Get schooled for college hoops: 25 you must know
In our effort to provide you with all the info you’ll need heading into the 2009-10 campaign, we put together 25 players whom you may not know yet — but will need to for this season.
The list is led by the next talented guard to come out of Ben Howland’s program — and also includes a pair of freshmen who will call Austin home this season.
1. Malcolm Lee, 6-5, 180, G, Soph., UCLA: Darren Collison and Jrue Holiday are gone. The next in the line of big-time guards coming out of Ben Howland’s program is Lee, who averaged just 3.2 points as a freshman last year. Trust me on this one.
2. Ed Davis, 6-10, 220, PF/C, Soph., North Carolina: You might think you know him, but you don’t. The Davis you saw last season as a backup to Tyler Hansbrough was just a glimpse of the player you’ll see this season. He’ll be a monster in the paint with his ability to block and alter shots, rebound and also finish around the basket.
3. J’Covan Brown, 6-1, 185, PG, Fr., Texas: The Longhorns have holdover Dogus Balbay and Jai Lucas becomes eligible at the break, but Rick Barnes’ most talented point guard is Brown. If he matures quickly, don’t be shocked to see Texas in the Final Four, because the Longhorns have all the other pieces.
4. Avery Bradley, 6-2 1/2, 180, SG, Fr., Texas: Speaking of other pieces, Bradley will be an instant contributor because he’ll arrive in Austin as one of the premier perimeter defenders in the entire country. He can score, too.
5. Chris Singleton, 6-9, 230, F, Soph., Florida State: With Toney Douglas gone to the NBA, there will be a lot more shots available. Singleton proved he could be a team guy last season as a freshman while averaging a modest 8.1 points, but he can really score — and he’ll get the chance this year.
6. Reggie Jackson, 6-3, 200, G, Soph., Boston College: He’ll be the next in the line of under-the-radar BC products, joining Troy Bell, Craig Smith, Jared Dudley and Tyrese Rice. Jackson, who averaged 7.0 points last season in a reserve role, has the toughness and can really score.
7. Mark Lyons, 6-1, 195, G, Fr., Xavier: Though fellow freshman guard Jordan Crawford has received far more ink, Lyons will make a huge impact after sitting out last season as a freshman. He’s a big-time athlete, can put pressure on the opposing defense with his speed and is fearless.
8. Delvon Roe, 6-8, 225, PF, Soph., Michigan State: The player you saw last season wasn’t the “real” Delvon Roe. He was still coming back from a major knee injury that took his entire senior season of high school. He’ll be far more effective for Tom Izzo this year.
9. Tommy Mason-Griffin, 5-11, 200, PG, Fr., Oklahoma: The Sooners could potentially have the nation’s top backcourt with Willie Warren and TMG. Mason-Griffin is a big-time floor general when there just aren’t a lot of them around this year.
10. Kenny Boynton, 6-2, 185, PG, Fr., Florida: The Gators’ freshman steps in as the team’s most talented player. He has toned down his game, but his deal is he can score in a variety of ways.
11. Eric Bledsoe, 6-1, 190, PG, Fr., Kentucky: While top-ranked freshman John Wall comes in with all the hype, Bledsoe and Wall will likely start together in the backcourt. Both are electrifying, and both should be household names by the start of the SEC schedule.
12. Rotnei Clarke, 6-0, 185, SG, Soph., Arkansas: The Razorbacks are a year older, and that should bode well for Clarke, one of the elite long-range shooters in the nation now that Stephen Curry and Jimmy Baron are gone. He’ll improve on his 39 percent from beyond the arc he shot as a freshman.
13. Patrick Christopher, 6-5, 215, SG, Sr., Cal: Those on the West Coast and in the Pac-10 know all about him, but Mike Montgomery’s team should get enough national notoriety that the versatile wing becomes a household name.
14. Derrick Favors, 6-10, 235, C, Fr., Georgia Tech: Get to know him quickly, because he’ll be in college for only a year. He has the entire package, and there’s a chance he’s the top overall pick in next year’s draft.
15. Scoop Jardine, 6-1, 190, PG, Soph., Syracuse: He’ll hold the key for the Orange as the frontrunner to replace Jonny Flynn as Syracuse’s starting point guard. The word is his body has changed dramatically over the past year.
16. Kemba Walker, 6-1, 175, PG, Soph., UConn: Here’s another guy you might think you know, but you’ll see a different Kemba Walker now that A.J. Price is gone and it’s his team. He’s ultra-quick, tough and will quickly become one of the best point guards in the country.
17. Dan Geriot, 6-9, 255, C, Jr., Richmond: He missed all of last season with a torn ACL, but don’t be shocked if he has the Spiders in the equation for an NCAA tournament berth. He led the team in scoring two years ago at 14.3.
18. Larry Sanders, 6-10, 217 PF/C, Jr., VCU: So long and talented, and his upside is tremendous. He just needs to be more consistent. NBA execs salivate over his potential.
19. Wesley Witherspoon, 6-8, 210, SG/SF, Soph., Memphis: With Tyreke Evans, Robert Dozier and Antonio Anderson gone, the long, talented and versatile sophomore should become new coach Josh Pastner’s go-to guy — and also someone who has the ball in his hands quite a bit. Witherspoon averaged less than 14 minutes and 4.0 points as a freshman.
20. Matt Vogrich, 6-4, 180, SG, Fr., Michigan: John Beilein did as much as he could last season with limited talent. He has brought in a freshman class full of his type of guys — and Vogrich will instantly become the team’s top perimeter shooter. With Vogrich and Stu Douglass launching threes, it’ll make life easier for Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims.
21. Arnett Moultrie, 6-11, 225, PF, Soph., UTEP: The Memphis native nearly averaged a double-double last season, but no one outside of C-USA knows anything about him. That should change this season.
22. Kyryl Natyazhko, 6-10, 250, PF/C, Fr., Arizona: The Ukraine product is skilled, athletic and will have no choice but to log major minutes immediately.
23. Dwight Buycks, 6-3, 190, G, Jr., Marquette: Buycks was a big-time junior college scorer who should continue to do the same with the Golden Eagles’ loss of Jerel McNeal, Dominic James and Wesley Matthews.
24. Jimmer Fredette, 6-2, 195, PG, Jr., BYU: The New York native was a first-team all-league selection last season, but with Lee Cummard gone, he’ll get more opportunities with the ball in his hands down the stretch.
25. Paul George, 6-8, 210, SF, Soph., Fresno State: A big-time athlete who averaged 14.3 points, George should draw notice — especially if the Bulldogs improve.