Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: Top 25 breakout sophomore players for 2020-21 season

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images /
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EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN – MARCH 08: Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN – MARCH 08: Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

3. Samuell Williamson – Louisville Cardinals

2019-20 stats: 4.4 ppg and 2.5 rpg

There really wasn’t a chance that Williamson was going to play more than 15 mpg last season on a Cardinals team filled with upperclassman and an All-ACC star in Jordan Nwora, who played the same position as the freshman. But with him gone, the 6’7 forward will have a massive chance to shine. He’ll have to improve on his perimeter shooting and defense but Williamson has all the tools to be a 15+ ppg leading scorer for Louisville and be an early entrant to the NBA Draft.

2. Scottie Lewis – Florida Gators

2019-20 stats: 8.5 ppg and 3.6 rpg

With Andrew Nembhard gone, Tre Mann is a legit breakout candidate at the point guard position. But I have a feeling that sit-out transfer Tyree Appleby will cut into some of his production next season. One Gator who will have a monster campaign regardless of the rotation will be Lewis, a 6’5 wing who has top-5 NBA Draft pick potential. He has all the tools to succeed and can score at all three levels efficiently. If the consistency improves, look for him to be a potential SEC Player of the Year contender.

1. Rocket Watts – Michigan State Spartans

2019-20 stats: 9.0 ppg and 1.7 apg

The former top-40 recruit had his ups and downs as a freshman, similar to previous Spartan guards under head coach Tom Izzo. That includes Cassius Winston, an All-American and former Big Ten Player of the Year point guard. With him gone, that leaves Watts as a likely starter to take over. He started some games alongside Winston off the ball but seemed to be best as the lead guard when given the opportunity.

Updated early top-25 power rankings for 2020-21. dark. Next

Watts had four games of at least 18 points towards the end of last season and still has plenty of room to improve, particularly from three-point range. Between that and his ball-handling abilities, don’t be surprised if Watts ends up as an All-Big Ten player in his own right, now with the keys to the car of Michigan State Basketball.