Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Top 50 players returning to same team for 2024-25 season

Tennessee v Creighton
Tennessee v Creighton / Aaron J. Thornton/GettyImages
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Tier 7: Role Players For The Elite

44. Michael O'Connell - NC State
Ok, I cheated on this one, as the Wolfpack are far from elite and might not even make next year's NCAA Tournament. But without O'Connell's three point prowess (37.5%) and excellent defense, NC State's Final Four run would have come to a close in the 2nd Round against Oakland.

43. Denver Jones - Auburn
Jones gets on the floor to do one thing for the Tigers, shoot. In one of the nation's best offenses from inside the arc, the three pointer was the closest thing to a weak spot for Auburn last season, but Jones' 41.8% on almost 3.5 attempts per game was a crucial stabilizer.

42. Grant Nelson - Alabama
Another NCAA Tournament hero after his 24 pts, 12 rebs, 5 blks performance against North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen, Nelson was also the Crimson Tide's leading rebounder and is now the lone rim protector amidst a highly touted group of incoming wing transfers.

41. Jayden Nunn - Baylor
In between a true point guard in Duke transfer Jeremy Roach and potential lottery pick VJ Edgecombe, Nunn is gonna be tasked with continuing to do a bit of everything. He's a floor spacer (43.9% from three), a secondary playmaker (2.0 apg) and high level defender around the perimeter.

40. Samson Johnson - UConn
Guess what, UConn has another freak athlete at center. Johnson will take his devastating, momentum shifting alley oops into a starting role. The new crew of guards for the back-to-back National Champions will love playing a with a big man who missed just thirty-eight shots all of last season, compared to one hundred makes.

39. J'Wan Roberts - Houston
Roberts was so impactful on the glass and on defense that he was Third Team All-Big 12 despite scoring just 9.5 ppg. The heart of the Cougars' second in the nation defense, Roberts and Ja'Vier Francis are the most intimidating duo to drive into in the nation.

Tier 6: One Bid Wonders

A few of these players are trying to keep low major powerhouses on top. Some others have their eye on breaking an NCAA Tournament drought.

38. Trenton McLaughlin - Northern Arizona
McLaughlin took a huge leap from a bit player into a 16.6 ppg star, en route to First Team All-Big Sky honors as a junior. Every rotation player is back for the Lumberjacks, who are seeking to jump up into the top four in the Big Sky for the first time since 2011, or even pursue the school's first NCAA Tournament berth since 2000.

37. Shamir Bogues - Vermont
Vermont just reloads every time they lose a star. Last off-season, Bogues transferred in from Tarleton State, and led the Catamounts in rebounds and shooting percentage, while also making All-Defense, to help lead them to an eighth straight America East regular season title.

36. Anthony Pritchard - Central Michigan
The lone returner from the First Team All-MAC, Pritchard put up a near triple nickel last season (12.8/5.1/4.7) and is the latest in a long run of star Chippewas guards. Central Michigan closed the year 12-6, racking up the most conference wins since their last NCAA Tournament appearance in 2003.

35. Duke Deen - Bradley
An awesome year for the Missouri Valley led to a mass exodus to the transfer portal worse than any other conference experienced, leaving Deen as the lone All-Conference player returning. The 5'8" dynamo leads an older team that will be heavily favored to win the league in what could be a final ride before Brian Wardle becomes a hot coaching candidate.

34. Ante Brzovic - College of Charleston
In his two season's in Charleston, Brzovic has been one of the two most important players for the most successful stretch in program history. All of the other key pieces are moving on, but the near 1,000 point scorer (830 in just two years) will lead the very talented group that new coach Chris Mack has brought in as the Cougars look to remain a top one hundred program under a new regime.

33. Kimani Hamilton - High Point
High Point returns five of their top six players from the Big South regular season champions, and yet still convinced four potential high impact transfers to join. It will be a disappointment if the Panthers fall short of their first NCAA Tournament, and the biggest reason for those high expectations is the return of Hamilton, who was top five in the Big South in both scoring (14.9 ppg) and rebounding (7.2 rpg) after transferring in from Mississippi State.