Which rising NCAA Basketball juniors are most likely to break out as national stars for the upcoming season? Here’s a ranking of the top 25 candidates.
When it comes to NCAA Basketball players and their ability to “break out”, it’s usually the junior season that it occurs. With the exception of some star players with great opportunities as a freshman, most players have to wait their turn for the upperclassmen to move on to get big enough roles to truly make an impact.
There also is a large batch of players who don’t even make it to their respective junior campaigns. With how the NBA favors younger players, quality talents opt to go pro as soon as possible, leaving the older guys remaining to have larger roles. But it certainly doesn’t mean that great players aren’t still around, with star seniors such as Cassius Winston, Markus Howard, and Myles Powell leading the way.
Another star from last season was Luka Garza, a junior who averaged 23.9 ppg and 9.8 rpg for the Iowa Hawkeyes. It was a production improvement of nearly 17 ppg and five rebounds from the year prior, making him an obvious breakout junior star. It certainly helped that forward Tyler Cook, who led the team in both points and rebounds the season prior, went pro that offseason.
But who will do the same this upcoming season? There are plenty of rising juniors and redshirt juniors on teams with a big projected role. This upcoming list features players either on a path to a major spike in production, or a role on a team set to win a ton of games. JUCO transfers, along with D-I transfers not currently eligible to play in 2020-21 (needs a waiver) will be excluded.