Continuing upon my breakout candidates for next season for each Big-Six league, today I will be looking at the Big 12 Conference, a league that had two teams that would have been one seeds this past season but had not a ton of depth behind that. This year the league has five teams that could be Preseason Top-25 teams when the Preseason Polls come out. For what will be a very good league, there are a lot of potential breakout candidates, here are my five from the Big 12 Conference.
David McCormack – Kansas
This list starts out with David McCormack who should take a major step forward this season for the Jayhawks. McCormack averaged 6.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game while shooting 52.9% from the field while McCormack only played 14.1 minutes per contest. His major problem a season ago was that he wasn’t really able to fit next to Udoka Azubuike down-low and thus found his role shrinking as the season went along. With Azubuike gone, McCormack will be the go-to big man inside. Expect him to average around 25-30 minutes per game, which should allow McCormack to increase his production immensely for this season.
Kalib Boone – Oklahoma State
Coming into this season, Oklahoma State is looking for its best season in the Mike Boyton era. While that is mostly due to the addition of Cade Cunningham, the development of their young core will be a major factor. Boone is a 6’9” forward, who averaged 4.7 points and 3 rebounds per game on 54.9% shooting from the floor but he only played 11.7 minutes per game. Boone struggled a little bit early on in the season but later in the season really became a factor for the Cowboys. He had 4 double-digit point games, all of which came in conference play, this included a big 16-point game in an upset win against Texas Tech. With some rotation pieces gone, Boone will look to start at the 4 for Cowboys and his development will be key in helping them have a successful season.
Kevin McCullar – Texas Tech
One thing to look for when making a list looking at potential breakout candidates is how a player performed down the stretch. This is what makes McCullar feel like an obvious breakout candidate given his finish to the season, as in 5 of his final 8 games, he scored in double-figures. While his 6 point and 3.2 rebounds per game average were not that spectacular, he shot 51.2% from the field in doing so. Look for McCullar to play a lot at the 4 for the Red Raiders and if he continues playing as he did late in the season, he will be a major factor for a good Texas Tech team.
DaJuan Gordon – Kansas State
Kansas State is going through a rebuilding stage for this upcoming season, this leaves an opportunity for younger players to step up. The main player to step up is DaJuan Gordon. Gordon struggled a little bit last season but had shown flashes, including a 15-point performance in an upset win against West Virginia. With Kansas State losing their top three scorers, Gordon is in a position to take a major step up from a scoring perspective.
PJ Fuller – TCU
TCU wasn’t all that good last year and losing Desmond Bane certainly won’t help the Horned Frogs next season. With Bane gone, this leaves some room for players to take a step forward and for me, PJ Fuller should have a major increase in scoring. Fuller played 19.6 minutes per game a season ago, while he averaged 5.7 points and 1.8 rebounds per game a season ago. Fuller was non-existent in a lot of games but when he was on, he made a major impact, most notably when he scored 21 points in TCU’s upset win against Baylor. Look for him to be slightly more consistent next season while he looks to take a step forward in his sophomore season.