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IMO, we should be expecting getting into the Dance yearly.
We have 4 freshman who played meaningful minutes and contributed in most every game this year. You have to think they are going to improve on this. They were all stars in their respective high school teams and spent this year showing glimpses of doing it on the college level. Next year they would have to be more comfortable in what they can do and have a much better idea of what CAG expects. Plus, we have the foreign guy who is getting to learn under Releford and will hopefully be ready to provide a few minutes next year.
We have 4 sophomores, lead obviously by Trevor, who showed signs of improvement. I know Engstrom is still has a long way to go, but he is 100X the player he was last year, and his understanding of the game is 100X better. If he continues to develop he will be a great role player for us. Gueye was a little disappointing this year, and I'm hoping we can just blame it on the injury. Hopefully those 2 will work on their offensive game and rebounding and be ready next year for big minutes. Hankerson is always going to be a steady guy who can have a breakout game here or there. You need guys like him.
I am counting Mitchell as gone, so just going with those 9 players plus Eblin (we know, no offense, but he hustles and provides minutes for Releford and/or Lacey to get breaks) we have the foundation to be pretty good. There are a bunch of really good players - not necessarily all-stars, but players who can carry teams and play at most of the big name schools. The best part is that these are guys who aren't jumping for the NBA anytime soon. We may have some who could leaave after their junior year (assuming they have some really big years over the next two) but I would doubt it. So by 2-3 years down the road we are going to be a very experienced team, who have played a couple years together.
I wouldn't be surprised to see us in the top 4 in the SEC (which, after including Mizzou this would be a pretty nice accomplishment) and be comfortably in the tourney with a 7 or better seed, and hopefully getting through the first round and possibly a sweet 16 run. The next year, assuming we still have the current fresh/soph I wouldn't be surprised for us to make a run at the league championship, getting a top 4-5 seed and be a real contender in the tourney. This is without any new guys, so if we could land a big name recruit or two over the next 2 years we may be able to reach for more. I think this team has the foundation for some really big things, and I think CAG is the right guy to do it.
"Once in awhile you get shown the light in the strangest of places you have to look at it right."
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