Breakout Players for 2009-2010.
Some we already know and expect to be great (Ed Davis, John Wall, Willie Warren, Greg Monroe, Devin Ebanks, Al Farouq Aminu, etc) that don’t need mention.
William Buford – Ohio State, SO.
One word, smooth. One of my favorites in the High School class of 2008, Buford offers a complete game, with a great shot. Buford shot 45% from the field and 36% from behind the line. He’ll again play second fiddle to Evan Turner and rightfully so, but Buford should make big strides in his game this season to form a potent 1-2 punch for the Buckeyes.
Lavoy Allen – Temple, JR.
Just going off of an eye test, Allen appears to be a Big East caliber frontline player. Having been under the shadow of Dionte Christmas for his first two seasons, he should be poised to breakout. Keeping himself mentality in the game is the first concern. While shooting 59%, still…An improvement in his post game is next as more touches will be available this year. Allen is already a great rebounder posting 9 a game. Fran Dunphy has been a broken record saying Allen could be great rather than good if he truly wants to be.
Edwin Ubiles – Siena, SR.
How can a player who’s been a top scorer on a tournament winning team for two seasons have a chance to still breakout? Have the opportunity Ubiles is presented with this season. Gone is Siena great Kenny Hasbrouck, a player always willing to take the big shot. Into that role now will be the soft spoken and often times a 2nd option, which he does not seem to mind. In order for him to make the next step and be an NBA draft pick, Ubiles must embrace the new role and turn into a more aggressive player. When he is, there aren’t many better at the 3 spot. He went toe to toe with Terrence Williams and Earl Clark while being the best player on the floor in the Saints season ending loss to Louisville. Two nights prior he was equal with Evan Turner in a win. Finding consistency and aggression will put Ubiles into a category of the best Mid Major players in the country.
Hollis Thompson – Georgetown, FR.
Thompson spent the 2nd semester enrolled at Georgetown and practiced with the team. He was set to play at home against Syracuse, but due to the quick start of the Hoyas, John Thompson III elected against it and preserved a year of eligibility. Thompson, called by some already the best shooter on the team, has grown to a legit 6’8 and is up to 205lbs already. He was considered one of the top players on the West Coast and a top 25 recruit, since he stopped playing on the summer circuit and high school ball he became a forgotten man amongst recruiting publications. “He has an understanding – a lot of the freshmen jitters that are natural, that everyone goes through, he’s worked through all those kinks,” Thompson said. “To just say he’s going to hit the ground running next year is probably an understatement.”
Dexter Pittman – Texas, JR.
One issue and only one issue regarding Pittman, conditioning. You can count the amount of players in the country that have a prayer against defending him on the block on one hand. His 62% from the floor shows that. Pittman averaged 10 and 6 in only 16 minutes a game. With Blake Griffin gone, there will be only one person in the Big XII that can stop Pittman, and that is himself.
Mike Dunigan – Oregon, SO.
While Pittman can only stop Pittman, Dunigan is working against one person as well, his head coach. Ernie Kent has had a quiet a bit of talent come to Eugene lately, and has not gotten the most out of it. Dunigan averaged 8 and 5 in 19 minutes a game last season. He’s an active body who likes to play in the post. Dunigan will have to work on staying on the floor, avoiding foul trouble. He should receive more opportunities this season and he has the talent to capitalize on it.
Jamychal Green – Alabama, SO.
Thankfully for Green, his first year coach, Mike Gottfried is gone. In is Anthony Grant and he should immediately make Green his focal point. Green went for 10 and 8 a game last season in 24 minutes. If you ask me, he’s a better player than highly touted SEC recruits, Demarcous Cousins and Daniel Orton that will match up against him. Green is a great athlete with a motor. He should only continue to flourish under Grant.
Luke Babbit – Nevada. SO.
He may just be the best player on this list and the most overlooked. Babbit had a tremendous freshman campaign, averaging 17 and 7 a game while shooting 46% from the floor and 43% from three. Oh, and he’s 6’9 220. The only thing that will hold Babbit back from taking his game to the NBA level is his athleticism. He will be a great college player this season.
Durrell Summers – Michigan State. JR.
Summers had the dunk of the NCAA Tournament over Stanley Robinson and now returns to a loaded MSU squad. Summers best ability is shooting the ball from distance. He has as good of a shooting form as you can find. The key for Summers in his last two seasons will to become more than just a shooter. He’s too good of an athlete to not expand his game. His assist to turnovers must improve and he should get to the line much more often.
Terrance Jennings – Louisville. SO.
I was not a Jennings fan early on and felt George Goode should get his minutes. Perhaps it was just due to hearing Amare Stoudamire comparisons, which Jennings still is not close to being. But, Jennings is a good athlete and appears to be a legit 6’10. With Earl Clark headed to the NBA, Jennings should have a lot more opportunities. He and Samardo Samuels will be a load to handle.
Derrick Favors – GA Tech. FR.
In a weak High School class, Favors emerged as my favorite. He is as quick off his feet as just about anyone, Favors is a tremendous athlete and should fit in great under Paul Hewitt. He is as fluid as a big man as you can find. I would favor him to David Lee, but with a much greater upside. He should contribute on both ends as soon as he gets on campus.
Kevin Jones – West Virginia. SO
I might be a year off with this one as Ebanks is still in Morgantown. However, Jones, a Mt. Vernon product, should see a bump in minutes and production. In the one game he logged over 30 minutes last season, he outplayed Earl Clark with 19 and 8. His numbers for the year were a modest 6 and 5 in 19 minutes. Jones skill set is that of a versatile 6’8 forward. The aforementioned Clark is not a bad comparison. Over the next 2-3 years he should thrive under Bob Huggins.
DeQuan Jones – Miami. SO.
Jarvis Varnado – Mississipi State. SR.
The second senior on the list….and I believe this will be a breakout into the national spotlight, an in consideration for first or second team all american. Varnado is hands down the best shot blocker in the country, and he has started to develop an offensive game. I think we could see a stat line from Varnado this year that resembles; 15 points, 9 boards and 5 blocks a game. This past year Varnado averaged 7.5 blocks per 40 minutes. Two a game greater than anyone else in the country, yes even Hasheem Thabeet.
Wally Judge – Kansas State. FR.
The DC area pipeline continues for Frank Martin, Judge is a great athlete who can score the ball and rebound. The knock on Judge has been consistency and sustaining a high level of play. Those say questions were given to Mike Beasley in this position two years ago. Judge’s range continues to expand and his offensive game should round out nicely soon.
Kenny Frease – Xavier. SO.
Frease appears to be a legit 7 footer, or at least 6’11 and he’s skilled. Those two things alone will amount to great things in the A-10. Conditioning, free throw shooting and not picking up fouls are where he must improve. Frease only saw 15 minutes a game last season and his numbers were only 5 and 4 but his size and potential is too much to ignore, especially when he will become more of a focal point with Derrick Brown off to the NBA.
Yancy Gates. UC. Sophomore.
He’s better than the other local product, Frease. He’s also better than first round pick BJ Mullens. Gates is just a beast at 6’9 260. He had a strong freshmen campaign putting up 10 and 6 in just 23 minutes a night. His skills need improvement and a face up jumper would go along way in his develop along with more refined post play. For his sake, Mick Cronin will find some weapons on offense other than Deonta Vaughn to open some things up.