Apr 20, 2012, 3:49 PM EDT
Ah, to have freshmen. Kentucky’s Anthony Davis was the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four. Marquis Teague controlled the tempo and outplayed senior Tyshawn Taylor in the title game. And Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was the player nobody could defend.
But this story by Luke Winn raises a salient point about the 2012 champs: Don’t overlook the sophomores. Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb played huge roles in the ‘Cats title run – Lamb merely led all scorers in the championship.
For that matter, don’t overlook next season’s sophomores when it comes to who cuts down the nets.
Winn lists the five freshmen he considers to play key roles in the title chase who also had to make hard decisions about this year’s draft. They’re kinda like Jones. The Wildcats’ power forward was a lottery pick last season, but came back to school and stayed a lottery pick.
Will that apply to guys like Indiana’s Cody Zeller or UNC’s James Michael McAdoo? Winn breaks down what impact the players have by staying, what would’ve happened if they had left and what next season will look like. He also lists five other sophomores who’ll have an impact.
And here’s the interesting thing: Per the Value Add numbers created by John Pudner of Cracked Sidewalks, Zeller has the highest value (11.50) among those returning sophomores. Second is Georgetown’s Otto Porter (9.08). That bests guys like Trey Burke (7.72), Chane Behanan (6.44) and the rest. The Hoyas might not have a title contender and Porter wasn’t a real consideration for this year’s draft (thus the impact aspect for Winn’s story), but he’ll likely have a monster season.
Keep that in mind when waiting for breakout stars for next season. Porter may very well be the Big East next star.
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.
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