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Future reality TV star on each top-25 team


The Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings for next season in college basketball have been updated, and now that rosters are beginning to crystallize, it’s time to get familiar with each team. Now that we’ve identified the incoming freshmen to know, let’s try a non-basketball approach. Which players from top-25 teams could be the next stars of their own reality TV shows?

1. Matt Jones, Duke Blue Devils

Think R&B singer Omarion. Both are quick to flash a smile and seemingly always in a good mood. Jones might not be able to carry a tune the same way, but his interest in music and fashion would be the cornerstones of his show. Don’t expect anything crazy from Jones; he’d be the easy-going kind of personality with whom everyone could relate. — C.L. Brown

2. Darryl Reynolds, Villanova Wildcats

Reynolds already has an audition tape. His short film, Phillis Pain, featuring teammates Phil Booth and Mikal Bridges, is all about heartbreak. And word among the Wildcats is Reynolds has the biggest, goofiest personality on the team. “Oh, it’s definitely Darryl,” Kris Jenkins said. This, coming from Jenkins, who goes by the nickname of Big Smoove, which would seem to be perfect for reality TV. — Dana O’Neil

3. Tai Wynyard, Kentucky Wildcats

Here’s an idea for a reality TV show. Hire a camera crew to follow Wynyard, a 6-foot-10, 255-pound center from Auckland, New Zealand, around the Kentucky campus. He’s the son of 12-time Stihl Timbersports Series world lumberjack champion Jason Wynyard, and per his bio, he’s “also a lumberjack and considers his axe his most prized possession.” Admit it. You’d watch the “Tai Wynyard Show.” You would. — Myron Medcalf

4. Devonte’ Graham, Kansas Jayhawks

Talk to anyone on the Jayhawks’ staff, and the answer is without any hesitation Graham, who has the energetic and outgoing personality to pull it off. He’s funny and the vocal leader on a team that features a lot of quiet kids. A close second would be incoming freshman Josh Jackson. But that would be largely because of his mother, Apples, and her unique and strong personality. — Jeff Goodman

5. London Perrantes, Virginia Cavaliers

Now we come up with this idea? After Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill are gone? Brogdon was a fascinating, scary-smart dude living in a prestigious dorm facility bereft of post-18th-century comforts; Gill was a hilarious, unyielding prankster. These guys should be in syndication already! Sigh. In their absence, let’s go with Perrantes. He seems like a pretty chill dude, right? He’s got great hair, he makes big shots, and he used to wear cargo pants until a chant shamed him into dropping his California-born style. We’ll workshop it. — Eamonn Brennan

6. Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina Tar Heels

Meeks has transformed his body during his time as a Tar Heel. He came to North Carolina needing to drop weight to become effective. He has done all of that and will be a major part of North Carolina’s offense and rim protection next season. He declared for the NBA draft, but withdrew. His point production went down last season, but that’s because Brice Johnson was such a stat-stuffer. Meeks has a story to tell, where he had a goal, met it and got to be in the best shape of his career. — Andy Katz

7. Dillon Brooks, Oregon Ducks

Brooks could be that rare type of reality star who actually inspires others rather than entertains through ignorance. As a kid, Brooks once struggled with learning disabilities, and one teacher reportedly even told him he’d never graduate high school. Brooks operates with a chip on his shoulder, but he channels it the right way. Even if, for a game, Mike Krzyzewski thought otherwise. — Brown

8. Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin Badgers

If we were looking to cast for “The Voice” or “America’s Got Talent,” Vitto Brown would win in a landslide. But if you’re looking for a jack-of-all-trades reality contestant, how can you pass up the guy who challenged a stenographer to spell onomatopoeia? Hayes’ quirky personality that masks a pretty deep thinker (remember this encounter with Tom Izzo during the NCAA tournament?) would make him equal parts entertaining and unpredictable. In other words, reality show gold. — O’Neil

9. Edmond Sumner, Xavier Musketeers

After averaging 11 points per game for an excellent Xavier team his freshman season, Edmond Sumner decided against testing the NBA waters. Now, he’s back for Chris Mack’s squad. But his reality TV show would focus on his fashion sense. Sure, he’d discuss basketball, but he’d probably prefer to show you how he puts together impeccable casual combinations. — Medcalf

😄.

A photo posted by Edmond Sumner (@edmondsumner) on

10. Eron Harris, Michigan State Spartans

The Indianapolis native sings, he dances, he’s funny. As one person on the staff said, “He’s always an adventure.” Harris loves to shoot videos of himself, and he’s got his own YouTube channel. — Goodman

11. Thomas Bryant, Indiana Hoosiers

If you squint, Collin Hartman kind of looks like the protagonist from the greatest reality television show of all time. Unfortunately, “Mad Real World” was a skit, and if there’s one thing the gritty, authentic world of reality TV won’t brook, it’s scripted fakery. Instead, then, we turn to Bryant, whose emotional range and steady maturation — not to mention the central role he will play in Indiana’s season — will make him the 2016-17 Hoosiers’ most fascinating documentary subject. — Brennan

12. Ray Smith, Arizona Wildcats

Smith was out for the season with a torn ACL. He missed a number of games as a senior at Las Vegas High School when he tore his other ACL. Yet, Smith is still one of the glue guys for the Wildcats heading into next season. He has leadership skills that Arizona needs with an inexperienced team. The Wildcats have seven newcomers. And the word from Arizona is this team won’t lack talent, but its personality is unknown. Smith can deliver on that count because he has had to go through a grueling rehab not once, but twice. His story is worth watching. — Katz

13. Anas Mahmoud, Louisville Cardinals

Generally speaking, the players who coach Rick Pitino tends to get after the most are the ones who bring the greatest sense of levity. (Think Russ Smith.) The 7-foot Egyptian takes Pitino’s ire in stride. In fact, Mahmoud seems to handle everything with a touch of humor. An engineering major, Mahmoud speaks English, Arabic, French and German but knows how to communicate without saying a word. Watch how many times he’s caught on camera during a game giving a wink. — Brown

14. Spike Albrecht, Purdue Boilermakers

As a freshman, Albrecht (now a graduate transfer for the Boilermakers) came off the Michigan bench and out of nowhere to score 17 points in the national championship game against Louisville. Rick Pitino still jokes that when people ask him why he didn’t stop Albrecht, it’s because he didn’t know about the reserve. Afterward, Albrecht had the audacity to tweet at Wolverine fan and supermodel Kate Upton, including a winking emoji and a “hope to see you again.” — O’Neil

15. Teyvon Myers, West Virginia Mountaineers

Coaches are off the table, but wouldn’t an uncensored “Bob Huggins Show” or the “Billy Hahn Sleep Cam” be fun? So we’ll go with Myers, the team jokester. Throughout the Big 12 tournament, the Mountaineers maintained the serious demeanor most teams demonstrate in the postseason. But everyone laughed whenever Myers bounced around the locker room. Everyone at Kansas City’s Sprint Center could hear the Brooklyn native’s “ha-ha!” cackle. Everyone. How do you keep a straight face around this guy? — Medcalf

16. Rem Bakamus, Gonzaga Bulldogs

You’ve probably never heard of him. He’s a 6-foot senior walk-on, but Bakamus — according to assistant coach Tommy Lloyd — is a social media star. He’s hilarious and in the middle of everything social. — Goodman

17. Lonzo Ball, UCLA Bruins

This is too easy. Frankly, the only thing preventing the top point guard in the 2016 class from not having his own show already is amateurism. The concept is easy: Ball, his brothers and his father, LaVar Ball, take on the world of basketball with uptempo spurts, Stephen Curry-esque range, funny Vines and immensely questionable taste in hip-hop. Even the title is easy: “Ball is Life.” You’re welcome! — Brennan

18. Damonte Dodd, Maryland Terrapins

OK, how many 6-foot-10 basketball players play the drums? Dodd has been playing since he was 5 years old. He played in a church gospel group as well as Massanutten Military Academy. Dodd also played the drums in Maryland’s “Terps Got Talent” show. Oh, and he can ball, too. The center will likely get more than the 15 minutes per game he has played the past two seasons with the departures of Diamond Stone and Robert Carter Jr. — Katz

19. Saint Mary’s Gaels

Why settle for just one? The Gaels’ roster features six Australians: Jordan Hunter, Emmett Naar, Tanner Krebs, Dane Pineau, Kyle Clark and Jock Landale. Put these mates together and Morgana, California, is the U.S. version of the land Down Under. It’s hard to tell who exactly would be the ringleader of shenanigans, but have you seen Pineau’s dollar outfit? It’s so money. — Brown

20. Justin Patton, Creighton Bluejays

The hometown hero, who was a redshirt last season, is the perfect rags-to-riches story. When he was signed by coach Greg McDermott, he was an unknown kid from Omaha. By the end of his senior year of high school, the 7-footer, who showcased some crazy skills with some mad highlights, was ranked No. 18 at his position. He’s also, his coach said, a terrific jokester, with a big personality and an even bigger smile who would make for some entertaining TV. — O’Neil

21. E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island Rams

Matthews missed the bulk of a promising season after tearing his ACL during the first game of the season. It’s sad to see a guy like that go down, especially at that juncture of the season. But he’s a fighter. And this fall, Matthews will push to regain his strength and get back on the court for a Rhode Island squad that should compete for the Atlantic 10 championship. Perfect for reality TV. Plus, the cameras would capture his daily interactions with senior forward Hassan Martin, a combo known as “Mario and Luigi,” on campus. — Medcalf

22. Kyle Washington, Cincinnati Bearcats

Washington, who spent his first two seasons at NC State and sat out last season, is the guy for the Bearcats. He’s outgoing, friendly and a little different. He’s just a bundle of energy and not a guy who sits around and plays videos games, either. He’d be a fun watch. — Goodman

23. Dwayne Bacon, Florida State Seminoles

If there’s one thing we know about reality TV, it’s that any opportunity to use alliteration or a bad pun in the title of the show — better yet, both — will be taken. So even if Dwayne Bacon weren’t the most interesting player on FSU’s 2016-17 squad, even if the top prospect in Seminoles basketball history hadn’t returned to school hellbent on getting to the NCAA tournament, the sheer versatility of his last name would basically force a producer to make him the star of the show. Rules are rules. — Brennan

24. Amida Brimah, Connecticut Huskies

The Huskies say they are boring. Vanilla. They are selling themselves short. Brimah, the 7-foot center form Ghana, has personality. He can deliver the Dikembe Mutombo finger wave after a block shot. He is known to express himself whenever he comes up with a key rebound or flushes home an alley-oop. Brimah declared for the NBA draft but had the good sense to return to the Huskies. He wasn’t ready. He has been injured. And clearly the Huskies need him to be their resident character, who can deliver the plays as well as the humor. — Katz

25. Tyler Lydon, Syracuse Orange

Lydon’s upbringing in small-town New York involved a lot of hunting and fishing. There was the one time he shot a turkey when it was his brother Zach’s turn. His brother was also the inspiration for Lydon “growing” out the thin mustache he sported at different points during the season. Lydon calls his weak attempt of a ‘stache, “Rico.” “Lydon’s mustache” even has its own Twitter account. — Brown



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