2010-2011 College Basketball Pre-Season Top 25


tom izzo kalin lucas

By: David Kay

Now that we know for sure which players are returning to school, which have decided to transfer, and where most of the high school recruits are going, I can unveil my 2010-2011 college basketball pre-season Top 25.  There is a lot of Big Ten love going on as four of my top nine teams call that conference home.

1. Duke
Kyle Singler’s decision to return for his senior season solidifies the defending national champs as the favorites to win it all again next season.  Duke loses three starters from this past season, but the well is never dry for Coach K.  Kyrie Irving is one of the top high school prospects in the nation and will take over for Jon Scheyer at the point with Liberty transfer Seth Curry (the younger brother of Stephen) adding even more of a scoring punch in a backcourt that already features returning starter Nolan Smith and sophomore Andre Dawkins.  If this team is going to live up to the top spot, the Plumlee brothers will have to provide some toughness and rebounding inside.

More on Duke’s prospects for dominance here

Projected Depth Chart
C: Miles Plumlee (Jr)/Ryan Kelly (So)
PF: Mason Plumlee (So)/Josh Hairston (Fr)
SF: Kyle Singler (Sr)/Casey Peters (Sr)
SG: Nolan Smith (Sr)/Seth Curry (So)/Andre Dawkins (So)
PG: Kyrie Irving (Fr)/Tyler Thornton (Fr)

Gone: PG-Jon Scheyer, PF-Lance Thomas, C-Brian Zoubek, SF-Olek Czyz (transfer-Nevada)

2. Michigan State
Considering the Spartans almost won the national title without star point guard Kalin Lucas and that they only lose one player who actually saw minutes, Raymar Morgan, I think they will be once again be Final Four contenders.  Tom Izzo also brings in a talented recruiting class led by big man Adreian Payne and McDonald’s All-American, Keith Appling.

More on Michigan St.’s prospects for dominance here

Projected Depth Chart
C: Derrick Nix (So)/Garrick Sherman (So)/Adreian Payne (Fr)
PF: Delvon Roe (Jr)/Draymond Green (Jr)/Alex Gauna (Fr)
SG: Durrell Summers (Sr)/Austin Thornton (Jr)/Russell Byrd (Fr)
G: Chris Allen (Jr)/Mike Kebler (Jr)/Keith Appling (Fr)
PG: Kalin Lucas (Sr)/Korie Lucious (Jr)

Gone: F-Raymar Morgan, C-Tom Herzog (transfer-Central Florida)

3. Purdue
The season-ending injury to Robbie Hummel put a serious damper on the Boilermakers chances this season.  But with Hummel back from injury and three other starters returning, Purdue should once again be a top-ten staple next season.  If they can get better play from their bench, they will be a Final Four contender.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: JaJuan Johnson (Sr)/Sandi Marcius (Fr)/Travis Carroll (Fr)
F: Robbie Hummel (Sr)/ Patrick Bade (So)/Donnie Hale (Fr)
G: Kelsey Barlow (So)/D.J. Byrd (So)
G: E’Twuan Moore (Sr)/Ryne Smith (Jr)/Anthony Johnson (Fr)
PG: Lewis Jackson (Jr)/John Hart (So)/Terone Johnson (Fr)

Gone: G-Chris Kramer, G-Keaton Grant

4. Kansas State
One-half of their stellar backcourt will graduate, but Jacob Pullen will still be around to lead the ‘Cats and prove this past season was not a fluke.  Their strong, athletic frontcourt will still be in tact and if they can get more out of sophomore Wally Judge that group will be extremely tough to match-up against.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Curtis Kelly (Sr)/Jordan Henriquez-Roberts (So)
PF: Jamar Samuels (Jr)/Wally Judge (So)/Victor Ojeleye (Jr)
SF: Dominique Sutton (Sr)/Shane Southwell (Fr)
G: Rodney McGruder (So)/Nick Russell (So)
G: Jacob Pullen (Sr)/Martavious Irving (So)/Will Spradling (Fr)

PG-Dionte Clemente, C-Luis Colon, SG-Chris Merrieweather

kris joseph

5. Syracuse
‘Cuse loses three valuable starters but returns four players who logged a ton of minutes this past season.  They also bring in a solid recruiting class led by seven-footer Fab Melo.  They have a chance to be as good as they were in ’09-’10 and Jim Boeheim should have the Orange back at the top of the Big East.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Fab Melo(Fr)/DeShonte Riley (So)
PF: Rick Jackson (Sr)/Baye Moussa Keita (Fr)
SF: Kris Joseph (Jr)/James Southerland (So)/C.J. Fair (Fr)
G: Brandon Triche (So)/Mookie Jones (Jr)
G: Scoop Jardine (Jr)/Dion Waters (Fr)

Gone: SF-Wesley Johnson, SG-Andy Rautins, C-Arinze Onuaku

6. Kansas

The Jayhwaks lose three valuable starters including veterans Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich but should still be a Final Four contender.  Highly recruited Josh Selby will form a dynamic, versatile backcourt with Tyshawn Taylor while the Morris brothers will man the paint.  Mario Little and Travis Releford both red-shirted last season and will be eligible providing some scoring punch on the wing.

Projected Depth Chart

F/C: Marcus Morris (Jr)/Jeff Withey (Jr)
F: Markieff Morris (Jr)/Thomas Robinson (So)
G/F: Mario Little (Sr)/Travis Releford (So)
G: Tyshawn Taylor (Jr)/Brady Morningstar (Sr)/Tyrel Reed (Sr)/Royce Woolridge (Fr)
PG: Josh Selby (Fr)/Elijah Johnson (So)

Gone: PG-Sherron Collins, C-Cole Aldrich, SG-Xavier Henry

7. Ohio State
They lose Player of the Year Evan Turner but return their other four starters and have one of the top recruiting classes in the country coming in led by forwards Jared Sullinger and DeShaun Thomas.  They should be a much deeper team next season and not rely on one player to shoulder the load.  Their ultimate success though will likely come down to how productive the new point guard is in taking reigns of running the offense.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Dallas Lauderdale (Sr)/Zisis Sarakopoulus (Jr)
PF: Jared Sullinger (Fr)/DeShaun Thomas (Fr)/J.D. Weatherspoon (Fr)
G/F: David Lighty (Sr)/Nikola Kecman (Jr)
SG: Willian Buford (Jr)/Jordan Sibert (Fr)
G: Jon Diebler (Sr)/Aaron Craft (Fr)/Lenzelle Smith (Fr)

Gone: PG-Evan Turner, PG-P.J. Hill, G-Jeremie Simmons, C-Kyle Madsen, SG-Walter Offutt (transfer)

8. North Carolina

Ed Davis was expected to leave for the NBA, but the loss of the Wear twins to transfer leaves a gaping hole inside for the Heels and drops them several spots from where they could have been ranked.  UNC returns a ton of talent in their backcourt and welcome three highly recruited wing players led by the explosive Harrison Barnes.  If they can find a late signee or two to sure up their depth up-front, Roy Williams’ group should bounce back from a very disappointing 2009-2010 season.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Tyler Zeller (Jr)
PF: John Henson (So)
SF: Harrison Barnes (Fr)/Will Graves (Sr)/Justin Watts (Jr)
SG: Dexter Strickland (So)/Leslie McDonald (So)/Reggie Bullock (Fr)
PG: Larry Drew II (Jr)/Kendall Marshall (Fr)

Gone: C-Ed Davis, SG-Marcus Ginyard, PF-Deon Thompson, PF-Travis Wear (transfer), PF-David Wear (transfer)

demetri mccamey

9. Illinois
With Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis’ decisions to withdraw from the draft, all five starters and most of their key bench players return for Bruce Weber.  Add in a very talented recruiting class and the Illini should certainly be on the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble next year.   They will have a chance to compete for a spot in the Final Four especially if McCamey can keep improving his overall game while maturing as a senior.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Mike Tisdale (Sr)/Meyers Leonard (Fr)/Richard Semrau (Sr)
PF: Mike Davis (Sr)/Tyler Griffey (So)
SF: Bill Cole (Sr)/Jereme Richmond (Fr)/Joseph Bertrand (Fr)
SG: D.J. Richardson (So)/Brandon Paul (So)/Crandall Head (Fr)
PG: Demetri McCamey (Sr)/Jeffery Jordan (Sr)

Gone: PF-Dominique Keller, G/F-Alex Legion (transfer-Florida International), C-Stan Simpson (transfer)

10. Pitt
After picking them to finish in the bottom half of the Big East last year, I learned my lesson: I will never doubt Jamie Dixon again.  The Panthers return four starters and all of their valuable bench players.  This team is tough, well-coached, and will not be overlooked next season.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Gary McGhee (Sr)/J.J. Richardson (So)/Talib Zanna (So)
F: Nasir Robinson (Jr)/ Dante Taylor (So)/ Dwight Miller (So)
G/F: Gilbert Brown (Sr)/Lamar Patterson (So)/J.J. Moore (Fr)
G: Brad Wanamaker (Sr)/Cameron Wright (Fr)
PG: Ashton Gibbs (Jr)/Travon Woodall (So)/Isaiah Epps (Fr)

Gone: SG-Jermaine Dixon, PG-Chase Adams

11. Villanova
Jay Wright loses All-American Scottie Reynolds but brings back a great deal of talent.  If Corey Fisher can become the alpha dog in place of Reynolds and ‘Nova finds a way to be more physical inside, they should not drop off that much.  Don’t forget, this team had 4 top-50 recruits last season who will now be sophomores and in a better position to make an impact.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Mouphtaou Yarou (So)/Maurice Sutton (So)/Markus Kennedy (Fr)
F: Antonio Pena (Sr)/Taylor King (Jr)/Jayvaughn Pinkston (Fr)
G/F: Corey Stokes (Sr)/Isaiah Armwood (So)
SG: Dominic Cheek (So)/James Bell (Fr)
PG: Corey Fisher (Sr)/Maalik Wayns (So)

Gone: PG-Scottie Reynolds, G/F-Reggie Redding, F-Russell Wooten

12. Washington
The Pac-10 should be more competitive than it was this past season and the Huskies figure to be the team to beat.  Quincy Pondexter is gone and a pair of contributors opted to transfer, but they should have some of the top guard play in the country led by Isaiah Thomas, Abdul Gaddy, and in-coming freshman Terrence Ross.  If highly-recruited power forward Terrence Jones picks Washington over Kentucky, the Huskies are a top-ten team.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Matthew Bryan-Armstrong (Sr)/Tyreese Breshers (So)/Aziz Ndiaye (Jr)
PF: Darnell Gant (Jr)/ Desmond Simmons (Fr)
SF: Justin Holliday (Sr)/Scott Suggs (Jr)
SG: Abdul Gaddy (So)/Terrence Ross (Fr)/C.J. Wilcox (So)
PG: Isaiah Thomas (Jr)/Venoy Overton (Sr)

Gone: SF-Quincy Pondexter, SG-Elston Turner (transfer), PF-Clarence Trent (transfer-Seattle U)

13. Florida
The Gators only lose two players who contributed on last year’s team and several talented freshmen forward led by McDonald’s All-American, Patric Young.  If they can get more consistent backcourt play from Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton, I think Florida is the team to beat in the SEC.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Vernon Macklin (Sr)/Kenny Kadji (Jr)
F: Chandler Parsons (Sr)/Patric Young (Fr)/Cody Larson (Fr)/Will Yeguette (Fr)
F: Alex Tyus (Sr)/Erik Murphy (So)/Casey Prather (Fr)/Adam Allen (So)
SG: Kenny Boynton (So)
PG: Erving Walker (Jr)/Nimrod Tishman (So)/Scottie Wilbekin (Fr)

Gone: PF-Dan Werner, SG-Ray Shipman (transfer-)

14. Baylor

Scott Drew will lose three starters off their Elite 8 team including Ekpe Udoh who chose to turn pro.  Still, the Bears return LaceDarius Dunn who will likely be the pre-season Big 12 Player of the Year and top recruit Perry Jones who should help fill the void left by Udoh.  The Bears will once again be long and athletic which led to their success this past season but depth will be a question mark.

Projected Depth Chart

C: Perry Jones (Fr)/Dragan Sekelja (So)
PF: Quincy Acy (Jr)/Cory Jefferson (So)/Givon Crump (So)
SF: Anthony Jones (Jr)/Fred Ellis (Jr)
SG: LaceDarius Dunn (Sr)/Nolan Dennis (So)/Bakari Turner (Fr)
PG: A.J. Walton (So)/Stargell Love (Fr)

Gone: PF-Ekpe Udoh, PG-Tweety Carter, C-Josh Lomers

15. Georgetown
Even with Greg Monroe turning pro and the disappointment of losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Hoyas should be one of the top teams in the Big East.  Their three returning guards will combine to be one of the top backcourts in the country and if they can get some consistency up-front to replace Monroe, most likely from in-coming freshman Nate Lubick, they will be contenders.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Julian Vaughn (Sr)/Henry Sims (Jr)Moses Abraham (Fr)
F: Nate Lubick (Fr)/Jerrelle Benimon (So)
G/F: Austin Freeman (Sr)/Hollis Thompson (So)/Aaron Bowen (Fr)
SG: Jason Clark (Jr)/Vee Sanford (So)
PG: Chris Wright (Sr)/Markel Starks (Fr)

Gone: F/C-Greg Monroe, F-Nikita Mescheriakov (transfer-Wake Forest)

16. Memphis
Josh Pastner should have Memphis right back in the national picture next season.  The Tigers lose three valuable, experienced guards, but Memphis has seven very talented freshmen who make up one of the best classes in the country.  I think Wesley Witherspoon is a great talent and could be preparing for a breakout year and will need to provide some leadership, but no question Memphis will return as the dominant power in C-USA.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Will Coleman (Sr)/Angel Garcia (Jr)/Hippolyte Tsafeck (Fr)
F: Wesley Witherspoon (Jr)/Tarik Black (Fr)
G: Roburt Sallie (Sr)/D.J. Stephens (So)
G: Will Barton (Fr)/Jelan Kendrick (Fr)/Chris Crawford (Fr)
PG: Joe Jackson (Fr)/Antonio Barton (Fr)

Gone: G-Elliot Williams, G-Willie Kemp, G-Doneal Mack, C-Pierre Henderson-Niles

17. Texas
Rick Barnes has proven he can recruit talent, but the past two seasons his teams have nose-dived at the end of the season.  Freshman stud Tristan Thompson will help fill the void left inside by Damion James and Dexter Pittman while late signee Cory Joseph will help replace the loss of Avery Bradley who declared for the NBA Draft.  Watch out for sophomore swingman Jordan Hamilton.  He should be one of the most dangerous scorers in the country next season

Projected Depth Chart

F/C: Tristan Thompson (Fr)/Clint Chapman (Sr)/Matt Hill (Sr)
F: Gary Johnson (Sr)/Alexis Wangneme (Sr)
G/F: Jordan Hamilton (So)/Shawn Williams (So)
SG: J’Covan Brown (So)/Varez Ward (So)
PG: Cory Joseph (Fr)/Dogus Balbay (Sr)/Jai Lucas (Sr)

Gone: C-Dexter Pittman, F-Damion James, G-Justin Mason, G-Avery Bradley

18. Tennessee
A lot of people thought the Vols were going to self-destruct after Tyler Smith and three key players ran into trouble with the law.  Instead, Bruce Pearl’s bunch persevered and nearly made a run to the Final Four.  They have to replace three starters but have the depth left over from last season to do so.  Add in the versatile freshman Tobias Harris and Marquette transfer Jeronne Maymon who will be eligible after the first semester, and Tennessee should be a top-25 team.  If Scotty Hopson can be more consistent on the wing, the top-ten is a possibility.

Projected Depth Chart

C: Brian Williams (Sr)/Kenny Hall (So)
F: Tobias Harris (Fr)/Steven Pearl (Sr)
G/F: Renaldo Woolridge (Jr)/Jeronne Maymon (So)
SG: Scotty Hopson (Jr)/Cammeron Tatum (Jr)/Jordan McRae (Fr)
PG: Melvin Goins (Sr)/Trae Golden (Fr)/Skylar McBee (So)

Gone: F/C-Wayne Chism, G/F-J.P. Prince, PG-Bobby Maze, PG-Josh Tabb (transfer), F/C-Emmanuel Negedu (transfer)

19. Virginia Tech
Despite finishing with a 23-8 record, 10-6 in conference, VA Tech missed out on the big dance last season.  Don’t expect that to happen this year as the Hokies return pretty much every impact player from a year ago including the inside/outside tandem of Jeff Allen and Malcolm Delaney.

Projected Depth Chart

F/C: Jeff Allen (Sr)/Cadarian Raines (So)/Gene Swindle (Fr)
F: Alan Chaney (So)/Victor Davila (Jr)/J.T. Thompson (Sr)/Jarrell Eddie (Fr)
G/F: Terrell Bell (Sr)/Manny Atkins (So)
SG: Dorenzo Hudson (Sr)/Ben Boggs (So)
PG: Malcolm Delaney (Sr)/Erick Green (So)/Tyrone Garland (Fr)

Gone: F-Lewis Witcher

20. Butler
Coming off their run to the National Title game, all eyes will be on Brad Stevens and the Bulldogs next season.  Their guard play should be solid once again and Matt Howard will provide some hustle and energy inside.  Replacing Gordon Hayward will be the biggest concern.  If Hayward would have come back for his junior year, Butler would have been national title contenders once again.

More on Butler’s future here

Projected Depth Chart
C: Matt Howard (Sr)/Andrew Smith (So)/Erik Fromm (Fr)
F: Khyle Marshall (Fr)/Garrett Butcher (Jr)
G: Shelvin Mack (Jr)/Grant Leiendecker (Sr)
G: Shawn Vanzant (Sr)/Chase Stigall (So)/Chrishawn Hopkins (Fr)
PG: Ronald Nored (Jr)/Zach Hahn (Sr)

Gone: F-Gordon Hayward, F/C-Avery Jukes, G/F-Willie Veasley

21. Temple
The A-10 will not sneak up on people like it did this past season.  Fran Dunphy’s Owls will be the team to beat in the conference led by the inside/outside punch of Lavoy Allen and Juan Fernandez.  Their style is not sexy to watch, but with tough defense and a patient offense, Temple will be a serious player again next season.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Michael Eric (Jr)/Anthony Lee (Fr)
PF: Lavoy Allen (Sr)/Craig Williams (Sr)/Chris Clarke (So)/Carmel Bouchman (So)
SF: Rahlir Jefferson (So)/Scootie Randall (Jr)/Aaron Brown (Fr)
G: Ramone Moore (Jr)/Khalif Wyatt (So)
G: Juan Fernandez (Jr)/T.J. DiLeo (So)

Gone: G-Ryan Brooks, PG-Luis Guzman

22. Kentucky
As talented and young as the Wildcats were this past season, that will be recycled next year as four of their freshmen and junior Patrick Patterson have all declared for the draft.  Coach Calipari has four highly tauted freshmen coming in led by Brandon Knight and Enes Kanter, but this group is not as talented as a whole as last year’s class.  The Wildcats are still in the running for a couple major un-signed recruits and could move up on this list if they get them to sign, especially power forward Terrence Ross who would immediately step into the starting line-up.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Enes Kanter (Fr)/Josh Harrellson (Sr)
G/F: DeAndre Liggins (Jr)/Stacey Poole (Fr)
G/F: Darius Miller (Jr)/ Jon Hood (So)
G/F: Doron Lamb (Fr)/Darnell Dodson (Jr)
PG: Brandon Knight (Fr)

Gone: PG-John Wall, C-DeMarcus Cousins, PF-Patrick Patterson, PG-Eric Bledsoe, C-Daniel Orton, PF-Perry Stevenson, G/F-Ramon Harris

23. Wisconsin

Rule #1: Never under-estimate Bo Ryan’s ability to put together a winning team.  The Badgers will be a force to reckon with inside as they return all of their post players led by inside/outside threat Jon Leuer.  Jordan Taylor will become the alpha dog in a backcourt that will be a question mark next season due their youth and inexperience.

Projected Depth Chart
C: Keaton Nankivil (Sr)/Jared Berggren (So)/Evan Anderson (Fr)/J.P. Gavinski (Sr)
PF: Jon Leuer (Sr)/Mike Bruesewitz (So)
SF: Tim Jarmusz (Sr)/Ryan Evans (So)
SG: Rob Wilson (Jr)/Duje Dukan (Fr)/Ben Brust (Fr)
PG: Jordan Taylor (Jr)/Josh Gasser (Fr)

Gone: PG-Trevon Hughes, SG-Jason Bohannon

24. Gonzaga
The Zags only lose one starter but Bouldin was such a huge part of their success due to both his play and leadership.  Steven Gray will have to step into that role with Elias Harris being his wingman.  Still, they should be one of the elite “mid-majors” once again.

Projected Depth Chart
C:  Robert Sacre (Jr)/Sam Dower (Fr)
F: Elias Harris (So)/Kelly Olynyk (So)
G/F: Bol Kong (Jr)/Mangisto Arop (So)
G: Steven Gray (Sr)/ Keegan Hyland (Fr)
PG: Demetri Goodson (Jr)/Marquise Carter (Jr)

Gone: G-Matt Bouldin, C-Will Foster, G-Grant Gibbs (transfer). PG-G.J. Vilarino (transfer)

25. Arizona
At times, ‘Zona looked awesome this past season, but just as often they looked like the young, inexperienced group that they were.  Another year in the system under Sean Miller should do wonders for the maturation of this team that returns everybody who played but Nic Wise.  Next season should be a step in the right direction to putting the ‘Cats back on the national map and watch out for Derrick Williams who was a beast in his freshman season.

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Derrick Williams (So)/Kyryl Natyazhko (So)/Alex Jacobson (Jr)
F: Jamelle Horne (Sr)/Solomon Hill (So)/Jesse Perry (Jr)
G/F: Kevin Parrom (So)/Brendon Lavender (Jr)
SG: Josh Fogg (Jr)/Daniel Bejarano (Fr)
PG: Lamont Jones (So)/Garland Judkins (Jr)/Jordin Mayes (Fr)

PG-Nic Wise, SF-D.J. Shumpert (transfer)

Others Considered: BYU, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, Florida State, Marquette, Missouri, Northwestern, St. John’s, Xavier

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  1. paulmbanks says

    Wowwwww the Big 10 looks strong next year. crazy strong. it will be even more so when they get those big east teams…nut rutgers, although that will be huge for the BTN, which is all this is about anyway

  2. paulmbanks says

    And Illinois will find a way to mess up a top ten ranking, and not live up to it

  3. I couldn’t find a posting date on this preseason top 25 but just considering Missouri as a top 25 preseason team is grossly underestimating them. I agree they will be fairly young but they will now have plenty of size to go with their consistently great backcourt. As the year progresses, they will rocket up the poll and challenge for the Big 12 title. With the additions of Tony Mitchell, Phil Pressey, and Ricardo Ratliffe, watch out!!! Coach Anderson is the real deal and he now has the talent and size to go to the next level (final four)…

  4. paulmbanks says

    This was posted earlier this month, a few days after all the underclassmen made their draft decisions

  5. David K. says

    Van- thanks for the comment

    I saw other sites have Mizzou in their top ten and I was surprised by that… I probably am under-estimating them and their 40 minutes of hell style of hoops… but I’ll stick with them as an honorable mention for now… I guess the new guys will have to prove to me that they can replace the guys they lost.

  6. mizzoubrent says

    “I guess the new guys will have to prove to me that they can replace the guys they lost.”

    What they lost? I get the senior leadership, but they return their top 3 scorers and bring in what every major website has as a Top 15 recruiting class. I don’t know what people have against Anderson’s style of play, but it won a National Championship when he was an assistant at Arkansas and has done them very well in the tournament the last two seasons without the talent he’s about to rake in. Not to mention the underrated talent we already have. English is only going to get better with maturity and I’m confident Laurence Bowers is going to be one of the best players in the Big 12 in the next 2 years.

  7. Kaila Petry says

    As if we don’t know about his pile of girlfriends on the side

  8. UK 22nd!!! WOW!!! I think UK has a great shot at repeating SEC champs ….

  9. Chris Allen transfored from msu

  10. this went up in APril-May dude. long before that occurred

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