Player Rankings: Break-out Performers
Every season, there are players who were role players the year before who improve greatly the next season and end up being a star. Sometimes, it is the work they put in over the summer, and other times, the players just did not get the opportunity the year before. Either way, here are 12 players who could make the jump and have an outstanding season.(Note: The only stipulation is that the player could not have averaged more than 20 minutes per game, or started the majority of his team’s games.)
Ed Davis, North Carolina: This one is obvious. Davis was dominant at times last season, including the title game against Michigan State. He's a lottery pick if he develops as expected.
Tony Woods, Wake Forest: With the loss of James Johnson inside, the Demon Deacons need someone else to step up in the paint. Woods has talent and showed flashes a year ago.
Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh: Gibbs played very well for coach Jamie Dixon at the U-19 World Championships, and will need to take over the point guard spot immediately.
Kenny Frease, Xavier: The Musketeers lost a lot from last season, but Frease is expected to become a go-to-guy in the paint. He will be a key for Xavier's reloading process.
Quincy Acy, Baylor: The Bears are always loaded on the perimeter, and this year is no different. However, they need someone to step up down low and Acy could be that guy.
Kim English, Missouri: He and Marcus Denmon are going to have to increase their scoring this season after the loss of the Tigers' top three scorers from last year.
Marshall Moses, Oklahoma State: Moses won't put up outstanding numbers, but he provides an inside presence for the Cowboys, who will be mostly perimeter-oriented again.
Roburt Sallie, Memphis: Someone is going to have to take on the scoring load for the Tigers, and Sallie's three-point proficiency makes him an excellent candidate.
Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Washington: If the Huskies are to make a run in the NCAA Tournament, Bryan-Amaning has to step up and replace Jon Brockman down low.
Malcolm Lee, UCLA: Lee is getting plenty of publicity across the country as the next great Bruin backcourt player; he needs to replace Darren Collison and Jrue Holiday.
DeAngelo Casto, Washington State: Casto played well in the U19 World Championships before injuring himself; he will be the go-to-guy down low.
Demetri Goodson, Gonzaga: Just watch tape of his coast-to-coast drive to beat Western Kentucky in last season's NCAA Tournament, and you'll know why he's here.