Myles Cale – Seton Hall
In 2018-19, Cale looked to be the perfect complement to star guard Myles Powell for not only 2018-19, but the next season also. In his Sophomore season, Cale averaged 10.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG while shooting 41% from-the-field, 38% from three. Cale became a known commodity to most of the country early in the 2018-19 season during the game-of-the-year contender, Seton Hall, and Kentucky. Cale quite honestly was brutally bad in that game, he shot 4-18 from-the-field but hit the game-winner to upset the Wildcats. Cale had high expectations headed into 2019-20 but, expectations weren’t meant. His Junior season was a lost season. While the Pirates were far better, Cale only averaged 6.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG with 39% from-the-field, and 28% from deep. While Cale stepped up on defense that drop in offensive play was rough. Heading into his Senior Season, Cale doesn’t have many expectations people seem to have forgotten how valuable he was to the Pirates two seasons ago. He could easily get back into that role.
Kimani Lawrence – Arizona State
The former Top-100 recruit struggled with injuries in 2017-18, which was his Freshman Season. He entered 2018-19 healthy and seen as a valuable piece to a Sun Devils team with PAC-12 Championship aspirations. That he was, Lawrence averaged 8.4 RPG, 3.6 RPG. Lawrence had some good games early in the season but started to taper off later down the road. For 2019-20 he was given a regular starting role but had a rough season from the jump. Lawrence only averaged 4.9 PPG, 2.6 RPG, and started losing much of his playing time to a mix of Mickey Mitchell and Taeshon Cherry. I wasn’t sure Lawrence would return to ASU this season. I thought he may transfer. Rather Khalid Thomas and Andre Allen transferred to Portland State and Southern, respectively. Lawrence enters his Senior Season looking to rebound he will be in the fold looking for minutes with the likes of incoming Freshman Marcus Bagley and Junior Taeshon Cherry. I think due to Lawrence being a Senior in game one, he likely will start but, he has to prove he deserves to keep that role.
Giorgi Bezhanishvili – Illinois
As a Freshman, Bezhanishvili averaged 12.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and played a big role for a struggling Illini squad. Heading into his Sophomore season, Bezhanishvili was seen as a top-option with Ayo Dosunmu, Trent Frazier, Kofi Cockburn. it didn’t go as planned. Giorgi only averaged 6.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG and by the end of the season was getting less than 20 minutes-per-game. Much of the issues just watching seemed confidence related, Botching easy lay-ups, hesitant to take shots down-low getting to his left hand which he uses so well. It also looked like Bezhanishvili looked flustered when paired together with Cockburn, I think he may play 20-25 MPG off-the-bench, but he needs to learn how to play with Cockburn. I have the Fighting Illini as a top-3 squad this season in my rankings but on the off chance, Bezhanisvili reverts to his Freshman year form things will look even better.
Trent Frazier – Illinois
This is the one most people would likely guess before reading the five I put. Frazier became such a good player in his Sophomore season but really couldn’t shoot the ball well this past season. Frazier shot 40% from three in 2018-19 and 30% in 2019-20. Frazier became quite a good defender. With how Ayo Dosunmu came onto the scene as a star, Frazier regressed. I think the shooting out-put Frazier had was an outliar. His 34% as a Freshman, 40% as a Sophomore, and 30% as a Junior leads me to believe he’ll land somewhere in the mid-’30s this season.
A.J. Reeves – Providence
Friars fans, exhale. I’m sure most of you guys were expecting Reeves to land on this list. As a Freshman, Reeves averaged 9.8 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and looked to be a future star at Providence Reeves shot 42% from-the-field, 38% from three. In 2019-20 as a Sophomore, Reeves dropped down to 7.4 PPG while only shooting 37% from-the-field, and 34% from three. The Friars had a late resurgence and would’ve made the NCAA Tournament. Reeves wasn’t the main culprit for that though, mostly due to David Duke, Luwane Pipkens, Alpha Diallo. With Pipkens, Diallo no longer with Providence, Ed Cooley will need a lot of production from Reeves this season.