiders (graduate): Alstork is in the midst of a visit binge, checking out Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Illinois, South Carolina, LSU and Louisville in a two-week span. Each school needs him badly, with South Carolina and Louisville the most noteworthy destinations in terms of the national picture.