What to know about each SEC basketball team in the 2020-21 season
Kentucky basketball did what it usually does in the offseason — the Wildcats loaded up on incoming talent.
But the Wildcats weren't alone, as the SEC accounted for six of the nation's top 12 recruiting classes, according to the 247Sports Composite.
The conference has an impressive influx of talent merging with returning stars such as Florida's Keyontae Johnson, LSU's Trendon Watford and Tennessee's John Fulkerson.
Here is what you need to know about each team in the SEC this season:
2019-20 record: 16-15, 8-10 SEC
Top returners: Senior G John Petty Jr. (14.5 ppg, 44% 3-pt), sophomore G Jaden Shackelford (15 ppg), senior F Herb Jones (7.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg)
Top newcomers: Four-star G Josh Primo, senior F Jordan Bruner (Yale grad transfer), sophomore G Jahvon Quinerly (Villanova)
Key losses: G Kira Lewis, Jr. (18.1 ppg, 5.2 apg)
Summary: Nate Oats’ second team will be loaded with long, athletic shooters. Point guard play from Quinerly (replacing Lewis) will be key. — Cecil Hurt, Tuscaloosa News
2019-20 record: 20-12, 7-11 SEC
Top returners: Junior G Desi Sills (5.6 ppg, 46% 3-pt)
Top newcomers: Four-star G Moses Moody, senior G Jalen Tate (Northern Kentucky transfer), senior F Vance Jackson (New Mexico transfer)
Key losses: G Mason Jones (21.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg), G Isaiah Joe (13.7 ppg, 34% 3-pt)
Summary: Arkansas is a hard team to pin down, with 12 players that are either new to the roster or eligible after sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules. It's a crop with a world of potential, led by freshman Moses Moody, a top-50 prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings, and graduate transfer guard Jalen Tate from Northern Kentucky, a player several schools sought after. . — Will Backus, Knoxville News Sentinel
2019-20 record: 25-6, 12-6 SEC
Top returners: Sophomore G Devan Cambridge (4.2 ppg, 34.2% 3-pt), senior F Jaylin Williams (2.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg)
Top newcomers: Five-star G Sharife Cooper, four-star F JT Thor.
Key losses: G Samir Doughty (16.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.7 apg), F Isaac Okoro (1.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg), C Austin Wiley (10.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg).
Summary: Bruce Pearl said this is the youngest team he's ever had as a Division I coach. There is raw talent returning and the highest-ranked recruiting class in program history joins them, but with last year's top six scorers gone these Tigers have no experience. There will be growing pains.— Josh Vitale, Montgomery Advertiser
2019-20 record: 19-12, 11-7 SEC
Top returners: Junior G Keyontae Johnson 14.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg), junior G Noah Locke (10.6 ppg) sophomore G Scottie Lewis (8.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg)
Top newcomers: Junior F Tyree Appleby (Cleveland State transfer), junior G Anthony Duruji (Louisiana Tech transfer), junior F Colin Castleton (Michigan transfer)
Key losses: F Kerry Blackshear Jr. (12.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg), G Andrew Nembhard (11.2 ppg, 5.6 apg)
Summary: Coach Mike White plans to abandon Florida's slow style from a year ago and run and press this year with a full roster. "It's in my DNA," White said. How the players deal with filling roles off the bench will be a major factor for a team that should be better defensively. The schedule is rough again, but there is no shortage of capable players. — Pat Dooley, The Gainesville Sun
2019-20 record: 16-16, 5-13 SEC
Top returners: Sophomore G Sahvir Wheeler (9.0 ppg, 4.5 apg), sophomore F Toumani Carmara (6.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg), junior G Tye Fagan (4.1 ppg, 56% FG)
Top newcomers: Senior F P.J. Horne (Virginia Tech transfer), senior G Justin Kier (George Mason transfer), senior F Andrew Garcia (Stony Brook transfer)
Key losses: G Anthony Edwards (19.1 ppg), F Rayshaun Hammonds (12.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg), G Jordan Harris (7.1 ppg, 4 rpg)
Summary: It’s another overhauled roster for Tom Crean’s third year of a rebuild with eight newcomers for a team projected to finish near the bottom again in the SEC. After relying heavily on Edwards and Hammonds last season, this should be a more balanced scoring team led by Wheeler and Camara, but rebounding and interior defense could be a challenge for an undersized roster. — Marc Weiszer, Athens Banner-Herald
2019-20 record: 25-6, 15-3 SEC
Top returners: Sophomore F Keion Brooks (4.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg)
Top newcomers: Five-star G Brandon Boston Jr., five-star G Terrence Clarke, Senior C Olivier Sarr (Wake Forest transfer)
Key losses: G Immanuel Quickley (16.1 ppg, 42.8% 3-pt), F Nick Richards (14 ppg, 7.8 rpg), G Tyrese Maxey (14 ppg, 3.2 apg)
Summary: Massive roster turnover is the norm at Kentucky, but with only one player back who scored a point last season John Calipari has an even bigger challenge than normal. Luckily, he signed the No. 1 recruiting class and added three veteran transfers. — Jon Hale, Louisville Courier Journal
2019-20 record: 21-10, 12-6 SEC
Top returners: Sophomore F Trendon Watford (13.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg), junior G Javonte Smart (12.5 ppg, 4.1 apg), junior F Darius Days (11.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg).
Top newcomers: Five-star G Cameron Thomas, four-star G Eric Gaines, Four-star F Mwani Wilkinson.
Key losses: G Skylar Mays (16.7 ppg, 3.2 apg), F Emmitt Williams (13.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg).
Summary: LSU should be able to pick up where it left off last season, which was a second-place tie in the SEC. Will Wade continues to recruit well as he has added the No. 6 class in the nation, according to 247Sports, with five additions as well as three transfers. The shadow of his recruiting continues to hover, however, as most close to the program realize serious sanctions are likely coming sooner or later. — Glenn Guilbeau, Lafayette Daily Advertiser
2019-20 record: 15-17, 6-12 SEC
Top returners: G Devontae Shuler (11.7 ppg, 3.3 apg), F K.J. Buffen (10.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg), C Khadim Sy (9.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg)
Top newcomers: Senior F Romello White (Arizona State transfer), senior G/F Dimencio Vaughn (Rider transfer), junior G Jarkel Joiner (CSU Bakersfield transfer)
Key losses: G Breein Tyree (19.7 ppg, 36% 3-pt), F Blake Hinson (10.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg)
Summary: It's a new-look Ole Miss team adding four transfer players expected to produce immediately and freshman Matthew Murrell, a top-40 recruit. But it will be up to returning veterans Devontae Shuler, K.J. Buffen, Khadim Sy and Luis Rodriguez to get Ole Miss out of the SEC's cellar and back to the NCAA Tournament, where the Rebels' season finished two years ago. — Nick Suss, Clarion-Ledger
2019-20 record: 20-11, 11-7 SEC
Top returners: Senior C Abdul Ado (5.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg), sophomore G D.J. Stewart Jr. (8.5 ppg, 1.5 apg), sophomore G Iverson Molinar (5.9 ppg, 37.1% 3-pt)
Top newcomers: Redshirt sophomore F Javian Davis (Alabama transfer), senior F Jalen Johnson (Louisiana transfer), freshman PG Deivon Smith
Key losses: F Reggie Perry (17.4 ppg, 10.1 rpg), G Robert Woodard (11.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg), G Tyson Carter (13.9 ppg, 3.0 apg)
Summary: Ben Howland has his hands full replacing two NBA Draft picks in Robert Woodard and Reggie Perry. The Bulldogs will be very young and are not expected to make the NCAA Tournament, but it would be one of Howland’s best coaching jobs if they did. — Tyler Horka, Clarion-Ledger
2019-20 record: 15-16, 7-11 SEC
Top returners: Senior G Dru Smith (12.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.9 apg), senior C Jeremiah Tilmon (8.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg), junior G Xavier Pinson (11.1 ppg)
Top newcomer: Senior G Drew Buggs (Hawaii transfer)
Key losses: C Reed Nikko (4.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg)
Summary: The Tigers bring back the most experience in the SEC (88% of minutes played last season) as well as a heavy majority of their scoring (82%). During a pandemic year where less time as been spent in person, and more time building relationships over Zoom, Missouri has a chance to be the sleeper team in the SEC. If MU stays healthy, it should be an NCAA Tournament team. — Eric Blum, Columbia Daily Tribune
2019-20 record: 18-13, 10-8 SEC
Top returners: Junior G AJ Lawson (13.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg), sophomore G Jermaine Couisnard (12.1 ppg, 3.2 apg), junior F Keyshawn Bryant (9.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg)
Top newcomers: Senior G Seventh Woods (North Carolina transfer)
Key losses: F Maik Kotsar (11.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.3 apg), G Jair Bolden (8.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg)
Summary: The addition of Woods improves a quality backcourt with both Lawson and Couisnard good perimeter scorers and Lawson looking to make the jump to becoming a star in the SEC. The departure of 6-11 Kotsar leaves the roster with only one player taller than 6-7, so rebounding and play in the paint could be problematic, but there’s enough talent where the Gamecocks expect at least to be on the NCAA tournament bubble come March. — Eric Boynton, Spartanburg Herald-Journal
2019-20 record: 17-14, 9-9 SEC
Top returners: Senior F John Fulkerson (13.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg), senior F Yves Pons (10.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.4 bpg), sophomore G Santiago Vescovi (10.7 ppg, 36% 3-pt)
Top newcomer: Five-star G Jaden Springer, five-star G Keon Johnson, Senior F E.J. Anosike (Sacred Heart transfer)
Key losses: G Jordan Bowden (13.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg), G Lamonte Turner (12.3 ppg, 7.1 apg)
Summary: Tennessee is merging proven commodities like guard Josiah-Jordan James, Fulkerson, Pons and Vescovi with the best recruiting class in program history. The Vols also added Anosike to rebound, while Oregon transfer Victor Bailey Jr. will make a splash in the backcourt. Tennessee has the pieces to win another SEC regular-season title and have a deep NCAA Tournament run. — Mike Wilson, Knoxville News Sentinel
2019-20 record: 16-14, 10-8 SEC
Top returners: Senior G/F Savion Flagg (10.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg), sophomore F Emanuel Miller (6.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg)
Top newcomers: Senior F Kevin Marfo (Quinnipiac transfer), Four-star G/F Jaxson Robinson, four-star guard Hassan Diarra
Key losses: F Josh Nebo (12.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg), G Wendell Mitchell (10.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg)
Summary: Texas A&M will be led by preseason All-SEC selection Savion Flagg. Despite welcoming two highly-ranked freshmen and transfer Kevin Marfo, who led the nation with 13.3 rebounds per game at Quinnipiac last season, the Aggies don't have the level of talent to compete with the top of the SEC yet. — Will Backus, Knoxville News Sentinel
2019-20 record: 11-21, 3-15 SEC
Top returners: Sophomore G Scotty Pippen Jr. (12.0 ppg, 3.6 apg.), sophomore F Dylan Disu (7.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg), senior F Clevon Brown (9.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg).
Top newcomers: Junior G D.J. Harvey (Notre Dame transfer), sophomore F Quentin Millora-Brown (Rice transfer), Three-star F Myles Stute.
Key losses: Aaron Nesmith (23.0 ppg, 52.2% 3-pt.); Saben Lee (18.6 ppg, 4.2 apg).
Summary: Vanderbilt showed a little life late in Jerry Stackhouse’s first season, especially with the development of then-freshmen Scotty Pippen Jr. and Dylan Disu. There still might not be top-end talent, but if Notre Dame transfer D.J. Harvey and Rice transfer Quentin Millora-Brown can play big roles and Stackhouse finds another impactful freshman, the Commodores might climb a couple of steps out of the SEC cellar. — Adam Sparks, The Tennessean
Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.