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NCAA Men’s Basketball: Five Players To Lookout For This Season
Photo courtesy of Villinova

NCAA Men’s Basketball: Five Players To Lookout For This Season

Every year in College basketball new stars arrive. It’s typically the upperclassmen that get the job done and help you cut down the nets in March. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, just look at Kentucky and Duke. John Calipari has shown time after time what he can do with super talented freshmen. Despite those successes, not everyone can win using the “one and done” philosophy. Experience is needed in March, as has been proven before.

Looking at the returning talent, there will be plenty of upperclassmen hearing their names called in the 2018 NBA Draft. Along with those guys expect to see a few you might not have had on your radar. Here are five newer names expected to have a break out season.

 

Mike Watkins, Penn State, redshirt Sophomore, Center/Power forward:

Penn State big man Mike Watkins showed flashes of NBA talent last season. Still raw offensively, Watkins is a terror on the defensive end and on the glass. Last season, he ranked in the top ten nationally in blocked shots per game and total blocked shots. Watkins has nice size at 6’9, and can run the floor and anchor the paint. He showed potential in many games with strong double double performances. Just look at last year’s matchup against Minnesota: Watkins had 15 points going 6-9 from the floor and a perfect 3-3 from the line. Not to mention he was a terror on the glass grabbing 15 boards. Watkins had to sit out a year due to eligibility reasons, so last year he was still getting his feet wet in live action. Now coming into his second year on the floor he wants to make his mark on this team and possibly position himself for the next level. A strong 2017-18 would do wonders for his draft stock and position as one of the nations best big men. His first real opportunity to put the nation on notice will be in New York at the Barclays for the Legends Classic.

 

Eric Paschall, Junior, Foward/Guard, Villanova:

Paschall transferred from Fordham University to Villanova in hopes of evolving his game and to play for a winning program, and that’s exactly what he’s done. After sitting out the Wildcats’ Championship year in 2016, Paschall found himself learning his place on the floor for head coach Jay Wright and Nova, and now needs to step up. As a freshman in the A-10 Conference, he was the 10th leading scorer with 15.9 points per game according to sportsreference.com. He showed flashes of scoring ability last year posting good numbers against Butler and St.Johns. Although he had some really good games his scoring was up and down last year for his first time on the court with his new team. With Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart having moved on to the NBA, Paschall has a chance to be one of the top scorers on this team and in the Big East. Paschall is a very physical guard that loves to get to the line. Last year he shot 51% percent from the field and 69% from the line. He will definitely need to show improvement on outside shooting. Fans in the Philadelphia area will love his toughness. If Villanova wants to make a run to San Antonio, they’ll need Paschall to play well. A key early matchup against Gonzaga will likely put the country on notice about Eric Paschall.

 

Photo courtesy of SB Nation

 

Jaylen Adams, Senior, Point Guard, St. Bonaventure:

Adams is one of the best players in the nation you’ve probably never heard of. At 6-2 Adams is an aggressive guard that can score and create for others. Adams is at his best when being aggressive getting to the lane to create fouls. Shooting 82% from the line, he lead the A-10 in free throw percentage last year. Adams has popped on some early NBA mock drafts as a late first-round pick. He has a chance to lead the nation in scoring while possibly ranking in the top 10 in assists – not a bad way to end your college career. The senior guard is fan favorite to die-hard college basketball fans, but the casual fan that tunes in just for the tournament will definitely hear his name. Adams will have the chance to set the tone early playing in the Emerald coast classic on CBS Sports, but his biggest game will be in Syracuse. That will feature Adams going head to head with Tyus Battle. If you want to see what this guy is about, that is the game to watch. Adams’ handle and ability to hit from deep will make him a fan favorite. If he can find a way to play in March, fans will love him.

 

Photo Courtesy of Down The Drive

Jacob Evans, Junior, Shooting guard, Cincinnati:

As a college basketball player, you hope you develop in your career and your role expands. Jacob Evans has done just that. Each year Evans has gotten better, most noticeably scoring the basketball. After averaging 7 points per game as a freshman, he lead the team with 13 points per game as a sophomore according to sportsrefernce.com. Now entering his junior year, he will look to lead this team further than the second round of the NCAA tournament. Evans is a strong athlete that can score in transition and hit the open jumper. The junior wing will want to show he is a better ball handler. He does a good job of moving without the ball, but he can’t create his own shot, which will hurt him going forward. The Bearcats have some big games early on in nonconference play against Florida and UCLA. Evans wants to put the nation on notice early, and those will be his chances to do it.

 

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Senior, Guard-Forward, Kansas:

Like Jacob Evans, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has gotten better every season. The senior from Ukraine will have the opportunity to be a big part of what Kansas hopes to accomplish this year. A 6-8 wing that plays both ends of the floor, Mykhailiuk will have to show more of everything this year if he plans on playing in the NBA. This Jayhawk roster it is loaded with talent, and luckily for Mykhailiuk , one of the biggest parts of his game is playing off the ball. Defensively he plays the passing lane very well, cashing in on turnovers for easy points. While the new the pieces on this roster find their roles, look for him to come out hot early and help carry this team. Mykhailiuk has shown he can create for others and has a nifty handle. Already a fan favorite to Jayhawk Nation, it won’t be long for before the rest of the nation catches on with his style of play. After playing behind many great players before him, it’s time for Mykhailiuk to leave his mark. Kansas ranks 4th coming into this season according to the AP poll. The Jayhawks nonconference schedule is pretty solid. Matchups against Kentucky, Syracuse, Washington, Arizona State, and Texas A&M will help his cause.

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